Scuba Diving Costa Maya

Scuba Diving Costa Maya: The Complete Guide

Costa Maya is one of the world’s most diverse cruise ports, is home to an abundance of activities and excursions to immerse yourself in. From breathtaking landmarks to blissful beaches, to exhilarating watersports, there’s something for all the family.

The small port, best known to be home to the largest of the Mayan Ruins, is located south of Playa del Carmen in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. Costa Maya makes the most of its Caribbean location and offers great beaches for relaxing by the sea and a variety of water activities to get involved in.

Its prime location in the Caribbean Sea also makes it a great choice for scuba divers! Scuba diving Costa Maya promises some of the world’s best diving, featuring great marine diversity and incredible water conditions, offering something for all levels of diver.

Scuba Diving Costa Maya

What’s Good About Costa Maya Diving?

It’s no secret that the Caribbean Sea is home to some incredible world-class scuba diving, and Costa Maya brings you within close proximity of the best of it! This action-packed port has something to offer for divers of all capabilities. Here are some of our favorite things about diving in Costa Maya.

Incredible Water Conditions

This conveniently located cruise port offers easy access to some of the world’s best diving that can be found in the Caribbean Sea.

The Caribbean waters offer great visibility and warm waters year-round making it great for first-timers. There are also some more varied conditions such as rapid drift dives for the more capable divers.

Incredible Marine Diversity

Diving in Mexico gives you an excellent opportunity to experience the underwater world in all of its glory and discover all of the beautiful marine life that inhabits it.

From whale shark encounters, to patrolling dolphins, to an array of colorful reef fish. The Caribbean water surrounding Mexico offers a multitude of opportunities for the marine biology geeks among us!

Variety in Dive Sites

Mexico holds some prime real estate when it comes to diving. Beneath the surface, you’ll find a plethora of unique sites including reefs, tunnels, and wrecks offering something for divers of all abilities.

What’s more, Mexico offers some brilliant cenote diving and an underwater museum. The likes of which you won’t find anywhere else in the world!

Costa Maya Scuba Certification

Scuba Certification

There’s no requirement to be certified to dive the waters of Mexico. Moreover, there are many tour operators that cater to those of all levels of ability, no problem for a first-time diver. Thanks to the favorable conditions that the Caribbean waters offer, there are plenty of beginner-friendly and easily accessible dive sites to get your flippers wet for the first time.

Having said that, it’s always recommended to get scuba certified to give yourself the best, most enjoyable diving experience possible. While you’ll have a great time scuba diving Costa Maya as a first-time diver, there’s a lot you can miss out on without the extra confidence and diving experience, such as the more challenging cenotes and wrecks.

If you’re looking to get scuba certified during your Costa Maya vacation, there are plenty of diving schools available to choose from to complete your open water certification. Check out our recommended course below!

In addition, becoming scuba certified will help you feel more comfortable and confident underwater. This leads to maximum enjoyment and safety from your diving experience and something worth considering.

Costa Maya Scuba Diving Requirements

Scuba Diving Safety

Mexico doesn’t have any specific laws or regulations with regards to diving. Though, there is a 16% levy on all diving activities in Mexico. As always, tour operators state that you must be in good physical condition and have some swimming ability. Children must be at least 10 years old to scuba dive with a tour operator.

With that said, it’s always highly recommended to have a dive buddy when you’re out scuba diving in the waters of the Caribbean, as it is anywhere else. This is particularly the case if you’re out diving without a tour operator or guide. In this situation, it’s also good practice to make use of diver down flags.

Best Diving Sites in Costa Maya

Costa Maya is the only one to be bordered by the Caribbean Sea in the east. It’s the up-and-coming diving spot, thanks to the development initiated by the pier construction for cruise ships.

Covering a distance of approximately 100 kilometers, the beach extends from Xcalak in the south to the southern boundary of Sian Ka’an in the north. The crystal clear water mostly remains calm and invites a host of marine species, especially during winters. Here are the top three destinations for divers.

Great Mayan Reef

Vibrant Coral

For the unversed, the Great Mayan Reef is another name for the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System (MBRS). It’s the second-largest barrier reef in the world behind the Great Barrier Reef of Australia. The region stretches over almost 1,000 kilometers across Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, and Honduras.

Here, the dive depths start from less than 12 meters and extend beyond the normal recreational diving limit. If you’re a certified diver, then various types of wrecks and reef dives are up for grabs.

While down there, say hello to members of the numerous coral, mollusk, and fish species that adorn the water.

If this sounds ideal to you, be sure to check out our recommended diving package experience below!

Banco Chinchorro

Cozumel Dive

Traveling around 35 kilometers off the coast of Mahahual will take you to the Banco Chinchorro Biosphere Reserve. It’ll take you anywhere between thirty minutes to an hour to reach the area via speedboat from the mainland.

All the major dive sites in the region have the luxury of clear visibility and warm waters. However, some of them may pose more challenges, especially for first-timers. The eastern side is dominated by heavy surfs, in case you’re looking for some adventure. I’d advise beginners to head to the western part, where the reefs remain protected from open currents.

Old Lighthouse

Underwater Coral

Nicknamed the Old Lighthouse, the Faro Veijo is a shallow dive spot that’s unlike anything I’ve seen. The initial descend will take you amidst a seemingly large sandy area with scattered corals.

But upon reaching a depth of about 14 meters, you’ll see a beautiful coral reef alongside a stunning overhang that’s only about a meter high. Plus, it has small hideout caverns, and you can easily spot gatherings of species like schoolmaster snappers and porkfish.

It has a maximum depth of 15 meters, and the year-long medium to strong currents don’t harm the visibility factor.

Check out our recommended experience below for more details.

Best Time to go Diving in Costa Maya

There’s no bad time to dive the Caribbean, boasting warm water with great conditions year-round. Mexico has something to offer every diver no matter what the time of year. Around Costa Maya, you’ll find water temperatures between 78 and 82ºF.

The most popular time to visit Mexico is December to April. This is high season so it’s important to book early to ensure you don’t miss out.

If you’re looking something specific, conditions for cenote diving are best between May and September. On the other hand, June-September is best for spotting whale sharks.

How Much Does Scuba Diving Cost in Costa Maya?

If you’re looking at booking a dive package experience through a tour company in Costa Maya, you’ll find prices between $50-$100. The prices generally include gear rental and levys so there are no extra fees.

In addition, a PADI Open Water Certification will set you back around $450, if that’s what you’re looking for.

Scuba Diving Gear in Costa Maya

Scuba Gear

There are plenty of dive shops situated in the cruise port of Costa Maya as its diving scene is growing in popularity. This means gear rental is always an option.

It’s worth noting, you’re left with one less thing to think about when going with a diving package from a guided tour operator as all equipment and gear are included.

However, buying your own gear might be ideal for you if you’re a more keen and experienced diver!

Be sure to check out our buyer’s guides if you’re looking for scuba gear. There you’ll find all of our top recommendations for a range of scuba gear.

Other Mexico Destinations

More Goodies
Scuba Diving Koh Lanta
Scuba Diving Koh Lanta: The Ultimate Diver’s Guide