Scuba Diving Riviera Maya/Playa Del Carmen
Once a collection of small fishing villages, the Riviera Maya/Playa del Carmen has evolved into one of the most popular and dynamic tourist destinations on the western Caribbean.
The Riviera Maya extends along the Caribbean coast of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula from Puerto Morelos to the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve. Once home to small fishing villages, the Riviera Maya coastline has since been developed into a modern tourist corridor offering the very best of high-end luxury resorts, fine dining, nightlife, spa retreats, shopping and golf in Mexico. An ideal vacation destination, the Riviera Maya is home to some of the most stunningly beautiful beaches in all of Mexico with expansive stretches of powdery white sand lapped by the clear turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea.
SCUBA DIVING RIVIERA MAYA
The Riviera Maya and Playa Del Carmen provide easy access to the Great Mesoamerican Reef. Stretching 724 kilometers/450 miles from the tip of Cancun south to the Bay Islands in Honduras, the world’s second largest reef is home to more than 500 species of reef fish and nearly 100 coral species.
The Riviera Maya has an abundance of hawksbill turtles and it’s common to see at least one on each dive. Other sightings include eagle rays, moray eels, lobsters, spadefish, parrotfish, creole wrasse, trumpet fish, angelfish and the usual Caribbean reef species. If you’re lucky, you’ll catch a glimpse of lemon sharks, nurse sharks and possibly even manatees on certain dives.
The whale shark is the biggest fish in the ocean. Every year, from mid-May to mid-September, whale sharks pass around the northern tip of the Yucatan Penninsula following the stream of plankton. In recent years, more than 300 whale sharks have been sighted. You can enjoy the unique experience of snorkeling with these amazing (and completely harmless) animals.
HIGHLIGHT DIVE AREA
Throughout the entire Riviera Maya, you can dive:
Reefs – The reefs of the Riviera Maya are in an excellent condition. Over 20 different dive sites provide you with enough possibilities to stay wet during your stay. Do not forget to grab the ferry and dive Cozumel. The island is considered amongst the top 10 dive destinations of the world and is absolutely worth a visit.
Deep Dives – The warm and clear waters of Riviera Maya provide you with the perfect location either in the ocean or in the Cenotes to experience deep, technical diving. Qualified instructors will provide you with all necessary equipment and necessary training to prepare you for this amazing adventure. So if you ever wanted to try mixed gasses, a rebreather or a planned decompression than this is your opportunity!
Wall diving – In front of Puerto Aventuras there are 3 main reef systems. The outer reef is a wall starting at 30 – 40 meters (100 – 135 feet) and it drops way past the limits for even the most advanced technical diver. In addition there is Cozumel facing Riviera Maya with spectacular walls and dramatic drops into the big blue.
Night dives – A difference of day to night really applies to night diving in Riviera Maya. The ocean looks completely different at night and you will find many creatures and fish that are normally only active at night. Also the use of flashlights will bring out the many different and beautiful colors of the various coral formations. An experience you truly do not want to miss!
Diving with sharks – Bull sharks are found in warm, shallow waters. A female shark can grow up to 2.4 meters (7.9 ft). Between November and March they are present at only a 5 minute boat ride from Playa del Carmen. So if you ever wanted to be present at a shark feed, then Riviera Maya fulfills your dreams. This is an action packed adventure!
Cave & Cavern Diving – Diving in the Cenotes of Riviera Maya is a unique experience that attracts divers from around the world. The Cenotes are flooded underground rivers and cave systems that were the entrance to the underworld for the ancient Mayas, that provide nowadays an exciting option for certified Open Water Divers with a good buoyancy and who are comfortable under water. Under the supervision of a trained and certified Cenotes Dive Guide you will penetrate not more that 200 ft into the cavern system, and you will always see the natural daylight. An amazing dive you’ll want to experience at least once in your life.
Diving with Sea Turtles – The sea turtles have been swimming the oceans for millions of years. The coastline of Riviera Maya is an important nesting area for the green turtle and the loggerhead turtle that from May until September come up shore to lay an average of 120 eggs per nest on the beaches of the destinations. Due to this fact there is a fair chance to encounter several of these endangered animals.
Snorkeling with the Whale Sharks – These giants of the sea migrate every year to the northern tip of the Yucatan Peninsula where they feed & breed. The season starts in May and ends in September. Just imagine swimming with the largest living non mammalian vertebrates than can grow up over 40 ft long. A unique experience you do not want to miss!
Snorkeling/ Diving with Sailfish – Every year in the winter season the Mexican Caribbean becomes the home of the fastest fish in the ocean: the Sailfish. They can reach a speed of 120 km (75 mph). They get their name from their spectacular dorsal fin that is almost as long but a lot higher than their body. Thanks to the abundance of sardines that swim in enormous groups, the sailfish is found in this area. At Riviera Maya you have the unique opportunity to swim with them and watch them chase the sardines.
DIVING SEASON: Year-round.
VISIBILITY: The Riviera Maya/Playa del Carmen are renowned for clear, tropical waters. Average ocean visibility is in the 100+foot range (30m) year-round. Visibility within the cenotes is limited only by the quality of your own eyesight.
WATER TEMPERATURE: The water temperatures tend to be at their warmest during the summer months with a high of 85F (29C) and mid to high 70sF (25C) in the winter. Water temperature within the cenotes is consistently 77F (25C)
WEATHER: The warm season lasts from mid June to mid September with an average daily high temperature above 89°F (32C). The cold season lasts from early December to mid February with an average daily high temperature below 83°F (28C).
SKILL LEVELS: Dives for all diver skill levels are readily available. No special certification is necessary to dive cenotes. An open water certification is all that is necessary
MARINE LIFE: Beautiful underwater scenes, both in the ocean and the cenotes, turtles, sharks, whale sharks and sailfish at certain times/places, vast numbers of Caribbean reef fish.
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