Many of the multitude of English-speaking divers in Cozumel refer to Paraiso as Paradise Reef, and an underwater paradise it is. The site consists of two long, coral ridges lying end-to-end parallel to the shore in about 35 to 45 feet of water (I personally hit a max depth of 50 feet on this dive). The coral formations are relatively low but beautiful. The incredible scenery, along with the relatively shallow depths make Paraiso an ideal spot for refresher, second, or night dives. The sights are decent for snorkelers but because of the depths involed and the heavy trafic I would suggest a more tranquil and shallower location.
A night diver startles a puffer fish
At Paraiso there are incredible coral formations, along with bountiful sealife. I saw eels, enormous lobsters, and several octopuses. Many of the fish are tame and are often fed by the dive masters. This site is a great location for large filefish along with both French and greyangel fish. Crevice,s at the base of the coral, provide shelter for squirrelfish during the day and foothold for 6 foot sea cucumbers which stretch across the sand bottom at night. The photography is supposedly very good here due to the ease of depth control on the level bottom.
A moray eel Good reason not to reach into dark crevices
The best and easiest way to reach Paraiso is by boat; no getting lost and a guide to point out cool stuff. This will also usally permit doing both of the ridges. After reacing the end of the first (marked by the sand flats) swim seaward (to the left, westward")at about 30 dereess for about a minute as the second section parallels the shore but slightly further out than the first. This site can also be reached from shore, however, this approach is only recommended when there is no current. Locals told me to take a taxi (cheap by US standards) north from town past, the El Presidente hotel and the harbor. When the road returns to the coast get out at the second telephone pole (marked #56). Swim out from the pole over the sand and seagrass for about 10 minutes untill you find the reef, the first dark streak in the water is the grass and the second is the reef (Good Luck!). During night dives be warned - Paraiso is very crowded and all divers look very similar so be careful as to not lose your group and end up on the wrong boat (this happened to some one I know). Finally I heard humors that the local government is considering construction of a new pier to accomidate increasing cruise boat traffic. The plan in consideration now would place the pier on Paraiso, so dive it while you can and/or start writing letters.
|Spectacular fish and beutiful coral combin to make Cozumel one of the world's best dive locations.|
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