WHERE TO DIVE
The Mexican Caribbean stretches from Cancun south to Tulum, along the eastern shore of the Yucatan Peninsula with the amazing Great Maya Reef just offshore. The Island of Cozumel, with its own extraordinary diving, is a short ferry-boat ride from the mainland. With more than 70 dive sites from which to choose, you'll find that the region has an outstanding array of dive experiences just waiting for you, beautiful reefs, many wrecks, shore diving, drift diving, drop-offs, cave and cenote diving, and much more.
The Mexican Caribbean area contains the second largest barrier reef system on the planet and offers more than 500 species of fish and four species of sea turtle, in addition to eels, lobsters, stingrays, sharks and the fascinating whale shark.
Dive resorts/dive operators
For an extensive list of PADI dive shops in the Mexican Caribbean, go to padi.com and search for dive operators in that area.
GREAT MEXICAN DIVES
Broken in two by a long-ago hurricane, this old Navy minesweeper is packed with fish inside spotted eagle rays patrol the exterior.
A better name might be Palanca Maze. You'll find sponge-filled overhangs, mini-canyons and deep spur and groove formations.
Drift along a deeper wall section of Columbia Reef. Keep your eye out for spotted eagle rays and turtles.
Bring your camera for this wreck. It sits upright in 80-feet of water. The view looking down the wreck from the bow is breathtaking and full of fishlife.
Playa del Carmen
This little-dived reef starts at about 20 feet and maxes out at about 50 feet with a visibility of 70 feet or better. This is the place to see eels, lobsters, crabs, shrimp and many diverse crustaceans.
An easy, shallow dive that starts at 20 feet and ends up at about 50 feet, you'll find many schooling fish and a surprise coral cavern at the end of the dive.
The main attraction here is the garden reef that's filled with turtles. This drift dive starts at a depth of 55 feet with a maximum depth of 100 feet. In the summer you'll have a better chance of seeing schooling tarpon.
Cenotes are ancient sinkholes where the top has broken away to reveal crystal clear fresh water and an amazing underground network of caves and caverns. Many cenotes are open to snorkelers, but some are for divers to explore. You'll need a guide to dive in a cenote and have your open-water certification.
Whale Shark Snorkeling
During the month of June to September, in the area around Cancun and Isla Holbox, you can experience what few ever have swimming with whale sharks. These creatures are the largest sharks known to man, and can reach up to 40 feet or longer and have 3,600 small teeth. They eat mostly plankton, so not to worry! But the experience of swimming with these gentle giants is not soon forgotten.