Occidental Hotels & Resorts
Contact Dive Vacations
About Dive Vacations
  • Riviera Maya Dive Vacations, including flight, hotel and dive options
  • Occidental Grand Xcaret, ecological and historical preserve
  • Allegro Playacar. Located minutes away from Playa del carmen
  • Royal Hideaway Playacar. AAA 5 Diamond luxury resort

Riviera Maya Scuba Diving Information

photographer takes picture of a school of snappers
The Great Maya Reef is one of the largest reef systems in the world, second only to the Great Barrier Reef of Australia. It stretches 600 miles along the coasts of Mexico and Central America and is hosts a diverse ecosystem, with more than 600 species of fish and nearly 100 species of coral. The waters off the Riviera Maya are warm, clear and inviting year round.

Few destinations offer the diversity in diving found in the Riviera Maya. You can drift dive the near shore reefs that are only a short boat ride away from the Allegro Playacar, Royal Hideaway Playacar and Grand Xcaret, you can take inland trips to the fresh water underground cenotes, or make an all day excursion to explore the deep water walls of near by Cozumel. During certain times of the year, it may also be possible to add a shark dive to the mix. Simply put the best Yucatan scuba diving, all made possible by Pro Dive Mexico!

Local Reef Diving

dive at Playacar
Local reef diving holds many benefits for beginner divers especially. The diving is generally shallow – between 45 – 60 feet, with the average visibility of about 40 – 60 feet. Currents are strong but the visibility and views offer a birds eye view as we dive “atop” the reef instead of aside it. The fairly flat bottom below offers reef outcroppings arising from the sea floor, providing protection from the current to tropical reef fish and numerous invertebrates. You will see turtles galore, French and Queen angels, bull, black-tip & lemon sharks. There are also opportunities to see lobster, squid & rays.

The dive boats depart directly from the beach (there are no docks.) Divers are assisted as they wade into the warm shallow water to one of two dive boats. A very thorough dive briefing will be given by one of the dive guides on board whilst on way to the dive site.

About Our Dive Sites

riveira maya dive site map

  • CEREBROS: Cerebros, meaning 'Brain' in Spanish is the Northern most reef. The coral formations at the edge of the reef create a scenic landscape to wander around. Along the middle section and at the end of the reef you will find some beautiful arches to swim through. Minimum Depth 6m (20ft) | Maximum Depth 14m (50ft) | Average Visibility 20m (70ft)

  • LOS ARCOS: Named after its two arches. Los Arcos is a relatively deep dive. The wall sections are 5m (15 ft..) in height and are covered with hard corals, sponges and fan corals. On the sandy areas divers can find turtles, groupers and stingrays. The arches shelter schools of fish, Moray eels a
    diver and manta ray on the local reefs
    nd many Crustaceans. Minimum Depth 21m (70 ft.) | Maximum Depth 30m (100 ft.) | Average Visibility 30m (100ft)

  • PADRE VERDE: This famous wall is very different in formation from the classical endless 'drop off' reef. Pared Verde has sections of walls which are split by sloping hills of sand. The spectacular coral formations are full of small and large marine life. Keep an eye out for spiny lobsters, King crabs, turtles, sting rays and sharks that may be swimming along the reef. After approximately 3/4 of the dive you will come a cross a cavern with a chimney which exits at the top plateau of the reef. Minimum Depth 21m (70ft) | Maximum Depth 30m (100 ft.) | Average Visibility 30m (100 ft.)

  • MOC - CHE DEEP: Moc - Che Deep is a sheer wall stretching from 21m (70 ft.) to the sandy bottom at 30m (100 ft.). A large variety of corals adorn the wall which is inhabited by lobsters, Moray eels, King crabs and many other kinds of marine life. An easy way to find a King crab is to look inside the large barrel sponges. Throughout the year you may be joined by the Hawksbill Turtle and in the winter, this dive site is visited by Bull sharks and Eagle Rays. Minimum Depth 20m (70 ft.) | Maximum Depth 30m (100 ft.) | Average Visibility 30m (100 ft.)

  • crab hidden in ledges on the local reefs
  • MOC - CHE: Moc - Che is the shortest of the shallow dive sites, it has an abundance of small coral formations growing in front of the reef. With sharp eyes there is much to be found here. Near the end of the reef is a small arch packed with fish and sponges and sometimes a Green Moray Eel taking a nap. Minimum Depth 7m (24 ft.) | Maximum Depth 14m (50 ft.) | Average visibility 20m (70ft)

  • CHUN - ZUMBUL: Chun - Zumbul is the longest and shallowest dives in Playa Del Carmen. You will encounter sections of garden like vegetation with coral overhangs. Stay on the fringe of the reef and you will reach one of the coral cavern areas which are the most attractive sections of this reef. Enjoy the schools of fish here while looking for hidden creatures. Minimum Depth 6m (20 ft.) | Maximum Depth 12m (40 ft.) | Average Visibility 20m (60 ft.)

  • JARDINES: Jardines is so named for its 'garden' like vegetation. In addition to a variety of sponges. hard corals and fan corals, the reef is covered in sea whips and other tree like plants that give home to an abundance of marine life including the green and spotted Moray Eel. The Middle of the reef is most colorful, where you will find small overhangs. Take your time and look carefully to spot the creatures here. Minimum Depth 6m (20 ft.) | Maximum Depth 12m (50 ft.) | Average Visibility 20m (60 ft.)

  • tarpon
  • SABALOS: Originally named after the schools of Sabalos/ Tarpon that can still occasionally been seen here. The reef consists of healthy hard and soft corals of all variations. There are many kinds of fish as well as Starfish on the sand. Near the end of the dive you will find a small cavern for exploration. Minimum Depth 6m (20 ft.) | Maximum Depth 14m (50 ft. ) | Average Visibility 20m (60 ft. )

  • BARRACUDA: Barracuda is traditionally the second dive after the turtle garden. Picture this reef as a hand with five finger like outcroppings. There are many small holes to explore along the reef and with a sharp eye and some luck you may spot some Barracuda patrolling the reef. Near the end of the dive it is worth investigating the shallow cave that will take you to an exit on the top of the reef. Minimum Depth 6m (20 ft.) | Maximum Depth 14m (50 ft.) | Average Visibility 20m (60 ft.)

  • TORTUGAS: Totugas (Spanish for Turtles) is one of Diving Playa Del Carmens most popular reefs due to the large quantity of sea turtles which frequent here. The reef is relatively flat with a gradual slope from 15m to 40m, and is covered with corals and enormous barrel sponges. While enjoying the turtles please do not touch them !!
    Minimum Depth 16m (55 ft.) | Maximum Depth 30m (100 ft.) | Average Visibility 30m (100 ft. )

  • MAMA VINA: This former shrimp boat was intentionally sunk in 1995 for divers. Since then the coral growth has [proceeded rapidly. Once on the wreck descend to the sand and drift along the side of the wreck until you reach the stern where you will find the propeller. Then move up into the lower decks and explore the inside rooms. Then finally make your way onto the top deck and watch the huge Barracuda which are hanging around the mast. This dive is only suitable for advanced divers due to the depth and the strong current that can be present. Minimum Depth 21m (70 ft.) | Maximum Depth 30m (100 ft.) | Average Visibility 30m (100 ft.)

Once the briefing is complete and all divers suited up and ready, the go-ahead will be given for all divers to do a back roll water entry at the same time. Divers will be doing the standard drift/negative buoyancy decent, meaning you want to get to depth, along with your buddy and group, as quickly as possible,
while safely equalizing, so you're not separated too much in the current.

Morning dives are two-tank dives, best suited for certified divers. After completion of the first dive, the surface interval will be taken while en-route to the second dive site. Since most first dives are shallow, surface intervals are fairly short, enabling divers to be back at the resort in time for lunch.

Resort Course/Discover Scuba divers generally participate in the afternoon one tank boat dives, which target the sites with minimized currents. Here is a glimpse at the fun that awaits a resort course diver!


The Riviera Maya boasts the largest interconnected cenote system in the Americas with more than 300 miles of passageways.
diver in a cenote
These underground taverns or sink holes house deep wells of fresh water and are covered with stalactites and stalagmite, and there are over 3000 of them in the Yucatan Peninsula, though only a few that are accessible by visitors. Knowing that the ancient Maya believed the openings of the cenotes served as portals to Xibalba – the Mayan underworld – adds a further sense of mystery and excitement to these dives.

Cenote dives in the Riviera Maya are suitable for recreational divers as they include “cavern-designated” areas within the caves systems,

diver in a cenote
with divers never more than 200 linear feet from the surface. All cenote dives are conducted by one of Pro Dive Mexico's cave certified guides, who follow strictly all cavern-diving procedures. All divers interested in a cenote dive must first go on a reef dive with Pro Dive, in order for the staff to access your buoyancy skills. You will also receive lessons in cavern-diving procedures (included in the cost of the cenote dive) prior to your excursion.

No need to miss out if you are a non-divers as Pro Dive Mexico offers snorkeling excursions in the cenotes as well!

For a customize dive vacation package, please complete our Reservation Request Form or contact us at toll free 877.348.3255 or our Florida office at 954.453.5036 or E-mail us for more information.