The MUSA, located next to Cancun, is an underwater contemporary museum of art consisting of over 500 permanent life-size sculptures from English artist Jason deCaires Taylor.
Just off-shore from Cancun, Isla Mujeres sits where the Gulf of Mexico meets the Caribbean. As such, it attracts hundreds of whale sharks every year from June to September.
As a lonely seamount far offshore, Socorro Island attracts a large number of pelagic species, among them are large groups of giant manta rays.
More than 400 sea lions call the Sea of Cortez home. You’ll find playful pups on most dives in the area, but Isla San Pedro is the best site for abundant encounters.
Every year from August to October, divers make the pilgrimage to this tiny island out in the Pacific in order to cage dive with great white sharks.
From November to March, get up close and personal with majestic bull sharks as they arrive in Playa del Carmen for breeding season.
With around 6000 cenotes, Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula and its extensive subterranean waterways are ideal for experimenting with cavern diving. The popular Cenote Dos Ojos is accessible to most divers.
Mexico’s two coasts are ripe for underwater exploration. You can discover the vast kelp forests of the Pacific, the hidden reefs of the Sea of Cortez and the Yucatan Peninsula, and shipwrecks in the Caribbean. Pelagic-lovers will also be pleased with Mexico’s breeding grounds and heavy currents. Not all of the dives in Mexico are out in the salty seas. During your time in the Yucatan be sure to dive in the crystal clear cenotes. The most popular, and rightly so, is the Cenote Dos Ojos.
From beginners to tec divers, there are dives for every level in Mexico. The Yucatan and the east side of Baja California are generally protected from heavy currents, creating good dive sites for beginners. However, offshore islands like Guadalupe and Socorro Island should only be attempted by advanced divers due to their raging currents. Some of the cenotes also require technical diving skills.
Diving in Mexico mainly takes place from speedboats, though it is possible to dive some of the Sea of Cortez and the Caribbean’s reefs as well as the cenotes from shore. Guadalupe and Socorro must be accessed by liveaboard vessel. While a reef hook may be helpful in some areas, they are not permitted in protected areas. A 16% tax is levied on all diving activities in Mexico.
November to May is considered the best time to dive in Socorro Island. Liveaboards set sail for this remote island at this time, because the sea conditions in the Pacific are calmest during these months. The weather is generally sunny with occasional rain showers.
Manta rays can be seen throughout the year in Socorro, but during the winter months, divers also have the chance of spotting a whale shark or one of the thousands of humpbacks that breed and calve in the area. At this time, visibility is affected by plankton blooms. These are most common around the full moon.
If you’re headed to Socorro and want the best conditions for manta ray diving, book your holiday between November and May.
Elsewhere in Mexico, November to May is considered high season for general tourism. This season is also the best season for bull sharks near Playa del Carmen.
August to October is Guadalupe liveaboard season. During these months, the coldest water temperatures arrive with an average surface temperature of just 66°F to 70°F (19°C to 22°C). These temperatures attract the great white sharks, making this the best time to dive in Guadalupe.
August to November is also the season for liveaboard diving in the Sea of Cortez. While Guadalupe is cold, the Sea of Cortez is at its warmest. The water is approximately 80°F (27°C) and these are the best months for hammerhead encounters in the region.
The weather at this time transitions from hot and humid to cooler with a bit of rain. On the other hand, August to October is not as busy as the winter months in terms of tourism. You should be able to snag some good deals if you book far enough in advance. Be aware, these months represent the highest risk of hurricanes. It’s a good idea to take out trip insurance if you plan to visit Mexico in the fall.
Interested in diving in the Sea of Cortez or at Guadalupe? Book your Mexican diving holiday between August and October.
The best time for cenote diving is between May and September. These months bring the best light to the caves and result in the better photographs.
Also note that diving on the Caribbean side of Mexico is possible year-round. Simply keep an eye on the forecast during the summer and early fall.
June to September in particular is best for whale sharks near Isla Mujeres.
As an added bonus, the summer months are low season throughout Mexico. At this time, you’ll find the best deals on diving and accommodation. If you enjoy uncrowded, Caribbean dive sites, travel to Mexico between May and September.
There’s something for everyone in Mexico. Advanced divers should head to the Pacific and Guadalupe. Beginners may be more comfortable in the Gulf of Mexico.
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Between Socorro’s manta rays, the great white sharks of Guadalupe and the sea lions of the Sea of Cortez, Baja California has plenty of pelagics.
From hammerhead sharks off Cabo to whale sharks, rays and humpbacks in the Sea of Cortez, Baja California Sur lures pelagic-lovers into its depths.
The sunny island of Cozumel is home to lush walls, protected reefs and some of the speediest drifts in the world - perfect for every level of diver.
One of the four best places in the world to cage dive with Great White Sharks, remote Guadalupe Island in Mexico attracts adrenaline-loving divers!
Less crowded than elsewhere in Mexico, the Pacific Coast offers a variety of sites, including reefs, deep sea drifts and one awesome wreck.
Just four hours south of the border, San Carlos sits on the Sea of Cortez where divers enjoy the highest concentration of marine species in the world.
Named the “Aquarium of the World” by Cousteau, the Sea of Cortez hosts 850 marine species and the largest variety of whales and dolphins in the world.
Socorro Island is one of the only places in the world to swim with humpback whales. It’s also well-known for its hammerhead sharks and manta rays.
As an off-the-beaten path adventure, Veracruz delights divers with more than 14 locations, haunting wrecks and a protected marine park.
The whale sharks of Isla Mujeres, the bull sharks of Playa del Carmen and hundreds of crystal clear cenotes await you among the varied dive sites of the Yucatán Peninsula.
Snorkeling is practically a requirement for anyone who visits Mexico. Surface spotters will feel especially comfortable in the Caribbean and around the Yucatan Peninsula. Cancun’s offshore reef and the Museo Subacuático de Arte are perfect for non-divers. Snorkelers may also participate in whale shark tours near Isla Mujeres.
Mexico is home to hundreds of dive sites. Your ability to dive and your marine life wishlist will determine your destination. Advanced divers who love pelagics will want to head for Socorro Island or Guadalupe via liveaboard. Socorro is known for its manta ray encounters and Guadalupe is one of the best places in the world to dive with great white sharks. Also on the Pacific side, the Sea of Cortez is home to the dive site Los Islotes, a favorite hangout for playful sea lions. Those who enjoy cenote diving should check out Cenote Dos Ojos, and beginners will be happy at most dives in the Caribbean, including MUSA and Punta Cancun.
You can have it all in Mexico; gorgeously colored reef fish can be found in the Caribbean, and large pelagics are found out in the Pacific, including the infamous great white shark. There are also great migrations of gentle whale sharks at Isla Mujeres and fierce bull sharks near the Yucatan Peninsula. Blind cave fish thrive in the cenotes, eerie and wriggling. In the Sea of Cortez you can find interesting creatures like seahorses and starfish. You’ll also have playful encounters with sea lions. In Mexico, this is just the tip of the iceberg. There is so much to see and explore!
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Mexico is a huge country, boasting an impressive landmass of 761,606 square miles. The diversity of landscapes here is impressive, from sun-bleached deserts to tropical rainforests, there is something to please everyone.
Aztecs and Mayans made their homes here during the time of pre-Columbian Mexico. European colonists took over the land, wiping out much of the native population. It wasn’t until the early 1800’s that Mexico gained its independence from Spain.
Don’t miss out on the ancient temples of the Yucatan Peninsula, which still stand tall after all these years. Tulum is a particular favorite spot for looking out over the softly crashing waves. Surfing, ziplining and whitewater rafting are offered at several areas around the country. Grab some delicious street food or head to a museum in Tijuana or Mexico D.F., where city life blossoms. Relaxation is key in Mexico. Grab a cold drink and a sun umbrella before heading to one of the country's many pristine beaches.
With such an incredible variety of places to explore, flying to your location of choice is highly recommended. Mexico City, Cancun and Puerto Vallarta all have international airports. Getting around the country is straightforward, as inexpensive taxis and buses zoom across the landscape. Private transfers between resorts are also common.