Cabo San Lucas
Playa Del Carmen
While not as famous as Cozumel, Playa Del Carmen is a great place to stay with easy access to both Cozumel Island & its own reefs. I highly recommend it for its central location, great beaches & a fun, lively downtown dining &
shopping area. After visiting several dive shops in Playa, we found & used a great little company, Abyss, which took us out in small groups for 4 dives off shore (about a 15 - 25 minute boat ride).|
The first was a deeper drift dive: Tortuga Reef. We did see a few turtles (but nowhere near as many as, say Maui) & a large stingray kept us company for a while. The topography wasn't all that interesting,
a slope with plenty of healthy soft coral & there were not a huge number of fish. Strong currents at the surface meant descending rapidly. Once down there, the current
meant that we did very little work as we drifted over the reef. We dove a couple of shallower dives where there were way more fish hanging around near overhangs in the reef. The reef was a series of fingers & looked healthy, so we swam over some of the sandy areas between the fingers.
I got to see several pipe fish & my first sea horse - a big one at almost 1 ft (30 cm) length, just hanging out. There were some decent sized lobsters, lots of grunts & other reef fish. Visibility was unusually good (80+ ft, 25m).
There was current above the reef, which briefly messed with a few divers' buoyancy but conditions were very manageable. I combined the 3 reef dives: Tortuga & the very similar Sabalos & Barracuda Reefs into this video:
Playa Del Carmen Reefs Dive Video (24 MB)
We also dove a great wreck dive - the Mama Ninya, a fishing trawler that was originally designed to be a snorkeling wreck for the nearby Xcaret resort. However, the sinking didn't go as planned & it ended up in 95 ft of fast current water.
The boat's intact with a couple of levels that you can swim through. Plenty of small fish inside, though watch out
for the poisonous Hydroid coral (widespread in this region), which can give you a nasty rash. We ended up seeing rays, schools of jacks &, on a smaller scale, fireworms (also poisonous). Although there was a strong current on the outside of the boat, inside it was calm, making
it an easy boat to penetrate.
The Mama Ninya Wreck Dive Video (11 MB)
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