How To Get Your Scuba Diving Fix in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico
Diving was not in the plans. But that never seems to quite work out, does it?
My wife and I were Mexico-bound with a non-diving couple, so the itinerary was pretty simple: eat, drink and bum on the beach. But you can’t keep a diver out of the water for long. Sitting at the doorstep of the Caribbean in Playa del Carmen had us itching to get in the water, so we checked the options from our resort, Secrets Capri Riviera Cancun. We booked a dive through Aquaworld, which picked us up at the resort’s beach. It was just us and two dive guides exploring the Mesoamerican Reef with a couple of tanks. In other words, it was a perfect day.
Here are a few of my impressions from our experience diving Playa del Carmen. Check out the video above for a look at what it's like under the sea.
Relish the Reef
The Yucatan is world-famous for its mystical cenotes, and nearby Cozumel attracts most of the divers with its thrilling drift dives and incredible walls, but the reef just off the coast of the Riviera Maya is worth a two-tank trip in its own right. We dived two sites — The Labyrinth and Aquarium — and spotted stingrays around every corner. Our first dive featured fun swim-throughs and a visit from a bull shark while the second brought the fish, culminating in three moray eel sightings near the end of the dive and a run-in with a cute hawksbill turtle making its way over the reef. Both were shallow, sunlit reefs, providing the perfect scuba fix for a couple of junkies.
You Can’t Buy Convenience
The trips that really get divers excited usually feature at least three to four dives a day in remote parts of the world where humans can’t spoil your fun. But there’s something to be said for a spontaneous dive. We were picked up straight off the beach at the resort, at our first dive site in 15 minutes and back by the pool in about three hours. For those times you can’t plan a dive-heavy holiday, this might be the next-best thing.
If you’re staying in Playa del Carmen or elsewhere in the Riviera Maya, there are plenty of great dive options. There are the famed cenotes inland, with options for everyone from uncertified snorkelers to cave-trained tec divers. You can opt for an artificial reef in Cancun at MUSA, which features the underwater art of Jason deCaires Taylor, or maybe do a dip on a shallow reef like we did right off Playa del Carmen. Another option is to head to Cozumel. Several dive operators, including Aquaworld, will transport you to Cozumel for a day trip, with the excursion usually starting early in the morning and bringing you back around dinner time.