Sharks in the waters of Cozumel

Dive into Adventure: Exploring Cozumel’s Shark Encounters

Fulfill your dream and encounter sharks in Cozumel. Cozumel’s clear, warm waters make it a popular destination for divers worldwide. Cozumel is a diving utopia within the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef. It is home to various corals, fish, and invertebrates, including sharks. Join us as we delve into the common varieties of sharks you may encounter during your scuba diving adventures or while staying at Stingray Villa.

Nurse Shark

Nurse sharks:

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 often find them resting on the sandy bottoms underneath ledges or in crevasses. However, they can be massive, up to 14 feet, have potent jaws loaded with thousands of tiny, serrated teeth, and 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 fish, shrimp, and squid. They’re colored gray-brown and have extraordinary tail fins up to one-fourth of their total length. Unlike most other sharks, nurses are smooth to the touch.
Caribbean reef shark

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: white to light yellow on the ventral side and grey-brown to dark grey on the dorsal side. It has more prominent eyes, and the snout is rounded and short compared to other sharks. The Caribbean Reef Shark also finds food in the reefs, such as bony fishes, crustaceans, and cephalopods. We also know this shark will frequently feed on yellow stingrays and eagle rays.
hammerhead shark

Hammerhead Sharks:

The Hammerhead is one of the most elusive sharks in Cozumel. In 20 years, I have only seen one on the reefs. Lately, we have had sightings of Hammerheads eating Eagle Rays and giving live births in the shallow waters around Cozumel.

These sharks enjoy the tastes of animals such as other sharks, squids, crabs, jacks, herrings, tarpon, sardines, boxfish, toadfish, sea catfish, groupers, and their absolute favorite dish, rays. They hunt for their creature of choice twice daily, around dawn and dusk. The most well-known factor about them would undoubtedly have to do with their namesake. These sharks have flat, T-shaped heads that make them stand out from other sharks.
Bull Shark

Bull Sharks:

These sharks are magnificent creatures. They can grow to be bigger than any scuba diver and are graceful and powerful. Other fish seem to be a little more careful whenever you see them on the reef. 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. 


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Frequently Asked Questions

How many shark attacks in Cozumel?

In 1993, Mary Eggemeyer, head of the Dallas Youth Services Corps, died during a night dive, possibly because of a shark attack. If confirmed, this would mark the first recorded shark attack in Cozumel this century. The coroner remarked, “No one saw a shark, and the only indication we have is the nature of the wounds.”

What sharks are in Cozumel?

The most commonly seen sharks in Cozumel are Nurse Sharks. While Blacktip Sharks and Hammerheads are also occasionally spotted, they tend to be very skittish around snorkelers and scuba divers.

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