Sol Melia Hotels Enter Dive Market With Paradisus Facility

Reed Travel Features

COZUMEL -- Scuba divers heading to this Mexican Caribbean island can take advantage of a new dive facility with two programs being offered by Sol Melia hotel group's Cozumel properties, Paradisus Cozumel, formerly the Melia Mayan Paradisus, and Sol Cabanas del Caribe.

In 1996, the inclusive Paradisus Cozumel opened Paradisus Beach & Dive Club, the first full-service dive instruction center on the island.

The new Paradisus Beach & Dive Club is located at Playa Maya, near the southern end of Cozumel.

The 200-room Paradisus Cozumel and the 48-room Sol Cabanas del Caribe are situated on the northwest coast of the island, near the city of San Miguel.

Shuttle service is provided daily between the resorts and the club.

The 20-acre beachfront facility features a full-service dive shop, Cozumel's first dive instruction pool, locker rooms with bathrooms and showers, one restaurant and two fast-food outlets and a water sports area with an array of equipment.

In addition to diving, guests at the facility can participate in other activities, including kayaking, windsurfing and horseback riding, or they can relax on the beach.

Guests at Paradisus Cozu-mel have access to the facility and its water sports center.

An admission price of $10

is available to the general public.

The facility sits in the middle of Cozumel's dive corridor, offering access to a wide array of coral reefs and walls. It is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

From the Beach & Dive Club, a 10- to 30-minute boat ride takes divers to sites such as Palancar, Tormentos, Santa Rosa, Cardona and Punta Tunich.

A Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) facility, the Beach & Dive Club boasts all the amenities for diving instruction, certification and excursions.

A full range of PADI diving instruction is offered, including open-water, advanced and specialties certification training.

Additionally, guests who are not certified to dive can take a resort course, which consists of an out-of-the-water lesson, instruction in the dive pool and diving in the Mexican Carib-bean.

Caribbean Divers International of Cozumel runs the dive instruction programs from its full-service center at Paradisus Beach & Dive Club.

The new location is the firm's third dive center on the island. Caribbean Divers also operates dive facilities in downtown Cozumel and at Chan-kanaab National Park.

The dive packages offered at Paradisus Cozumel and Sol Cabanas del Caribe enable divers to take advantage of the new Beach & Dive Club.

The three- and seven-night programs include oceanview accommodations, continental breakfasts daily, a two-tank dive each day, transfers between the resort and the Beach & Dive Club, airport transfers and hotel and meal taxes.

At Paradisus Cozumel, three-night package rates are $547 per person, double, through April 5 and $351 from April 6 through Dec. 22.

For seven nights, the price is $1,332 through April 5 and $875 from April 6 through Dec. 22.

At Sol Cabanas del Caribe, three-night package rates are $313 through April 5 and $261 from April 6 through Dec. 22.

Seven-night rates are $793 through April 5 and $657 from April 6 through Dec. 22.

Both properties also offer nondiver rates under the two programs.

At Paradisus Cozumel, nondiver rates for three nights are $432 through April 5 and $236 from April 6 through Dec. 22.

For seven nights, nondivers pay $987 through April 5 and $530 from April 6 through Dec. 22.

At Sol Cabanas del Caribe, three-night rates for nondivers are $205 through April 5 and $146 from April 6 through Dec. 22.

For seven nights, rates for nondivers are $466 through April 5 and $327 from April 6 through Dec. 22.

To qualify for nondiver rates, rooms must host one diver.

For additional information, call (800) 33-MELIA.

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