Planning full cave training in Mexico - any recommendations?

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Marc111n

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Good morning!

I plan on taking a full cave training in Mexico next year (I'm Adv. Nitrox now with 300+ dives). March/April most likely. I will spend at least two weeks there. I have a few questions before I start organizing. I hope for some quality recommendations from you guys :)

1. Tulum or Playa del Carmen - I would prefer Playa because I also want to spend some beach time while in Mexico. Nightlife is also a plus. Which place is closer to best training cenotes? Because if Tulum is 15 minutes from them, and Playa 1 hour then I would go for Tulum for my training week or two.

2. Month: January - cold, April - perfect, June - showers? Is that right? Which month would be the best for the training activities + some leisure time afterwards.

3. Prices - what price should I expect? I saw full cave starting at 1,8k up to 2,5k (8-9 days). 2,5k sounds quite expensive but my main objective is the best training possible - if that is the cost then fine.

4. Instructor recommendations? I have gone trough some recommendations and found a few:

What do you guys think of them?

Thank you for reading my post and if you have some insights then please share! Thanks.
 

kierentec

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1. Tulum is 5-10 min from most of the training cenotes, playa is 20-30 from a couple, and an hour from the rest. You’ll definitely be spending a lot more time in the car if you stay in Playa.

2. Jan weather is great, but it is high tourist season and everything will be crowded (cenotes, restaurants, beaches, etc) and lodging will be very expensive. April is nice but starting to get hot, June is very hot. It’s the Caribbean, so rain is inevitable pretty much anytime of year, but showers are usually pretty short.

3. Expect to pay $250-300 per day for training. If you are wanting to go zero to hero, that should really be a min of 10 days of training. So somewhere in the $2500-$3000 range would be appropriate. I would be pretty wary of anyone offering to do it shorter or cheaper. Also
Make sure to check what is included in the price. Some instructors include tanks/gas/site entry, etc. Some charge extra for all of that.

4. Make sure you chat with the actual
Instructor you will be working with to make sure your personalities align. It’s a big investment, and you’ll be spending a lot of time with that person, so you’ll want to get along well with them.
 

rddvet

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What Kieran said. But I would add that I would just stay in Tulum. I’m not a huge fan of playa. It’s busy and can be frustrating to navigate when you’re n a rush to get somewhere. More importantly during a cave class you’re going to have long days and the last thing you’re going to care about is nightlife and the beach. If you really want that experience you can add a couple days to your trip on the end and go to playa a few days then. Either way Tulum is a much more relaxed, laid back environment
 

rddvet

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you left off: Third Dimension diving, Under the Jungle, Jon(above), Roger at Xoc-ha, and Marissa at hidden worlds, and Protec Tulum. I think of the two Protec’s I greatly prefer the Tulum Protec.(all of which I believe are better choices than most of yours listed)

And lastly, don’t do zero to hero unless you’re an extremely exoerienced tech diver. Even then I would say skip it
 

rongoodman

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I did mine with Protec, based in Playa and stayed at Mom's Hotel. Plenty of restaurants within walking distance. I had good experiences with Nando as my main instructor but I think he's since left the area. I had hoped to return later on after I got my Prism rebreather but they didn't train on that unit.
 

grantctobin

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you left off: Third Dimension diving, Under the Jungle, Jon(above), Roger at Xoc-ha, and Marissa at hidden worlds, and Protec Tulum. I think of the two Protec’s I greatly prefer the Tulum Protec.(all of which I believe are better choices than most of yours listed)

And lastly, don’t do zero to hero unless you’re an extremely exoerienced tech diver. Even then I would say skip it
^this
 

oya

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Another vote to please avoid being tantalized by the idea of “zero to hero”.

Longer thoughts on this quagmire here if you are so inclined to read:

Other than that, some good info by posters above. One thing I’d add is that Speleotech has been closed for some time.
 

Lorenzoid

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Another vote to please avoid being tantalized by the idea of “zero to hero”.

Longer thoughts on this quagmire here if you are so inclined to read:

Other than that, some good info by posters above. One thing I’d add is that Speleotech has been closed for some time.
That’s a great article. By coincidence I had just read it again yesterday. Worth a read even by people with no intention of doing zero-to-hero.
 

Manatee Diver

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I typically stay in PDC when I go to Mexico, but I am just doing fun diving, so my schedule is more about relaxation.

But cave training often involves long days, wake up early, meet at a dive site, dive, eat lunch, dive, get fills, hang up equipment, get dinner, and crash. As such if you are considering doing your cave training in Mexico staying at XOC-Ha would be really convenient. No worries about food, everything is right there. If you are worried about the vegan food, which even as a non-vegan is very good BTW, just plan some rest days (which is always a good idea regardless) and head to town for tacos.

But as Roger noted the Zero to Hero route isn't desirable. Training, particularly the first half, is a fire hose of information. You really need sometime to absorb the lessons. You can see a lot of cave on NSS-CDS Apprentice Cave limits. And the better you have those lessons down the easier the second half is.

So if you are looking to get the best training consider doing two trips. The first week could be training, followed by a week of fun dives, and if you can try to schedule some dives with just a buddy. Even after training is completed diving with your instructor is a bit intimidating.
 
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