Both Lucy and I have been diving in the Yucatan Peninsula area, around Playa del Carmen, Mexico. When we first visited in 2017 we both enjoyed reef and cenote dives together through dive centre Scuba Playa. The reef in PdC is vast with lots of spots to dive in and explore. Sandy flats with coral bommmies, barrel sponges with lobster hiding inside, and overhangs filled with bright yellow snapper. Eels poke their noses out from the reef and eagle rays and turtles float past. You can easily dive for an hour at just 12m across the seaweed spotting flat fish and hunting for seahorses! Longhorn cowfish and puffer fish mope about on the reef floor and scoot away just as you get close enough to try to get a photo!
Head towards Tulum and further inland and you can experience the wonder that is cenote diving! You’ll need a thorough briefing from your guide as diving in an enclosed space like that requires a different approach to diving in the ocean. Getting to the dive site is so relaxing in itself as you walk through the jungle with your gear to the cenote entry point, which can look like a small pool or a huge sink-hole. Once you’re underwater there are so many things to look at in wonder! Fossils embedded in the cenote walls make you feel like an explorer, and thick haloclines where the salt-water from the ocean meets the fresh-water from the cenote can look hazy and magical as you guides’ fins kick through it.
A short ferry right out to see will take you to the island of Cozumel. A popular stopping place for cruise liners, don’t let the tourists put you off from experiencing the diving here! The ocean is so blue, and coral cover breathtaking! Made famous by Jacques Cousteau when he discovered it in 1961, there are steep reef wals and pinnacles hiding rays and turtles, and sometimes even the odd sleeping zebra shark!
If you venture outside of Playa del Carmen north, you will find a sleepy little town called Puerto Morelos. Not often ventured to by tourists, it boasts a marine protected reserve just off the beach which offers incredible diving to those that know about it! Colourful coral and big schools of fish move as one in and amongst the shallow canyons in the reef.
The area around Playa del Carmen has so much to offer, we can’t wait to explore it some more!