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Playa del Carmen is a favorite snorkeling, scuba diving and underwater cave diving destination. The Great Mayan Reef is the second largest reef system in the world, and its warm blue waters are extremely clear with great visibility. Divers are able to explore 500 year old corals along the reef and see thousands of multi-colored fish of all varieties. In addition to ocean diving, scuba diving is also popular inland in the many sinkholes around Playa del Carmen. These stalactite and stalagmite filled caves and caverns are part of a vast underground fresh water river system that surrounds Playa del Carmen.
Playa Del Carmen Dive Shops
There are many SSI and PADI certified dive shops in Playa that can show you the ins and outs of diving around Playa del Carmen. These include:
Diving Spots around Playa Del Carmen:
Zona de Cenotes
This sinkhole zone is located west of Playa del Carmen. In this region you can dive among underground sinkhole formations such as those at Chac-Mool, La Ponderosa, Dos Ojos, Nohoch-Na-Chich, Gran Cenote, Car Wash, Chikin Ha, Taj Mahal and Angelita. In Playa del Carmen you'll find touring companies that will teach you how to dive in sinkholes.
Parque Ecologico de Xpu-Ha
Located 32 km (20 mi) southwest of Playa del Carmen. At this place you can go snorkeling and scuba diving along the reefs off the coast. In its coves you can observe hundreds of multicolored fish.
Located 47 km (29 mi) south of Playa del Carmen off the Cancun-Tulum Highway 307. This is an ecological park where you'll find coves, sinkholes (ponds connected to underground river systems), lagoons, caves with subterranean rivers and springs that empty into the sea. Open daily from 8:30 to 6:00. Tel. (998) 875-6000 www.xel-ha.com. At this ecological park you can go swimming and snorkeling on an impressive tour that allows you to admire underwater life in crystalline rivers and well-lit caverns. You can also do the Sea Trek, an exciting adventure tour that gives you the opportunity to witness marine life without having to be an expert scuba diver.
Parque Ecologico Tres Rios
Located 11 km (7 mi) north of Playa del Carmen off the Cancun-Tulum Highway 307. At this ecological park embedded in a subtropical jungle you can have the memorable experience of a close encounter with nature. The park is closed due to remodeling, but will reopen its doors in summer 2006. This ecological park has eight sinkholes where you can scuba dive with experienced guides. Among its services, the park offers diving classes for all skill levels and ages.
Located 8 km (5 mi) south of Playa del Carmen off the Cancun-Tulum Highway 307. At this place, among many other attractions, you'll find archaeological ruins of one of the most important ceremonial centers of Mayan culture. You'll also see plenty of natural beauty such as caves, underground rivers full of colorful indigenous fish, and a reef aquarium. Open daily from 8:30 am to 10:00 pm. Tel. (998) 883-0470. www.xcaret.com. Here you can go snorkeling and scuba diving on an unforgettable tour through 600 meters (nearly 2,000 feet) of caves and tunnels. Open daily from 8:30 am to 10:00 pm.