Scuba Diving in Mexico

Mexico is a country in North America which borders with the USA, Belize and Guatemala. It is one of the most amazing places in the world, a cradle of the Maya and Aztec civilizations, a land of revolutions, original cultures and incredible diving for beginners and experienced divers.
The clear waters of the Caribbean Sea in the east fascinate with idyllic beauty and bright colours, and the western Pacific coast is full of underwater life. Worldwide famous cenotes of the Yucatán Peninsula are a challenge for divers. Resorts of each coast offer both luxury hotels and low-cost accommodation, service of the highest level, a well-developed infrastructure, an interesting cultural programme and exciting undersea adventures.

Reasons to Visit

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El Museo Subaquatico de Arte, the underwater museum near Cancun on Isla Mujeres, is famous all over the world. The British sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor is an inspirer and the main sculptor of the permanent underwater exhibition with about 500 works of art. The museum covers the area of over 400 sq. km and was established in 2009. It has become one of the most popular diving sites in Riviera Maya and is now considered the biggest submerged museum in the world.
Arrecife Palancar is an intact 5 km long reef which can be called a diving Mecca. The variety of corals and other forms of marine life will astonish all diving lovers. Anyone can dive here regardless of their level of training — there are sites for beginners as well as for experienced professionals. It is conveniently divided into four large areas.
Cozumel Island is the largest dive shop in the world. It is located near the Great Mayan Reef, also known as the Mesoamerican Reef. Local waters are home to over 850 species of coral reef fish. There are tunas, barracudas, butterflyfish, parrotfish, rabbitfish and marine angelfish, all kinds of snappers and groupers, dangerous pterois, moray eel and triggerfish. You will see playing dolphins, slowly floating marine turtles and stingrays burrowing in the sand. The popular diving destinations are the picturesque Palancar Reef 12 to 30 meters deep and Punta Sur Reef, which is rather difficult and can be up to 27 meters deep.
A lot of divers come to Mexico in search of extreme sensations, because here they can swim with dangerous marine predators. Cage diving with white sharks on Guadelupe Island is available from August to October. During other seasons you can find hammerhead sharks, tiger sharks, Galapagos sharks and whale sharks at diving sites near Socorro Island. Playa del Carmen provides diving with large female bull sharks from November to March.
Mexican diving always includes cenotes. It is a special form of karst relief, a natural pit resulting from the collapse of limestone bedrock with groundwater underneath. The ancient Mayan believed they were sacred and used them as portals to other worlds and the afterlife. Such cenotes as Dos Ojos and Chac Mool are especially popular among divers. Another famous place is the Sacred Cenote in Chichen Itza, however, you can't dive here because it is closed and the water is rather dirty. Ik Kil is another interesting cenote near Chichen Itza. The water is slightly green and full of fish with picturesque tree branches hanging above it.

Diving Destinations in Mexico

The two Mexican coasts feature different kinds of diving. The Caribbean Sea, Riviera Maya, Cozumel Island and the neighbour areas offer tranquil views of coral reefs and sea dwellers. Those who prefer thrilling experinces can visit Playa del Carmen from November to March to swim with Large female bull sharks. The Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Cortez will show you a wild underwater world, not yet destroyed by civilization, with its giant oceanic manta rays, stingrays, hammerhead sharks, whale sharks and white sharks. The main local dive shops are near Socorro and Guadelupe islands.

Memo Notes
Currency MXN - Mexican Peso
Languages English, Spanish
Timezone UTC -8 - UTC -6
Phone code 52
Emergency Help 6
Electricity

Type A - 127 V, 60 Hz

Type B - 127 V, 60 Hz

Dive Shops in Mexico

All the main international systems are represented in Mexico. You will find professional dive shops in every diving region and tourist zone — in Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Isla Cozumel, Acapulco. The staff can speak different languages including Russian. They provide single dives and diving safaris, equipment for rent and sale, repair services, insurance, training courses, transfers to the pier and comfortable boats.

Сlimate & Seasonality
Spring

The resort season is in March and April. In May the weather is worse, but still suitable for diving. The water temperature at the Caribbean coast is +27 to +29 °С, the air warms up to +28 and +30 °С. March and April are the best months to dive in the Pacific Ocean on Socorro Island.

Summer

Summer in Cancun and neighbouring regions of the Caribbean is considered to be the low season: the scorching sun alternating with heavy rains. However, you can dive and the visibility is great. The air temperature ranges from +30 to +32 ˚С and the water temperature is between +27 and +30 ˚С. Summer is the best time for diving in cenotes. On the Pacific coast it all depends on the region. August is a good time to dive in the Sea of Cortez.

Autumn

September and October are not popular among tourists because of the heat and rain. You can dive in the Caribbean Sea as the water temperature reaches +27 to +29 °С. The best time for diving safaris in the Sea of Cortez on the Pacific coast starts in November.

Winter

Winter is the low season in Cancun and the Caribbean. There is no rain, the water temperature is +24 to +26 °С. It is the peak season for diving safaris in the Sea of Cortez on the Pacific coast. It is the best time to meet large sea animals.

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The Best Dive Sites

The Mesoamerican Barrier Reef is the second largest reef in the world. It starts not far from Cancun at Cozumel Island. There are more than 60 diving sites here. In Yukatan Peninsula you will find the famous cenotes. There is a worldwide renowned underwater museum of sculptures (Spanish: El Museo Subaquatico de Arte, MUSA) in Riviera Maya near Cancun. The Pacific Island and the Sea of Cortez are in the top five diving sites of the world. The scale and diversity of local underwater life is incredible. The most popular diving sites are near Isla Socorro and Guadelupe Island.

Health & Safety

The level of medical services in Mexico is high. There are clinics with the up-to-date equipment and small private medical offices in Riviera Maya resort. Health insurance is mandatory. Diving insurance can be purchased on the spot in the dive shop of your choice. There are a lot of pharmacies where you can find almost any kind of medicine. However, many of them have different names, so it is better to learn Latin names of the main components. Resorts are safe: you can walk late, go to the supermarkets, drive a car or ride a bike, especially in Cancun and its surroundings. However, you shouldn't leave valuable things unattended or windows opened in guest houses. Trips to the north of the country without a guide and knowledge of language are not recommended.

Dangerous Marine Life

Even calm waters of the Caribbean Sea can be dangerous, so you should be careful and ready for any circumstances. There are aggressive bull sharks. You shouldn't touch hulls and details of wrecks covered with knags or corals or any jellyfish. The Sea of Cortez is a habitat for large predators, such as hammerhead sharks, tiger sharks and Galapagos sharks.

Eat & Drinks

The origins of many Mexican recipies go back to ancient times — the era of the Mayan and Aztec. They also have a lot in common with Spanish cuisine.
The Mexicans really love spices and sauces: salsa, guacamole and chaya. An outstanding main dish is tortilla – a thin scone made from wheat or corn flour and spices. It can be served separtely or with other dishes, even with soup. Another traditional dish is burrito. It consists of different fillings wrapped in a tortilla. Quesadilla is a kind of a pie consisting of two tortillas filled with cheese, meat, mushrooms and vegetables. The Mexicans also like corn chips nachos, fajita — grilled meat with vegetables in tortillas, tacos — folded tortillas with meat, beans, chili sauce and greens. A popular dessert is Rosca de Reyes (literally translated as sweet king's bread) with dried fruit and a little figure symbolizing the newborn Jesus Christ. Major drinks are tequila (an alcohol drink made from the blue agave plant), mojito and hot chocolate, which was invented by the Mexican Indians. In some places cocoa is still prepared the way the Indians did it. Since tap water here may be unsafe to drink, it is advisable to consume only bottled water.

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