Travel: Mexico

Mexico is a one stop shop for diving and easy to get to from any part of the US or the world. The country can accommodate almost all your diving needs, cenotes, caves, reef, wrecks, drift, you name it. There is no shortage of dive shops either so the world is your oyster.

Where to stay

Where you are will usually dictate what kind of place you stay at. If you are in the Cancun area, you may opt for one of the many all inclusives. If you stay in one of the many small towns like Puerto Morelos, Tulum or further down the peninsula, simple hotels or Air BnBs my be your best bet. Playa Del Carmen is the hub of the action so most don't stray too far from there

Getting there

Airlines run several flight a day to Cancun which is the best place to fly into. Even if you are staying on Cozumel, due to crazy layovers, you may be better off flying out of CUN. Unless you live in Texas, Cozumel is a hop skip and a jump away.

When you arrive.

The arrival customs in Mexico is extremely easy, you will be given a tourist visa card on your arrival. that is good got up to 180 days. Do not lose this, you will need to present it when you leave. The baggage carousels are slow, did I mention slooooow, so factor in some time for that if you are looking to make that afternoon dive boat. Once you get your bags and begin your exit, an airport official will have you press a button on a box. A red light means you get your things scanned again, green means the exit is that way. Getting out of the airport to the right spot can be tricky, as always do not exchange money at the airport, dollars are accepted everywhere.

If you exit the tourist area you will be greeted with several Taxis, you can also take the ADO bus to most many destinations as far as Belize City. Its cheap and clean with assigned seats making several stops at major areas and you can get your ticket before you get to Mexico. Word of advice, don't fall asleep, the driver will not alert you to your stop even if you ask them to. There are also several shuttle vans that can take to places in the Hotel Zone, they are cheap and convenient.

The diving

Your destination will dictate your dive experience. Those who dive out of Cancun are usually casual divers visiting reefs and the popular sites such as Isla Mujeres and the underwater museum. The water is what I like to call "Cancun Blue", its beautiful an warm all year round. and a great place to go if you are looking to dive by day, party by night One of my favorite shops there is Manta Divers, a top notch shop with a great staff and a boat that leaves from a doc so no sand trails at the end of the day. They offer day trips to Cozumel for those want visit some of the best dive sites in the world and they offer a unique package call the "Mayan Dive Safari". You and a group dive Cancun, Cozumel, Cenotes, Mahaual and Banco Chinchorro for 7 days doing 20 dives. Its a great way to explore Mexico.

For those who want a quiet laid back experience, Puerto Morelos, a small fishing town 30+ minutes from Cancun may be just for you. The beaches are beautiful and the main strip in town offers many restaurants where you can dine and tell of your dive experiences of the day. Check out Don Ernestos, a popular bar on the beach. The food and service is amazing. The dives range from easy to intermediate with an abundance of life at every turn. Shore diving is an option as well offering plenty of opportunities for night dives. I dove with a few of the shops in town and found Wet Set diving to be my favorite. Their staff is friendly and the shop is located just steps from the beach. The offer free nitrox for those certified as well as day trips to Cozumel and cenotes.

A little further from Cancun is Playa del Carmen, a busy tourist area with bars restaurants and night clubs. You can even shop at the Armani exchange or Nike store right on the main strip. The area is very popular with college students and families alike offering something for everyone. There are dive shops at almost every turn but to be honest, every single one I went to felt like a money trap. The advantage though is you are walking distance from boats that do day trips to Cozumel and Bull shark dives. You can also catch a ferry to Cozumel yourself and do a day or 2 of diving.

Tulum. The first thing that comes to divers minds is cenotes and cave diving. The small up coming town is the meeting spot for cave and cenotes diving with popular such as Dos Ojos, Taak Bi Ha and Sac Actun. caverns and caves are advanced dive sites with overhead environments so take caution when diving there. DO NOT enter a cave system unless you are properly trained, as the signs say, instructors have died there. Whats the difference between a cave and a cavern? In cavern diving you can always see an exit, in cave diving you can not. But having said that, cenotes are something great to try with the right training and guide.

And last but not least we have Cozumel. Cozumel is an island just off the Mexican mainland and is a divers paradise . The Planacar reef is one of the best dive sites in the world where you can see a wide variety of large animals depending on the time of year. The waters is crystal clear, so clear that on my first dive there I misjudged my dept because I could still see the boat 90 feet down. There are so many dive shops there I couldn't begin to count and hotels can be found at reasonable prices through dive shops. Cozumel does have a small airport that serviced a few places in the US but if you live to the north or west of Texas, your flights back will be long. But hey we all make sacrifices for greet diving right?

I do dives in Cozumel every-time I go to Mexico and have never been disappointed. Some may be a little hesitant because of drift dives, but they are amazing and give you such a feeling of freedom. I dove with several shops there and my favorite so far is Scuba Life Cozumel. Their highly customized boats offer extra comfort for divers and the crew is experienced and friendly. They offer many different types of dives including to a C53 wreck with amazing swim throughs If you are a lot more than an advanced diver, you can do a site called devils throat. Its a cave/cavern hybrid system that starts at approximately 80 feet (24 m) and opens up at approximately 135 ft (41 m). This is not a deco dive but one should be experience in overhead environments and have a secondary air supply. Between the crystal clear waters, sharks and eagle rays on most every dive and the abundance of turtles, Cozumel Mexico is a must see.

So the next time you are in Mexico, put down that Corina and head to the ocean, the adventure awaits you.

Palancar reef eagle ray Playa del Carmen Bull Shark Isla muheres underwater museum
Logger head turtle Night tive Mexico Palancr Reef
Fish market Taj Mahal C56 wreck