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Cozumel Caves are the first scenario of the famous video game “Shadow of the Tomb Raider” where Lara Croft is trapped in a cave and has to get out. Nothing to do with reality.
It is not about there being no inland caves for diving in Cozumel. There are cenotes and other caves. Nonetheless, most of them are private, or you can only dive into them for scientific purposes.
In this post, we do talk about real adventurers, the divers. The challenge now is not screen switching. It is to know more about Cozumel caves to enjoy them to the fullest. In this article, we talk about the coral caves of Cozumel, where they are, how they were formed, and why they are so attractive for divers. Are you interested? Keep reading!
How Were the Cozumel Caves Formed?
An extraordinary point about Cozumel’s caves is that they are coral reefs. Caves can be formed in three different ways.
– By the erosion of water in calcareous materials.
– By solidified lava forming cavities and volcanic tubes.
– By the accumulation of corals.
This last option was the origin of the Cozumel caves. They began with a limestone base to which coral skeletons were attached. It is a process that is similar to the reef formation on artificial shipwrecks.
One of the coral features is that they ignore everything to do with gravity and grow in any direction. As this happens, canyons form until the reef structure builds the cave roof. Millions of years are necessary for tunnels and caverns to be long enough to dive them as such.
Sometimes the light entrances are so small that you cannot exit through them and give the sensation of diving into a closed coral cave.
Where are the Cozumel Caves?
The reefs of Cozumel are part of the Great Barrier Reef of the Western Atlantic, also known as the Great Mayan Reef. It is the second-largest coral formation in the world. It is surpassed only by the Great Australian Barrier Reef.
The most famous Cozumel caves are a part of the Palancar Reef, located at the southern tip of the island of Cozumel, off the Yucatan Peninsula. Approximately 2km/1mi by land from Cozumel and just 15 minutes by boat from Dressel Divers dive base.
As we reported in the article “Palancar Reef, A Paradise for Scuba Divers“, Palancar is divided into 4 parts, one of them is called Palancar Caves. Can you guess why? Exactly, because the most impressive Cozumel caves formed of coral are there. This reef is between Palancar Bricks and Palancar Horseshoe
What does Scuba Diving in these Caves feel like?
At Palancar Caves, the coral formations draw a network of towers, needles, canyons, ravines, and caves. There are deep crevices and sandy bottom slopes which run between corals into the blue.
At Palancar Caves, as on the other Cozumel reefs, the biodiversity is impressive (you can see hawksbill turtles, manta rays, nurse sharks, parrotfish, angelfish, and many other marine animals). However, what will leave you ecstatic there is the color party of the Cozumel Caves caused by the thousands of species of coral and sponges that form them.
Diving these caves is suitable for all levels. Although it has a maximum depth of 30m/ 98.5ft. most of the action occurs between 18m/59ft and 25m/82ft.
You will access Palancar Caves by boat, and the dive begins as a multi-level drift dive. Advanced divers start at the deepest level, where the oldest Cozumel tunnels and caves are. Beginners can also dive Cozumel caves as long as they don’t exceed their capabilities.
The current at Palancar Caves is moderate, and the average visibility is about 25m. So, this is an ideal dive for underwater photography lovers.
Have you ever dived in the caves of Cozumel? If yes, tell us about your experience on Facebook! If the answer is: no, what are you waiting for, write us!