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Scuba Diving on the Yucatan Peninsula

Mexico's Best Dive Spots

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Diving in Mexico

Scuba Divers off Cozumel Island, Mexico

Sami Sarkis/Getty Images

Magical shipwrecks, atmospheric caves, a vast network of freshwater cenotes and the world’s second largest barrier reef…diving on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula offers a world of underwater riches.

What to Know Before You Go

  • Visitors to Mexico wanting to scuba dive will need to demonstrate that they’re certified with a recognized scuba diving outfit such as PADI. (Read about other (reputable diving organizations.)
  • Specialized forms of diving, like wreck diving and cave diving, may require extra certification: always check with the dive operator before booking to find out what the specific dive requires.
  • If you haven’t dived before, you can take a course at many dive shops and resorts while in Mexico, but bear in mind that training can take some time, so ensure you make allowances when planning your trip. Consider getting certified at home before you arrive in Mexico.
  • If you’re already certified, remember to bring your dive license and log-book.
  • You’ll need to complete your last dive at least 24 hours before taking a flight, so be sure to plan accordingly.

When to Go

  • Thanks to its temperate climate, the water temperature tends to be pleasant year-round on the Yucatan Peninsula. However, the weather – and consequently the water – is coolest from December to April and warmest from May to November. June to November is hurricane season, although most hurricanes strike from August to October.
  • The high tourist season on the Yucatan Peninsula runs from November to March, so travel outside of those months if you’re keen to avoid crowds, both in and out of the water. Read more about the weather in Mexico, and when to go to Mexico.

Where to Go

Reef Diving:

The Great Mesoamerican Reef, which runs along the east coast of the Yucatan Peninsula in the Caribbean Sea, is the world’s second largest reef (after Australia’s Great Barrier Reef) and one of Mexico’s most popular natural wonders. Diving opportunities abound all along the coast, from Cancun to the Costa Maya, south of Tulum.

Popular Reef Diving Spots:


Wreck Diving:

For many scuba enthusiasts, wreck diving offers a magical underwater experience without parallel. The Caribbean coastline of Yucatan Peninsula, from Cancun to the Costa Maya (south of the Riviera Maya) is home to several wrecks, mostly sunk navy vessels turned artificial reefs, along with one-of-a-kind creations like MUSA (Museo Subacuático de Arte), an underwater art project/museum in the waters surrounding Cancun and Isla Mujeres.

Note: some wreck dives require extra certification as the environments – enclosed spaces, challenging entries and exits from the wrecks -- can require advanced skills.

Popular Wreck Diving Spots:

Cave Diving:

Thanks to its network of over 2000 cenotes, the East Coast of the Yucatan Peninsula is one of the best places on earth to experience cave diving.  Along with the well-known cenotes and caves dotted around the peninsula, there are many hidden caves on private property that can be experienced by joining a tour with an adventure company like AllTourNative.

Note: in order to cave dive, you’ll need to have undergone specific cavern diving training.

Popular Cave Diving Spots:

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