Featured Snorkel Spot
Navy Patrol Wreck, Cozumel
TLDR: This is a great snorkeling wreck in relatively shallow water around 20 ft. You can reach it from shore, but there are considerations. The wreck is the 85 foot Laguna de Mandinga, a Mexican navy patrol boat that was sunk as part of an artificial reef program in 2006. Full video and maps available in our Cozumel Location section.
The rest of the story-
It took me two attempts to find it. I had great information, but the first time I got scared off by the famous Cozumel marauding boats. As usual, I started at Playa Casitas public park on the north side of town. I read about the sunken concrete blocks and knew about finding the orange buoy/square grey boat, but not much after that.
I reached the concrete blocks and headed for the square grey boat. After reaching the square grey boat. I realized I was out far enough from shore, that boats were passing between me and the shore. Little fishing type boats just zipping by. They weren’t doing anything wrong, I didn’t have any marker buoy with me. Knowing I had limited methods of flagging them, I headed back for shore feeling defeated.
A couple days later, my neighbor at the AirBnb lent me a beer holding inner tube and a piece of rope. Cool guy, basically Jimmy Buffet expat from Wyoming. This happened to be the day before I was flying back home. My flight was around noon the next day. I got up early and headed back to Playa Casitas. The beer holding inner tube worked great. I waved it around at boats being like “don’t hit me out here”.
After reaching the yellow buoy, I swam past it to deeper water. The bottom started dropping out and visibility was lower. I realized I was too deep. I swam back to about 20ft water and headed south. The current was pushing me and I was dragging a beer tube thing. Suddenly, it came into view.
After some excited yelling, I looked around above water to try and remember my location. I felt I was about 100 feet past the yellow buoy, and 100 feet south of it. I looked straight to shore, and felt I was looking at the Mayan arch. It’s hard to triangulate your location without more markers. But I scanned around and felt that was the best description.
I would drop the buoy and attempt dives at the wreck. Returning to retrieve the buoy and swim back for another dive. All while fighting the current. I only got a couple dives in before it got tiring. But I got a few useable shots and felt accomplished for locating it. I headed for shore and then the airport. With semi wet gear.
Go check it out. It’s in 20 feet of water and is in great shape. It’s easier if you are with another person. Bring one marker between you, and take turns diving the wreck. There is also a bar/restaurant near Playa Casitas that rents SUP and open top kayaks. I also saw a snorkel boat show up while I was at the wreck. So that is always an option. I watched the tour boat stop at a couple spots out there, and one guy would put a mask on and look under the water. So I wasn’t the only one having problems locating it.
Find how to get there and more in our Cozumel location section. Have fun, stay safe out there. Happy Snorkeling!
Here are some more pictures of the beer koozie innertube, borrowed from the expat Jimmy Buffet doppelganger from Wyoming. Very important to the story: