Best of Yucatan
Diving tour 8 days & 7 nights
From Cancun Airport
Upon arrival at Cancun airport, transportation will be waiting to take you to your hotel in Puerto Morelos, a fishermen village that has managed to keep its charm and authenticity.
Epave c-56 + Cénote Zapote
Your guide will join you after breakfast and together you will do the first dive in the famous shipwreck C56 Juan Escutia. This old military vessel from the Mexican navy was a minesweeper before it was sunk in the year 2000 in the area of Puerto Morelos to create an artificial dive spot at 27m depth. As the only fix spot in the middle of a sandy area, this wreck provides shelter against the current that attracts a great amount of spotted eagle rays that can be observed around the wreck. The penetration of this 45m long vessel and the visit to its engine room won’t make you indifferent.
After breakfast, you will discover your first connote: Zapote. This cenote is located in the jungle of Puerto Morelos and it is unique in its type, it is also known as Hells Bells, this is due to the unique formations. In fact unlike the “traditional” stalagtites that grow from the ceiling down (the wide part) toward the tip (the narrow part); the formations in this cenote “grow” in the shape of a bell, the narrowest part starts at the ceiling and the widest part grows downwards. These type of formations can only be seen in some cenotes, all of them in the area of Puerto Morelos and are concretions that keep growing even though they are underwater. Your guide will provide more information about these geological marvels.
Later we will depart towards Cozumel Island where we will spend the night at the Villablanca Hotel.
Cozumel: “the island of swallows” was an important site for the ancient Mayans, who made regular peregrinations to the temple dedicated to the goddess Ixchel – goddess of fertility but also known as the patron of sailors and fishermen. Later it became a diving paradise after Captain Cousteau put this island in the diving scene.
Its famous walls and canyons, its colors and its fauna (where you can find some species endemic to these reefs) made this marine park one of the most well known dive spots in the world. We will do 2 dives and will have lunch on the boat, after we will do some sightseeing driving around in a “Bochito” the famous Volkswagen that you can still find in Mexico. You will discover the wild side of the island with 48m long, the beaches and the jungle.
We will go back to spend the night in Playa del Carmen, a vibrant and colorful city, where we will spend the night at the Plaza Hotel, located right in font of the diving center.
Cénote El Pit + Dreamsgate
Today we will do two splendid dives; very different from anything we have done so far.
The cenotes were sacred for the Mayans and still remain as indispensible water wells for the people in the area; we will visit two wonderful cenotes.
First dive will be at Cenote El Pit; this is a deep connote with clear water whose photos have won awards around the world. Here there have been found prehistoric animals skeletons (giant sloths, coatis, etc.) human bones (some of them date from 12 thousand years ago – making them the oldest in America), there have been found also some pots; all these make this one of the most important cenotes in the anthropological, paleontological and archeological fields. On top of all this you can also appreciate the variations in color of the rock that indicates the different glacial eras (visible in the walls), the sulfur cloud gives this place dismal and magical characteristics, its formations (stalactites and stalagmites) and its visual effects due to the halocline make this a complete, unforgettable and unique dive.
Later we will go to a very different but equally wonderful cenote: Cenote Dreamgate; here we won’t find the light effects, on the contrary the cavern is dark and covered with stalactites, eccentric columns and curtains that give us the unique impression to be awakening in the insides of the earth right underneath the light of our flashlights – this is the most decorated caverns in the peninsula without a doubt.
After a well-deserved lunch, we will visit the ruins in Tulum, the only archeological site at the edge of the ocean. Here the palm trees and the iguanas establish a Caribbean scene with the turquoise water and the white sand as a background. We will drive until Mahahual where we will spend two nights at the Pachamama Hotel.
Mahahual + Banco Chinchoro
After breakfast, we will take a boat and navigate to Banco Chinchorro where we will do 3 dives. In the middle of the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea we will find a unique coral reef: “Banco Chinchorro”. It inspired many histories and legends after the colonization to the present days. Its name originated due to its shape, because it looks like a semi circular net used by the fishermen in the Caribbean area.
We will do the first dive in one of these shipwrecks and then we will dive two different reefs. We will be back in Mahahual for dinner and to spend the night at the Pachamama Hotel.
Just like Mahahual, the village in front of the reef; the biosphere reserve of Banco Chinchorro is very little known in the diving community, this area of the Mexican peninsula hasn’t been widely explored and many areas still remain to be discovered in terms of the diving sites.
Ruines de Coba + Valladolid
We will depart Mahahual towards the center of the peninsula to visit the archeological site of Coba. This is located in the middle of the Yucatan jungle and we can still climb the Nohoch Mul pyramid 42m tall, that provides us with a splendid view over the jungle surrounding us.
We will have lunch at a restaurant by the edge of the lagoon and then drive towards the city of Valladolid, a charming colonial city with a colorful architecture where we will visit the convent and the chocolate museum.
Later we will go to Chucho’s house, our Mayan friend that awaits for us with for dinner with his family. Don’t forget to bring your football shoes for an epic match with the kids in the neighborhood. We will have the chance to visit a cenote in town that will only be open for us.
Santa Rita + Nuevo Durango
We will depart early in the morning towards Santa Rita Caves – one of the most beautiful in the area, but forgotten by many (to our advantage): here we will find pots, paintings (hand prints) and prehistoric walls; (yes prehistoric, not only prehispanic, proof of this are the stalagmites), we will find rooms fully decorated with thousands of stalactites, stalagmites, columns, curtains and concretions some more beautiful than others. The access to this cave is via mountain bike through the jungle on a 2km road.
In Nuevo Durango we will learn the way of life of the Mayans in present day, the guardians of the traditions and the knowledge in Yucatan; this is a small town where we will visit and orchard (horticulture and gardening) where they use permaculture (ecological farming system very similar to the one used in the ancient times respecting the biodiversity of the surrounding ecosystem). Here is where we will learn about the traditional culture of the peninsula and where you can buy fruits and vegetables (according to the season) that we will cook later. In fact, we will help in the food preparation; this gives us a great opportunity to try new dishes.
After lunch we will go into town where a descent via rappel will take us to a fresh water-relaxing mirror. (We have the option of a dry cave instead according to your preference)
We will visit our friend Manuel, whom thanks to his passion for animals in the Yucatan area, wants to reintroduce de Virginia deer that lost their habitat due to hunting and are in constant threat in this region. In his huge land we will learn about the different species in the area and the reproduction programs.
Here we will also find some typical beehives (on the trunk of the trees) for the conservations and preservation of the Mayan bee “Melipone Bee” which is in the process of extinction. We will spend the night in Gilmar Taakbil Luum Lojam – very comfortable cabins in the middle of the jungle.
Punta Laguna + Retour
Last day we will depart very early to watch the wild fauna in Punta Laguna. Mexico is part of a very coveted list of 17 countries considered the ones with the most diversity in terms of biodiversity. We will go to the jungle to discover the spider monkey reserve, where we can observe the last specimens in total freedom (you can observe them almost everyday).
If we are lucky we will be able to observe the hauling monkeys, many different types of birds and reptiles.
In this reserve we can enjoy a zip line with an amazing view and we can kayak in the lagoon.