Diving Mahahual

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Mahahual, Mexico

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Country: Mexico  Area: Mexico

Water Temp: 25 - 30°C (77 - 86°F)

Visibility: 15 - 30m (49 - 98 ft)

Depth Range: 10 - 60m (33 - 197 ft)

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Mahahual located in the Costa Maya region of Mexico has become the newest vacation destination town within the Mexican Caribbean. Up until now this area was virtually unknown to most people, with the exception of a handful of brave tourists. It wasn’t long ago that this sleepy oceanfront village consisted of a few beach shacks and the area’s Mexican Naval Base. However, in quick order it has taken off as a vacation destination. Especially for the Cruise ship industry.

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The addition of a paved beachfront walkway has led the way for growth, yet still keeping to the history and ambience that is Mexico. People who venture here just love the little quaint center of town and miles of sandy beaches. As the Caribbean goes, vacationing here is way cheaper by far than other Caribbean destinations.

Besides the “laid back” siesta inviting atmosphere drawing visitors who desire just that, there are wonderful Mayan ruins to explore, bird watching and of course some excellent fishing. Scuba Diving wasn’t much of a draw until lately, but is starting to get the attention it deserves. As Mahahual is located just north of Belize, well know for its Barrier Reef and hundreds of dive sites, this area has lots to explore. Already there are seven dive shops ready to take you into the vast blue seas.

Spotted Eel,Credit

Climate

The climate in Mahahual, Mexico is sub-tropical, with average temperatures of 84° F/29° C.      Although the temperatures are warm all year long during the days, the evenings during December, January and February do cool off. Also if planning a trip here, be aware that there is an increase in rainfall and humidity during September and October.

The dry season usually runs between November and April, with Hurricane Season being August through November. Keep in mind that the average occurrence of a hurricane hitting this area is once every 10 years.

Creole Wrasses, Credit

Marine Conservation

Always use a biodegradable sunscreen to prevent water pollution.

 
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The Diving

The worlds 2nd largest Barrier Reef is located 400 yards (40 meters) off the sandy beaches of Mahahual, Mexico. Most diving is done either north or south to inshore reefs with deep canyon grooves and excellent coral formations or in the Barrier Reef. The diving here is from 6 to 30 feet, with average visibility of between 30ft. (9meters) to over 100 ft. (30 meters).

Turtle,Credit

Diving the outer barrier reef you will usually still find that clear water and great visibility except during storms. The diving ranges from 30 ft. (9 meters) to well over 200 ft. (60 meters) and recommended for Intermediate/expert divers.

You can dive the Barrier reef all year long, although occasionally a storm will blow in and cause rough seas for a couple of days at most. Your best, calmest and warmest days, perfect for diving are found during the summer months.

There’s no shortage of dive sites with over 50 within 10-20 minutes from town. If there’s a non-diver in your group, the inner reef is perfectly fine for snorkelling.

As the Mahahual Mexico dive destination is still relatively new and for the most part gets it’s divers from the cruise ships docking there, the information about diving and specifically the dive sites is very minimal. Most of the guide services bringing divers out will choose dive sites to fit the majority of divers, mostly in-experienced from the ships, to less challenging sites. That being said, for experienced divers, there are some very challenging and exciting places below the surface for you to experience.

Eel,Credit

As increased awareness of this area by the diving community and more dives are experienced, we encourage divers to post data and their experiences in specific dives to the Internet blogs and diving websites. This will not only be good for this great diving destination, but also for your fellow divers, because knowledge is power to fins everywhere.

Here are a few of the more popular diving destinations for you to look at when you make the trip to the relatively unknown jewel. The divers out there should definitely keep an eye on this destination and add it to their “dive bucket list”.

The Xahuaixol dive suite is within a half hour from town and is known for Giant Turtles, eels, lionfish and manta rays. It is said that this dive site has some of the most beautiful Cenote Cave Diving in the Caribbean.

Coral, Credit

The “Meso American Barrier Reef “ brings you up front and close to Loggerhead turtles, Spotted Eagle Ray, Dolphins, lobster, Moray Eels, nurse sharks, spectacular sponge formations, barracuda. It’s known as the Great Mayan Reef or Jewel of the Caribbean. Don’t be surprised if you also spot Spadefish, Parrotfish, Trumpfish, Puffers, Creole Wrasse, and Angelfish. Dive from 8 meters (26 ft.) to 40 meters (130 ft.)

The Chinchorro Banks dive is popular for divers with Inter5mediate or Advanced experience, and features dolphins, nurse sharks and coral. This dive site is located further out from reef.

The Escalones dive site is very popular, located just offshore where you see groups of sea turtles and eagle rays.

The Dos Ojos dive site Located south of fishing dock and has a sandy bottom with fairly shallow water, great for beginner divers or night dives.

Note that from June through September there’s a good chance of sighting Whale Sharks.

The currents are generally light, diving only by boat.

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Getting There

Most visitors will fly into Cancun, Mexico. You can reach Mahahual, Mexico by a 5-hour car or bus from Cancun. It’s also about a 2.5-hour drive on highway 307 from Chetumal, Mexico on the Belize border.

Mahahual, Mexico, Credit

If staying at one of the main resorts, some offer round trip transportation from Cancun Airport, but be aware, it will cost you. The alternative of renting a vehicle and driving yourself gives you the added advantage of being able to explore the area.

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Going Out

There is a great selection of beach bar/restaurants to choose from, with fresh, tasty and very in-expensive prices. Most meal prices range from $5-$15 a plate, not counting the Corona’s.

Fish hovering near a brain coral,Credit

The #1 rated restaurant in the village is an American/Mexican cuisine served at the Tropicante Grill.  For breakfast or that early morning cup of “joe” it’s Café Karlita’s, well known for coffee and pastries.

 Another restaurant receiving rave reviews is Ibiza Sunset.

 The fact is that there’s no shortage of places to eat, and as this has always been a fishing village, the seafood is fresh, and service excellent.

If you’re looking for a beach bar, the Yaya Beach Restaurant and Bar is the place to check out. Whether it’s ceviche or a tropical cocktail, they only use fresh and natural ingredients.  Also, very important, their water and ice cubes are made with purified water.

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Other Activities

The name of the game in this sleepy village town is relaxation. Sandy beaches, clear warm waters offer a great beach experience. If not diving, try snorkelling or kayaking right off the shore where waters are always clear and colourful fish will enjoy your company.

Boats, Credit

The coastline offers some excellent fishing, especially fly-fishing. Whether you are an experienced caster, or never fished, guide boats and guides are available to take you out and teach you.   

During the warm sunset nights there’s nothing quite like an ocean cruise, and there are boats at the dock just waiting to take you.

Family Friendly

As with most dive locations with certified dive shops, introductory classes for beginner divers, as well as the younger divers between 12 and 14 years old can take a “Discovery” diving class, or Open Water Course specifically designed for them.

There’s also great opportunity for snorkelling from boats or kayaking from the beach.

For family day trips, there are excellent Mayan Temple tours available with local guides.

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Tips

During the months of September and October as rains increase with humidity and air temperature, the presence of Mosquitos does too. Therefore, be sure to bring plenty of insect repellent.

Also, not only as a diver, but also in a tropical environment, drink plenty of bottled water. Note we said bottled water.  

Fish! Credit

Recommend summer shorties, but during winter months a full, long 5mm suit. 

If you want to try Kayak Diving, you can get a dive specialty in that at one of the shops and do some shore diving.  

If you are interested in hunting and eating tasty Lionfish, the Doctor Dive Shop is the only dive group offering this exciting adventure, which includes a beach barbeque.        

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Rating 8/10

Superb spot

Mahahual2 May 2014 - 6 May 2016

The 7 dives in Mahahual were among the best I ever did. The water was very clear and had incredibles shades of blue. Lots of crayfish, lion fish, turtles, some eagle rays too. I also saw a nurse shark on the last day and a tiger snake eel. Unfortunately it was too early for whale sharks (they come from Belize in mid June). The night dive was a lifetime experience as turtles were sleeping on the bottom of the sea and you can see some slipper lobster and huge crabs.

Gano Hughes

Mahahaul.. great name.. great diving :D

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