Dive Sites Marine Life & Environment In Yucatan Peninsula Cancun And Riviera Maya
There are many dive sites off the Cancun, Riviera Maya area and the nearby islands of Isla Mujeres and Cozumel. The area has become very popular with tourists, and the resorts that line the beachfront from Cancun down into Play del Carmen and Tulum are growing each year. Scuba divers can easily find a dive boat and get out to the local dive sites, exploring the beautifully clear blue Caribbean waters.
Most of the dive sites near Cancun are off shore from Cancun’s hotel zone peninsula in the shallow blue waters and out between the mainland of Cancun and Isla Mujeres, which is only about 4 miles out from the hotel zone of Cancun. These dive sites are numerous and sometimes busy. The more shallow dive sites near Cancun include Aristos and Grampin. Out in the deeper waters between Cancun and Isla Mujeres, check out the more technical dive sites El Tunel and Cuevas de Afuera. Close to Isla Mujeres, there is the popular dive site called La Bandera and Manchones reef area, close to the island’s shore.
Read What Customers Think About Scuba Libre
We had a great 2 tank morning dive along the reef. Our 2 teenage kids were both on their 1st dive after completing PADI certification with Dive Master Gio and Scuba Libre. It was an awesome dive and Dive Master Elanor was excellent with our kids. We will definitely be diving with Scuba Libre in the future.
I have a time share at the Royal Haciendas and walked over to Sandos to dive with Scuba Libre. I forget the gentlemen’s name at the counter. He has been there for years and was very polite and professional. I had forgotten my dive computer atthe shop and he was kind enough to have someone run it over to me on a jet ski. VERY nice! The men on the boat and the dive masters were very good at their jobs and cheerful. Everyone was on time which is important to me on vacation. I would definitely recommend them and will be back next year!!
I Im a certified diver but wanted to take my girlfriend out on discovery to get her into it. We had Jo as the instructor and she was amazing. Very patient and helpful, and now has my gf convinced to becoming a diver! Also saw tons of fish, turtles, etc. highly recommend.
Great experience!! Everyone was super nice, professional and just fun to talk with. So glad we got the pictures too! The quality was amazing. Highly recommend them.
An Underwater Seascape Like No Other
The coral structures in this marine protected area are breathtaking, to say the least. The sea between the island and the mainland is actually a very deep ridge maxing out around 500 meters. This allows nutrient rich water to flow through which helps feed the reefs in Cozumel. There are 27 dive sites ranging in depths from 5m to 50+m.
The Palancar Gardens is an amazing dive site to experience as it is abundant with mesmerizing swim-throughs amongst massive coral structures. Nonetheless, the underwater topography in Cozumel can be as basic as shallow sandy patches for training, to sloping walls starting from 9 meters going down past 100 meters. The best dive sites feature stunning coral swim-throughs thriving with hundreds of coral species and reef fish. The island is full of scuba shops, stores, and good vibes, as the main tourism in Cozumel is the reef, beaches, and diving.
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The Best Riviera Maya Diving Hot Spots
This list of Riviera Maya scuba diving hot spots is in order of my personal preference, just so you know! All of the places included in this list are popular and easily accessible for tourism and are affordable on all budgets whether you want to stay in a 5* hotel in Cancun or a campsite in Tulum. This is my opinion of these Mexican diving hotspots.
Wait What Is A Cenote
Cenotes are basically the collapses in the ground. Those create entrances to a flooded cave system that we have in Mexico. The word Cenote translates to sacred well in Mayan language, and for good reason. When you see one, it looks just like that. They have crystal clear blue water that resembles a natural pool. Thus revealing a massive underwater river system we have underground here. There are thousands of cenotes spanning over the limestone foundation making up the state of Quintana Roo. And though they all are similar in characteristics, no two cenotes are the same as another.
So without corals, fish, and life to witness why are diving in the cenotes some of the most sought after dives on the bucket list?
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Scubacaribe Riu Riviera Maya
|Scubacaribe is PADI 5 Star Dive Resort and the largest scuba diving and water sports center of Mexico. Diving center offers the best diving experience in Playa del Carmen. There are opportunities for divers of all levels and several dive sites to explore like reef diving in Playa del Carmen, Cozumel and Cenotes caverns calls, probably the best in the area and certainly a unique diving spot in the world. Wide range of tours and activities with things to do for people of all age is offered, from scuba diving and snorkeling to variety of fun excursions to the most popular attractions of each dest… ination. Diving center’s team ensures your vacation turns to be an unforgettable experience|
Dive In The Riviera Maya
The Riviera Maya is a scuba divers paradise. The 4 bays that make up the Akumal area are bordered by what is commonly considered the Second Largest Barrier Reef in the western Hemisphere, offering a great variety of underwater scenery for scuba divers.
Blue Experience has selected 18 local sites that range from just 10m down to 30m .
On the shallower sites 10m-15m we come across many turtles, small rays, lobster, lion fish, trumpet fish, morays and some large barracudas. Large coral formations run parallel to the main reef and offer protection to many species of smaller fish and allow for anchorage of many sea fans and sponges. Hard corals grow well in this shallow clear water.
Deeper sites 20m-30m offer the chance to explore many canyons and hunt for sleeping Nurse Sharks, larger Green morays and other larger species.
Turtles are abundant on all sites along with all the multi colored Caribbean reef fish. The current is very small here making all our sites very gentle and easy to dive for all levels of divers
All the sites are accessed by a short boat journey of just 5-15 minutes only.
We limit the groups to a maximum of 4 divers to 1 guide to ensure plenty of space and a more personalized service.
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Best Diving Practices To Follow At The Riviera Maya
When planning a diving experience at the Riviera Maya, one needs to pack much more than a simple flip-flop or bathing suit. With so much to discover both underwater and above it, you need to plan accordingly. Make sure you bring your dive gear to experience the best of the water world.
While you might get access to gears provided by local diving instructors, they might or might not be a custom fit for your needs. So, packing in your own custom gear would be an ideal choice. If you just forgot to pack the same, you will surely have access to dedicated diving gear shops with all the gears of choice. Plus, it might get a tad bit cool in the area during winters. So, do not forget to carry a sweater and the best underwater camera for diving with you.
What Our Customers Say About Us
I did my Full Cave Training with Erik and it was as intense as it was rewarding. Do not expect Erik to take it easy on you. As he puts it, “As tough as he is, the caves can be tougher if you make a serious mistake”. This course has changed my perspective on diving for the better, and has made me a much better diver. I have been diving for over 20 years, I am a technical diving instructor and Erik’s expertise opened my eyes to a whole other world. I will be back to continue my training and do many more cave dives with him. I recommend him and Beyond Diving 100%.
Been doing some cenote diving with Erik and he is an awesome guide. He really knows these caverns and E& amp S have looked after us brilliantly. Cant be faulted!!
I can’t say enough good things about this shop. I did my SDI Open Water certification and a Marine Ecosystem Awareness course with Erik here in Playa at the end of March. Erik is a phenomenal instructor I’ve never felt so confident as I do now that I’ve really learned from the best. Sandra is also just the sweetest lady and always had a smile on her face. They’re an incredible team and I promise that no one would be disappointed in doing any diving with this shop.
I love the way this shop works, teaching us and promoting environmental awareness and sustainability to protect these precious areas for others to enjoy.
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Here Is Some Advice And Tips To Discover Why
Imagine a scuba diving tour or a scuba diving course in the crystal-clear waters of Akumal, Tulum or Cozumel , the finest destinations of the Riviera Maya, one of the best ways to spend your vacation, learning or refining your diving skills in the Caribbean Sea. The magnificent caves and cenotes of the region are hidden gems that belong to a huge underground water system that extends throughout the Riviera Maya and the Yucatan Peninsula.
The Mexican Caribbean Coast is part of the marvelous coral reefs known as El Sistema Arrecifal Mesoamericano for its acronym in Spanish, which extends along 621 miles along the coasts of Mexico , Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras.
It is important to highlight the fact that coral reefs are one of the most important ecosystems, providing a home for over 4,000 species of fish and various underwater flora and fauna. As well as a habitat for the fish life coral reefs also provide protection from shore erosion, and support economic activities to almost 500 million people around the world, from fishing to a large number of water sports, including Scuba Diving. Water based tourism provides vital income in many countries around the world. It is vitally important that we help to protect this wonderful resource for our future enjoyment and the economic benefit of local resident populations.
Here you have 10 reasons why the Riviera Maya is one of the best Scuba Diving Destinations:
Drift Diving At Cozumel Island
Cozumel has been voted world class reef and drift diving, and you dont need to stay there overnight to get your dives in. From Tulum, Cozumel can be done as a day trip, leaving Tulum at 6am and returning around 12pm. It sounds like it is a long day, but its totally worth it!
Pick up and all transportation is included. Leaving at 6am, we drive 45 minutes north to Playa del Carmen, where we catch the ferry to Cozumel. Once on Cozumel, getting to the marina is just another 15 minute ride away. We aboard a spacious dive boat and begin to travel south of the island to some of the best dive sites in Cozumel. The views along the ride are stunning, from the surface of the turquoise ocean to the views of the beaches on the island. Get ready to gear up and giant stride into the water, where you will enjoy 2 drift dives from 9 meters to 30 meters depending on your skill level along this stunning reef.
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Dive Shops Airports & Logistics Of Diving In Yucatan Peninsula Cancun And Riviera Maya
Getting to Riviera Maya usually starts with a flight into Cancun International Airport . This is a major airport servicing over 10 million passengers a year in and out of the Yucatan Peninsula. The airport is only 20km from Cancun’s hotel zone and within an hour or less drive of resorts further south along the Riviera Maya. This is also a great place to fly in if you are on a mission to see the many Mayan ruins on the Peninsula. Some also choose to fly in and out of the small airport on the island of Cozumel. Cozumel International Airport is a great option for travelers whose accommodations are on the island. Ferries are available to the nearby Isla Mujeres from Cancun’s Puerto Juarez. A regular ferry also departs from the city of Playa del Carmen to the island of Cozumel.
Travel to resort along the Riviera Maya or down as far as Tulum are easy via taxi or rental car for your stay for a very reasonable price. It is great to have your car to explore the less frequented beach town and shore dive locations such as the little gem of Akumal. Another great part about having a car is that you can take day trips to Mayan ruins such as Tulum or amazing Coba found inland.
Some of the dive shops right in the heart of Cancun’s hotel zone are Nautilus Diving and Training Center and divePro Cancun Dive. These shops serve the dive sites off Cancun, Cozumel and Isla Mujeres primarily. They offer dive trips and instruction for both advanced and beginners.
So What Do You Need Before Diving In The Caverns Of The Riviera Maya
Diving in an overhead environment such as cenotes, requires you to be taken by a certified guide. They need to be full cave trained and a divemaster at minimum.
You also have to be a certified diver to dive in the cenotes. You need at least your open water diver certification to dive in any overhead environment. However, there are a couple cenotes you can dive in for your first time. There you do not necessarily need to be certified yet and you can do a discovery or intro dive in . This is only because these few cenotes are an open environment. This means they are non cavernous or dont have any over head sections. They more resemble a natural, fresh water pool and are perfect for first timers.
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Snorkeling With Whale Sharks
Snorkeling with Whale Sharks, the bigger fish of the ocean. They are called “Whale” because of their impressive weight and size. With an average length of 19ft and weights of 9 tonnes they really are very big fish!. However they have been recorded at 45ft and just over 20 tonnes in weight in other areas of the worlds’ oceans. These whale sharks congregate in huge numbers annually, between May and September, just north of the peninsula around Holbox Island where they feed on plankton and other small marine life as it is pushed towards the surface due to the meeting of two ocean currents. Hence we find these magnificent fish right on the surface day after day filtering their food from the ocean. It is not uncommon to find in excess of 200 Whale Sharks in the area on any given day. Although they are spread over a vast area of the ocean, finding groups of 20 to 50 in small areas is the norm! Since 2005 SEMARNAT and CONANP have worked to create a huge area of the open ocean as an Ãrea Nacional Protegida, where they can monitor the fish and establish rules for their protection. Since 2017 these rules have been increased to prevent exploitation, harassment and injury to these very special fish.
At Blue Experience Diving you are able to live all these experiences and much more!
Passport And/or Visa Requirements
Entry Requirements: All U.S. citizens are required to present a valid, undamaged passport. Visas are not required for stays less than 180 days. One blank page is required in your passport for the entry stamp.
Exit Requirements: All persons leaving the Riviera Maya, pay a Government Departure Tax of approximately USD $30, which should be included in your International ticket.
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Nosso Luxo Com All Inclusive Pacotes Riviera Maya Incluem
- Café da manhã, almoço e jantar a la carte ou buffet nos restaurantes Bistro, Azul e Chaká.
- Serviço de Alimentos em sua Suíte 24 horas.
- Minibar abastecido diariamente em sua Suíte.
- Bebidas nacionais e internacionais de marcas Premium no Sky Bar, Piano Bar, Karaoke Bar, Sen Lin Bar e em todo o resort.
- Serviço de Concierge 24 horas.
- Serviço de Concierge na piscina e na praia.
- Academia de ginástica de alto rendimento.
- Programa de atividades recreativas para adultos e crianças.
- Esportes aquáticos não motorizados .
- Impostos e gorjetas.
Diving With Sea Turtles
Akumal Bay is famous for being one of the world’s largest breeding habitats for turtles. Most common are the green, loggerhead, and the less common hawksbill turtles. From May until September the turtles come to the shore to lay an average of 120 eggs each. In October the hatchlings begin emerging and heading for the ocean. As a result, you donât need to don scuba gear to swim with turtles. Simply putting on a mask and snorkel and you can take a gentle swim along Akumal Bay as they feed in the eelgrass. Yet, year-round you can have a phenomenal Riviera Maya scuba diving experience. Exploring the turtles, their habitat, and the coral reef. In fact, Riviera Maya scuba diving is one of the few places in the world where you are guaranteed to see a turtle.
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Cavern Diving Is Also Known As Cenote Diving
Simply put they are breathtaking. And they are caves! Claustrophobic? Afraid of the dark? Honestly, youd be surprised how different it feels diving in the caverns. There is something calming and tranquil about diving in a place that is nearly lifeless. The visibility is so crystal clear, that it will surpass your torches light beam. And even though its very dark the contouring walls surrounding you get rid of that whats behind me feeling as you cruise through tunnels and formations light up by dive lights. It brings a new feeling to scuba diving focusing on the physical act of diving. Just breathing and floating weightless through the clearest water imaginable makes it seem like you are floating through a museum of the ancient walls of the earth.
Ocean Diving From Tulum
The Tulum reef is very accessible. There are boats departing from a beach that is a 10 minute drive north of Tulum . Then it is a ten minute boat ride to the dive sites. The dive sites are typically gradual sloping bottoms featuring long coral and sand pathways. One of the best dive sites open to all levels is a place called Cuevitas which translates to little caves. There are beautiful coral cave swim throughs, home to hundreds of tropical reef fish, lobsters, barracudas, pufferfish, crabs, boulder & fan corals and much more.
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Discounts Ondiving In The Mayan Riviera
If you are into scuba diving and admiring an amazing underwater ecosystem, the Riviera Maya offers a wide range of scuba excursions for you! Holding the second largest barrier reef in the world, the Mayan Riviera is home to numerous fish species, some of them rarely found elsewhere. On these scuba diving tours, you will enjoy rich marine life, including the beautiful sea turtles and some mesmerizing natural architecture like freshwater cenotes.
Diving With Bull Sharks
Another experience you can enjoy here is Scuba diving with Bull Sharks. An adrenaline rush for any certified scuba diver that can be experienced between each year just a short boat ride away from the beaches of Playa Del Carmen. Female sharks gather from November to March, to feed for 3 to 4 months before heading south into shallow Mangroves to give birth to their 8 to 10 “pups”. The young sharks stay in the mangroves for the first 1 to 2 years for protection whilst they grow before heading off out into the ocean. Professional divers and marine biologists from all over the world come each year to learn more about the life cycle, habitat and social behavior of these majestic animals, more commonly known as one of the less predictable species of sharks. Fishing of these magnificent sharks has now become very rare here in the Riviera Maya as the locals have seen that ecotourism has a far better economic return for them year on year. Obviously this has also had a significant benefit on the population and we are now seeing one or two more adults each year. This is a unique experience you do not want to miss!
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