Scuba Diving Playa del Carmen

Scuba Diving Playa del Carmen: The Complete Guide

Once a quaint fishing town, Playa del Carmen has grown into something of a vacation hotspot in recent years with its ever-growing tourist infrastructure. Its location on the Riviera Maya makes it an ideal spot for those who like soaking up the sun and experiencing the wonders of the water.

Located south of Cancun and close to the small island of Cozumel, Playa offers an abundance of adventure and relaxation opportunities as well as thriving bars and restaurants. Something to entertain every visitor!

Its prime location in the Caribbean Sea also makes it a great choice for scuba divers! Scuba diving Playa del Carmen 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 Playa del Carmen

What’s Good About Playa del Carmen Diving?

It’s no secret that the Caribbean Sea is home to some incredible world-class scuba diving, and Playa del Carmen brings you within touching distance! This thriving tourist city has something to offer for divers of all capabilities. Here are some of our favorite things about diving in Playa del Carmen.

Prime Water Conditions

With its convenient location on the Riviera Maya, Playa grants easy access to the finest diving the Caribbean Sea has to offer.

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 Biodiversity

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!

Enviable 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!

Playa del Carmen 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 Playa del Carmen 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 Playa 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.

Playa del Carmen 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 Playa del Carmen

From beautiful caverns to the plethora of healthy reefs off the sandy shores, the dive sites feature quite some diversity. Other than that, it makes for a gateway to the world-renowned Isla Mujeres. And whether you’re a boat or shore diver enthusiast, both options will be at your disposal. On that note, the following are the three must-visit sites while in the town.

Angelita Cenote

Cave Diving

Angelita Cenote, or “Little Angel” as it’s fondly called, has earned a reputation for providing a one-of-a-kind dive experience. At a depth of 30 meters, divers have the company of upside-down trees, making you feel as if you were floating in an inverted sky. Exciting, isn’t it?

Furthermore, the first half (up to 30 meters) is actually freshwater, with the rest being saltwater. The 4 meters hydrogen sulfate layer that separates these two halves creates a unique mirror effect, which appears like a dense cloud from the top.

Beyond this, the water becomes clear again, but divers should carry lights as it gets significantly dark.

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


Cozumel Dive

If you’re looking to garner diving skills, then Cerebros is the perfect destination. The diving depth ranges from 20 to 45 feet and is shallow enough for beginners to get the hang of things.

It lies to the north of the Los Arcos Reef, ahead of Tres Rios, and is relatively far from the other reefs in the region. That said, the scenic landscapes and mesmerizing arches will not make you want to leave the place at all.

Despite having almost no currents, there’s no dearth of marine species like lobsters, king crabs, reef fishes, moray eels, etc. You may also spot some coral formations near the reef edges.

Bull Shark Diving

Shark Diving

People who have shark diving on their bucket list cannot overlook Playa del Carmen. As you may already know, bull sharks are inhabitants of warm, shallow waters along the coasts and rivers. And although Fiji carves a niche for bull shark diving, Mexico offers much more accessibility at cheaper rates.

However, it’s not a year-long activity as these majestic creatures pay a kind visit only between November and March for breeding. The good news is that you can carry your cameras or Go Pros to capture their lifestyle underwater.

Check out our recommended experience below for more details.

Best Time to go Diving in Playa del Carmen

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 Playa, 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 for 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 Playa del Carmen?

If you’re looking at booking a dive package experience through a tour company in Playa, you’ll find prices between $100-$200. The prices generally include gear rental and levy’s 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 Playa del Carmen

Scuba Gear

There are plenty of dive shops situated in the thriving tourist town of Playa 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 Sydney
Scuba Diving Sydney: The Complete Guide