The thrill of exploring these sacred formations began in the 1980s, being today one of the activities of choice for experienced divers, for you are required to have a great ability and dexterity to realise these immersions.
Though do not worry if you happen to be a rookie diver, for you will find more than one sea scenery where to submerge in Cancun, places plethoric of beauty where visibility is of 32 metres and the average sea temperature is of 20º or 21º Celsius.
-Diving in the sea:
There are more than 14 zones
in Cancun for scuba diving and snorkelling, being the most popular
ones the following:
-Diving in the Cenotes
- Punta Nizuc: It is the starting point of the so-called
Reef Barrier. Its waters are clear and their depth reaches up
to 9 metres. It is located 21 kilometres away from the Hotel
Zone of Cancun, and one of the most gorgeous places is the Buoy
of the Mad (Boya de Los Locos), reserved for experts only.
- Punta Cancun: It extends from Playa Tortugas up
to the area in front of the Camino Real Hotel. It is ideal for
divers with little experience. There is a great variety of tropical
fishes living in its waters, especially at the coral reefs of
Banderas, Chitales and El Bajito, located to the north.
- Bahía de Mujeres: Several reefs form this bay, such
as Manchones, La Bandera and El Túnel, just to cite a few. There
are all known for their calm waters whose depths vary between
3 and 5 metres. It is situated between Cancun and Isla de Mujeres.
- Isla de Mujeres: It is the northern frontier of
the Reef Barrier and it is located before Cancun. Its depths
are loaded with sea flora and fauna, which make them perfect
for the practice of scuba diving and snorkelling. Within this
marine environment jut out:
*Garrafón Park: It is a natural area south of the Island.
It is well appreciated by divers due to its unparalleled reefs
and to the precious view of the Caribbean and the bay it offers.
It is ideal for snorkelling. It has restaurants, swimming pools,
and shops amongst other services.
*Cave of the Sleeping Sharks: The low salinity of the
waters at this coral reef full of cavities, lulls the fierce
sharks thus allowing an extraordinary approach to these animals.
This experience is recommendable for skilled divers with nerves
of steel alone.
: There are more than 50 cenotes suitable
for diving and snorkelling in Cancun and on the Mayan Riviera, being
the most visited ones the following:
Requisites and recommendations:
- Tres Ríos: It is a Natural Park at 55 kilometres
from Cancun, nearby Playa del Carmen. Besides enjoying the setting
prodigal in mangroves and tropical forest, travellers will find
a group of shallow cenotes, perfect for those just starting
to feel the sense of diving.
- Puerto Aventuras: It hosts 2 kilometres of amazing
cenotes, amongst which El Cristal and El Escondido (linked together)
stand out, the Blue Cenote and the Chacmool, whose recently
explored tunnels and caves house a 12-metre long stalactite
considered to be the largest in the world. It is located almost
90 kilometres away from Cancun, between Playa del Carmen and
Tulúm. There are modern hotel compounds, condos and lavish residences
in this zone, besides a marina for 150 yachts and motorboats.
- Xcaret: There is a series of cenotes and caverns
in this splendid eco-archaeological Park, inhabited by colourful
fishes and turtles amongst other aquatic creatures. Scuba diving
and snorkelling lovers largely frequent it. It is located 55
kilometres away from Cancun and at 5 kilometres from Playa del
- Xel-Ha: There is a series of cenotes and caverns
in this Natural Park, fed by the waters of several subterranean
rivers and streams. It is located 115 kilometres away from Cancun
and at 16 kilometres from the Archaeological Compound of Tulúm.
- Cenote Dos Ojos: It is formed by a cluster of sub
aquatic caves and caverns considered the largest on the planet.
It is recommendable only for divers with ample experience. You
can snorkel in the mouth of the spring.
The waters of the Dos Ojos (Two Eyes) are diaphanous thus allowing the appreciation of an interesting variety of flora and fauna. Besides, there is a cave of almost 450 metres inside the cenote. It has a maximum depth of 10 metres.
Excursions to the Cenote Dos Ojos are frequently organised departing from Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Akumal.
*You need to produce a certificate that accredits you as a diver in order to scuba dive in here. The most accepted ones are those of the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI), valid in 87 countries including Mexico, the World Confederation of Sub Aquatic Activities (CMAS), or the Scuba School International (SSI), amongst others.
*No matter how experienced you are, never dive by yourself; besides, inform at the reception desk about the place where you intend to dive into.
*Make sure that the firms offering diving and snorkelling gear and guides, have the necessary accreditations and that they are specialised on this activity.
*Bear in mind that the surf at Cancun and Mexico's Caribbean zone from October to March is stronger than during the rest of the year, therefore you need certain ability to dive during this time period. Let your guide learn about it if such is your case.
*Most of the zones suitable for the practice of scuba diving and snorkelling are in natural reserves or protected zones, so in order to guarantee their preservation you must abide by the following rules:
Do not extract living organisms out of the water.
Do not root out seaweeds, plants or corals.
Do not use harpoons or fishing nets.
Do not obstruct the free pass of migratory or nesting animals, such as turtles and sea mammals, amongst others.
Do not dispose of your garbage at the sea, lakes or cenotes, especially plastic residues.
Use natural sunscreen and tanners.
*It is very easy to rent or purchase diving gear in Cancun. Most of the commercial establishments take Mexican pesos, dollars and roughly all the main credit cards, though you will be surcharged in case you use the latter.