Welcome to Playa del Carmen
Welcome to Playa del Carmen
If you are looking for the next magnificent location for your diving vacation – Playa Del Carmen might be the perfect choice. With great weather conditions throughout the year and an average temperature of 25 degrees, you can just plan your days off ahead and go! Located closest to Cancun International Airport, the 55.2 km transfer to the town will take you less than 45 minutes.
The region lures people in from across the globe. In large part because the scuba diving in Playa del Carmen is acknowledged to be some of the best in the world. Situated on the eastern Caribbean coast of the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, the city is surrounded by gorgeous beaches where you can do everything from sitting and sipping cocktails to partaking in adventure sports.
But Playa del Carmen is the home of the scuba dive. As well as the thrilling opportunities to swim with sea-based marine wildlife of all kinds, even a beginner scuba diving in Playa del Carmen will be able to see amazing sights thanks to the area’s famous cenotes – water-filled sinkholes where the limestone rock of the region has eroded away to form perfect microcosms of almost everything beautiful about Mexico. The glorious light and sun, the deep and often translucent blue waters and the plant and animal life flitting through the depths.
Many local people are part of the Playa del Carmen diving scene, travelling up and down the Yucatan Peninsula to visit the most legendary or the most hidden gems which this wondrous area has to offer. When you’re scuba diving around Playa del Carmen prices vary, but you will almost always get the best deal at the smaller, locally-run dive shops. It always pays to find a local guide who will show you the best spots – and tell you the times to go to the busier but must-see local cenotes so you can visit when it’s quiet.
As well as cenotes, if you like scuba diving and are visiting Playa del Carmen there are coral reefs both just offshore and around the nearby island of Cozumel which can be reached via a short boat trip.
All in all, if you like all things scuba, you will love all things Playa del Carmen.
One of the things that attracts divers from all around the world to Playa del Carmen each winter is the unique opportunity to dive with bull sharks. The warm waters are known to attract the female sharks. Whale sharks also migrate to Playa each summer, feeding on plankton and enjoying the warm currents. Snorkeling with these gentle giants, the biggest fish in the world, is truly awe-inspiring.
Aside from diving, there are countless local restaurants that offer you a great choice of food. If you want to experiment you can try Хtabentum honey liqueur – native only to Playa del Carmen. And the annual Jazz music celebration takes place during the Riviera Maya Jazz Festival each winter.
But for most people, the chance to snorkel in Playa del Carmen is the whole reason why they came. If you’re in the local area, you can’t leave without visiting:
1) Puerto Aventuras – tropical fish at the artificial reef
The white-sand beaches around Puerto Aventuras are picture postcard-beautiful enough that even if you’re not in Playa del Carmen for the snorkeling they’re still worth a visit. But beneath the waves lie artificial reefs which are home to the area’s diverse marine wildlife, including brightly colored tropical fish, crabs, and even the occasional octopus. This makes it one of the prime Playa del Carmen snorkeling spots – ideal whether you’re a beginner or an experienced diver.
2) Akumal – swim with giant sea turtles and rays
Akumal is famous for its sea turtles. These wonderful creatures lay their eggs on the beaches in several parts of the Yucatan Peninsula during the May to September period but can be found in the local waters all year round.
Many Playa del Carmen snorkeling tours will include Akumal for the turtles alone. But there are also manta rays, spotted eagle rays and needlefish quite close to shore. While if you feel comfortable venturing further out – or if you have the support of an expert local guide – you can find amazing coral reefs which play host to even more vibrant wildlife.
3) Puerto Morelos – the second largest reef system in the world
The Mesoamerican Barrier Reef is one of the most exciting examples of its kind you will find – and not one to be missed if you want to snorkel in Playa del Carmen. From seahorses to barracudas to manta rays, there isn’t much marine life which you won’t be able to see off the shoreline of this picturesque little Mexican village.
When you arrive in Playa, as the locals call it, you will be faced with a truly stunning range of things to do. Playa is the third largest city in Quintana Roo, famous for its beautiful coastline, water parks, and natural aquariums. Tulum’s ancient Mayan ruins are less than an hour away and you can also check out Chikin-ha, only a short ride distant, where you can walk among buildings with thousands of years of history.
One of the most amazing things to do though is the cenote diving and snorkeling for which the area is probably best known. Only the western hemisphere boasts this as an option, so it’s silly not to take advantage of the opportunity when you’re there! Playa del Carmen is really close to the well-known Cenote Azul and to Cenote Dos Ojos – one of the most popular cenote diving locations.
Doing something like a cenote tour of Playa del Carmen will usually pay dividends. Mainly because only local guides know when the busier times are at the most popular local diving spots – and how best to avoid them. The sights of Gran Cenote and Dos Ojos really should not be missed if you are even slightly interested in cenote diving in Playa del Carmen. But they are also immensely popular, so getting some local info is always worthwhile.
You will also more easily be able to find the secret darlings of the Playa del Carmen cave diving scene with a local guide pointing your way. These are often a little off the beaten path or take a short trip to get to. But they’re entirely worth it if you prefer having the waters more to yourself and your diving buddies.
As far as cenote snorkeling goes, Playa del Carmen again has some of the best spots in the local area. Be sure to check out:
Cenote Azul – amazing blue waters, marine wildlife including fish, turtles and eels and the feeling of being surrounded by greenery in a kind of jungle oasis make this one of the top cenotes in Playa del Carmen to visit for any reason.
Cenote Jardin del Eden (Cenote El Jardin) – this beautiful cenote is well named indeed. Jump from the cliffside into the water and you’ll be swimming in one of the most well-developed Playa del Carmen caves. El Jardin has something for everyone – picturesque shallows and deeper caverns can both be found here.
If you are staying in Playa Del Carmen, Ko’ox Diving can take you to all of the most exciting diving and snorkeling locations in the Riviera Maya for free. Just contact us and tell us when you would like to go on an adventure, and we will meet you to pick you up.
We might be a bit biased, but out of all of the dive shops in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, we think Ko’ox is the friendliest. As well as being a handy local Playa scuba center, we can also take you on unique Playa del Carmen tours and Mexico cultural tours featuring all the top local sights to see and things to do. Perfect if you’re worried about coming to this awesome part of the world and missing something out.
If you’re thinking about getting or upping your scuba certification Playa del Carmen and the surrounding area are a great choice to do it in. Ko’ox has got the experts and the equipment to make it happen too, so just let us know if that’s something you want to be part of your trip.
Frequently touted as one of if not the best dive shop in Playa del Carmen, whatever you want from your stay – from an introduction to the world of snorkeling or scuba to a dive master to take you through the region’s deepest and most challenging cave diving locations – the Ko’ox team has got you covered.