If you are a diver then chances are the Great Maya Reef may very well be the focus of your trip. This ancient reef was directly responsible for settlements that rose along its shores. Trade routes were established that helped fuel the Mayan’s economy. When the Spaniards arrived the reef became the seagate for the Conquistadors and sanctuary for pirates and buccaneers. From colonial times to this day, it is responsible for thousands of shipwrecks that now lay scattered along its coral tentacles.
The Great Maya Reef is not one single barrier reef but a chain of shallow patch reefs, drop offs and coral gardens. It is also home to a weave of coast-hugging sandbanks, fringing reefs, islets and coral atolls. The whole myriad stretches from the tip of Yucatan 600 miles southward to the Bay of Honduras.
There are more than 500 species of fish and 4 species of sea turtles to be found in the reef. There are 72 dive sites between Punta Maroma and Tulum providing divers with numerous reef formations, giant coral buttresses deep walls and shallow plateaus. Diving Cozumel and the Maya Riviera will produce several different dive experiences.
WHERE TO DIVE
1. La Mancha Grande
2. La Mancha Chica
3. Punta Maroma
5. Los Arcos N.
6. Los Arcos S.
7. El Cofre
8. Xcalacoco N.
9. Xcalacoco S.
10. Moc Che
11. Chen Zumbul
12. El Esfuerzo
15. Wreck: Mama Vina
18. Punta Venados
19. Punta Venadito
Most divers prefer to go straight to Cozumel and set up base-camp there. Others prefer to stay on the mainland and travel up the coast diving here and there. You can stay in Cancun and dive at Cozumel if you wish.
There are dive centers all along the coast and you can stay anywhere and find tanks and a boat to take you out. Many of the dive centers employ Europeans and Americans, so English is spoken quite often.
From Cancun to Tulum there are numerous resorts, cabanas at the beach and small hotels. Many resorts have dive centers and most if not all beaches have a local dive center and boat. After Tulum there is not much except Punta Allen until you get to Majahual where you will find the Chinchorro Reefs. Beyond Majahual is Xcalak then you are in Belize.
In Majahual there is a reputable dive center at Maya Ha resort which is a nice place to stay and close to Majahual town.
TIP:When you dive be sure to check with your dive operator to know if they are affiliated with a Chamber Service. Typically each diver pays $1 dollar per day to have full coverage against diving accidents. A form is completed and you sign it. Do not assume you are covered. BE SURE!