A Guide to Diving at Paradise Reef in Cozumel

Most of the dives in Cozumel take place within its National Marine Park, which stretches from south of San Miguel de Cozumel (the main town) on the western side of the island to Punta Sur – its southernmost tip.

paradise reef dive site

As you set sail for the marine park, your first stop is Paradise Reef – a colorful, shallow reef with a maximum depth of 45 feet and mild currents, it’s perfect for beginner divers. Here, they can observe an abundance of sea life in all its majestic glory.

About Paradise Reef in Cozumel

Paradise Reef is one of the most popular dive sites in Cozumel. The reef at Paradise Reef runs parallel to the coastline, so you can expect to find shallow areas with plenty of coral formations and rich seagrass beds close to shore. It consists of three long coral ridges. 

As you get further out into the reef, it gets deeper and more diverse. Here, you can see a variety of colorful fish species, including angelfish, triggerfish, trunkfish, parrotfish, barracuda, and grouper.

The visibility at Paradise Reef is usually very good – up to 60 feet (18 m). The warm waters up to 86F/30C allow for diving in a shorty wetsuit only. In fact, it may even allow for a nude scuba dive.

The dive plan

The current typically flows from south to north, beginning across the way from the Caleta entrance. Divers decent to the bottom at 40 feet. Then they drift upstream with the current along the coastline. As you make your way from south to north, you will pass along the 3 coral ridges.

Some instructors take you out a little further to see some marine life. Experienced divers know spots where turtles or groupers frequently visit.

The dive itself takes about 45 to a maximum of 60 minutes between a depth of 20 to 40 feet.

The alarming thing about Paradise is that it lies south of the Puerto Maya Cruise Ship Pier. Be sure to ascend with caution. At times, the powerful current can carry you into pier boat traffic. It’s important to stay close to your group and have an inflatable dive flag or marker with you.

Dives at Paradise Reef are often combined with the Santa Rosa Wall for the second dive.

paradise reef cozumel

Cozumel Paradise Reef dive site brief

  • Access: from boat
  • Certification: Open Water
  • Max depth: 40 feet/ 12 meters
  • Max visibility: 60 feet/ 18 meters
  • Water temperature: 77 – 86 °F/ 25 – 30 °C 
  • Current: medium currents 
  • Dive type: reef & drift dive; night dive

Night diving at Paradise Reef in Cozumel

A night dive at Paradise Reef is a breathtaking experience, showcasing an array of aquatic life from lobsters and crabs to eels and octopuses.

Night dives start around sunset. Due to the close proximity to the island, you will be back before dinner time.

paradise reef in cozumel

What’s to see at Paradise Reef?

Paradise Reef is a popular spot for divers due to its colorful coral formations, seagrass beds, and an amazing array of marine life. There are a variety of fish species, including angelfish, triggerfish, parrotfish, butterflyfish, trumpetfish, damselfish, barracuda, and grouper. Additionally, you can also see turtles, eels, and octopuses.

On rare occasions, lucky divers spotted scorpion fish, eagle rays, and nurse sharks, as well as macro life such as seahorses. Often the bigger species can be found a little off the main coral formations.

What certification do you need to dive at Paradise Reef?

The Paradise Reef dive site is ideal for all levels of scuba diving. Divers need to obtain the Open Water certification. However, it’s also great for night diving, which requires an adventure dive or Advanced Open Water certification.


Paradise Reef is a great spot for novice divers, offering colorful coral formations, seagrass beds, and plenty of marine life. With its mild currents and calm waters, Paradise Reef makes for an enjoyable dive that is sure to be a highlight of your Cozumel trip.

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