Yucatan trip - looking for diving opportunities

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Diverspoint

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Puerto Morelos Mexico
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Tulum has good cenotes, a bit expensive. Then again many cenotes around Merida. Much less people there. If you do the tour of the Yucatan you should really consider divng cenotes there.

Ocean diving is best around Cozumel, especially this year as it is quiet. Normally far too busy for my liking. Maybe dive Cozumel from Playa del Carmen. Do not dive Playa del Carmen itself, it is not worth it.

For some more simple dives maybe consider Puerto Morelos, as the dives there are nicer then Playa del Carmen. Mahahual is also good.
 

driftwood

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Another not diving answer. You also might want to consider a night in Valladolid. Nice colonial city not overrun with tourists. The big reason for staying there is that it is close to both Chichen Itza and especially Ek Balam. CI is VERY impressive but Ek Balam is the only ruin that I would consider worth multiple visits. Not very big, but the art is unique in the Mayan world and literally rewrote the books.
 

Oldbear

Teaching Neutral Diving
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My wife (non-diver) and I are travelling to Yucatan from Europe in April for 2 weeks.
We are thinking of renting a car and tour the peninsula, staying in a few different places...:)

Several years ago I rented a car and traveled around the Yucatán also. A word of advice...buy the supplement auto insurance. They have strange auto laws compared to Europe (and the US).

I was involved in an accident where another driver hydroplaned in a rain storm and lost control of his vehicle. He slid into my lane and I could not avoid hitting him. Where I am from the accident would have been his fault and his insurance would have fixed my vehicle.

Not in Mexico...

At the accident scene, the police told me I had to wait for the insurance company. Due to my ignorance of the Mexican law, I did not know that each party’s insurance representative would be showing up. So I mistakenly thought the other guy’s insurance rep was an official for all parties and he suggested that each party be responsible for their own vehicle. While I did not agree with this I thought I had not choice in the matter and signed a statement. Soon afterwards MY insurance rep showed up and help settled the matter telling me that the accident was 100% his fault and I was free to resume my vacation.

When I went to turn in the rental car they freaked out by the damage...and I don’t blame them. They made some phone calls and said I was liable for the damage. When I told them what our insurance rep said, not my fault, they said that didn’t matter since I signed an agreement stating it was both of our fault and I was liable for my rental. The damage was in excess of $2000. But when I rented the car I purchased the supplemetal accident insurance and was only charges $55 for a co-pay.

When I rent vehicles in countries that are I do not know 100% the traffics laws I always buy the extra insurance...it is relatively cheap and has save me not only in Mexico, but in Italy and France too.
 

jonhall

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Location
Indianapolis
# of dives
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Depending on the final itinerary I'll consider either driving to the southern sites (Mahahual and Xcalak) or taking a ferry to Cozumel and staying there for 2-3 days, as from what I gather those locations are superior to the mainland of Riviera Maya.
And what about western and northern side of Yucatan?

I'm guessing since you mentioned all sides of the Yucatan, you are not necessarily staying along the east coast every night (?) but would begin and end in Cancun since that's the international airport.

Some considerations:

Wouldn't worry about your certification to 65'. Dive ops are going to take you where they take you. Cozumel dives may have a first dive below 65' and the second dive shallower.

Puerto Morelos is about 30 minutes south of Cancun. A quaint seaport town, it has a protected National Marine Park and there is diving and snorkeling. I've only dove 3 places along the Riviera Maya coast and PM was the best of those. Not too far from PM is the cenote, Kin-Ha (I've no first hand experience on this but the PM dive shops will - looks pretty nice at least for snorkeling.)

We went through the town of Valladolid when we visited Chichen Itza. In the middle of town is one of the neatest cenotes, Zaci, that I've seen - big swimming hole. Because of its proximity to other sites, Valladolid could be a place to stay as a home base for a few nights.

Akumal has a great beach and is a good place to snorkel with turtles. Dive ops are here also. Your research was good!

Since you've already decided to stay in Cozumel, I would say good choice. The farther south you stay, the better the beaches, IMO. In your 2-3 days, this definitely needs to be one of your dive days - maybe 2 days worth! The protected marine park is nearer the south also, so any dive op you use along the south are very short boat rides to dive sites. Pro Dive and Dressel Divers are both located in resorts to the south - you may get other good suggestions for ops especially when you know exactly where you are staying. Taxis are a pretty easy way to get around the island for sightseeing/restaurants. Don't forget that, when going to Coz, you are going to have to plan ahead as to where you can drop off your rental car and then get a rental back after your Coz stay. Of course the other way to do it, if you are staying in Akumal for an extended period, is to take the ferry over to Coz for the day - maybe find a dive op at a resort where I could get my wife an all- inclusive day pass. A dive op in Akumal may even set it up for you. Your ferry experience will might determine how many days you go back.

When staying in Playa del Carmen, I dove the Taj Mahal (or Tajma Ha) cenote. Others sing the praises of cenote diving, and only you are going to know how well you like it, but for me, if I were only doing a few days of diving, I would stick to your 2 cenote dives. I like the open ocean, but would dive cenotes if that was all that was available. The first of these dives will be a learning experience (different thickness wetsuit, more weights, buoyancy issues going from fresh water through possible halocline to salt water and back, etc.) Dive ops from coastal towns will take you to cenotes, but if you have a car, there may be dive ops located at the cenote.

As you have more specifics about where you're staying, you can get more specific info from SB members, but @ChuckP has made an offer that would be hard to refuse!
 

Korhil

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Poland
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Thank you. What an amazing feedback!

Valladolid and Merida are already on the list.
As of now, my plans also include Rio Lagartos (either a day trip from Valladolid or an overnight).
I'm even considering travelling as far as Palenque but will have to give it more thought - it's quite a remote (yet apparently worth visiting) destination. On the other hand, many interesting archeological sites closer to Cancun (Chitzen Itza, Ek Balam, Uxmal, Coba, Tulum, even Calakmul...).

I'm well aware of car rental issues in Mexico and will definitely opt for full insurance.
Btw can you recommend any diving insurance which I can get just for a couple of diving days (as opposed to including diving in travel insurance for the whole trip)?

Tulum has good cenotes, a bit expensive. Then again many cenotes around Merida. Much less people there. If you do the tour of the Yucatan you should really consider divng cenotes there.
Can you recommend any diving operation there?

would begin and end in Cancun since that's the international airport.
That's correct.

Wouldn't worry about your certification to 65'. Dive ops are going to take you where they take you. Cozumel dives may have a first dive below 65' and the second dive shallower.
I guess it's just me being responsible and trying not to exceed my license limits. Though I'm pretty confident I'd handle it.

Akumal has a great beach and is a good place to snorkel with turtles. Dive ops are here also. Your research was good!
I've heard about some issues with locals trying to make you pay for snorkelling there... :mad:

Since you've already decided to stay in Cozumel, I would say good choice. The farther south you stay, the better the beaches, IMO. In your 2-3 days, this definitely needs to be one of your dive days - maybe 2 days worth!
So you'd recommend staying further south for better beaches and the proximity of dive sites?
If I were to travel there, it'd be definitely 2 diving days. I'm not considering a 1-day, return trip from PDC/Akumal just for diving.
However I still haven't decided about staying in Cozumel.
Alternatively I'm thinking about diving in Mahahual or Puerto Morelos. Actually the latter could be the first or last stop during the whole trip.
 

jonhall

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So you'd recommend staying further south for better beaches and the proximity of dive sites?

Interestingly enough, I've only stayed north of town and at a more central location, but went to 2 of the southern resorts/dive ops to dive. The water north, maybe because of the currents, could look kind of brownish. The water to the south usually has the pretty Caribbean blues. No matter where you stay, the dive ops are going to take you to the marine park (in the south.) So my answer is yes for the beaches and convenience of diving. My goal is to stay at a place like the Allegro but I haven't worked it out yet. I have 2 weeks booked for Nov. and Dec. this year and neither week is toward the south.

Btw can you recommend any diving insurance which I can get just for a couple of diving days (as opposed to including diving in travel insurance for the whole trip)?

You might ask this in a new thread if you don't get responses here. Great question but off the top of my head, I'd say no one does that. Have only ever heard of annual dive insurance, such as DAN, which can be pretty cheap (in the U.S.) but you also need a DAN membership, also not too expensive. Other insurance companies, like Dive Assure, will include dive insurance in their single trip insurance which could be cheaper than buying separate dive and trip policies.
 

driftwood

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Central Texas
# of dives
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Thank you. What an amazing feedback!

Valladolid and Merida are already on the list.
As of now, my plans also include Rio Lagartos (either a day trip from Valladolid or an overnight).
I'm even considering travelling as far as Palenque but will have to give it more thought - it's quite a remote (yet apparently worth visiting) destination. On the other hand, many interesting archeological sites closer to Cancun (Chitzen Itza, Ek Balam, Uxmal, Coba, Tulum, even Calakmul...).

I'm well aware of car rental issues in Mexico and will definitely opt for full insurance.
Btw can you recommend any diving insurance which I can get just for a couple of diving days (as opposed to including diving in travel insurance for the whole trip)?


Can you recommend any diving operation there?


That's correct.


I guess it's just me being responsible and trying not to exceed my license limits. Though I'm pretty confident I'd handle it.


I've heard about some issues with locals trying to make you pay for snorkelling there... :mad:


So you'd recommend staying further south for better beaches and the proximity of dive sites?
If I were to travel there, it'd be definitely 2 diving days. I'm not considering a 1-day, return trip from PDC/Akumal just for diving.
However I still haven't decided about staying in Cozumel.
Alternatively I'm thinking about diving in Mahahual or Puerto Morelos. Actually the latter could be the first or last stop during the whole trip.

You might want to hire a taxi for a hour or so in both Valladolid and Merida. Tell the driver you want to see the older colonial buildings and learn their history. Also, you might want to do some reading on the War of the Castes. It played a large role in today's Yucatan, Valladolid was one of the epicenters for the revolt.

This hotel deserves a look,

Hotel El Mesón del Marqués
 

Sue Sue

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My wife (non-diver) and I are travelling to Yucatan from Europe in April for 2 weeks.
We are thinking of renting a car and tour the peninsula, staying in a few different places. The itinerary is yet to be determined. However, as a certified diver (CMAS 1*=OWD), I'm looking for the best chances to dive during the trip. I'm thinking of 4 open water dives and 2 cenotes. From what I gather, the latter can be dived from Tulum where, I guess, we'll stay for at least 2 nights. The question remains for the rest.
I went through a couple of the board threads and it's obvious the best spots are near Cozumel island. However, it seems to me, travelling and getting accommodation there may not be the best solution, considering that the whole trip isn't diving oriented, my wife doesn't dive (she likes snorkeling, though) and my certification only allows diving up to 20m (65ft) deep. What do you think? My initial research shows that Akumal could be suitable for our needs :)

Hello ! Check out the Cozumel Forum and ask your questions there. We are a Friendly group of Folks with LOTS of experience and advice !!! However, be forwarned..For the most part, we are a VERY Dedicated and Passionate group when it comes to Our Cozumel Best Wishes and Happy Diving and Snorkeling, Safe travels !
 

Sue Sue

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My wife (non-diver) and I are travelling to Yucatan from Europe in April for 2 weeks.
We are thinking of renting a car and tour the peninsula, staying in a few different places. The itinerary is yet to be determined. However, as a certified diver (CMAS 1*=OWD), I'm looking for the best chances to dive during the trip. I'm thinking of 4 open water dives and 2 cenotes. From what I gather, the latter can be dived from Tulum where, I guess, we'll stay for at least 2 nights. The question remains for the rest.
I went through a couple of the board threads and it's obvious the best spots are near Cozumel island. However, it seems to me, travelling and getting accommodation there may not be the best solution, considering that the whole trip isn't diving oriented, my wife doesn't dive (she likes snorkeling, though) and my certification only allows diving up to 20m (65ft) deep. What do you think? My initial research shows that Akumal could be suitable for our needs :)

Actually, visiting Cozumel from the Mainland for a few days and Diving two 2 tank day dives would be easy. There are many very nice lodgings that could accomodate your diving, your wife's Snorkeling and beachtime as well as some touring for both of you to fit into any budget. As far as your 65 foot limit..no worries there...Just mention this to your Dive op and Divemaster and make the plan. You may also want to just hire a private Divemaster for the day who will not only be dedicated to stay with you at 65 feet, but also he/she will be there to tweek dive skills (especially if current ut up...which does happen for Cozumel..no worries), and then also you will have VIP help looking for Cozumel Critters ! Make sure to mention you would like to see a Splendid Toadfish ! It is indigenous to the Palancar Reef of Cozumel. Just put your hand, palm down, under your chin and wiggle your fingers...your divemaster will know what you want to see ! ... Again...have a wonderful trip and feel free to ask any questions !
 
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