Since 1961, when noted diver and nature lover Jacques-Ives Cousteau filmed a television documentary off the coast of Mexico, Cozumel has grown into a world-class tourist mecca and one of the top five dive destinations in the world. Even if you are not a diver or snorkeler, there’s plenty to do on the island; exploring Mayan ruins, visiting animal sanctuaries and cultural attractions are a few.
But what if you really want to explore the waters and witness its glorious marine life and you don’t scuba dive or snorkel? The Atlantis Submarine is your ticket and you don’t even get your feet wet!
On a recent Emerald Princess cruise, another passenger suggested we take the shore excursion which included exploring Chankanaab National Park in a submarine. Neither of us had been on a submarine, so we signed up at the shore excursion desk.
Our Atlantis Submarine adventure began with a cruise in a small boat out to the submarine. At the appointed spot we all watched as the submarine surfaced. Another boat and our ferry wedged the submarine between them to steady it. Passengers exited and went to the back of the boat and then our group walked onto the submarine and climbed down a ladder into its belly.
We would learn that Chankanaab is an environmentally-protected marine park as we slowly descended into the pale blue waters. Everyone had a seat that faced out into the water. The pilot made sure everyone saw specific highlights by gliding by one way and then turning and gliding by again on the other side.
There were schools of fish, lone colorful species and gloriously beautiful coral formations. The deepest we went was 105 feet. The water is so clear that sunshine still illuminated our view of this underwater haven.
Our 40-minute dive went by quickly and soon we were at the surface and exiting the Atlantis as another group waited on the boat for their turn.Soon we were back in Cozumel walking by the colorful shops, restaurants and artists’ stands. I certainly hope to return in the future and experience even more of this lovely island paradise.
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