I have heard so many great things about Mexico and with a lot of my dive buddies having worked or currently working there I jumped at the chance to go with Original Diving for a research trip - and I wasn't disappointed. I have never seen such clear water as when you skim over the ocean heading for your next underwater experience and the fish tacos, well put it this way, I had them most days!
With direct flights to Cancun from London Gatwick with BA and Virgin it couldn't be easier to reach the Quintana Roo Region of Mexico. From here you have several options by road, ferry and even private plane.
Cozumel | Drift Diving
I went off to explore the famous underwater world of Cozumel, which I can say was lovely. You will mainly find all the dive sites along the west coast of the island and due to the currents are all drift dives. The coral reef is extremely healthy and the topography is stunning, with many swim throughs. I wouldn't say this is a fishy place and has very little in the way of macro marine life but you will be graced in the presence of loggerhead and green turtles, nurse sharks and also eagle rays.
Catching the ferry back over to the mainland I took the short drive up to the Belmond Maroma Resort, home to the most relaxing diving I have ever done: think pretty schools of fish, great topography and no boats for miles, which is the best feeling.
Playa del Carmen | Diving With Bull Sharks
I moved further down the coast to Playa del Carmen for a few dives, again skimming over the perfectly clear waters along the stunning coast line to your next dive. I was extremely lucky as I was a little early for the bull shark season, so off I went to seek out these giants. Between Late November and March the waters around Playa del Carmen attract pregnant female bull sharks who are ready to give birth. This is why we are able to dive with these amazing creatures as they are relaxed. This dive is all about being on the bottom of the ocean and watching the bull sharks coming towards you from all angles. It truly is an amazing thing to witness. The dive lasted around 45 minutes and we had up to 6 sharks coming to check us out (as well as an eagle ray!).
Tulum | Diving The Cenotes
Now on to the Cenote diving….. this is a different kettle of fish all together. I moved further down the coast to Tulum, which is world famous for having access to these wonders. Diving in underground, fresh water river systems with the sun light glistening through the various sink holes along the way. You are never in darkness and you always have an exit in reach so you never feel you are going in to the unknown. There are hundreds of cenotes to dive with El pit, Dos Ojos, Carwash and Angelita being some of the top ones. I dived El Pit and Dos Ojos.
El Pit was just mind blowing. You descend from what is a small opening in the ground into this mass of open space, an underwater freshwater cave with 100% visibility. At around 15 metres you will hit a few meters of water where you think your mask has fogged up or your vision has become blurry, fear not this is the effect of fresh and salt water mixing. Once you are through this you will be blown away again with where you are. Hitting 30 metres and swimming around what looks like a tree surrounding by the morning mist is quite a surreal moment (and wishing I had a better strobe on your camera to capture the moment). Spiralling you way slowing back up to the entrance taking in the space you are in with your eyes wide open with amazement and if you could mouth wide open too.
Dos Ojos has two dives, the barbie line and the bat cave line. These are both shallow dives through the twists and turns of the cave lined with stalagmites. Words really can't describe diving the cenotes. Looking up into the sink hole openings and seeing the reverse of what we would usually be looking at looking down into the water. I literary cannot find words to paint a picture with.
Mexico was a lot of firsts for me and memories that I will treasure forever!