Planning full cave training in Mexico - any recommendations?

Please register or login

Welcome to ScubaBoard, the world's largest scuba diving community. Registration is not required to read the forums, but we encourage you to join. Joining has its benefits and enables you to participate in the discussions.

Benefits of registering include

  • Ability to post and comment on topics and discussions.
  • A Free photo gallery to share your dive photos with the world.
  • You can make this box go away

Joining is quick and easy. Log in or Register now!

rddvet

Contributor
Messages
2,014
Reaction score
2,278
Location
Florida
# of dives
50 - 99
Since your from Poland you should speak with Bartec of http://www.cavemexico.com/
Bartec is also Polish and a great guy and a great instructor located in Tulum. We have stayed at his place and took some of my training from him. Facebook... Accedi a Facebook
I don't know Bartek but have only heard good things and the people in the Mx cave community I trust have never had anything negative to say about him. So another good option
 

Dan G

ScubaBoard Supporter
ScubaBoard Supporter
Messages
1,268
Reaction score
1,003
Location
Colorado
# of dives
200 - 499
I had an excellent experience diving with Cenote Xperience out of PDC. I did not pursue full cave as I was and still am, new to tech diving. I completed IANTD Essentials and Cavern.
 

halocline

Contributor
Messages
9,172
Reaction score
3,691
Location
Deep in the woods
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 :)
I highly recommend Under the Jungle.

Nat and Vince, the co-owners, are both truly excellent cave instructors and the whole shop has a fantastic culture. The shop is near the entrance to the Tajma Ha cenote, which is very convenient for training. (Taj is a popular training cave) You can stay nearby in Puerto Aventuras, which is a large mixed-use community with condos, B&Bs, restaurants, etc. By next year Nat will have some rooms for rent in Puerto specifically for people training and/or diving with the shop.

I can tell you that 2 weeks is not enough time to complete full cave training if you have never done any technical diving, or are used to diving with manifolded doubles or sidemount. If an instructor tells you otherwise, I would be a bit skeptical.

Basically, if you are currently a single tank open water diver, even an excellent one, you would have to take cavern, intro to cave, and full cave, and in addition to that (prior to any cave training) demonstrate excellent control of buoyancy, trim, propulsion, and simple task loading in doubles or sidemount. If you are not already very good with doubles, I would suggest just moving straight into sidemount training before taking any cave classes. That's because sidemount is overall a better system for the caves in Mexico and probably 80% or more of experienced cave divers there use sidemount. It has to do with the geology of the caves there and it's also much nicer for entry-exit from the cenotes. If you are already good with BM doubles you can use those for the classes, (that's what I did) but keep in mind that most people (myself included) end up diving sidemount down there sooner or later.

The best way to approach this type of training is to go slowly, making sure that you develop the best possible habits and skills, and then add on the more complex things after some good experience in the simpler environments. In two weeks, you might be able to get a good sidemount course done (there's a lot to learn if you want to do it well) and cavern, then maybe start intro to cave. Or if you wanted to skip the SM, you could spend fewer days getting trained in BM doubles and maybe have time to do more in intro. Either way would allow you to do some training dives with an instructor on the mainlines to 1/6 penetration. You can get to some very nice places in Mexico that way and you could begin to internalize the various skills and awareness you need to become an excellent cave diver. It's a lengthy learning process that requires quite a bit of repetitive practice.

Anyhow, send Nat an email and ask her about it, I suspect she will give you all sorts of helpful information.
 

rddvet

Contributor
Messages
2,014
Reaction score
2,278
Location
Florida
# of dives
50 - 99
I highly recommend Under the Jungle.

. The shop is near the entrance to the Tajma Ha cenote, which is very convenient for training. (Taj is a popular training cave)
Poor Taj gets such a bum rap. Our last trip earlier this year we chose to dive Taj 3 out of 7 dive days. It's a fabulously beautiful cave. Add a rebreather and you can see some pretty amazing stuff.
I know you didn't mean that disparagingly at all. I just find it funny that there are actually a lot of divers that will skip some of the most beautiful caves because they're "training" caves.
 

oya

Rebreather Pilot
Scuba Instructor
Messages
365
Reaction score
611
Location
Akumal, MX
# of dives
2500 - 4999
If you are not already very good with doubles, I would suggest just moving straight into sidemount training before taking any cave classes. That's because sidemount is overall a better system for the caves in Mexico and probably 80% or more of experienced cave divers there use sidemount.
Agree with a great deal of what you say. This is the one thing...

Yeah, sidemount is cool and all. And I'm not to get all preachy about one system over the other because they're both fun. But you could dive a lifetime here on backmount and barely ever see the same cave twice. Many have. Just because it looks hip and you can superman a tank doesn't mean you have to in a cave that is 40'/12m from floor to ceiling and 100'/30m from wall to wall. Which just as many caves defined by this geology are.

Strengths and weaknesses to both systems. But I actually encourage people who don't have a pretty good bit of sidemount experience (or, at least, sidemount training by any one of a great number of instructors who know what in the hell they're doing) to start in backmount.

Caveat: If you don't have any backmount experience, get that first, too. But backmount is way easier to dial in than sidemount and has slightly fewer variables (something in the range of 10-12 vs. four hundred million).

Poor Taj gets such a bum rap. Our last trip earlier this year we chose to dive Taj 3 out of 7 dive days. It's a fabulously beautiful cave. Add a rebreather and you can see some pretty amazing stuff.
I know you didn't mean that disparagingly at all. I just find it funny that there are actually a lot of divers that will skip some of the most beautiful caves because they're "training" caves.

Go tell it on the mountain!!

There is very little in this world that delights me as much as when people come down here with the idea, "I need to dive XXXXXXXX because I heard it was the coolest!"

"Well... we could go there. Sweat ourselves into dehydration. Very possibly get dengue from the mosquitos who will be so voracious they will actually accelerate the dehydration. Possibly get stung by a tarantula hawk wasp (which has the reportedly second most painful sting in the entire animal kingdom). DEFINTELY get stung by paper wasps (which hurt, but are mostly just dicks). And hike our tanks 45 minutes in each direction.

OR

We can go to a site that we can damn near giant stride out of the car and I'll show you areas that no one ever goes to that put that place that's a mud-puddle in the middle of bloody nowhere to shame.

So what's it going to be?
 

halocline

Contributor
Messages
9,172
Reaction score
3,691
Location
Deep in the woods
Poor Taj gets such a bum rap. Our last trip earlier this year we chose to dive Taj 3 out of 7 dive days. It's a fabulously beautiful cave. Add a rebreather and you can see some pretty amazing stuff.
I know you didn't mean that disparagingly at all. I just find it funny that there are actually a lot of divers that will skip some of the most beautiful caves because they're "training" caves.
I know what you mean, but I didn't intend to disparage Taj. It really is a varied and beautiful cave system. I could dive there several days in a row and be happy, and the cavern line alone is really nice. I just mentioned it because it's so convenient if you're training at UTJ, you're at the entrance to the cenote.
 

halocline

Contributor
Messages
9,172
Reaction score
3,691
Location
Deep in the woods
Agree with a great deal of what you say. This is the one thing...

Yeah, sidemount is cool and all. And I'm not to get all preachy about one system over the other because they're both fun. But you could dive a lifetime here on backmount and barely ever see the same cave twice. Many have. Just because it looks hip and you can superman a tank doesn't mean you have to in a cave that is 40'/12m from floor to ceiling and 100'/30m from wall to wall. Which just as many caves defined by this geology are.

Strengths and weaknesses to both systems. But I actually encourage people who don't have a pretty good bit of sidemount experience (or, at least, sidemount training by any one of a great number of instructors who know what in the hell they're doing) to start in backmount.

Caveat: If you don't have any backmount experience, get that first, too. But backmount is way easier to dial in than sidemount and has slightly fewer variables (something in the range of 10-12 vs. four hundred million).
Absolutely agree on all points. I just brought it up because if someone were arriving in Mexico as a single tank diver and had to decide whether to learn BM doubles or SM as a prerequisite for cave training in those caves, I would recommend just going ahead and starting off with SM. That doesn't mean there's anything wrong with learning (or diving) those caves in BM; I did it myself as I posted. I just think if you're starting from scratch, you might as well dive right in (no pun intended) with SM training. If you already dive BM doubles, that's probably the easiest/best way to start cave training, but with zero experience in either, then I would go SM.
 
OP
M

Marc111n

New
Messages
4
Reaction score
3
Location
Poland
# of dives
200 - 499
Thank you very much for your valuable input! You guys are great!

Even though I do have experience with doubles/stage setup, I did wreck training where we worked with reels, blind navigation and stuff like that - I will reconsider doing zero-to-hero. I really want all the new experience and skills that the full cave training brings but maybe it should not be rushed.

Also I think staying in Tulum and then moving to Playa will be the best option.

I will go through all your recommendations and talk to the instructors to choose the right plan of action. Thank you.

Since your from Poland you should speak with Bartec of http://www.cavemexico.com/
Bartec is also Polish and a great guy and a great instructor located in Tulum. We have stayed at his place and took some of my training from him. Facebook... Accedi a Facebook
Actually I did speak to him before posting here :) He will be available for courses only until the end of January (unfortunately).
 

Norwegian Cave Diver

ScubaBoard Supporter
ScubaBoard Supporter
Messages
626
Reaction score
394
Location
Calgary Alberta Canada
# of dives
200 - 499
Then consider training at a place that has its own accommodations.
Protec Tulum has individual rooms upstairs each with its own shower and washroom and common kitchen, easy walk to the busy part of town for meals.
Underworld Tulum has very nice accommodations with 6 suites with their own bedroom and bathroom and small kitchen and a pool, short cab ride into busy part of town.
I have stayed at both places. There are other shops that have the same type of amenities but i haven't been there. I might be there in March. We could do some diving together.
 
https://www.shearwater.com/products/perdix-ai/
http://cavediveflorida.com/Rum_House.htm

Top Bottom