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Mexico diving - sea & cenote

Discussion in 'General Scuba Diving' started by Wibble, Jan 5, 2020.

  1. Wibble

    Wibble Fish don't talk
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    Am finally planning a decent trip that's not in the UK. Mexico cenote diving plus some sea diving. Rough plan is fly to Cancun and dive around Tulum.

    So, some dumb questions...

    Sea diving: where's a good place to dive in the sea around there? Heard that Cosumel Island is good; any recommendations or places to consider? Dive outfits that are good? How are they for "independent" divers - really not keen on PADI buddy crap?

    Was pondering on taking the drysuit, not least because I don't own a wetsuit. Or is a wetsuit best? What about freshwater underground?

    How would one get around - is car rental the only option or is there sufficient public transport?

    Quality of hotels - good, bad or indifferent?

    Any other useful info?

    TIA
     
  2. jb2cool

    jb2cool Moderator
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    Pro Dive Mexico is who we dived with, they were a decent outfit and are largely based in the hotels. We stayed in Puerto Aventuras so could walk to the boats that head out. Cozumel requires a ferry trip to get to the island and then a boat from there, again this was organised through pro dive.

    Water temperature when we went was warm, totally fine in a 3mm suit in the sea but this wasn’t quite as warm in the cenotes where I was a little chilly. Having said that, I know plenty of people dive dry in the cenotes.

    good luck on finding someone that will allow you to dive solo, I can’t really see it happening as they are geared up for tourists
     
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  3. Wibble

    Wibble Fish don't talk
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    Thanks Jason.

    What was the diving like? I've never really dived abroad, aside from Spain. Hoping that it might be the first blue water experience.

    The one thing I'm really against is becoming a proxy DM assigned to hold a novice's hand and not be able to enjoy my dive as I have a job to do as it were. It's a completely different thing than when diving in a team. Had that in Spain once where the DM assigned me a complete novice: I made it perfectly clear that he was being paid for this, I'm not and have no intention of babysitting. Worked out OK in the end.
     
  4. jb2cool

    jb2cool Moderator
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    We were there in July 2017 and the water in the sea was around 29°C, in the cenotes it was more like 26°C. The water in both the sea and the cenotes was crystal clear but we didn't see an awful lot of fish life so were a little disappointed. We crossed to Cozumel and there the currents were really ripping along, this gave for a pretty fun few dives but again, no fish life and with a camera a strong current is not really what you want either. Give both a try, Pro Dive do packages that do a mixture of both but since you are over there I'd concentrate on the cenotes as this is pretty unique to Mexico, if you want fish life then just for an Egypt liveaboard.
     
  5. georgedavo

    georgedavo Member

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    I was in Mexico last Easter with my other half and we dived Cozumel and the Cenotes around Tulum.

    We dived Cozumel with Tank Ha (based in Playa del Carmen) and the Cenotes with Underworld Tulum - Link here: https://underworldtulum.com/

    With Tank-Ha it was just me and the girlfriend with a guide, not sure if this is the norm or we just got lucky. EAN32 as standard, which was great for the dives we did. Really great drift diving in easily 40m+ vis and we dived the C53 wreck too which is quite cool, especially when the tourist submarine came past!

    Underworld Tulum are an excellent outfit run by Lanny & Claire Vogel, probably the best dive centre I've dived with. Again just me, my girlfriend and a guide (Claire) in a group and small groups are pretty standard practice.
    The rental gear was great - Apeks regs, halcyon BP/Ws, jet fins, fourth element wet-suits etc. plus you can dive a twinset at no additional cost. Again EAN32 as standard.

    I don't think they personally do that much in the sea, but they can organise sea diving in the surrounding areas such as Cozumel etc. - definitely worth dropping them a quick email as they are really helpful

    A 5mm wetsuit was fine for the cenotes, but quite a few of the guides wear drysuits with just base layers underneath, its bloody hot when you get out of the water though!
     
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  6. jb2cool

    jb2cool Moderator
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    Lanny and Claire would be high on my list too, I've never met them but plenty of friends have dived with them.
     
  7. Wibble

    Wibble Fish don't talk
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    Thanks George, really useful.

    Is that Lanny of another forum?

    Would March / April a good time to dive there? Hope is for fewer people around.
     
  8. georgedavo

    georgedavo Member

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    I think so yeah
     
  9. georgedavo

    georgedavo Member

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    We were there mid April and the weather was pretty hot

    It definitely didn’t seem like loads of people were there, but just make sure you miss the American spring break!
     
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  10. jb2cool

    jb2cool Moderator
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    Lanny is on TDF, yes.
     
  11. furryman

    furryman hmmmm
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    If you are staying in CanCun, then Scorpio Divers is the one i would recommend at the advanced/tourist level.
    http://www.scorpiodivers.com/ . Jorge is the owner, and Alfredo is the instructor/DM.
    Tell him that Fat Señor Cristo from England vouches that you are competent, and he will let you get away with most things. (Just don't prove me wrong!!). Buddy team protocols are pretty lax out there, but since you are diving in a nature reserve (ha ha), you MUST be with a dive guide..
    They run trips to Cozumel using a boat from Playa del Carmen, rather than schlepping across on the ferry and wasting most of your day travelling.

    There IS some good reef diving off CanCun, but you need to go with a small group, and to some of the lesser-known sites. There are only two wrecks in CanCun - well three now that one has been broken in half. Nothing special though for the rust aficionados: pre-prepared ex-USN minesweepers. Also one down in Puerto Morelos, and one over on Cozumel.

    In your case, then with a cavern cert, you may be better advised to go with a cenote specialist down near Tulum (such as Lanny). Becky has been out there so might be worth having a word.

    It's always warm out there. We normally go in August (tee-shirt and shorts in the sea, 3mm full for a cenotes.), but this year we are there in March for a wedding. Play your cards right, and I might even be out there with you!!

    What sort of hotel are you after? A six-star all inclusive where someoen does your flies up for you in the bog, or a log-cabin on the beach with wall-to-wall running lizards? They have everything.
     
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  12. Wibble

    Wibble Fish don't talk
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    Thanks so much for those recommendations; really appreciated.

    The intention is to get down to Tulum to do a week of cenote diving. I've a favoured person for this whom I dived with on a recent Scapa trip. On the way back I'll do three or four days of sea diving around Cosumel, probably using one of the recommendations above. Would also like to get some sight-seeing in as well.

    I'm looking at before or after Easter, definitely not over. This could well mean that Mr Furryman may be in the same neighbourhood - yay!

    A few more questions about Mexico...
    * What are the taxis like? Expensive? Reliable? Trustworthy?
    * Would you recommend AirBnB for a non-Spanish speaker?
    * Hotels: are mid-range hotels (2* or 3*) good value? Trustworthy (e.g. leaving stuff there whilst out)?


    Thanks all :)
     
  13. furryman

    furryman hmmmm
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    Taxis are dirt cheap, and the drivers are tightly controlled by the unions. They know that if they screw things up with the tourists, then that means the “capos” won’t get their cut, and they will end up at the side of the road with their throats opened up.

    trustworthy however? Doubtful. Always get a price before getting in, and double-check it with a local (hotel doorman?). Don’t fall into the usual trap of thinking $ always means US dollars... it can often be pesos. More than one nitwit has paid 10USD for something that should only cost 10MN.

    My son spent a couple of months in an AirBnB in Cancun: he was very pleased with it. No idea how things are further south.

    hotels are usually trustworthy, but bear in mind that minimum wage is around 120pesos per day, so if you are daft enough to leave a 50USD bill on your bed, it probably won’t be there when you get back.

    sightseeing: plenty of pyramids. Coba is well underrated down south. Much better than Tulum and Chichen Itzá. Avoid the water/eco parks like Xcaret and Xel-Ha. Overpriced, and they torture dolphins.

    if you are out and about, remember that the Zetas control everything, and they use AK47s. Don’t buy drugs, and keep your head down if you hear shots.
     
  14. georgedavo

    georgedavo Member

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    The bus system is pretty good along the stretch from Cancun to Tulum and not particularly expensive. Didn't really get many taxis when we were there so cant comment on price etc. but we rented a car from Playa del Carmen to visit some cenotes and Chichen Itza on the way to Tulum and it was reasonably priced.

    We stayed in Air BnBs pretty much exclusively on our trip and didn't have any issues with a Language barrier really as Cancun, Playa and Tulum are quite popular tourist destinations
     
  15. Alex Denny

    Alex Denny Active Member

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    I just spent a week in an Airbnb in Playa Del Carmen and it was great. Google translate is your friend out there if you need to communicate something complicated. Most networks charge a few quid per day to use your normal data allowance so you can have it anywhere.

    Taxis were cheap and easy and I bought some food in the supermarket and then barely spent any of the money I took with me!!
     
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  16. Wibble

    Wibble Fish don't talk
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    What sort of diving did you do? What was access like - much walking? What sort of kit did you use and rent? Any photos?

    (Love a vicarious vacation me!)
     
  17. Alex Denny

    Alex Denny Active Member

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    I took my own kit. I took a wetsuit and a dry suit but used a wetsuit all week in the end and could have saved the baggage. I did the TDI full cave course while I was out there and only dived in the cenotes / caves this time (though I have dived off Cozumel before and agree it is a lovely area of reef - good for sharks).

    Access to the cenotes is generally fine as long as you don’t mind bumpy dirt tracks in a pickup truck / 4x4 and usually some rickety steps down. There doesn’t tend to be miles of walking like some cave or mine sites.

    It was great fun but tiring!
     
  18. John F

    John F Active Member

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    Great video
     
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