Playa del Carmen is located on the Caribbean coast of Mexico, about 1 hour south of Cancun. Due to its location on the Riviera Maya, “Playa” (as it is locally known) offers a wide range of activities. For example golf, boating and trips inland. Most Maya temples can be reached from here with a day trip.
In recent years, all-inclusive resorts have emerged on both sides of the city. Today Quinta Avenida is the centre of life in Playa. On this colourful avenue you will find souvenir shops, restaurants and small boutique hotels.
One of the best dive centers in Playa del Carmen is “Deep Dive Mexico”. It offers you best quality rental equipment and guided dives. Of course this also applies to the offered diving courses. These range from classic introductory diving to technical diving. So if you want to get a first insight into the world of cave diving, you are in the best hands here! 🙂 You can find all information here: deepdivemexico.com
In Playa del Carmen divers will find magical cenotes, beautiful reefs and encounters with sharks. You also have the opportunity to visit the dive sites of Cancún. This includes the “MUSA”. The famous underwater museum.
Diving in Playa del Carmen always takes place by boat. Diving from the beach is not allowed in Mexico.
How do I get to Playa del Carmen?
The nearest airport to Playa del Carmen is Cancun International Airport. From Cancun you can take one of the red “ADO” buses, a private transfer or a rental car to Playa del Carmen. It is also possible to fly to Cozumel. From there you can take the ferry to Playa del Carmen. Once you arrive in Playa del Carmen, the best way to get there is by taxi, rental car or on foot from A to B.
What can I see while diving in Playa del Carmen?
Playa del Carmen is home to a variety of marine life. From sharks to turtles and macro you can discover everything here. The main attraction in terms of wildlife are bull sharks that decorate the area from November to March with their presence. Occasionally you can even see sail fish and whale sharks at dive sites further away from the shore.
The reefs of Playa del Carmen are also home to a variety of tropical species. As an attentive diver you can observe lobsters, groupers, stingrays and hundreds of other colorful fish. 🙂
The best dive sites in Playa del Carmen
With more than 20 dive sites near Playa del Carmen there is enough to keep you busy for weeks. 😉
“Pared Verde” is one of many reef systems off Playa del Carmen. Many tropical fish species call this sandy dive site their home.
If you prefer to dive a little deeper, we can recommend the dive site “Punta Venado”.
There is also a large wreck called “Mama Vina”, only 20 minutes boat ride south of Playa del Carmen.
Another highlight is a dive in “Los Arcos” during the bullhair season.
Of course you shouldn’t miss the unique cenotes! The best cenotes in Playa del Carmen we have summarized below for you.
Diving with bull sharks in Playa del Carmen
The bull sharks are not always in and around Playa del Carmen. They can be found at deeper dive sites especially between November and March. If you want to increase your chances of sighting, it is best to plan your dive during this time. 🙂
Please note that these dives are unfortunatelyoften bait dives. This means that the sharks are fed to bring them closer to the divers. Bait dives are controversial! The bull sharks are thus not only “lured away” from their usual habitat, but also have to hunt less themselves. Another disadvantage is the habituation to humans, which is not natural.
The diving school Deep Dive Mexico is fortunately one of the few exceptions when diving with bull sharks in Playa del Carmen! As you can see in the video, the shark dives there take place as naturally as possible. We are glad that this possibility exists and can only support it. Book your dive with bull sharks here: deepdivemexico.com/eng/diving-with-bullsharks
What should I keep in mind when diving with bull sharks?
A long wetsuit is mandatory for shark diving.
You should stay as calm as possible during the whole dive
Despite all the rules you are welcome to bring cameras and GoPros with you 🙂
Cenotes Diving in Playa del Carmen
Playa Del Carmen offers you in addition to the beautiful Caribbean dive sites the opportunity to experience a different kind of diving: Diving in Cenotes. Diving in Cenotes is more or less like a cave dive, but has many advantages.
What’s a cenote?
The word “cenote” comes from the Mayan word “zonot” or “tzonot”. In Spanish it became “cenote” over time. Cenotes are caves or tunnels formed by the collapse of limestone rocks. The craters visible from the surface are filled with crystal clear water.
Mexico is home to the largest number of cenotes in the world. They are present almost everywhere. Some are in the deepest jungle. Others are in cities built around these freshwater wells. They also differ in size and shape. Some Cenotes are tunnels. So long underwater passages. While others are vertical. In the form of large wells filled with water. The Maya regarded the Cenotes as sacred doors to another world. Some Cenotes, for example, were also used for animal and human sacrifices.
The Cenotes are the cultural and historical heritage of Mexico. They are protected by the “Convention for the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage”.
How is diving in a cenote?
Diving in Cenotes is an exciting experience. The water is absolutely crystal clear and pure. The ceilings of the tunnels are occupied by hundreds of stalactites. The tangle of tunnels sometimes leads to larger rooms that are traversed by long rays of sunshine. They penetrate through small openings in the ceiling into the darkness of the cave.
In some cenotes you will encounter two particularly exciting phenomena. The “halocline” and a “sulfur cloud”.
The halocline is the transition of two layers of water with different salinity. Since fresh and salt water do not mix because salt water is heavier, a layer forms as a transition. It should not be confused with the more familiar thermocline (thermocline). This is the transition between two layers with different temperatures. The sulphur cloud often floats like a cloud of smoke in the depths of some cenotes and thus offers a unique picture.
What should I know before diving in Cenotes?
To dive in the Cenotes, you only need an Open Water Diver’s License or similar level. Of course it makes sense if you already have some experience in diving, so that you feel comfortable under water. Diving in Cenotes also requires very good buoyancy control.
Most dive schools in Playa del Carmen go diving with you in the sea to see how well you can buoy. Only then can they decide if and in which cenotes they are suitable for you.
There are also different “levels of difficulty” for the cenotes themselves. The dive center in Playa del Carmen Deep Dive Mexico classifies the cenotes as follows: deepdivemexico.com/eng/cenote-dive-sites
How’s the water temperature in the cenotes?
The temperature of the water in the Cenotes is about 24° Celsius. In the sea, the water in summer is about 29° Celsius. So the water in the Cenotes is much colder. We therefore recommend a long neoprene suit.
Where can I book my dive in a Cenote?
The German diving school “Deep Dive Mexico” is your best contact in Playa del Carmen. They offer everything from diving in Cenotes to diving with bull sharks and technical diving. According to “German accuracy” special emphasis is placed on quality.
To ensure this, small dive groups and high quality rental equipment await you. The Dive Guides are among the best trained in the region. With Deep Dive Mexico you are also at the best address for your diving education. 🙂 All courses, prices and booking possibilities can be found here: deepdivemexico.com
The best Cenotes in Playa del Carmen
Cenote diving in “Dos Ojos”
Depth: 9 meters Level of difficulty: beginner – advanced (according to the diving school “Deep Dive Mexico”)
Dos Ojos is probably one of the best cave dives in the world. Or at least one of the best known thanks to the movie “Amazing Caves”. The Cenote offers two separate dives. The first is called Barbie Line and its distance of almost 520 meters is characterized by its immersive and calming hardness with its many columns and stalactites. The second dive, called Batcave Line, is a dark cave dive due to the very bad light. This dive is more difficult than the first, the tunnels are narrower and the development in this labyrinth requires better buoyancy given its delicate formations.
Depth: 40/45 meters Level of difficulty: Advanced (according to the diving school “Deep Dive Mexico”)
Before we dived this cenote we were very impressed by the deep hole in the middle of the jungle. Hence the name “The Pit”. The Pit is with 130 meters depth the largest underwater cave in the world. Divers can enjoy a very special game of the sun’s rays. You will have two haloclines At about 16 meters there is one halocline. At about 30 meters you will see a mysterious sulfur cloud. It looks like the bottom of the cenote. But underneath it goes still far into the depth. Diving in the Cenote “The Pit” is only suitable for experienced divers.
Tiefe: 60 Meter Schwierigkeitsgrad: Schwer (laut der Tauchschule „Deep Dive Mexico)
Zapote gehört zu den schwierigsten Cenoten. Sie ist sehr tief und dunkel. Aber sie ist auf jeden Fall einen Tauchgang wert! Denn nur hier kann man eine ganz besondere Felsformation entdecken. Sie sind wie Glocken geformt und hängen in der Tiefe von der Decke. In der Cenote „Sapote“ gibt es auch die erwähnte Schwefelwolke in einer Tiefe von 25 Metern. Sie verleiht der Cenote in Kombination mit den Glocken eine einzigartige Stimmung. Das Tauchen in der Cenote „Sapote“ ist nur für erfahrene Taucher geeignet.