diving offers incredible diversity owing to it's situation at the center of the Great Maya Reef
which is the second largest barrier reef in the world. Here
you will find deep walls, shallow walls, big canyons between
spur and groove reef systems, caverns and a wide variety of
Xcalac you have access to the Banco Chinchorro. This
is the largest coral atoll on the Great Maya Reef,
the most extensive reef system in Mexico and is now a national
marine sanctuary. Banco Chinchorro diving offers pristine reefs
and several species of black coral within recreational diving
The eastern side of Chinchorro is pounded by
the waves of the Caribbean and here the remains of many (but
not all) of the hundreds of ships that have been running aground
on this reef system since the Spanish arrived in the 16th Century
can be seen.
The Western side offers much calmer waters
and most of the reef dives that Chinchorro is famous for.
The local diving is usually done close to shore
along the outer wall of the barrier reef that runs parallel
to the waterfront. Travel time to the reefs is usually very
short as in most locations the reef is less than ¼ !!!!!mile
plate and elk horn coral can be seen at many locations.
Depths can vary but typically do not run extremely deep: generally
from 40-75 feet/14-23 meters. At most sites, once you get underwater,
there is a back and forth surge that can take some getting used
Water temperatures usually range from about 70°F/21°C
to 80°F/27°C year round although it is not unusual to
come across some spots where cold fresh water is escaping from
under ground springs that originate on-land.
popular local dive is referred to as La Chimenea or
The Chimney. The highlight of the dive is a swim down a narrow
channel and entry into a large round room with an open top that
gives it the aspect of the top of a chimney.
atoll is in the shape of an oval and it extends over
an area of about 300 square miles/186 square km, most of it
underwater. There are three main areas of small islands: Cayo
Lobos in the south, Cayo Centro, which is the largest and the
two islands of Cayo Norte on the north end. From Xcalak, the
nearest of these areas is Cayo Lobos.
The best dive spots can be found on the east
side of the atoll. The reason for this is that this is the place
where the numerous Spanish colonial ships and steam ships stranded
on the coral.
is famous for it's cenotes and there is an enormous amount of
cenotes here. One famous cenote is the Cenote Azul and
it's very near Xcalak. This is the largest pit cenote in Mexico,
600 feet/182 meters across and 290+ feet/88+ meters at the center.
Here the formations ressemble the moon scape and is populated
by lots of fresh water fish. This is truly an exciting dive
not to miss for divers looking for the cenotes experience.