Mexico, one of the world’s top diving destinations

buceo en cenotes
Diving in Chac Kukulkan cenote. Pic by http://www.aluxdiver.com

12,000 kilometers of coastline bordering the Pacific Ocean on one side and the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico on the other. Food laden currents that attract the largest ocean animals and colorful small species growing in reef shelters and warm waters. Mysterious and unique geological formations that allow you dive in the «wells of life» to enjoy the most amazing lights that a diver can see. Whale watching, shark diving, crystal clear waters, vertical walls that seem to have no end … no wonder Mexico is one of the top diving destinations in the world. Its natural wealth is indisputable: either in Tulum, Riviera Maya, Mujeres Island, Guadalupe Island, Cancun, Acapulco, Veracruz, Sea of Cortez or Cozumel, as a diver you will be amazed by a magical diving destination capable of mixing every one of the aspects that make diving a sport that change people forever for the better. Bienvenido a Mexico!

Cenotes

The cenotes, a term that comes from «dzonot» which in Mayan means «abyss», are freshwater wells created by the erosion of limestone. Diving in the cenotes of Yucatan is one of the most extraordinary experiences that a diver can have… and Mexico is paradise to enjoy these geological quirks. It is estimated that just in the Yucatan Peninsula there are over 3,000 cenotes… and still many undiscovered throughout the Mexican territory.

Diving in cenotes, the greatest light and silence show in the world

The cenotes have calm shallow waters with different buoyancy conditions than the salty water of the sea. Within the cenotes’ unique geological formations, stalagmites and stalactites of fanciful shapes, light is the main attraction. Dive through the roots of trees, marvel haloclines (a curious effect that occurs when salt waters mingle with sweet water) in a unique experience in terms of visibility that can reach up to 100 meters in some areas. 

Diving in cenotes is diving in Mayan history. The cenotes were sacred places for the Mayans. They were the source of life, and they used them to make human to thank the Gods. In some of them you can still find skeletal remains dating several centuries old like in the sacred cenote at Chichen Itza.

The Yucatan peninsula and its jungle are the areas where sinkholes are more impressive and a must see if you are looking forward to dive in cenotes.

Sea of Cortez

The Sea of Cortez has a unique climate with strong wind and currents, bringing together huge amounts of plankton which then attracts many marine species of different sizes looking for food.

Areas such as Las Ánimas, La Reina, El Bajo, Los Islotes, y La Reinita are a must in this part of Mexico.

The bottom of the Sea of Cortez has valleys, canyons and chasms over 3 miles deep. These habitat is home to a large amount of species, such as shellfish, crabs, shrimps, lobsters and echinoderms. This area is also home of a great variety of octopus, squids and large variety of fish such as dorado, marlin, mackerel, moray eels and huge «flying» mobulas. You can also find different shark species, like whitetip sharks, whale sharks or even the great white shark.

One of the most remarkable aspects of the Sea of Cortez is that it has become the «World Capital of Whales». From January to April, both the Pacific Coast and the Gulf of California, it is possible (and even easy) to see all kinds of whales. Gray whales, blue whales, humpback and pilot whales attract thousands of tourists every year who want to look closely at the largest and most peaceful animals on the planet.

Guadalupe Island

Guadalupe Island is a white shark sanctuary. Up to 108 white sharks have been recorded nearby this uninhabited island that was declared Nature Reserve in 1925 and in 2005 obtained the status of Biosphere Reserve. Filled with a breadth of animals, from sea lions to endemic bird species, bluefin tuna, large schools of mackerel, skipjacks or wahoo, lots of species visit this island throughout the year. But no one is able to snatch the spotlight of the great white.

shark diving guadalupe
Guadalupe Island, worldwide top shark diving destination. Picture by Scubaben

Diving with great sharks in Guadalupe is an experience that leaves no one indifferent; a burst of adrenaline that will change your perception on white sharks and help eliminate the label of bloodthirsty man-eating animals that these extraordinary animals have, which are vital for the good health of the ocean. 

Socorro Islands

Socorro Islands is synonymous with diving with large pelagic animals. The richness of its waters makes the greatest ocean predators come to them, attracting a comparable number of sharks or whales as those you can find in famous Galapagos or Cocos Island.

In this archipelago, Biosphere Reserve, commercial fishing is prohibited and the results of this are clear: huge schools of fish and abundance of sharks (up to 7 species of sharks live in these islands) and some of the biggest and most beautiful manta rays worldwide. 

Cozumel

Cozumel reefs, pic by https://www.mothertrip.com

Cozumel is one of the wonders of the Caribbean Sea. A 647.33 square kilometers coral reef which houses marine wonders: over 250 species of tropical fish, giant manta rays, sharks and different species of sea turtles.  

Cozumel is a National Marine Park since 1997 so fishing here is also is prohibited. Diving in Cozumel is considered one of the best in the world both for its clear and warm waters but mainly because of the different types of diving that can be practiced there (from vertical walls and wrecks to easy shallow dives, great snorkelling and many facilities for learning to dive). The fauna is really impressive and is the great attraction for the divers who come to Cozumel. Here you can find pelagic species such as sharks, barracudas, stingrays and sea turtles, reef species like nurse sharks, angelfish, triggerfish, butterflyfish or parrotfish with beautiful nudibranchs, octopus, moray eels and lobsters.

Veracruz

Rainbow parrotfish. Pic by Oblivious Dude

Veracruz has many attractions for divers. 745 km of coastline that hide hundreds of reef species, wide diversity of corals, clear water, great visibility, walls full of small fish life, extraordinary wreck diving and interesting archaeological dives.

The Veracruz area is formed by numerous islands and reefs that hide many submarine secrets. Places like «The Blanquilla» are essential when visiting the area as it contains living representives of the Gulf of Mexico such as the scorpion fish, parrot fishes swimming among brain corals and lots of surgeon fishes. Another area of great value is “Isla de Lobos”, where you can dive in a 56 meters deep abandoned oil platform that has been colonized by angel sharks, whitetip sharks and pelagic species.

Diving with bull sharks

Between November and March, when the temperatures drops in Playa del Carmen, bull sharks show up in the area. They appear between 20 and 25 feet deep and many divers come to dive, with no cage, with 3.5 meters long and 300 kilos of weight bull sharks. Diving with bull sharks in the wild is an unforgettable experience for any diver, an adrenalin rush under the sea that does not leave anyone indifferent.

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