Our History

Tom Hartdegen, a New Orleans, Louisiana businessman, became certified to dive in September of 1982. He left New Orleans for his first warm water dive vacation a week later; his destination, Cozumel. After experiencing “the stupendous diving, the friendly people, the beautiful clear water” he returned to New Orleans with a dream. That dream became a reality in January of 1984, with the opening of a small shop called “Dive Paradise”.

Since it’s humble “hole in the wall” beginning, Dive Paradise has grown into one of Cozumel’s most respected dive facilities and is recognized as the #1 dive operator on the island. Owing to its excellent record of diver safety and personal attention to client needs, Dive Paradise has been featured many times in Skin Diver Magazine, selected by Rodale’s Scuba Diving magazine’s Reader’s Choice Awards as the “Most Popular Dive Operator in the World” three consecutive years.

Featured twice in Sea Fans Video Magazine, enjoyed highly favorable comments in In DepthDiscover DivingOcean Sports and Undercurrents Magazine, Dive Paradise has achieved a level of client service that before, was unknown to Cozumel.     -Bob Goddess

Thomas J. Hartdegen 1946 – 1994

Our Staff

Our professional, enthusiastic staff helps Dive Paradise maintain its enviable safety record among the island’s major operators.

Any operation is only as good as its staff – including Dive Paradise. We are fortunate to attract and keep a dedicated group. Our current management team has over 15 years working together. Reception personnel, have been with us since our beginnings. Our Divemasters are “home grown” and most are home trained, too. The majority have been with us for years and have conscientiously been providing the highest level of quality with Dive Paradise service.

All are fully certified, fluent in English, professional, very enthusiastic and are DAN oxygen certified as well as IANTD trained to guide Nitrox dive groups. Dive Paradise Divemasters have also completed a marine biology specialty course to ensure that they can identify what you see on your dives, and that they understand how to protect and preserve our reef for future generations.

Additionally, all of our Divemasters, Boat Captains and Sailors have been certified in First Aid, CPR, Rescue and Oxygen administration.

Meet Apple


Renee “Apple” Applegate –
Owner and manager of operations at Dive Paradise. Apple is a PADI master scuba instructor with over 30 years of diving and training experience.

Apple began her diving in the challenging waters off the coast of California. Her background is in nursing. She spent many years teaching SCUBA in the Red Sea while serving as head nurse in a Saudi Arabian hospital.

She is loved and admired by all those who know her. Stop by and say Hello!

We Work as a Team and Play as a Team!

Dive Paradise proudly presents the soccer team for the 2009 – 2010 period.

Created by Tom Hartegan in 1993, the team continues to thrive and bring staff together during non working hours.

All divers and friends are welcome to come help cheer them on. Games are held on the weekends, and any crew member can point you in the right direction.

Our Locations and Services

Dive paradise is now at 4 locations and growing!


Waterfront Main Facility
: 602 Avenida Refael Melgar (between Hotel Barracuda and Navy base, next to Century 21). This is our main retail store and dive coordination center.

Beach Locations: Hotel Barracuda, Club de Playa Villablanca and the Hotel Cozumel. Each one of these locations features a seaside dock for dive boat pickups and drop-off’s. All beach locations have private gear lockers.

“Scubatiques”: Retail facilities are located in the main store on Melgar and the Hotel Cozumel location. The shops are stocked with affordably priced, last minute dive items and those “must have” Dive Paradise T-shirts with our catchy, bright logo! (8AM – 9PM) You can also purchase any items that you might need for diving at the remaining locations: Villablanca (8AM-7PM), Barracuda and Calle 3 (8AM – 5PM)