Old picture of the C-56 Juan Escutia

Puerto Morelos

Front of the sunken mine sweeper C-56

Front of the C-56

Puerto Morelos is a small town of 15.000 inhabitants between Cancun and Playa del Carmen at the highway 307.

The town is spitted in three parts divided by the highway and surrounded by swamps. The old part of Puerto Morelos is right at the sea and you can find the biggest and most important container harbor of Quintana Roo.

Puerto Morelos has a very own and special charm. Surrounded by big resorts, houses, restaurants, apartment buildings and souvenir shops but it still feels like a small fisherman village.

The Meso-American barrier reef runs just 100m away from the beach and builds a natural protection for the beach and the town. This part of the barrier reef is now for many years a protected marine park thanks to local natural activists.

Eagle ray squadron flying in formation around the wreck of the mine sweeper C-56

Eagle rays

The history

In 1943, the C-56 Juan Escutia ran under the original name USS Knave (AM-256) from the stack of Lorain Co., Ohio. The USS Knave was an Admirable-class mine sweeper for the US Navy in the Second World War. After a few operations it was transferred in 1946 to the reserve.

In 1955, the USS Knave was reclassified as MSF-256 before it was then in 1966 sold to the Mexican Navy and renamed ARM DM-13. In 1996, it then got the final name Cadete Juan Escutia (C56)..

Side note: Juan Escutia (1827 - 1847) was a student at the military school of Chapultepec Mexico City. During the invasion by the US Army he fiercely resisted and prevented the Mexican flag to fall in the hands of the conquerors. Juan Escutia wrapped his body with the flag and jumped off the cliff of Chapultepec Castle. His ashes lies today at the monument of heroic children in Mexico City.

Cannon of the sunken mine sweeper C-56

Cannon of the C-56

Diving with eagle rays at the wreck C-56

Not far outside the protecting reef is the most interesting wreck of the Riviera Maya. The former mine sweeper C-56 Juan Escutia was intentionally sunk in 2000 off the coast of Puerto Morelos. A sister ship of the C-56 Juan Escutia was sunk off the coast of Cancun and another off the coast of Cozumel. The wreck of Cozumel is located at a depth of 20m and was never really adapted by nature and the wreck before Cancun was torn apart in several parts by hurricanes.

The C-56 Juan Escutia is located at a depth of 30m just outside the Meso-American Reef. It belongs to the Marine Park and therefore can not be visited by anyone.

In the winter months the wreck is a particular highlight. Eagle rays flying in formation around the wreck and thus ensure a surreal diving experience.

Due to the depth and the sometimes very strong currents, the wreck is suitable only for experienced divers.

Our diving rates

Wreck diving with eagle rays 119 USD ➤ Half day diving excursion with one dive at the wreck.
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.


Frontal picture of a bull shark
Diving with bull sharks - (November to February)

Every year in the winter months the Caribbean sea gets colder and the bull sharks come closer to the coast line of the Riviera Maya. The male sharks will stay in the north between Cancun and Puerto Morelos while the female sharks meet right in front of Playa del Carmen. Experience the close encounter with and change your opinion about these perfect predators of the sea. Sharks need our protection and there for we need to understand them and stop fearing them....read more