The Mexican Caribbean that lines the coast of the Riviera Maya and Costa Maya is a diving hot spot! From Cancun to Xcalak you will find unique diving experiences no matter which city you choose to put your tanks in the water. The second largest barrier reef, the Mesoamerican Reef, runs from Cancun to Xcalak and has so many wonderful places for divers to explore.
The hot, hot spots or maybe I should say highlights are listed by city below. Whether you dive in one city for your vacation or visit various cities throughout your stay, you won’t be disappointed. As we say, is there ever a bad dive? Heck no! Any opportunity to get in the water is a good day and a good dive.
A Must Do Dive in Puerto Morelos
The reef off the shore of Puerto Morelos is a protected marine park, similar to the island of Cozumel. It’s currently the only protected marine park off the mainland in the Riviera Maya. The dive of choice, for experienced divers, this is not recommended for new divers, is the wreck. Located 90 ft/30 m from the surface, this navy boat is home to rays, tropical fish and different coral types. It is a cool dive and if you have the experience, it should not be missed. If you do not have the experience consider taking your Advanced Open Water Certification or your Deep diving Specialty course. Work up to this dive with a local dive center.
A Must Do Dive in Playa del Carmen
The most popular dive for all diving abilities has to be ‘Tortuga’, the turtle dive. At a depth of 60 ft/20 m, divers drift dive past turtles on any given day. Though no one ever wants to guarantee sea life on a dive, in the years we have been here, not a single diver has missed seeing a turtle.
A Must Do Dive the Rivera Maya
We love the reef, and yes it is a glorious place, but the Riviera Maya does have a unique dive that is found in few other places in the world. Cenotes, the natural sink holes that lie below the jungles, are the most decorated caverns any diver has ever seen. Open water certified divers can enjoy this precious, once in a life time dive if they work with a dive center to prove good diving skills, especially buoyancy. Most dive centers will request that you conduct an open water dive first before you go on a cenote dive, a smart move when tackling a new dive environment. Any cenote will give you an incredible dive experience with fresh water, visibility up to 140 ft/40 m and the closest to space travel you may ever get in this life time.
Must Do Dive in the Costa Maya – Mahahual
The Chinchurro Banks is a UNESCO recognized marine location that is protected for its cultural and historical significance. This is the only atoll in the Mexican Caribbean and worth the drive to the south. Due to its location the sea has to have the perfect conditions for the boat ride out there. These conditions are found more so in the summer months than winter months and there is the chance that the conditions do not cooperate during your stay. Diving off the coast of Mahahual is great diving, but the daddy of all daddy dives in Chinchurro.
Must Do Dive in Cozumel
The must do dive in Cozumel has to be the Devil’s Throat, a deep dive that has you diving through a passage into a coral cavern. Again this is an advanced dive and you need to prove to the dive master that you have the skill and the ability to complete this dive. If you are a beginner, just hopping in the water on a regular dive to find the Toad fish, a indigenous fish to Cozumel, is worth it.
Diving in the Riviera Maya is a Great Experience
There are so many unique experiences for divers and snorkelers in the Riviera Maya, we are pressed to list them all. These must do dives are the ones that divers love either for the sea life, the challenge or the once in a lifetime experience.
We started as divers and underwater cave explorers in 1990. We love being in the cenotes, the caves, and the ocean. It is just a great day when you can get wet!
Find a local dive center in the Riviera Maya through our Local Directory
! And safe diving!
Check out our diving and snorkeling local travel guide
for more tips and details about Riviera Maya diving.