Yucatán Peninsula Diving Holiday: An Overview

The Yucatan Peninsula in south-east Mexico separates the Gulf of Mexico from the Caribbean Sea. On the Caribbean side, the coastline offers pure white-sand beaches, calm blue waters and wonderful diving.

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Louisa, Amy and Charlie are here to help give you the inside track.

Why we think you’ll love it

  • The diving in the Yucatan Peninsula is wonderful for its variety - whale sharks, bull sharks, nice reefs and the world-famous cenotes.
  • The Yucatán Peninsula is perfect for those who feel beach holiday guilt: there's plenty of culture along the Riviera Maya, and it's so near it only requires you to take a couple of hours off from your sun lounger.
  • There are world-class hotels all over the place here so you just need to choose the one that suits your needs (and that's where we come in).

Our Guide to Yucatán Peninsula Diving Holidays

Although resorts such as Playa del Carmen and Cancun are one image of the Yucatán Peninsula, there is another - far more charming - world available in this south-eastern tip of Mexico.

The Yucatán has plenty to offer the discerning culture vulture, lovers of jungle and wildlife, diving fans, and holiday makers looking for romantic, exclusive or just plain beautiful beach hotels.

South of Cancun stretches what is known as the Riviera Maya, with its historic towns such as Merida and Campeche, and fascinating Mayan sites.

The truly outstanding feature of the diving here is the incredible variety. There is something for everyone, from the novice to the advanced diver, and if the weather gets rough, or you just want to try something different, the incredible 'Cenotes' or sink holes await.

Cenotes are inland freshwater caves where you can dive surrounded by surreal scenery of stalagmites often in water that is totally transparent - cenote diving is a unique experience.

Back in the sea, the only type of diving that is not available is genuine wall diving. What is on offer is a series of gently sloping plateaus and shallow reef ledges. These harbour a thriving ecosystem with colourful corals, both hard and soft, varied and plentiful fish life, yellow rays, sting rays, lobsters and all the usual suspects that go to make up a healthy reef. Some sites offer giant sponges and large Green and Hawksbill turtles.

At Puerto Aventuras, you have the chance to snorkel with dolphins, sting rays and manatees. In short, whatever your particular thrill is underwater, this coastline delivers. From June to September you are virtually guaranteed to be able to snorkel with whale sharks too which is reason enough alone to come here.

Beyond the attractions of the hotels and diving there are the fabulous Mayan ruins at Tulum and Chichen Itza, plus activities such as horse riding through the jungle, deep-sea fishing, sailing and even sky-diving. With the recent opening of the superb new spa, the resort really lacks for nothing.


Original Highlight

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The many Mayan ruins are a culture vulture's dream. Chichen Itza is the most famous but there are some other pretty spectacular sites such as Tulum. All this, and the beach is never far away either!

Alex, Original Diver

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Top picks for Yucatan Peninsula

The pool at Viceroy Riviera Maya, luxury hotel in Mexico

Viceroy Riviera Maya

Yucatan Peninsula

The Viceroy Riviera Maya is a boutique beachfront resort located just outside Playa del Carmen on Mexico's Yucatán peninsula, yet feels a million miles away from the hustle and bustle of the town.

Where to stay

Hotel Esencia

Hotel Esencia

Yucatan Peninsula

Once the beachside retreat of an eccentric Italian Duchess, Hotel Esencia is a chic beach retreat set on a two-mile stretch of white-sand beach along the ‘Riviera Maya’ of Mexico’s Yucatán coast, and still retains that feeling of a private home.

Where to stay

Aerial View of the Beach

Belmond Maroma Resort & Spa

Yucatan Peninsula

Belmond Maroma Resort and Spa is an idyllic beach resort located on a secluded stretch of the Riviera Maya, in the middle of a nature reserve on the Yucatán peninsula.

Where to stay

I just want you to know how pleased we were with the organization of our trip. It really was seamless from start to finish and exactly what I was looking for: no stress, no worry, perfect execution, wonderfully beautiful hotels and exotic locales.

Alastair & Wing

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