Diving in Mexico: Essential Things to Know

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For most people, the idea of scuba diving is one that will have them traveling all over the world. If that sounds like you, then diving in Mexico is something you shouldn’t miss. There are seemingly endless dive sites to explore with the Atlantic, Caribbean, Pacific, and freshwater caves out there.

Diving in Mexico

1. Cenote Dos Ojos in Yucatan

If you’re looking for an intro to cave diving, this spot might be ideal. Of course, all of Mexico can help you achieve this goal because it has a variety of freshwater caves. Mexicans tend to call these locations "cenotes".

When you’re staying in the Yucatan Peninsula, a variety of cenotes is available, but one stands out from the rest and is considered the best. That is the Cenote Dos Ojos (Cenote Two Eyes), which is more than 50 miles long and has many dive paths.

You should realize, though, that there will be many divers because it is so popular. Anyone can join in the fun, but it is recommended for intermediate or advanced divers. The best time to go is between May and September.

2. Discovery Bay in Isla Guadalupe

Those who want to dive with white sharks will find that Isla Guadalupe is one of the four best options, including California, Australia, and South Africa. Isla Guadalupe is located about 150 miles off of the island called Baja Peninsula. It is home to just 170 people.

To get to the island will be arduous, but it is worth every discomfort you’ll face. For one, you will guarantee yourself sightings of sharks and other marine wildlife.

You’ll find two options for diving. Many operators put the cages on the surface, so you don’t need to have any experience with scuba diving. That said, you will find operators that lower the cages and allow you to float part of the way out of the cage.

If you plan to go under the water and get out of the cage, you should have a high level of scuba experience. Ideally, you will want to visit this location between July and November.

3. The Boiler in the Revillagigedo Islands

The Revillagigedo Islands have recently been named a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO. It’s located about 240 miles off of the Baja Peninsula, so it’s a bit further out than Isla Guadalupe.

This island is well-known for its pelagic encounters, which include hammerheads, humpback whales, and Manta Rays. The Boiler might be the most predictable of sites for manta ray sightings; most people see at least five while visiting.

The clear waters also make it mystical and exciting. Liveaboard guests tend to flock here. It’s ideal to visit between November and May, and you should be an advanced scuba diver to have the most fun.

diving in mexico

4. Bull Shark Dive in Playa del Carmen

If you’re hoping for an adventure, then Bull Shark Dive might be the best place to go. Every year, bull sharks by the dozens will arrive just offshore of the sandy shallow. No one understands why they come, but there are theories.

Some believe it is part of the birthing ritual, while others think the freshwater flow from the cenotes is why they like it. Regardless, those who are adventurous can enjoy the annual migration and get into the water.

However, you should be an intermediate or advanced diver to enjoy these waters and this adventure. It’s ideal to visit between November and March for the best chance at a sighting.

5. Afuera in Isla Mujeres

For people who want to see whale sharks above all else, Isla Mujeres might be the best place to go. The island is close to Cancun, but it’s known as Afuera, which is just 25 miles from Isla Mujeres.

Scientists believe that this location has the most whale sharks at any given time. There’s so many out there that most tour operators will offer you a money-back guarantee. If you don’t see at least one, the excursion is free!

Do note that the tourism industry for Mexico is regulated, so you should still research tours before booking one. This is primarily a snorkeling excursion, and you don’t need any experience. You should book the trip between June and September for the best chance.

6. Manchones Reef in Cancun

This dive site is commonly called MUSA, and there are over 60 underwater installations from Jason deCaires Taylor, a famed sculptor. The statues were primarily sculpted with local models. They were put underwater for two reasons.

For one, they take some of the pressure off the coral reefs because there is another attraction for divers. Second, they are also there to promote new coral growth.

This is one of the unique sites available and is ideal for underwater photography. It’s a reef-style dive, and beginners are welcome. You’ll find it best to visit between December and April.

7. Gordo Banks in Los Cabos

Just five or so miles from San Jose del Cabo is a fantastic platform that allows you to view marine life. The seamount is as big as two football fields. It is ideal for watching the many species attracted to the location.

It’s possible to see jacks, mackerels, cow-nose rays, and Mobula rays. If you’re lucky, you may also see silky sharks and scalloped hammerhead sharks.

This dive site is best for advanced divers, though there may be tour guides who will take intermediate levels. You’ll find it best to visit between December and May.


With so many options, diving in Mexico just got a little easier. Of course, it will still take time to plan the trip. This requires having the right equipment, transportation (flights, cabs, rental cars), and accommodations.  But with a little effort and planning, Mexico has the diving adventure you are looking for!

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