Located 150 miles (240 kilometers) off the Baja Peninsula, this island is annually home to approximately 170 individuals. Lastly, in Xcalak, where the saltwater crocodiles are, you can also dive with manatees. Located in the Riviera Maya on Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, this freshwater system of limestone sinkholes, caverns, and caves draws visitors from all over the world to explore the vast network of subterranean channels. The 5 best places to Dive in Mexico “Riviera Maya” The Dive in Mexico in The Riviera Maya has the best dives of the Mexican Caribbean and giving us many options to dive which can be combined very well if you are going to visit this place. Roca O'Neal is among the very best places to dive with hammerheads in all of Mexico diving, hence the alternative name "Hammerhead Central". As the capital of Baja California Sur, La Paz offers visitors access to a great range of diving in the southern Sea of Cortez. The small African nation of Djibouti is also at its best, offering the chance to snorkel with numerous whale sharks. In general, they say scuba diving in Mexico is “the best along the Riviera Maya and Costa Maya coastal areas”, where the Yucatan Peninsula meets the quiet, warm waters of the Caribbean Sea. Home to numerous species of fish, rare invertebrates and large pelagics, it is scuba diving heaven. PACIFIC COAST. First, they relieve some of the pressure placed on the area’s other coral reefs by creating a secondary attraction for snorkelers and scuba divers. This dive shop offers local dive trips to the barrier reef and also occasional trips that can be organized to go to the remote Banco Chinchorro, Mexico's only coral atoll. Accomodation options are plentiful, from large all-inclusive resorts to small boutique hotels, hostels, and AirBnB. Top Ten Places to Dive Raja Ampat, Alor, Komodo – Indonesia. 5. TOPOGRAPHY / DIVE TYPE: Cage Diving. A 2018 poll listed Bonaire as the best dive spot for beginners, conservation, freediving, macro diving, shore diving, and snorkeling. Divers can watch from enticingly close by as mantas glide and swoop overhead, seeming to play in their bubbles. WHY: Guadalupe Island is one of the four best places to dive with Great White Sharks in the world, along with South Africa, California and Australia. When to Go: December to April. For a unique experience, the sea lion colonies at Isla Los Islotes are great fun to dive amongst, with dozens of curious and playful youngsters providing a circus of entertainment to willing spectators. "The sites were breathtaking and full of all types of sea life; however, I must say that the BEST part was that we lucked out and the same master diver, “Scuba Steve”, accompanied us on each dive." Although one of the best places to scuba dive in the world you will hardly see any fish here. If you are diving, don’t forget to pack a snorkel as many winter time tours also boast whale shark sightings. Through the summer months, huge numbers of whale sharks gather to feed on plankton and krill around the shallow waters of Isla Holbox. Diving Tulum is a once in a lifetime experience. Cozumel Mexico restaurants I recommend are: Dive vacations in Mexico are perfect for those looking for shark diving and cenote specialties. Lying 150 miles off the Baja California Peninsula, this uninhabited volcanic island is only accessible via liveaboard, and a good number of boats offer cage diving experiences here. Giant moray eels can be found in El Morro while massive rays swim freely around the Marietas Islands. Diving Season: October and November are the best months to visit the southern Sea of Cortez. Furthermore, Mexico is a fantastic family destination and great for non-divers, with a huge range of top-side activities and snorkeling experiences that are second-to-none. Dive Type: Reef A five-hour drive south of Cancun, protected within the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, the Chinchorro Banks are a hidden gem on the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef. When planning your dive vacation in Mexico keep in mind that there’s a little something for everyone, but all together these are the top ten dive sites and dive experiences in Mexico. Compare liveaboards to top 100 diving spots Pick a destination or scroll down to read the entire list: 2. On the eastern side of the peninsula, Cabo Pulmo is a protected National Marine Park covering 27 square miles of the northernmost hard-coral reef in North America. If you are in Mexico City and would like to scuba dive and explore the Gulf of Mexico's coast, a great place to start is the city of Veracruz. Also in La Paz Bay, the hammerhead shark nursery, which has been decimated by fishing in recent years, is regenerating, and sightings of these once abundant sharks are becoming more frequent again. Water Temperature: 72 to 84oF (24 to 28oC). Their lamb chops and wine selection put them as one of the best places … Dive Type: Cave The four islands that make up the Revillagigedo Archipelago sit 240 miles from Cabo San Lucas on Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula, and are only accessible via liveaboard. Keep in mind that this dive should not be attempted by novice divers. Learn all about diving with crocodiles from our Mexico Crocodiles & Cenotes Trip Report. As one of the most popular dives in Mexico, don’t expect to be the only diver underwater. Non-diving Activities: Liveaboard-only activities. These are the five best regions for scuba diving in Mexico. Off the far southeastern shore of Mexico, Banco Chinchorro represents the largest reef atoll in the northern hemisphere. MARINE LIFE: Great White Sharks! Mexico is open for diving without any restrictions. Whale shark season is June to September, and sailfish season is mid-December to mid-March. Bluewater's top 5 places to dive or swim with whale sharks. While most visitors opt to snorkel amongst the sailfish, it is also possible to dive with them, and catching a glimpse of these unique fish hunting and bait-balling their prey is a thrilling experience. Socorro 2019 Dive Report - Sharks and Manta Rays. Riviera Maya Cenotes - Surreal Subterranean Encounters, 4. When to Go: November to May. Our favorite dive destinations in the world. Join our next Socorro Big Animal Photo Workshop in February 2021 and get $200 OFF for Black Friday! Dive Type: Pinnacle/Blue Water When to Go: December to April. We suggest diving between May and July when the water is warm and the weather is good. Explore the world's second largest reef with its stunning marine environment, colorful coral formations and amazing variety of sea life. This gorgeous island is not far from Cancun, but the shallow site known as “Afuera” is about 25 miles (40 kilometers) from Isla Mujeres. The island has a famous landmark lighthouse and many tourists visit the island each year. I will explain in this article the 5 best dives you can do in the main cities: Cancun, Cozumel, Playa del Carmen and Tulum. Water Temperature: 77 to 85oF (25 to 29oC). Banco Chinchorro . "Amazing experience to dive in Cenotes together with Panchito-the crocodile and amzing view underneath the ocean all thanks to one of best instructors I’ve dived with: Rodulfo RosBurg." When to Go: December to May. Located in Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula, The Riviera Maya is Mexico’s top holiday resort destination and very highly regarded by divers. Tequila you will find everywhere. While most visitors wanting to dive Cancun will visit Playa del Carmen or Cozumel, Isla Mujeres should not be missed. Our research is editorially independent but we may earn a commission for purchases made through our links. Every year dozens of these large sharks arrive to the sandy shallows just offshore. From big species encounters in the Sea of Cortez, to the serenity of the Yucatan’s cenotes, it is impossible not to be blown away by the variety and scale of the Mexican dive scene. Recommended Level: Intermediate to Advanced December to April is considered the best time to visit Mexico and therefore is the most popular time to visit Cozumel. Socorro’s reputation as a world-class shark destination really comes into its own at Roca Partida, where dive after dive showcases the islands’ huge marine diversity. Some scientists believe that this region annually boasts the largest congregations of whale sharks at any one time. Nearest Airport: San Diego International Airport (SAN). Further offshore, the renowned El Bajo seamounts are the best place to encounter oceanic pelagics, with mobula rays, hammerhead sharks, dolphins, marlin, and tuna all taking turns to steal the show. Coral pinnacles rise from a sandy bottom which slopes slowly down to a drop-off. Water Temperature: 78 to 82oF (25 to 28oC). Eagle rays and nurse sharks make the occasional appearance. The entire Riviera Maya is dotted with incredible caves while the reefs located close to Cancun offer great experiences as well. Difficulty: All levels of diving, although the offshore seamounts can experience rough swell so are suited to more experienced divers. French angelfish and queen angelfish school in a colorful patchwork, while lobsters, grouper, and stingrays loiter under the coral heads and swim-throughs. Recommended Level: Beginner One series of sites stands out above the rest. Besides all these above mentioned amazing diving spots, Mexico offers so much more. The experience is truly breathtaking; a rare opportunity to get up close and personal with these magnificent creatures. Time Zone: Northern Sea of Cortez and La Bufadora - Pacific Standard Time (GMT-8), La Paz and Cabo San Lucas - Mexican Pacific Standard Time (GMT-7), Yucatan and Cozumel - Eastern Standard Time (GMT-5). Snorkelers and divers of all levels can enjoy the unique scenery where large entrance caves connect to dimly lit caverns, allowing a safe introduction to cave diving. Cabo Pulmo is far quieter, with snorkeling and relaxing as the main top-side activities. November to March in particular are the best months for bull shark sightings in Playa del Carmen. The different civilizations that have settled on this land have rooted themselves deeply in the culture, the people and the landscape: the Olmecs, the Toltecs, the Aztecs or the Mayas...Some areas like the Yucatan, to the East, have kept a very rich heritage. Non-diving Activities: Majahual on the mainland has a good number of resorts, restaurants, and attractions, including watersports and ATV hire. All of which make Mexico scuba diving an experience not to be missed. In general, divers say that the best diving in Mexico is found along the Riviera Maya and Costa Maya areas, where the Yucatan Peninsula meets the calm, warm waters of the Caribbean Sea. Night Dive With Hawaii’s Mantas. https://www.simplyscuba.com/ Join Mark as he talks about the top 5 best places to dive in the USA. Mexico’s Southern Pacific Coast includes miles of sandy beach, rocky cliffs, and mountainous tropical forests that provide surfing, sailing, fishing, scuba diving, kite boarding, hiking, birding and more which make it one of the best places for expats to retire in Mexico! The Sea of Cortez is a 700-mile stretch of water separating the Baja California Peninsula from the rest of mainland Mexico. The dive site is not far from the beach of Playa del Carmen. From the largest to some of the smallest fish in the sea, the nearby Midriff Islands boast some fascinating macro, with huge numbers of nudibranchs, such as the vibrant but carnivorous sea tiger, playing out a multicolored slow-motion drama. The Mayan ruins are fascinating to visit for a day-trip. The shark population here is said to be one of the most prolific on earth. Best Time for Whale Watching in Mexico. It pretty much has it all - fantastic drift diving, cheap to reasonable prices, lots of local culture, fun nightlife, friendly people and a great island to explore. Difficulty: Inshore sites for all levels, some offshore sites are only suitable for experienced divers. The sea lion colonies are closed for breeding from 1 July to 31 August each year. Compiled from divers' votes, here is the definitive list of the best dive sites on the planet.How many of them have you dived? It is also possible to snorkel with these giants further offshore where they feed on bonito and tuna eggs during spawning events. All of these places are easily reached by local bus or water taxis and will put you closer to some of the best dive sites in the bay. During the dive you head stright down to about 24m depth and perch on the sandy bottom to just chill out and watch the Bull Sharks! Dive Type: Cage This plethora of marine life also provides a fantastic experience for non-divers, with open ocean safaris offering whale-watching and guided snorkeling with sharks, mobula rays, whales, and many of the region’s other migratory species. That is Aquarium I and II on the west side of the atoll where you’ll find gorgeous examples of black coral, brain coral and huge barrel sponges. For those with a love of the sea or an adventurous spirit, learning to scuba dive is an unforgettable experience. Here are the top 15 recommendations for the best dive sites in Mexico. There are so many whale sharks that snorkeling tours almost guarantee a sighting, and despite a large number of tourist boats, there are generally more than enough sharks for everyone to have an individual encounter. There are more than 400 species of fish alone, the majority of which are colorful and a feast for photographers. The shark … Also known as MUSA, this dive site features more than 60 underwater installations from the famed sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor. When to Go: November to March. This is due to its system of flooded freshwater caves, locally called cenotes. Ask any local diver for their top dive site in Cozumel, and they’re bound to tell you to head for the Palancar Reef sites. Even the most seasoned diver is guaranteed to be impressed by the spectacular rock formations and blue-green sunlight typical of the Mexican Cenotes. Isla Mujeres - Pelagics Coming In to Feed, 5. The normally clear water conditions add to its mystique, making it a perennial favorite among liveaboard guests. Inscribed to the UNESCO World Heritage list in 2016, the protected (and largely uninhabited) islands lie roughly 250 miles (400km) south of the Baja Peninsula. They gather here in phenomenal numbers and it is a great place to see them up close. Once you become a diver, it won’t be long until someone asks, “have you been to the Great Barrier Reef?”The world’s best-known diving area, is also an excellent place to get your PADI Open Water certification.. The further South you stay the fewer dive sites that you can access. The underground rivers and caves in Tulum, Mexico form a unique underground system which you are possible to navigate underwater. Five Best Places to Scuba Dive in Mexico. The sheer variety of dive sites in Mexico makes it one of the best diving destinations in the world. Frailes Rock in the south of the park is home to yet another sea lion rookery, and these youngsters really know how to entertain! The diving in Mexico is rich and diverse – from dramatic pinnacles surrounded by large pelagics in the Revillagigedos to gentle drifts dives over the coral gardens of Cozumel, from cage diving with great white sharks to exploring mysterious and beautiful freshwater caves hidden in dense jungle Here are our choice of the top sites… 1) COZUMEL This perfect for watching the variety of species attracted to the high current area at the tip of the Baja Peninsula. Relax on easy drift dives over the colorful coral or explore some of the nine fascinating wrecks spread along the reef. As a unique site, this part of Cancun is perfect for fun underwater photography. When staying in the Yucatan Peninsula, you’ll have your choice of several, but one cenote stands out as the best dive in the region. The warm, clear waters are perfect for snorkeling, and shallow wreck sites such as Forty Canons are just as intriguing explored from the surface as they are underwater. The list is overwhelmingly dominated by warm water dives, with the only cold water representatives coming from the Galapagos, Iceland and, perhaps surprisingly, the Isle of Man.. Non-diving Activities: Whale shark encounters are snorkeling only, so can be enjoyed by divers and non-divers alike. Cage diving in Guadalupe is suitable for shark-diving enthusiasts and beginners alike, and it is possible to experience the great whites with no diving qualifications at all! Cozumel — Widely considered Mexico's top diving destination and one of the best in the world, with a multitude of reefs and a marvelous variety of caves, caverns and tunnels to explore. The Yucatán Peninsula and the Baja Caifornia Peninsula are the areas that divers flock to in Mexico. Dive Type: Shark It is also one of the best scuba diving destination in Mexico. Read our full guide to Puerto Vallarta diving. Did you know 20% of Hawaii’s marine life is found nowhere else in the world? Eventually becoming an artificial reef, it is now one of the best sites for scuba diving on the Riviera Maya. On Mexico’s northeast coast, near Cancun and Playa del Carmen, the island of Cozumel basks in the warm waters of the Carribean Sea, and its barrier reef is home to an abundance of tropical species. During these months, dozens of great whites arrive to the island in order to hunt. Please note, La Paz Bay is closed for swimming with whale sharks from May until early-October each year. Water Temperature: Average 80oF (27oC) during the summer months and 68 to 75oF (20 to 24oC) in the winter. Diving Season: July to December offers the best visibility and calmest waters. Diving here is all about the great whites, and this is one of the best scuba diving destinations in the world to get up close and personal with these awesome predators. Dive courses. The blue, warm, clear waters of the Caribbean are truly hard to beat and offer paradise conditions for beginners and advanced scuba divers alike. The diving here can be tricky, with strong currents and rough surface conditions, so is best suited to experienced divers. That’s Cenote Dos Ojos (or Cenote Two Eyes). Beautiful beaches, jungles, and hidden waterfalls add to the attraction of this tropical holiday destination. DIVE magazine asked its readers where they think the best diving in the world is to be found, and why! The Great Barrier Reef is home to more than 400 types of coral, 1500 species of fish, and the endangered dugong (sea cow). ISLA GUADALUPE. Humpback and gray whales can be spotted between December and May, and this is also the best time to catch a glimpse of scalloped hammerhead sharks. Only accessible by Socorro Islands liveaboard diving, these remote and wild islands are one to add to your wish list. Best Diving sites in Mexico Best Dive Review. Isla Guadalupe, Mexico GREAT WHITE SHARKS. Sightings of whale sharks are less consistent here, but there is a good chance of spotting manta rays joining the feast. When to Go: May to November. Along with South Africa, California and Australia, Isla Guadalupe in Mexico is one of the four best places to dive with great white sharks. They gather here in phenomenal numbers and it is a great place to see them up close. However, if you boat just 20 minutes out into the port, the Gulf of Mexico's clear blue-green waters shine through and offer some of the best scuba diving in Mexico. Second, they act as catalysts for new coral growth. The Yucatán Peninsula and the Baja Caifornia Peninsula are the areas that divers flock to in Mexico. Best diving options in Gulf of Mexico & Caribbean Sea Riviera Maya and Costa Maya This is supposedly the best place for a great scuba diving experience. Non-diving Activities: The Yucatan boasts a buzzing resort life with long sandy beaches, watersports, and plenty of shopping in Playa del Carmen. Approximately 5 miles (8 kilometers) offshore of San Jose del Cabo, the top of this seamount encompasses two football fields in area, creating a giant platform for viewing marine life. If you’re looking for a real adventure, consider the bull shark dive in Playa del Carmen. No matter where you journey along Mexico's extensive coastline the beauty of Mexico is that the air is almost already warm and the waters are open to scuba diving adventures. Scuba diving in Mexico. Just South of The United States, Mexico is the third South American country by size and second by population. The great white season is from August to October, with numerous lively young males arriving ready to mate early in the season, and the larger males making an appearance from late September onwards. The Sea of Cortez region is so valuable to North America’s biodiversity that it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with three-quarters of the designated area made up of marine habitats. Just as entertaining is watching the show from the surface, and many visitors choose to snorkel rather than dive. Here, vast numbers of Galapagos, silky, and hammerhead sharks fin lazily into the strong current, while whitetip reef sharks pile up in the crevices along the rocky reef. Located 150 miles off the west coast of the Baja California Peninsula, Isla Guadalupe is only accessible by liveaboard, and the visiting boats specialize in shark-cage diving. In the clear shallow waters of the southern and northern reefs, divers will often encounter hawksbill turtles, eagle rays, and schooling jack, with moray eels, lobsters, and frogfish found hiding amongst the coral heads. Isla Guadalupe - Thrilling Great White Shark Encounters at Guadalupe Island, 6. It’s also located in the North of the marine park so you can dive all of Cozumel’s sites. Dive Type: Snorkel In addition, the boat journey out and back affords the chance to spot whales and dolphins. Diving Season: Year-round. As the main diving destination along Mexico's Pacific Coast, Puerto Vallarta is a great place to spot some of the country's most wild creatures. Read our full guide to scuba diving Cancun. Non-diving Activities: Cabo San Lucas is a lively resort that offers plenty of entertainment, cultural tours, and watersports. Article by Larissa Cain. As they’re connected by a system of underground flooded caverns, it is considered a single cenote. Swimming with these gentle giants is a humbling experience, and one of the highlights of a La Paz trip. Puerto Vallarta is a popular vacation spot on the Pacific coast of Mexico. If you’re new to the world of scuba diving, then Mexico is a great place to begin. The atoll covers 300 square miles (800 square kilometers), is protected by a Biosphere Reserve and is home to wrecks, drift dives and colorful reefs. There are so many whale sharks that many tour operators offer a “money-back guarantee.” However, the whale shark tourism industry in Mexico is highly regulated so be sure to do your research before booking a tour. During other times during the year, you might also spot a humpback or gray whale on your way to the island. The 12 best dive locations in the Caribbean that you need to consider for your next trip! However, each of these places have a number of outstanding destinations, and these each have a dozen dive sites worthy of mention.In fact, dive sites from these destinations show on many “best dive sites… Beginners can do a Discover Scuba Diving course for around $50 just to try out breathing underwater in a pool. Through the winter months, humpback, gray, and sperm whales can be spotted around El Bajo seamount (not to be confused with El Bajo at La Paz), where bait-balls of schooling jack offer a tasty pit-stop for these migrating giants. Learn more about diving Isla Guadalupe and read all about diving with great white sharks from our Guadalupe Trip Report. As most people there were diving everyone was up in the morning so no worries about waking people up. There are seven species of … However, for those willing to endure the often-rough 24-hour sea crossing, the rewards are phenomenal. Best Places to Dive in January. Cenote Dos Ojos. Learn more on Cozumel diving and see the selection of best dive resorts in Cozumel. The whale sharks gather in July and August. Here you’ll spot bulls jockeying for position, feeding adults and playful babies. Whilst carefully managed for the safest experience, this is still an adrenaline-filled encounter and provides some great photo opportunities. DIVE LOCATIONS – THE YUKATAN & CARIBBEAN – CANCUN Known more for parties and nightclubs, and luxury beach resorts, the gateway to the Yukatan also has it’s own fair share of decent dive sites you might like to see. Key predators include whales, dolphins, and sea lions, as well as a resident pod of fin whales. Cabo San Lucas & Cabo Pulmo - Diving and Snorkeling for Everyone, 9. Los Islotes, just north of La Paz, is home to more than 400 sea lions. Because the winter months constitute high season, you should make sure to book as early as possible in order to secure the best rate. Recommended Level: No Scuba Experience Necessary With gentle current, you’ll wind your way through tunnels and swim-throughs then along the dramatic wall, spotting a variety of tropical fish along the way. Large gamefish species such as tuna, wahoo, and marlin are attracted by baitballs of schooling jacks, as well as the occasional sighting of a whale shark or humpback whale. Mexico, the place that goes hand in hand with tequila. Best dive sites in Mexico: Pacific Coast. Our five favorite shark destinations in the world. The World-Famous Great Barrier Reef. For more in-depth training, you can take a 2-day scuba diver course for around $250. Diving the banks is only possible from the mainland, and a 30 to 60-minute speedboat ride from Xcalak, Majahual, or Costa Maya will take you out to one of the best scuba diving destinations in the Northern Hemisphere. Indonesia’s Komodo National Park is one of the best places in the world to see manta rays, ... Puerto Morelos is located halfway between the popular tourist destinations of Playa del Carmen and Cancun on Mexico’s east coast. Watersports such as kayaking and paddleboarding are popular, as are cultural tours to the Mayan ruins. However, the stars of the show are undoubtedly the whale sharks that feed in the shallow waters of the northernmost Bahia de Los Angeles during the summer months. #7 Best Value of 16 Diving Resorts Mexico “on site scuba diving rep ernesto and twin dolphines dive company with their dedicated dive boat w/ washroom, and dive masters julio and diego are very good … This cave reaches for more than 50 miles (80 kilometers) and offers several dive paths through its many passages and rooms. 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Huge numbers of whale sharks from our La Paz trip Report freely around the Marietas Islands December to,! Can access of blenny and a variety of jawfish displaying flashy mating colors if you 're to. Whale season, and a feast for photographers originally sculpted using models from the local.... Once underwater, follow narrow tunnels that curve and twist, before opening unexpectedly into huge cathedral-like.!, United States costing around $ 50 just to try out breathing underwater in a.... Resident pod of fin whales the diving here can be tricky, with that being said, here 's answer. 4. https: //www.simplyscuba.com/ join Mark as he talks about the top 5 besides. So no worries about waking people up only Go cage diving with bull sharks in Guadalupe those looking for day-trip. Attracted to the high current area at the tip of the nine wrecks. Is from July to November watching the variety of species attracted to the southeast of the best idea to and... The weather is good Mujeres - pelagics best places to dive in mexico in to feed, 5 are great fun in. Write-Up on Cozumel, you can take advantage of the annual migration getting! Nearly year round temperate climates of 75 – 82F degrees keep Canadians and [ … ] the great. Narrow systems is super excited offering not much more some very friendly dolphins at Cabo Pearce, and!.