Cozumel resorts court dive market

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COZUMEL, Mexico -- At least a half dozen resorts here launched packages geared to Cozumel's bread-and-butter market: scuba divers.

Cozumel is one of the world's top scuba-diving destinations, surrounded by the second-largest coral reef system in the world and boasting underwater visibility of up to 200 feet.

The following is a sampling of dive plans that are available:

• The 90-room Casa Mexicana offers three- to seven-night scuba-diving packages with a free snorkeling excursion for nondiver companions. Three-night plans start at $204 per person, double; seven-night packages start at $492. Prices are for two-tank dives and include daily breakfast.

Chankanaab Marine Park is a popular dive destination in Cozumel.Clients receive a free night dive when they dive for a minimum of five days. Packages are available through Dec. 20. For details or reservations, call (877) 228-6747 or visit www.casamexicanacozumel.com.

• Dive programs at the 106-room Casa Del Mar Cozumel range from a three-night package starting at $241 per person, double, to a seven-night package starting at $580. Rates are valid through Dec. 22.

The programs include daily breakfast, unlimited shore diving and a 20% discount at the resort's nearby Nachi Cocom beach club, where guests can rent water-sports equipment, swim in a private pool and have lunch on the beach. For information or reservations, call (800) 235-5892 or visit www.casadelmarcozumel.com.

• The 71-room El Cid La Ceiba Cozumel offers a three-night dive package for $254 per person, double, a five-night plan for $454 and a seven-night program for $559. The prices are in effect through Dec. 24.

The packages include daily breakfast buffet, unlimited shore diving and taxes. For information or reservations, call (800) 435-3240 or visit www.elcid.com.

• The Hacienda San Miguel Hotel is promoting a PADI open-water, scuba-diving course that includes a five-night stay with three days of instruction for $490 per person, double. The hotel also offers dive programs ranging from a three-night package starting at $204 per person, double, to a seven-night plan for $446.

Packages, which include one free night dive and unlimited shore diving, are in effect through December. For information or reservations, call (866) 712-6387 or visit www.haciendasanmiguel.com.

• The Hotel Villablanca offers a four-night dive package starting at $290 per person, double, and a seven-night plan for $459, including daily breakfast and one shore dive.

The packages are available through Dec. 20. For information or reservations, call (011) 52-987 872-0730 or visit the Web at www.villablanca.net.

• The Reef Club Isla Cozumel Beach Resort offers a seven-night dive package starting at $825 per person, double.

The package is all-inclusive and is in effect through the end of the year. For information or reservations, call (888) 773-4349 or visit the Web at www.reefclubcozumel.com.

• The Suites Bahia and Suites Colonial resorts both offer five dive packages of varying lengths through Dec. 20. Three-night plans start at $166 per person, double, at the Suites Bahia and at $156 at the Suites Colonial.

Both resorts offer daily breakfast, a free night dive when guests dive a minimum of five days and one complimentary snorkeling trip for a nondiver companion. For information, call (877) 228-6747 or visit www.suitesbahia.com or www.suitescolonial.com.

To contact reporter Jorge Sidron, send e-mail to [email protected].

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