There are sharks in the Cozumel waters and being able to meet them in their common environment is a dream come true. Cozumel provides some of the clearest and warmest waters on the earth. Therefore, it is such a popular diving destination, drawing international visitors all year round. We can find here part of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, which is the second-largest reef of its kind on our planet. It is a true diving utopia, with impressive corals, fascinating invertebrates and diversity of fish, which includes sharks. Let’s look at more common varieties of sharks found in Cozumel you may face while scuba diving or staying at Stingray Villa.
This shark is the most prevalent in Cozumel’s waters. Nurse sharks are slow-moving bottom-dwellers and are harmless to humans. Many divers in Cozumel encounter the nurse shark because during the day they can often find them resting on the sandy bottoms of underneath ledges or in crevasses. However, they can be massive, up to 14 feet, and have powerful jaws loaded with thousands of tiny, serrated teeth, and will bite if stepped on or disturbed by divers who presume they’re gentle. They apply their powerful jaws to crush and eat shellfish but prefer to consume on fish, shrimp, and squid. They’re colored gray-brown and have extraordinary tail fins that can be up to one-fourth of their total length. Unlike most other sharks, nurses are smooth to the touch.
Caribbean Reef Sharks:
The Caribbean Reef Shark is known to be relatively passive and rarely poses much of a hazard to scuba divers, snorkelers, swimmers, or other humans it comes into contact with. They avoid human interaction entirely. Also known as the “Reef Shark”, it has a unique color and is white to light yellow on the ventral side and grey-brown to dark-grey on the dorsal side. It has larger eyes, and the snout is rounded and short compared to other sharks. The Caribbean Reef Shark also finds its food in the reefs, such as bony fishes, crustaceans, and cephalopods. We also know this shark will feed on yellow sting-rays and eagle rays frequently.
The Hammerhead is one of the most elusive sharks in Cozumel. In 20 years, I have only seen one on the reefs of Cozumel. These sharks enjoy the tastes of various animals such as other sharks, squids, crabs, jacks, herrings, tarpon, sardines, boxfish, toadfish, sea catfish, groupers, and their absolute favorite dish, rays. These sharks hunt for their creature of choice twice a day around dawn and dusk. The most well-known factor about them would undoubtedly have to deal with their namesake. These sharks have flat, T-shaped heads that make them stand out from other sharks.
These sharks are magnificent creatures. They can grow to be bigger than any scuba diver, and they are graceful and powerful. Whenever you get to see them on the reef, other fish seem to be a little more careful. Divers have seen bull sharks on Playa del Carmen reefs for over 30 years. Los Arcos, one of the more popular deep dive sites north of Playa del Carmen, used to be known as Sharkies Place, named after the common shark sightings, rather than its deep swim-throughs. These sharks are even more elusive in Cozumel than the hammerhead.