Post Covid-19│Mexico is opened for scuba-diving│The best sites
The global scuba diving community continues to confront the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. We have all rarely been so impacted, yet, as the world’s leading dive organization, united in our own passion for diving,we want to keep diving dreams alive. As the countries start to open up they boarders and the tourism industry slowly recover, we all dream of going for a dive. It is still hard to know excaly where we can travel and where scuba-diving is permitted. PADI has a map where you can check where scuba-diving is permitted.
So far, we found out that, from June 1st, Mexico has re-opened the country for travellers and activities are allowed with health and security restrictions.
Mexico is always a good idea. From cenotes to the open sea, there are plenty of dive sites and opportunities to explore the underwater world of Mexico. We made a list of the best diving spots in the Riviera Maya where you will enjoy the joy of diving and discover the beauty of the 2nd largest reef barrier.
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RIVIERA MAYA & CARIBEANS
Known more for parties and nightclubs, and luxury beach resorts, the gateway to the Yukatan also has it’s own fair share of decent dive sites you might like to see. The most recommended sites are Manchones Reef located in the waters between Cancun, Isla Mujeres and Punta Nizuc.
The most famous dive site is called Palancar Reef. These four sites are located to the southeast of the island. Coral pinnacles rise from a sandy bottom which slopes slowly down to a drop-off. You’ll wind your way through tunnels and swim-throughs then along the dramatic wall, spotting a variety of tropical fish along the way. Eagle rays and nurse sharks make the occasional appearance. Because of its generally good visibility and shallow nature, this makes a good wall dive for beginners.
Playa Del Carmen
Every year dozens of these large sharks arrive to the sandy shallows just offshore. from November to March pregnant females come here to give birth. Divers are able to see perhaps dozens of these apex creatures. You can both explore lots of cenotes nearby, as well as some dives off-shore.
When staying in the Yucatan Peninsula, you’ll have your choice of several, but one cenote stands out as the best dive in the region. That’s Cenote Dos Ojos (or Cenote Two Eyes). This cave reaches for more than 50 miles (80 kilometers) and offers several dive paths through its many passages and rooms. As one of the most popular dives in Mexico, don’t expect to be the only diver underwater.
Mahahual is a small, quiet fishing village on the coast mexican coast. About 35km off the coastline near Mahahual is Chinchorro; an atoll reef and nature reserve known for the surrounding shipwrecks, reef and alligators. Mahahual has some nice dive sties, but for those with more time, Chincorro is the real star.
The town of Xcalak is on the southernmost on the Mexican Caribbean coastline, just off of Belize. Xcalak is located within the Xcalak Reef National Marine Park, a Federal Marine Park with strict environmental regulations, both in the water and out. Xcalak also has the unique advantage of being located less than an hour from Banco Chinchorro, the largest coral atoll in the Northern Hemisphere.
Diving in cenotes, the best experience ever
The Yucatan Peninsula is in fact a plateau beneath which runs a system of underwater caves, some of which collapsed into sinkholes. Mexico is perhaps the best destination in the world for an introduction to cave diving. Enjoying your vacations in the Mayan Riviera and not visiting a cenote, is like going to Paris and not visiting the Eiffel Tower: Absolutely Impossible. Obviously, you will want to visit a unique natural phenomenon in the world like this, won’t you?
This cenote is in the middle of the jungle. Among so much vegetation, you will be surprised to find its small entrance, which is nothing more than the gateway to wonder land. The entrance bifurcates in two. The line on the right, longer, allows you to descend up to 14m deep. The line on the left takes you to the cavern of the bats. But for lovers of cave diving, there is still 40m depth.
The Pit is the fairytale dive. It’s a deep dive so you must be advanced certified to do it. Approximately 30m depth, the organic material decomposition creates a hydrogen sulfide curtain from which the branches of trees emerge ghostly. The visual effects we see here can be truly out of this world.
Car Wash is great for seeing nature and marine life. The abundance of light makes it a particular favorite of photographers and videographers. The cavern is very large, from the darkness inside, we look out on a beautiful wall of light outside. There are broken pottery, coral, fossils and rock formations to see as well.
Angelita is a deep dark dive into a cloud of hydrogen sulfide gas. To get to the entrance you will have to walk about 45 minutes through the jungle and descend a great height before finding the cenote’s eye. This unevenness continues inside the water because it is an extremely deep cenote: 55 m. Undoubtedly, Angelita is one of the best cenotes in Mexico for technical diving lovers.
It’s quite shallow with an average depth of only 5 meters. There are big caverns to swim through with lots of natural light coming in. But the best thing about Dos Ojos is the Stalagtites & Stalagmites. These are crazy rock formations that look like they are flowing liquid, they are abundant in the massive cavern at Dos Ojos. Coral and conch fossils decorate the passageways.
Maravilla cenote is located on the “ruta de los cenotes” in Puerto MorelosIt is very, very deep – going down to a depth of around 70 meters or more – with a profile something like a giant glass jar, with a narrower open lid at the top and a broader base. If you are a fan of the times when light shines down into the water from gaps in the cavern roof above, then Maravilla cenote is for you. When the sun is high, it has one tremendous beam of bluish-green light penetrating the depths from the single hole in the cavern ceiling.
THE PACIFIC SIDE
Socorro & Revillagigedo islands
Socorro island, one of the Revillagigedo Islands, is a small volcanic island 600km off the Pacific coast of Mexico. It’s an incredible spot for diving, best known for the surrounding pelagic life in the area. Socorro is a diver’s paradise. If you would like to experience marine life encounters, you won’t be disappointed with this diving destination. It is home to some of the largest creatures in the ocean. In fact, this is one of few places that enable you to swim with humpback whales.
If diving with great white sharks takes your fancy, you’ll be hard pushed to find anywhere better than Guadalupe Island. Diving here is all about the great whites, and this is one of the best scuba diving destinations in the world to get up close and personal with these awesome predators. Located 150 miles off the west coast of the Baja California Peninsula, Isla Guadalupe is only accessible by liveaboard, and the visiting boats specialize in shark-cage diving.
Puerto Vallarta is one of the main diving destinations for people who visit Mexico, particularly along the Pacific Coast. Most of the dive sites are located quite a distance from the main resort area, such as in offshore islands like Marietas Islands and Los Arcos. You will also encounter a variety of underwater features like caves, coral reefs, rock formations, and tunnels.
A large Peninsula dividing the Pacific Ocean from the Sea of Cortez, the Baja Peninsula offers some fantastic sites for those interested in scuba diving in Mexico. While there are sites up and down the coast, the best sites can be found Los Cabos and nearby Cabos Pulmo. It is home of a diverse range of tropical reef and pelagic species where the Sea of Cortez meets the Pacific Ocean.
Cabo San Lucas and Cabo Pulmo
Diving is one of the favorite activities for visitors to La Paz. There are multiple dive sites to choose from, which is suited for beginner or advanced divers. A spectacular underwater adventure awaits those who dare to explore the underwater scenery in La Paz with over 700 different species thriving in the region.
Tips for your "post Covid-19" diving trip
Safety is everyone’s top priority. With that in mind, we should all take a few things in consideration the top safety tips for dive and travel during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. PADI has launched an interactive map that allows divers to easily see if diving is allowed, restricted or currently prohibited in their area because of coronavirus restrictions. The map includes a pin for every single PADI Center and Resort.
In the event that you have necessary and unavoidable travels during the COVID-19 pandemic or need to travel immediately after the outbreak, here are some tips for your safety during the journey.
- Always practice proper hygiene, including frequently washing your hands, coughing or sneezing into your elbow and not touching your face.
- Practice social distancing as much as possible. This means keeping at least one meter of distance between you and anyone around you, especially people who are coughing and sneezing.
- Should you experience fever, persistent cough or difficulty breathing, seek medical advice as soon as possible.
- You may need to undergo testing for COVID-19 at your destination or origin. And several locations have mandatory quarantine periods upon arrival. You’ll need to factor in the delays this may cause to your itinerary.
- Some travel insurance companies are refusing to pay out for COVID-19 related claims. Be sure to check what is covered by your travel insurance company in terms of treatment for the virus, expenses for quarantining for 14 days and trip cancellation reimbursement.
- If you are under a government or doctor order to self-isolate, do not travel. This is for your safety and the safety of others.
- Check your country-of-origin government website for the latest travel advice before you depart.
Alternatively, if you have more questions about traveling and diving during COVID-19, check the PADI Travel FAQ page.