Scuba diving in Cancun, Mexico – the waters which have it all
Reef diving? Check. Cavern and wreck diving? Check. Night diving? No problem. An underwater museum!? Absolutely. Scuba diving in Cancun, Mexico gives you such a variety of dive sites that you’ll never get bored.
Best known perhaps for the sheer variety of marine wildlife which can be found here, you can swim with dolphins, turtles and an eye-watering variety of different species of tropical fish. Don’t let the local area’s reputation as a party hotspot put you off. When you scuba dive in Cancun you are swimming in a Marine Wildlife Park, an area of amazing beauty and wondrous underwater flora and fauna.
Unless you’re staying for an extended period of time, you’ll find it difficult to squeeze everything the local area has to offer into a single visit. Some of the best scuba diving in Cancun can be found at:
Located just south of Isla Mujeres, Manchones Reef will feature in most Cancun scuba diving reviews. Nearly two miles long, the wonderful coral formations here are visited by and home to stingrays, moray eels, dolphins, turtles and a huge variety of fish species.
Some of the shallower sections are perfect for snorkeling too. And if you’re in Cancun for scuba diving qualification or find that you need to get it when you arrive, you might be able to take your course here.
The Cancun Underwater Museum, a.k.a. Musa
This is a truly unique underwater sight to see. A huge number of statues – of people and animals, an entire model VW Beetle car (life-size), over four hundred and seventy in total! – have been placed on the seabed to form the start of an artificial reef. You’ll be able to spot work by artists Julian DeCaires, Roberto Díaz Abraham, Rodrigo Quiñones Reyes and Karen Salinas Martinez amongst many others.
When scuba diving in Cancun beginners are often spoilt for choice. No matter your skill level though, Musa should not be skipped. It isn’t, perhaps, that challenging from a technical perspective. But you won’t be able to find anything like it elsewhere!
This is another must-visit location when scuba diving in Cancun. Especially if you love tropical fish or the possibility of swimming with sharks!
Cenote Chikin Ha
Many Cancun scuba diving packages will include a visit to one of the Yucatan Peninsula’s amazing cenotes. These water-filled sinkholes offer you a simply extraordinary experience. Don’t visit the local area without swimming in one.
If you are in the area, Cenote Chikin Ha is a great option. It offers a welcoming dive without the need for cave diving qualifications. Though if you haven’t been diving much recently or you’re not entirely sure you’re confident enough to try out swimming underground – even in this very open cavern – it’s probably worth going on an ocean dive first.
When you do make it into the water here, watch out for the stunning light show.
Cenote Tajma Ha
Located conveniently close to the hotel zone where many visitors stay, Tajma Ha is a classic cenote. It offers glorious lighting effects and wondrous geology in the form of stalactites. Originally known locally as the “Taj Mahal” because of the beauty of its decorative interior, the name eventually became Tajma Ha over time as the word “ha” means water in Mayan.
Much like Cenote Chikin Ha, you can dive here with only open water dive certification. But if you’ve been away from diving for a while or you haven’t dived in a cave before, a refresher dive in actual open water is recommended first.
Cenote Dos Ojos
Easily accessible, this famous, highly regarded cenote needs almost no introduction. Check it out. If you’re trying scuba diving in Cancun, your trip wouldn’t be complete without a journey to Dos Ojos. It’s located in a national park too, making for a lovely day out and beautiful environs in which to relax between the thrilling dives which are possible here.
Wreck of the C-58, USS Harlequin
This former US Navy minesweeper was bought by the Mexican Navy and then sunk as the base for an artificial reef in the 1980s. Scuba diving in Cancun, Mexico is known for being very welcoming for beginner divers. But the C-58 is very definitely not for the uninitiated. You’ll need to be used to diving with something over your head and the wreck is pretty far down.
The Ko’ox team knows the local sites better than any Cancun scuba center, so you can get all the advice and information you need before you set out.
When is the best time of year to go scuba diving in Cancun, Mexico?
The water in the Caribbean stays warm all year round so you can dive whenever you like. From late summer to early Fall is the rainy season, with the potential for hurricanes as we move into Fall. But it’s also part of the off-season, traditionally May to September, where you’ll find dramatically reduced numbers of visitors and scuba diving in Cancun fall in terms of prices.
That time of year is also the period where the annual migrations of whale sharks and other intriguing marine creatures reach the area. This is a much sought-after part of the experience of scuba in Cancun, so take the timing into account when you plan your trip.
Cancun snorkeling – tropical fish, cenotes and more
Visit Cancun for snorkeling when you want to see a stunning array of marine wildlife while you swim in the warm, gorgeous waters of the Caribbean. Several shallow-water reefs can be found in the area, including parts of the Manchones Reef mentioned above. That reef, in particular, is well sheltered by the nearby Ilsa Mujeres and offers great conditions all year round for those who want to go snorkeling while in Cancun.
You can also swim in the amazing cenotes – the must-see Dos Ojos as well as Tajma Ha and Chikin Ha – throughout the year. In fact, the May-September off-season is often better if you are in Cancun for snorkeling and want to try out the cenotes. For a start, the light is better at this time of year. Plus, of course, it being the quieter season, snorkeling in Cancun comes at a reduced cost.
Whale sharks remain some of the biggest local attractions for both divers and snorkelers. Indeed, most of the best snorkeling in Cancun can be found at sites which are easy to reach, often directly from the shore.
El Museo Subaquatico de Arte (Musa, mentioned above) should be placed right at the top of your list of places to snorkel in Cancun. One of the best pieces of advice you will receive before you start most Cancun snorkeling tours is “don’t forget your camera.” There’s so much technicolor marine life here that it will be a challenge to remember it all! Keep an eye out for the loggerhead and Green turtles and sailfish which migrate through the area at certain times of the year. The vibrant sponges. Multicolored coral formations. And thousands of species of tropical fish.
You’ll always emerge into the bright sunshine, walking up one of the postcard-perfect white-sand beaches for which this tropical-daydream part of Mexico is rightly famous.
The best of Cancun Dive shops
When choosing between Cancun dive shops, be sure to get the best balance of price and experience. There are a huge variety of tour operators and guides in the local area. Many, however, might not have the qualifications or knowledge to get you the best value for your money.
Ko’ox prides itself on being one of those Cancun dive shops you can trust. Get in touch if you have any queries whatsoever about the local area, the best dive sites in general or about going diving with us in particular. The team speaks great English as well as Spanish, so you can get the information you need however you need it.