Mahahual used to be a small, quiet fishing village on the coast, although thanks to a cruise ship port, it has become significantly busier over the past few years. About 35km off the coastline is Chinchorro; an atoll reef and nature reserve known for the surrounding shipwrecks. Mahahual has some great dive sties, but for those with more time, Chincorro is the real star.


Mahahual is located in the far south of the Yukatan, closer to the Belize border than Cancun. But the long trek to get here is well worth the effort. 

There is a great wall and barrier reef just off shore of Mahahual, where you can see lots of critters big and small, all while avoiding the crowds of other Yukatan dive sites. 

Since hurricanes smashed the coast years ago, cruise ships stopped coming to Mahahual, and it’s now a sleepy, quiet little coastal town, with lots to do, yet far fewer crowds. But soon the word could get out and this change. 

Besides the dives just off shore, Mahahual is also the jumping off point for the incredible Banco Chinchorro bio reserve. This atoll has some of the best dive sites in Mexico, that you do not want to miss. 

At Banco Chinchorro you can dive on ship wrecks, big schools, and even some crocodiles. 


eagle rays in mahahual

There are lots of dive sites just off the beach, with great reef and plenty of critters. You can expect the normal stuff you’d expect in Mexico, but without the crowds. 

Mahahual is a much less visited destination that the likes of Tulum or Playa Del Carmen, partly because of how long it takes to get there, and partly because of hurricanes reeking havoc in the past. 

Since the cruise ships stopped coming, you’ll find Mahahual a little quieter, and with over all better reefs than the rest in the Yukatan. 

Here are a few dive sites around Mahahual not to miss. 

  • Escalones
  • Curarenta Canones (40 Cannons)
  • Copper Clad Wreck
  • SS Far Star
  • The Cut
  • Punta Isabel
  • La Boya


Diving from Mahahual is possible during every month. For the best visibility, book between May-Nov. For the more pelagic species, book from Dec-Apr.

On average, water temperatures vary between 78 and 82ºF (25 and 28ºC) in Banco Chinchorro.

getting there

The closest airport to Mahahual is Cancun, but it’s still a few hours away. If you plan on renting a car, Mahahual is about a 4 hour drive from Cancun.

If you prefer public transportation, the ADO bus runs between the two cities, leaving once per day at 3:30pm. The bus also picks up passengers from Playa del Carmen and Tulum if you happen to be staying at either of those locations.

If you are in the market for some of the more remote locations to dive in Mexico, this is it.


What to see

diving mahahual

Critter Highlights:

Mexico has a lot of great marine life to see, but in the Yukatan, Mahahual and Chinchorro are king. Expect to see the following, and much more.

  • Big pelagic. 
  • Schools of baraccuda, jacks and more.
  • Blue spotted and marbled stingrays. 
  • Eagle rays. 
  • Turltes galore. 
  • The occasional reef and nurse shark. 
  • Crocodiles around Mahahual mangroves. 

Land attractions:

Unsurprisingly, there are several Mayan ruins nearby including Chacchoben, Kohunlich, Dzibanche, and Ichkabal.

Other popular activities in the area include sea kayaking, sailing, and for those interested in conservation, you can visit GVI (Global Vision International) which is about 35km away, where you can learn (and even volunteer) about marine conservation around the area


scuba diving Chincorro