A wall of fish

Playa del Carmen

Dive sites of Playa del Carmen

Dive sites of Playa del Carmen.

Playa del Carmen is located on the Caribbean coast of the Yucatan peninsula between Cancun (70km) and Tulum (70km).

Since 1970, Playa del Carmen has developed from a fishing village (200 inhabitants) to a Mexican city with the largest population growth (150,000 inhabitants).

Playa continues to grow, becoming an urban center of shopping centers, hotels, restaurants, boutiques, apartment buildings and a lot more.

Playa del Carmen is also known for its vibrant nightlife.

Scuba diving in Playa del Carmen

Directly in front of Playa runs part of the second longest barrier reef in the world, the Meso-American reef.

The dive sites range due to drift, depth and topography. All reefs provide a lot of life and divers interested in having closer look into the cracks will highly value this experience.

We make three daily trips with 2 dives in the morning, 1 dive in the afternoon and 1 possible dive in the evening. We only dive in small groups and there is enough time for diving and all the trappings.

On the boat you will find tanks and weights, drinking water and snacks for break time between dives.

Overlook at the Reefs in Playa del Carmen:

Lobster at the Cerebros reef in front of Playa del Carmen

Cerebros

Cerebros is the northernmost dive site of Playa del Carmen. It owes its name to the numerous brain coral (in Spanish: corales cerebro) and has a depth between 10m-12m. The site is simple and has little to almost no drift, yet, it remains one of the most beautiful diving spots around Playa del Carmen. The reef is composed of coral towers that reach up and partly down to a depth of 3m. In the columns and crannies countless underwater creatures hide, and at certain times you may think you are on a lobster farm. Otherwise, you will find moray eels, crabs, stingrays and sometimes Eire turtle. Cerebros is the perfect second dive after Pared Verde and Los Arcos.

Sting ray at the reef of Los Arcos in front of Playa del Carmen

Los Arcos

Los Arcos is a deep dive with sometimes a very strong current and therefore only suitable for experienced divers. The reef is between 22m-30m depth. Gaps and cracks full of life, hard corals, sponges and sea fans. These aspects of the walls form a large bow, the namesake of this dive site (Spanish: Arcos). The strong current guides us along the site and we often see turtles, barracudas, stingrays. In winter, bull sharks and maybe a sailfish.

Turtle with 2 doctor fish cleaning the back of the turtle at the reef of Pared Verde in front of Playa del Carmen

Pared Verde

Pared Verde is just like Moc Che Deep and Los Arcos, a deep dive with strong currents. The diving depth is between 23m-30m and is therefore only recommended for experienced divers. The reef consists of several sections, from 5m-10m high coral wall with hard corals, sponges and ferns. Here is a good chance to see lobsters, crabs, turtles, stingrays and moray eels. In winter, perhaps bull sharks.

Green murray eel at the reef of Moc Che Deep in front of Playa del Carmen

Moc Che Deep

Moc Che Deep, like Los Arcos and Pared Verde is a deep dive with strong currents for experienced divers. The reef wall is located between 20m-27m and is home to lobsters, moray eels, crabs, turtles, stingrays, groupers and large barracudas. In the winter months there is a chance to see bull sharks.

Well camouflaged flounder at the reef of Moc Che Shallow in front of Playa del Carmen

Moc Che Shallow

Moc Che Shallow is shallow reef with 10m-13m depth and medium-strong currents. A site that features extensive flora and fauna, excellent for underwater photographers. Shrimp, crab, scorpion fish and moray eels hide in the various cracks and between the coral and sponges. At the end of the reef we find a bow under which wrasse and snapper hide.

Jamaica sting ray with cleaning shrimp at the reef of Cuevas De Pargo in front of Playa del Carmen

Cuevas de Pargo

Cuevas de Pargo is a shallow reef with little drift, perfect for beginners and underwater photographers. A small reef with many ferns, sponges and hard corals feature countless underwater inhabitants. Scorpion fish, sole, shrimp, snails, crabs and moray eels hide in the cracks and crevices. After about 30 minutes the reef bends sharply to the left and there is the possibility to swim over the sand to the second part of the reef. Stingrays and hermit crabs are often visible along this sandy stretch. The second part consists of a plurality of overgrown reef with even more life. Maximum diving depth is between 8m-13m.

Sea horse at the reef of Chun Zumbul in front of Playa del Carmen

Chun Zumbul

Chun Zumbul is the longest reef in the area of Playa del Carmen. A perfect reef for beginners and advanced divers with a depth of 10m-12m and mild-strong currents. The middle section of the reef is the most interesting part with large sea fans and coral overhangs. Chun Zumbul is also a great dive site for night dives.

Stone fish at the reef of Shangrila in front of Playa del Carmen

Shangri La

Shangi La is located just in front of the former hotel, Shangri La. A very flat and very nice dive with 6m-10m depth and almost no drift. Shangri La is like a nursery for fish and other sea creatures. It is not unusual to see a swarm of young barracudas guarded by 1-2 large barracudas. The reef starts as a small reef edge and goes to a beautiful lush coral garden. Schools of young fish, moray eels, shrimp and more. Due to the low drift, it is perfect for criss-crossing above the coral garden.

Corrals at the reef of Jardines in front of Playa del Carmen

Jardines

Jardines is located just in front of the abandoned dock at Avenida Constituentes. The dive is simple with a maximum depth of 8m-11m and little drift. Jardines is one of the most visited dive sites of Playa del Carmen. On the ledges you can find small overhangs with crabs, scorpion fish, spotted and green moray eels. In the middle section, the coral gardens (in Sanish: Jardines) host a selection of tropical fish shoals on the flat reef. The reef is rich in sponges, soft corals and sea ferns. A perfect reef with excellent conditions for beginners and photographers.

Nurse shark at the Cantil in front of Playa del Carmen

Cantil

Cantil is the wall of the channel between Playa del Carmen and Cozumel. Very strong currents and a depth between 35m-50m are the figures for this dive site. Barrel sponges and coral formations form the backdrop for turtles, nurse sharks and stingrays. In the blue water there is always a surprise. This dive site is only suitable for very experienced divers.

Diver with turtle at the reef of Tortugas in front of Playa del Carmen

Tortugas

Tortugas is the most-visited dive site in Playa del Carmen. A huge field between the sand at 16m and 45m at the Cantil. The site is named for the large number of turtles that swim here (Spanish: Tortugas). Because it is relatively flat, it is fully covered with barrel sponges, hard and soft corals and a large number of moray eels, stingrays, barracudas, large parrot fish, snappers and in the summer months, large sponges of tarpon. In the barrel sponges hide large crabs. Also there is the chance to see several bull sharks between November and February. You don't want to miss this dive.

Diver with turtle at the reef of Sabalos in front of Playa del Carmen

Sabalos

Named after the tarpon (in Spanish: Sabalos). This peaceful large fish can be seen in the winter months. Diving along the reef edge we view the features of this spot. Small columns, tiny tunnels and overhangs accommodate crabs, lobsters, moray eels, wrasse and snapper. Very often you will also see eating turtles surrounded by colorful fish. The maximum depth is 14m with sometimes strong currents. Sabalos is the extension from Barracuda Reef and with good air consumption, you can dive both sites in one immersion.

Huge crab at the reef of Barracuda in front of Playa del Carmen

Barracudas

Barracuda is located upstream of Sabalos and has similar characteristics. The reef has the outline of a hand with its fingers. Just drift along and enjoy the characteristics of the reef especially the overhangs where you will have protection from the drift and the chance to take pictures if you are a photographer. Crabs, lobsters, moray eels, lip fish and other tropical fish will almost seem to pose for the cameras. The maximum depth is 13m..



Diver in front of the wreck of the Mama Viña in front of Playa del Carmen

Wrack Mama Viña

The wreck Mama Viña was sunken in 1995 to create a new and interesting dive spot. The former Crab Fishing Boat is on a sandy bottom at 27m depth and is covered with soft and hard corals. This feature provides rich protection for a wide range of marine life. Barracudas, stingrays, moray eels and mackerel. Diving on the wreck is safe, but due to strong currents you should be an experienced diver.

Two nurse sharks at the reef of Punta Venado in front of Playa del Carmen

Punta Venado

Punta Venado is the southeast dive in Playa del Carmen. The reef is similar to Tortugas, a shallow reef overgrown with beautiful coral formations and many marine inhabitants. Punta Venado falls only slightly, then more steeply down to the Cantil. It is home to nurse sharks, bull sharks, stingrays, turtles and schools of tarpon and mackerel. The maximum diving depth is 18m-40m, only suitable for experienced divers.

Our diving rates

Diving in Playa del Carmen 79 USD ➤ Half day 2 tank diving trip to the local reefs at the morning and at noon.
Night diving in Playa del Carmen 79 USD ➤ 1 tank diving trip to a local reef at the evening.
Full equipment 20 USD ➤ Full diving equipment including diving computer.
Partial Equipment 5 USD ➤ Each part of the equipment (bcd, suit, regulator, computer).

* All prices are in US Dollar and subject to change without notice.


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