SCUBA DIVING CANCUN
When most people think of Cancun they think of beach parties and clubs and luxury resorts. They use it as a quick stop on their way down the coast. But what many don’t know is that they might be skipping a few good dive sites right there in CAncun!
Located on the northeastern section of the Yucatan Peninsula, this sea-side city is probably the most popular tourist destination in Mexico. Idyllic white sands, tropical resorts, and renowned beach parties make it a hot spot.
It’s also considered to be the gateway to the Mayan World as several important archaeological sites are nearby. And if it’s the gateway to the Yukatan, then you’ll definitely be stopping here at some point, even if traveling on to Playa Del Carmen or Tulum or beyond.
Since the major international airport is here, you will almost certainly be going through Cancun at some point in your Yukatan travels, so you might as well hit up some of the local dive sites.
BEST DIVE SITES
MUSA Underwater Museum is probably the most known dive site in Cancun. What it is is 500 lifelike statues sunken together to attract fish, with corals growing in all the nooks and crannies. (pictured below)
In the area there is also a couple little cement house statues, and a car with a person laying on the hood. It makes for a pretty unique dive site.
Since Cancun is the gateway to all diving in the Yukatan, there are a lot of dives you should do, whether you base yourself in Cancun and do day trips, or move on to closer cities.
Be sure to check out Isla Mujeres, especially during whale shark season, although you can see them just as easy with a snorkel tour.
Of course you shouldn’t forget cenotes. So many amazing cenotes that you can dive and explore is nearly unique to the Yukatan, so be sure to check them out, no matter what level of diver you are.
Some cenotes you are only allowed to swim/snorkel, others are open to recreational and tec divers, and some are open only to highly qualified cave divers. What ever level you are, you’re going to want to head to one near Playa Del Carmen or Tulum along the coast, or inland near Merida or Valladolid.
To help you choose what cenotes you should dive, we put together the most comprehensive guide on the net! We list the top 72 cenotes in Mexico, and if you can’t find one perfect for you there, then you never will!
BEST TIME TO DIVE
Mexico as a whole has agreeable diving conditions year round, but on the Caribbean side, July and August tend to be the best months in terms of visibility, though peak season is December through March.
May to September brings warm waters, uncrowded dive sites and generally calm conditions. This is the best time to dive Cozumel if you prefer warmer conditions.
HOW TO GET TO CANCUN
Cancun is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, so it has countless flights from nearly everywhere in the US. So you wont have any problems finding a flight, even if you have a layover somewhere.
A popular backpacker over-land route is from either Guatemala to Cancun, or from Belize to Cancun. The long trek from the Guatemala border via Chiapas, will take you a couple days by bus, but you’ll have a lot of cool towns to visit along the way.
Crossing from Belize is easy as well, and if you want a great long scuba diving itenerary, follow the coast and dive sites from Cancun all the way to Placencia in Southern Belize.
HIGHLIGHTS OF CANCUN
Cancun diving is great, but it’s worth it to have a couple days to explore the area as well. If you are interested in ancient history and the Mayan civilization, a visit to the nearby Chichen Itza is a must.
Chichen Itza has been declared by UNESCO as one of the new 7 ancient wonders of the world, and is an easy day trip from Cancun. There are also several other archaeological sites in the area including Coba, El Rey and El Meco.
Most of the best cenotes in Mexico are only a day trip from Cancun as well, an you really need to check them out. Most dive centers in Cancun will do trips to them for you.
If you really aren’t looking for a big adventure, because you are here on your cavation and just want to relax on some white sand beaches, and maybe have a fun nightlife, then you are in the right place for that too.
Since Cancun is one of the most touristy cities in the world, there is countless things to do there. No matter what your budget, theres something for you.
I have stayed at 5 star resorts on the beach in the “hotel zone”, with all night clubs and parties, and I’ve also stayed in the city where less tourists go, at AirBNBs, exploring a more local life.
I recommend staying in the city, away from the hotel zone, and saving a ton of money, because you can still take the quick city buses to the beaches and shopping and nightlife when you want.
The climate here is as you’d expect, always hot. Even when it rains, it doesn’t last long, and even feels like a nice reprieve from the heat.
If you want to learn more about other dive locations in Mexico, be sure to check out our guide to The Top 15 Dive Locations in Mexico