Adventurous. Amazing. Unmatched: Riviera Maya's Best Diving Sites
The Riviera Maya – a destination that beautifully combines amazing turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea and famed white sandy beaches with exuberant tropical rainforest, subterranean rivers, cenotes, lakes, lagoons, and mangroves. The Mexico's Riviera Maya is a tropical paradise of crystal clear waters that harbor true diving treasures and rare marine wildlife. Here's a list of some of the best sites to go scuba diving in while visiting the Riviera Maya:
1. Playa del Carmen's Los Arcos and Mama Viña Wreck
Los Arcos, which was named after two arches, is a relatively deep dive site. The wall sections of Los Arcos are 15 feet in height and are covered with sea fans, hard corals, and sponges. The submerged arches provide shelter to schools of fish, moray eels, turtles, barracudas, stingrays and many Crustaceans. The Mama Viña Wreck is a former crab fishing boat which is covered with soft and hard corals. Divers can find a wide range of marine life including barracudas, stingrays, moray eels and mackerels.
2. Cenote Dos Ojos and Grand Cenote near Tulum
Located across the Xel-ha water park, Dos Ojos means “Two Eyes” in Spanish because this cenote has two pools of water: one blue & clear and the second one is dark & cavernous. Things to see here: gigantic formations of stalagmites and stalactites, fossils, huge columns, and some colorful marine life. Gran Cenote is part of the Sak Aktun system of underground rivers where you will find white walls, crystal clear waters, stunning stalactites & stalagmite formations and large balls of roots and vines growing out of the underwater ceiling. Expect to see little green turtles and schools of fish that feed on the plant debris.
3. Cozumel's Palancar and Punta Sur
Palancar dive site consists of two parts. (i) Palancar Horseshoe, an U-shaped protrusion on the wall featuring tunnels and swim-throughs with tall heads of brain and sheet corals. You can expect to see schools of blue and brown chromis and alcoves. (ii) Palancar Bricks: This portion of Palancar boasts dramatic pinnacles with swim-throughs and caverns. There is always a good chance of spotting hawksbill turtles in quiet alcoves. Punta Sur is also divided into two regions: Devil's Throat and Punta Sur Sur. The name "Devil's Throat" refers to a narrow tunnel lined with red coral reef structure and takes you from 80ft to 130 ft at around 45 degrees. Punta Sur Sur is the lesser dived site of the Punta Sur reef system, featuring dramatic reef formations, coral mountains, and chance to see hammerheads.
4. Akumal's Herradura and Tortuga Reef
The Herradura underwater landscape is of volcanic nature, so it features a lot of interesting rock formations and a wide range of sea life. During your dive session you may expect to observe star fish, sea horses, nudibranchs, lobsters, and cushion sea stars. With maximum depth of 70 feet, Tortuga Reef is named so because there are plenty of opportunities to swim with the sea turtles. In addition to swimming with turtles, you'll also see schools of fish and sting rays.
5. Cancun's Underwater Museum and Punta Nizuc
Located nearly 70km north of Playa del Carmen, Cancun is a great diving destination that you can add to your itinerary. The famous Cancun Underwater Museum, also known as MUSA, is the #1 attraction among divers coming for a scuba diving vacation or snorkeling experience in Cancun or Riviera Maya because of its beautiful life-size sculptures. You will see some beautiful algae and coral reef covered statues including Anthropocene car, Bio Map, Bacab, People, and Timebomb to name a few. The reef of Punta Nizuc is widely popular amongst tourists and it is part of the Mesoamerican Reef System. Punta Nizuc is home to more than 30 types of corals, 37 types of soft corals, 100 species of fish, and over 230 kinds of aquatic flora.
These are just some of the best scuba diving sites in the Riviera Maya. Home to the second largest natural barrier reef and with over 3,000 cenotes, Riviera Maya is a paradise for divers. Write down these dives sites in your adventure bucket list and come to this Caribbean destination to explore the hidden underwater world during your scuba diving vacation in Riviera Maya.