Playa del Carmen
The bustling town of Playa del Carmen sits in the middle of the
Riviera Maya, halfway between Cancun and Tulum. Its beaches look
across the water to the island of Cozumel, while behind the town,
the Yucatan's thick jungle conceals several impressive cenotes. For
advanced divers, the incredible lighting within Cenote Maravilla,
just north of Playa, is a great introduction to cenote diving.
Staying in and around Playa also positions you conveniently for
a day trip to Cozumel, with most of the shore diving taking place
at Chankanaab Beach Park. Located in Cozumel's National Reef Marine
Park, the shore dives are characterized by thriving reefs teeming
with colourful reef fish, and there's always a good chance of
spotting a white-spotted eagle ray.
Located just south of Playa del Carmen, en route to Tulum,
Puerto Aventuras offers a quieter and more intimate atmosphere
compared to its larger neighbour. When it comes to shore diving in
Mexico, Puerto Aventuras is perfectly placed on the doorstep of two
of the peninsula's most captivating cenote dives: Cenote Tajma Ha
and Cenote Chac Mool.
Cenote Tajma Ha is famous for its unique light effects,
particularly in the Points of Light Room chamber, where laser-like
rays of light pierce through two holes in the ceiling. Just a short
fifteen-minute drive from Tajma Ha, Cenote Chac Mool features
large, open chambers illuminated in crystal-clear water. Reaching a
maximum depth of 12 metres, this is an ideal cenote for beginner
divers wanting to experience the cenote shore diving in Mexico.
A 45-minute drive further south of Puerto Aventuras will bring
you to Tulum. It's an ideal day trip for history buffs and those
wishing to go shore diving in Mexico. Tulum boasts two of the most
famous cenotes on its doorstep: Cenote El Pit and Cenote Dos Ojos.
After your dives, you can explore the ancient Maya ruins at the
Tulum archaeological site.
Cenote El Pit, with its vertical tube, is perfect for divers
seeking greater depth. As one of the deeper cenotes, El Pit
features a hydrogen sulphide layer and a debris mound at around 30
metres. The cenote's pit-like shape allows light beams to penetrate
deeply, providing HD-visibility of the stalagmites and stalactites
lining the cave. Meanwhile, Dos Ojos, which translates to 'two
eyes', in Spanish, is the most-visited cenote in the area. The
large, shallow chambers are perfectly suited for beginner divers,
and the site also features an eerie 'bat cave' where flying bats
swirl above you mid-dive.