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 or 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. Scuba diving in the Riviera Maya Mexico offer diving families a distinct advantage when it comes to scuba Mexico vacations: the diversity in experiences between diving cenotes, Playacar diving and Xcaret scuba diving. Simply put the best Yucatan scuba diving.
Local Near Reefs
Local diving hold 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 and lemon sharks. There are also opportunities to see lobster, squid and 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. All of Barrakuda's dive guides are PADI certified Instructors.
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.
The Riviera Maya boasts the largest interconnected cenote system in the Americas with more than 300 miles of passageways. 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, with divers never more than 200 linear feet from the surface. All cenote dives are conducted by one of Barrakuda Scubas 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 Barrakuda, 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.