Scuba diving in Mexico
Mexico is a land with beautiful beaches a rich cultural life and good food. Mexico has almost all a traveler wants, including scuba diving! It is possible to visit Mexico all year around, the hottest and wettest months are June to October. Most people go to Mexico December to January and July to August.
A much travelled and popular destination especially for divers is the city of Cancun. A big reason for this is The great Maya barrier reef or Mesoamerican barrier reef as it is also called, the second largest reef in the world, it´s over 600 miles long with 66 different species of corals, 500 species of fish, turtles, dolphins and whale sharks. The Mesoamerican reef is home to some endangered and protected species, for example the West Indian Manatee, the American crocodile and Splendid Toadfish. Even though the Manatee is endangered, one of the biggest populations of manatees lives in the Mesoamerican reef. The Mesoamerican reef is divided into pieces one of the most beautiful one being Manchones reef. Cancun has dive sites for all divers, beginners and advanced. There´s the reef and a big wreck from a minesweeper. The C58 Minesweeper was sunk in 1980 as an artificial reef, in 2005 the hurricane Wilma tore her apart and after that it is possible to enter the ship. It´s an amazing dive for the experienced diver where you´ll meet a teeming marine life inhabiting the wreck. The best time to dive in Cancun is May to August.
Cancuns underwater museum is something you can´t miss! The sculptures at the bottom portraits all sorts of things, for example a man eating a hamburger and watching TV. The reason for the over 400 sculptures at the bottom is to improve the growth of coral reefs and marine life.
Along the Riviera Maya, that stretches from Puerto Morelos to the city of Tulum, you´ll find Playa del Carmen, where many tourists stay, Xcaret, a snorkeling park, and Akumal, the city that started as a community for scuba divers.
Diving in the city of Puerto Morelos is beautiful. The part of the Mesoamerican reef that´s outside the city is a national park which keeps it protected. On a dive in the Garden you´re likely to see barracudas, turtles, eels, rays, and if you´re lucky a nurse shark. Outside Puerto Morelos at a depth of 30 m there´s a navy boat wreck to explore, the wreck is home to a teeming marine life. In Puerto Morelos it is also possible to dive in the cenotes.
Mexico is famous for its cenotes. Cenotes are stand-alone sink holes, since the cenotes are isolated from the sea the marine life in them are their own and can´t be found anywhere else. Therefore every cenote is unique. Diving in a cenote, with fresh water that´s so clear that it looks like you´re swimming in thin air is an amazing experience. Cenotes are created when limestone bedrock collapses and the groundwater gets revealed. Under the ground the cenotes forms systems like tunnels where you can explore amazing sites, the sun manages to reach down to these places so you´ll be able to see all the beautiful creatures and corals down here. But in those cenotes that are underground with no air holes, you need to be an experienced diver. November to March is the best months to dive the cenotes. Cenotes can be found in many places in Mexico, in the Yucatán Peninsula, municipality of Tulum, Chichen Itza, and Bolonchen.
The place of the turtles is what the name Akumal means, in 1958 the city was founded as a community for scuba divers. As the name indicates you´ll meet tutles here. Overall the marine life is teeming here. The Mesoamerican reef stretches all the way to Akumal.
Outside the Riviera Maya and the Mesoamerican reef is the island Cozumel. Cozumel is a paradise island with azure blue ocean, white beaches, and palm trees swaying in the wind. Scuba diving in Cozumel is great since it is situated close to the Mesoamerican reef. At island Cozumel you can not only dive at the beautiful reef but also at numerous other dive sites. There´s steep wall dives, colorful shallows, drop-offs, reefs, caves and wrecks. Why not dive by an airplane that was sunk in 1977 as props in a Mexican disaster movie, the DC3 -40 passenger Convair airliner is now spread over the bottom after the Hurricane Roxanne destroyed it in 1995. The best time to dive in Cozumel is March to August.
On the other side of Mexico in the Pacific Ocean, the sea life is teeming. Most species you´ll meet if you dive in Cabo San Lucas and La Paz, there are hammerhead sharks, manta rays, whales and over 850 other species of fish. In La Paz you can meet sea lions. On this side of Mexico, in the Pacific Ocean, you can try cage diving, if you dare! Diving with a white shark is not for the scared ones! Diving in the Pacific Ocean is best August to February.
Tourist information in Mexico
The currency in Mexico is Mexican Pesos (MXN). ATMs are available in many places, so card is good to bring! It is possible to pay with card in most places, but always check first! Exchange is possible in banks but you´ll often get a better rate by using an ATM. But be careful! Card cloning is common, try to use ATMs that´s inside to avoid it.
Going by bus in Mexico is comfortable. The destinations are many, price good and the buses depart frequently. Your baggage is safe under the bus but be sure to get a receipt if something should happen. Renting a car is expensive but it gives you the opportunity to see and visit places the buses don´t reach. Driving in Mexico can be hard though, the traffic is rough. Scooters and motorbikes are not to recommend, due to the rough traffic you´re exposed to great danger. No international drivers license is needed. Your regular from home will due. To rent a car you need to be at least 21 years old, in some cases 25.
In the three big cities Mexico city, Guadalajara, and Monterrey it is possible to transport with subway. It is quick, easy and cheap! Taxis are available mostly in the cities, they are a good way to travel since they are not very expensive. It is possible to rent a cab for the whole day, for almost the same price as a rental car. Going by a minibus might be the cheapest way of getting around in Mexico, the price is just a quarter of the taxi price, it traffics a route and it stops where you want it to. Domestic flying is comfortable on long journeys where the alternative is bus, the cheapest ticket you get if you book it from home before you go to Mexico.
Mexico uses 127V 60 Hz power supply.
Mexico tends to change the visa regulations quite often so check with the embassy in your country in advance. Right now Europeans and some other citizens don´t need a visa, when going to Mexico they can stay up to 180 days without a visa.
Public Holidays in Mexico
|New Year's Day||January 1|| |
|Constitution Day||February 6|| |
|Birthday of Benito Juárez||March 19|| |
|Maundy Thursday||April 5||*|
|Good Friday||April 6||*|
|Labour Day||May 1|| |
|Anniversary of Battle of Puebla||May 5||*|
|Independence Day||September 16 || |
|Día de la Raza (Columbus Day)||October 12||*|
|Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead)||November 2||*|
|Anniversary of the Mexican Revolution of 1910 ||November 20|| |
|Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe||December 12||*|
|Christmas Day||December 25|| |
These are the dates for 2012. Dates marked with * move every year.