Along the coast of the Mexican Caribbean, also called “the Mayan Riviera” lies a relaxed diving destination – Playa del Carmen. Away from the high rise hotels of Cancun and crowded dive sites of Cozumel, the funky town of Playa del Carmen is home to some of the region’s best dive sites, great beaches and cosmopolitan lifestyle.
Another unique aspect of this area is the extensive underwater cavern system; the Cenotes. The area around Playa del Carmen is home to these intricate cavern and caves formations and this is THE place to go if you want to learn how to cave dive.
Best Diving Destinations in Playa Del Carmen
Most dive sites in Playa del Carmen are drift dives and none are more than aten minute boatride away.
Chimenea/Xcalacoco (The Chimney/Green Wall)
This mini wall is known for its coral Chimney, turtles and 10m/30ft wall of hard and soft corals contrasted with sand mounds. A Deep dive for more experienced divers. Minimum Depth 20m/66ft, Maximum Depth 30m/100ft
Los Arcos (The Arches)
A deep dive with coral walls and arches for the experienced diver that is home to moray eels, groupers and stingrays within a delicate mix of hard and soft coral. Minimum Depth 25m/75ft, Maximum Depth 30m/100ft.
Cerebros (The Brain)
Scenic underwater landscape predominated by large brain coral formations, small crustaceans and schools of tropical fish. Minimum Depth 10m/33ft, Maximum Depth 14m/45ft.
Moc Che (The Trees)
This dive sight can be viewed at multiple depths. If taken to the limit of 30 m, turtles, king crabs and moray eels can be seen living in the large barrel sponges. When opting for the shallower portion of the reef, hundreds of fish of varying species can be found with the collection of soft coral. Minimum Depth 7 mts/23ft, Maximum Depth 33m/100ft
Large reef site filled with soft coral gardens and caverns, it is home to many schools of grunts, pork fish, spotted and green moray eels and butterfly fish.
Minimum Depth 10m/33ft, Maximum Depth 14m/45ft
A site named after it is inhabitants, this finger shaped reef leaves the diver with many overhangs to explore. Minimum Depth 10m/33ft, Maximum Depth 14m/45ft
A demanding shallow reef that is a mix of both large coral gardens and sandy terrain. This is home to large schools of snappers, spade fish and tarpons measuring 6 feet or more.
Minimum Depth 12m/36ft, Maximum Depth 18m/60ft.
Playa’s most sought after dive site due to the amount of hawksbill and loggerhead turtles that live in the flat coral garden. Minimum Depth 18m/66ft, Maximum Depth 25m/80ft
Islote (Little Island)
A delight for divers who want to see a variety of tropical fish in one area that are attracted to the soft and hard corals.Minimum Depth 20m/70ft, Maximum Depth 27m/85ft
Punta Venado (Deer Point)
A large coral garden filled with hard corals, trunk fish, tangs, parrot fish, file fish, nurse sharks and moray eels. Minimum Depth 20m/70ft, Maximum Depth 27m/85ft
A Shrimp boat sunk in 1995 to create an artificial reef within the area. This is a trip for experienced divers only. Minimum Depth 20m/60ft, Maximum Depth 30m/100ft.
When to Visit playa Del Carmen
The water temperature is 78 F in winter and 82 F in summer. In January and February the port is sometimes closed for the day due to heavy winds. But not to worry, there is tons to do in and around Playa del Carmen that you’re almost happy that you can take the day off from diving to take advantage of all these other activities. We recommend a 3mm shortie for summer and a full 3 -5 mm suit in winter. If you want to dive the cenotes bring at least a 5mm with hood.
Getting to Playa Del Carmen
Cancun is the big international airport served by a number of international airlines and charter flights. From there it is an easy one hour taxi or bus ride to Playa del Carmen.