MexicoWhite sand beaches, world-class scuba diving and Mayan ruins
Tailor-made holidays to Mexico
With white sand beaches, world-class scuba diving, quality lodgings, Mayan ruins and Eco-tours, the Riviera Maya and Cozumel in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula are perfect for divers and non-divers alike.
Over 3,000 cenotes, classic wall diving and the largest natural barrier reef in the northern hemisphere, here you can plunge into 3,000 years of Mayan civilization and hidden underwater worlds. Explore beautiful reefs, colourful coral formations and an amazing variety of marine life. Descend the deep walls of the Cozumel Marine Park and enjoy wreck, night, turtle and technical diving. Experience the clear and mystical waters of an ancient Mayan cenote and encounter big fish like bull sharks, sailfish and whale sharks.
Diving in Yucatan
The Riviera Maya
Puerto Aventuras and Playa del Carmen (or Playa as the locals call it) are perfect locations to start exploring the Riviera Maya to the north and south. The reefs of Puerto Aventuras are part of the Mesoamerican reef system, the second longest barrier reef in the world. Local dive sites range from shallow reefs to deeper walls and canyons. Colourful coral gardens and deep cuts and canyons ranging in depth from 12-39m are home to an amazing variety of sea life, including an abundance of friendly Hawksbill turtles. Common sightings include eagle rays, moray eels, lobsters, spadefish, parrotfish, creole wrasse, trumpet fish, puffers, many species of angelfish and most of the typical Caribbean reef fish, corals and critters.
Situated in front of Playa del Carmen, Cozumel is Mexico’s largest island and the oldest in the Caribbean group, a teardrop-shaped coral island formed by a limestone plateau of 151 square miles. The island is separated from the mainland by a channel just 12 miles wide. There are more than 30 dive sites waiting to be explored and the majority are situated along the west coast and southern end of the island. Swim-throughs in coral gardens, warm clear waters, drifts along deep walls covered with sponges, fans and macro life surrounded by colourful schools of fish, turtles, lobsters and crabs; this is Cozumel.
Diving the Cenotes
Dive into the largest fresh water system in the world; a truly unique experience! A combination of various natural geological events and climate changes 6500 years ago created an incredible Mexican cavern system called cenotes (pronounced say-no-tay, meaning ‘sacred well’), that make the Yucatan Peninsula world famous with divers. The cenotes are filled with crystal clear, fresh water that open to a vast system of underground caverns, tunnels and chambers. For thousands of years these caves had been dry, forming stalagmites, stalactites, columns and flowstones. In some places the land above subterranean rivers have collapsed allowing beams of light to peek through and creating access for divers to explore these ancient passageways. Sacred to the Mayan people, cenotes were once the only resource for fresh water in the local jungle. Equally important was the role they played in Mayan mythology as the entrance to the underworld and the afterlife. Some cenotes still contain artefacts from Mayan rituals and ceremonies.
Over the past 20 years, experienced divers have explored these caves and caverns discovering more than 300 miles of interconnected passageways. Although special certification is required for divers who want to penetrate caves, no advanced training is necessary for certified divers who want to explore the cenotes as routes always follow tunnels bathed in natural sunlight. This world class diving experience is easily achieved with an open water certification and good buoyancy skills.
You’ll want to know…
- Year-round dive destination, with annual average temperature of 25.5C, with occasional rainfall from June to August.
- Enjoy Mayan historical sites on land, including the pyramids at Chichen Itza.
- Bull shark season is December to March; Whale shark season is June to September.
- Dive the famous fresh-water “Cenotes” caverns, with crystal clear waters in a jungle setting, a totally unique experience! (No special training or qualification required, just good buoyancy.)
Flights and Transfers
Travel to the Riviera Maya has never been easier. Several airlines from the UK either fly directly to Cancun or with one stop.
On arrival in Cancun your hotel staff or their agent will be waiting to greet you and transfer you to your resort. Distance to Playa del Carmen is 33 miles (transfer time approx. 45 minutes) and to Puerto Aventuras is 42 miles (transfer time approx. 60 minutes).
In you’re staying on Cozumel, you’ll be transferred to Playa del Carmen Pier, from where you’ll catch the ferry for the short ride over the 12-mile-wide strait to Cozumel Island. The ferry crossing takes about 45 minutes, so plan on a total transfer time to your hotel of 2.5 hours.