Categories for Blog

2

Feb - 2020

Sharks are familiar to practically everyone thanks to movies like “Jaws” and the sensational TV documentaries on them that fill up Shark Week every year. Despite this prominence, lots of the “facts” everyone knows about shark behavior are, in fact, misconceptions. If you find yourself fielding shark questions from non-diving friends and you feel the need to set the record straight, here are three apocryphal sharks “facts” you can debunk for them.

shark in Playa del Carmen

1) Human Attacks by Sharks Are Common

No shark in the world tries to kill humans or hunt them as prey. Human flesh isn’t even appetizing to sharks. In the overwhelming majority of shark-on-human attacks, the violence is ultimately caused by a case of mistaken identity. The shark simply mistakes a person for a natural prey animal, like a seal or turtle. A shark will bite a human because its mouth is one of its strongest sensory organs, but it will virtually never try to consume human flesh. However, with larger species of shark, even one “exploratory” bite might prove fatal.

2) Have To Swim Constantly To Stay Alive

Forward motion is important for sharks because of the way they get oxygen. They absorb it straight from the water through capillaries in their gills, so maintaining a constant flow is necessary for their survival. Not all shark species, though, rely on continuous swimming to meet their oxygen needs.
Several shark species, including angel sharks, nurse sharks, and wobbegongs, have mastered a skill called buccal breathing. These sharks suck water into their mouths and then push it out through their gills, allowing them to get oxygen while stationary. Sharks that are capable of buccal breathing spend lots of time lying motionless on the ocean floor.
Other sharks solve their breathing problem by swimming into areas that have strong currents. They let the motion of the water itself move it through their gills, remaining (mostly) stationary. This behavior is especially common in reef sharks in the Caribbean and great whites on the South African coast.

3) Sharks Live Only In The Ocean

The world’s oceans are home to 400 different species of shark. At least two of them, though, can survive in brackish tidewaters and even freshwater rivers. One of these is the rare Byzant river shark or spear tooth shark, which can be found in coastal waters and rivers in New Guinea and northern Australia. The other freshwater-capable shark species is the bull shark, found all over the world. The bull shark, like all fish, is capable of osmoregulation, keeping the concentration of water in its body constant. What sets the bull shark apart is its ability to adapt its osmoregulation to account for the salinity of the water around it. This allows it to thrive in river mouths and even swim upstream into freshwater.

In reality, sharks are hardly the deadly hunters they are portrayed as in the media. Sharks are fascinating sea creatures with complex and curious biologies. Learn more about sharks and help educate your non-diving friends by dispelling the misconceptions discussed above. We hope that this post can help you to something more about shark behavior.

young shark

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9

Jan - 2020

Scuba Diving in Playa del Carmen is a good starting point to investigate whether you like diving because nearby Playa del Carmen there are many places with impressive diving points.

Scuba diving in Playa del Carmen

 

Recent researches have shown that diving helps divers derive happiness and long-term satisfaction. Improving your skills and virtues in an activity you like can help boost your well-being. Diving can improve your sense of well-being as it enables you to learn more about yourself, other people and the underwater environment around you. There are  Five Major Benefits of Diving:

1- Increase the Knowledge of the Sea

Diving offers many opportunities for divers to increase their knowledge of the sea. This knowledge starts with learning how to dive and continues with improving diving skills after the initial qualification. Also, diving enables divers to know a lot about underwater. This knowledge can help a diver know how to be comfortable under the sea. Diving also helps a diver to know about the unique and marvelous marine life he comes across.

2- Diving Gives A Diver the Opportunity to Travel

Traveling is a good way to increase knowledge and skills through cultural emersion and new experiences. Traveling also results in positive experiences. According to research, positive experiences helps a person get “the good life”.

3- Divers are More Likely to Protect the Environment

People who like diving are more likely to be environmentally aware and undertake pro-environmental behaviors. Apart from protecting the underwater world, divers also protect the environment they live in as they know the importance of caring for the natural environment.

4- Promotes Personal Growth

Diving promotes personal growth as divers share experiences with other divers, bond with fellow divers and what academics refer to as “serious leisure” (leisure activities that promote self-expression, self-enrichment, self-actualization, rediscovering or recreating yourself, creating social connections and a feeling of belonging).

To participate in these activities, a person needs special knowledge, skills, and proper training. People who participate in serious-leisure activities can reach a point where the activity they participate in becomes a central point of their lives and they may start strongly identifying with the activity. I am sure that most of us consider the diving possibility when choosing a travel destination.

5- Creating a Community

As a diver, the friendships you create with your fellow divers will help you grow. Diving helps divers create shared experiences, learn from one another and get out of their comfort zone. Diving together also helps divers grow as families. Research has proven that positive experiences such as socializing and learning are so great that they outweigh negative experiences like poor visibility and bad weather conditions.

 

Scuba diving in Playa del Carmen

In this snapshot, you can see me after Scuba Diving in Playa del Carmen with a student of mine. We were both happy with what we have seen during our drive.

Finally, I can say that we dive because this activity enables divers to engage in positive experiences. The satisfaction extends beyond deep waters. Divers feel satisfied even when they return to the surface. Diving makes divers happier and makes them flourish. Diving is very enjoyable. So, let us dive some more.

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24

Dec - 2019

Snorkeling or Scuba Diving is not an easy choice.

If you are thinking about hitting the water, and are wondering whether snorkeling or scuba diving is the right choice, it is important to have the proper information. There are distinct differences between the two sports when it comes to everything from training, fitness ability, equipment, and even psychological makeup.

Tortuga seen in scuba diving

Snorkeling allows you to observe fish and algae in calm water

To begin with, think about your purpose for pursuing this activity. Do you want to simply enjoy the recreational time while observing fish, reefs, and algae in relatively calm water? If you are comfortable floating on your stomach, face down in the water as you bob around in the surf, snorkeling is a great option. The diving mask and tube allow easy breathing as you keep your face submerged. If you find that the tube has gotten filled with water, or you decide to hold your breath for a quick dive, it can be easily cleared by blowing hard to expel the water from the tube. People commonly don swim fins, adding more power to kicking legs, allowing you to skim across reefs or dive down a short distance.

Snorkeling does not require any special training

If you want to try snorkeling, you won’t need any special training if you use a safety vest and stick to shallow areas, you don’t even have to know how to swim. When it comes to psychology, if you don’t have a lot of experience swimming or aren’t familiar with water, you can prepare yourself by sitting down in the water near shore floating using your safety vest. However, you must learn to hold your breath for short amounts of time. Then you are ready to head off to explore the undersea world of sea turtles, fish, and shells.

When it comes to safety, the biggest danger when snorkeling is having watercraft such as jet skis not see you, as the only visible indication is a small tube above water. You can improve your visibility by using a snorkel tube that is reflective or applying patches to your safety vest to help others spot you from a distance. It is important to remember to leave shells and coral alone in the water. Never touch!!!

Scuba diving allows you to go underwater and observe sea life

Scuba is an acronym for Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus. It is another way you can work underwater or observe sea life. A knowledge of scuba diving opens up a world of recreational activities, including shipwreck and cave diving, ice diving and cenote trips. The biggest differences between snorkeling and scuba diving are the level of fitness required and the amount of training necessary. Similar to learning how to drive, you will need a professional certificate to prove you understand what you are doing.

Scuba diving requires a specific training

This is issued by the Professional Assoc. of Diving Instructors (PADI). You must also be able to psychologically handle the strain of being underwater with a full mask covering your nose and eyes. You breathe by inhaling and exhaling through a mouthpiece called a regulator that connects to the tank of air you carry on your back. Many destination dive locations and shops can provide you with a four-day course which includes spectacular hands-on dive experiences while you learn. Prices vary greatly, so make sure you research ahead of time to ensure you are getting a good course with licensed instructors.

Cost is another major difference between snorkeling and scuba diving. Snorkeling simply requires a face mask, and an air tube, with optional swim fins. In areas popular for water sports, you can often rent equipment for use during the day for a low price, or find them inexpensively at most sporting goods stores.

A PADI course can provide you what you need to Scuba dive

A PADI course that includes open water experience and dives can run as high as $500 depending on location, however, you can always rent the gear instead of purchasing it.

Whether you opt to scuba dive or snorkel, you are sure to enjoy the fun and relaxation as you experience the magical undersea world and its many enchanting creatures. Think carefully about your budget, expertise level, fitness ability, and how much time you are willing to invest before making your decision.

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15

Dec - 2019

Finally my new DPV arrived at the shop , Dive Xtras Piranha P1 , helped by great friends. I unpack all the parts and start charging the battery for the next day diving.
I feel like a puppy with the new toy…………
Diving with a new DPV
After upload on my laptop the specifications i start to read and understand how it works , i am not new with DPV´s as i am IANTD OW Instructor and Adv Cave Diver on that , but i like to be prepared.
Diving with a new DPV
Next morning i arrive at the shop and start to check all the equipment to be ready for the day. DPV battery show a full charge , i remove all the weight as i will use it in fresh water , assemble all the parts and switch it on , propeller work , all ok .

 

I test the Cylinders pressure and EANx % , all perfect , lights on and load all my stuff on the truck , get my coffe with Barby, say good bye and leave Playa del Carmen directed to Ponderosa Cenote.
As soon i get there i meet my friend Albino at the front gate. He know me since years and after explaining to him i will try my new equipment , he let me in with no problem.
Parking lot is not full as always and i find a nice spot on the side. After a good talk with some old friends , i start to set up all my gear and take all of it down to the platform. Nice thing the DPV weight is nothing at all….

 

I start to dress up my dry suit and than all my xdeep sidemount , ready to go!
I get at the water and jump in it , done the cylinders , do all my safety check and plan my gas for the first dive that will be on the cavern line. I start to descend slowly at 6m and run the engine for few loops to see how it goes , all perfect i clip the DPV on my side and run my primary reel to the cavern line , mark it , start to go .The Piranha is in gear 3 and it is sooo fast , get in 2 and i feel better , i cross with cavern divers and i just cover my primary light to avoid disturbe them.
Now i am alone and want to get in gear 7 to see what´s happen , done , regs in free flow and following the line almost imposible. Four minutes and i feel unconfortable so i switch it off and check gas /time , magically i am at the end of the line and after recording data i start the way back in gear 3 /2 and i feel great.
Diving with a new DPV
Once back at my primary line i recalculate gas and DPV burning time and decide to go on the main cave line , Little Joe direction. I feel really ok with gear 3 and stay on that all time , 10 min later i am at the First cenote , fast gas check and i decide to continue in cave , getting in a large tunnel i get at the first arrow pointing toward another exit and decide to go back at my entrance after recording my data. The “little bastard” is sooo fast and i reach the open water with a lot of gas and burning time left…

 


 

I start to scootering in the open water and … i decide to enter the cave circuit from the other side , River Run. Once at the spot i do my plan for Gas and burning time ( depth is not a problem , Avg is 12 m and with EAN32 …), 3min and i am at the cave line , another gas check and go with the DPV at gear 3/4 , fantastic! I get at the 400 Ft marker in a moment , gas check , planty , after the 90 degree i get in the strong halocline , i love that part of the cave , 600 ft marker , 800 , 1000,1200 , gas still ok and burn time too. I continue until i get at the marker direction change , gas and time are more tan enough to complete the circuit but i cannot miss the Halocline zone than… i turn back and run all the way on gear 4 until i get at my reel line , clip the DPV at the d-rings and start to reeling out , i add a 5 min safety stop at my plan. The total time is 90 minutes and i have still 130 bar left in my cylinders , fantastic day…

 

I get back at the platform and take the cylinders and the “Little Bastard” at the truck , do off my suit and take some pics of my stuff. The day is so hot and i want to go back in the air conditioning to cool off a little .
Diving with a new DPV
On my way driving back at the shop i call Barby to let her know i am alive
( hehehe) and happy like a baby. We gonna have lunch toghether and she has to listen to me for a couple of hours talking about the new toy.

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12

Dec - 2019

Playa del Carmen, Mexico

Playa Del Carmen Mexico located on the Riviera Maya just under an hour from Cancun Airport. This Fishermen’s’ village has become the favorite place for dive vacations because of the underwater river system AND rich coral reefs that are home to an array of sea creatures and rich coral reefs.

 

The coral reef in the Riviera Maya is the second-longest barrier reef.

 

There are different levels from 33 feet to 45 feet for diving that allow divers with little experience to experience Caribbean fish like angelfish, parrotfish, stingrays, moral eels and turtles. Some of the deeper sites might require a different level of experience.

 

There is a mix of things to explore from reefs to wreck diving and of course the famous caverns.

 

Cavern Diving

You need a normal certification to explore the 15 caverns in Playa del Carmen. You can experience caverns with interesting characteristics and sunlight effects, unusual flora and animals. A certified guiding instructor will escort you through the caverns if you are not familiar with the area.

Cave Diving

Cave diving Playa del Carmen is different from diving through the caverns, you need more than just a basic diving certificate.

 

With the right certification and experience, you can explore the vast cave systems that are regarded to be some of the best in the world. Your guide should be able to provide you with information on the local regulations that cave divers are required to adhere to


There are different conditions in the caves, some are harder some easier for shallow depth to sediment caves that are fragile and require care when you are diving. The caves have lots of interesting stalagmites and stalactite column formations.

 

For information on Cave diving Playa del Carmen visit http://www.plutodive.com/technical-diving/cave-diving/

 

You’ll find all the information you need about diving in the Riviera Maya and all the wonderful things you can see and do in the area.

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9

Dec - 2019

 

The world’s best cenote diving destination

Playa del Carmen: The world’s best cenote diving destination written by musgrovesheryl One of the joys of scuba diving comes from exploring caves and other formations found close to water bodies. A cenote is a surface connection to an underground water body, frequently found in coastal regions near caves.
Due to the beauty of these underground complexes, many scuba divers have branched into the equally enjoyable sport of cenote diving. While this looks similar to cave diving, it is vastly different in that the divers stick to the natural light zones found in cenotes.

Caribbean delights

One of the best destinations for Cenote diving in Playa del Carmen on the Caribbean coast of Mexico. Apart from the excellent tourist facilities found in the region, it also has some of the most stunning cenotes in the world. The Dreamgate cenote ranks among the most beautiful in the complex and consists of two arms. The Upstream and Downstream arms offer one of the most spectacular dives between stalactites and natural columns.
Also worth considering is the Cenote Tankah that connects one of the biggest underwater cave systems known as Nohoch Na Chich, with the ocean. It is located amidst a mangrove field, giving enthusiasts the sensation of diving beneath the jungle to encounter fauna from the surroundings.

 

Certified divers

The last and most famous of the set is Cenotes Dos Ojos. The name Dos Ojos is Spanish for two eyes; a reference to two neighboring cenotes connected through a cavernous zone. The first Cenote is the BARBIE LINE and contains a lot of daylight while the second is BAT CAVE LINE and is quite dark, surrounding an air-filled cave in which bats live.
For you to participate in cenote dives, all you need is to be a certified Open Water Diver with a minimum of 20 logged dives and skillful buoyancy control.
If you want to try out some cenote diving in the Playa del Carmen region, look for Pluto Dive, a local provider of quality scuba diving services. Find them on Street 40 between 5th and 10th avenue and will meet all your cenote diving needs.

 

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6

Dec - 2019

bull sharks 1

 

Diving with Bull Sharks in Playa del Carmen is a unique experience.

Most of the world’s shark species are disappearing but fortunately, we have divers that are, most of the time, “unique”. Divers are sharks friend that wants sharks alive.
Unfortunately, some people see sharks like a killing machine!  There are so many misconceptions about sharks! It is not true that they often attach human beings According to scientists that study shark behavior this happens very rarely because human flesh isn’t even appetizing to sharks.  Also, the idea that sharks have to swim constantly to stay alive is a legend.  Fortunately, everywhere in the world divers are sharks lovers and try to protect sharks.

 

bull sharks 2

 

They are part of the underwater ecosystem and they keep everything balanced. Diving with sharks is an amazing and unique adventure. In Playa del Carmen during the right season, from November to March, you can enjoy the company of these beautiful animals. You can dive between depths of 18mt/60 feet and 25 mt/87 feet drifting or sitting on the sand and see lots of bull sharks.

 

bull sharks 3

 

In Playa del Carmen there is two way to dive with a bull shark: “watching dive” or “feeding dive” Most of the dive shops of the area are against feeding shark but you can find some diving center that organizes that kind of dive. During the watching dive, you just wait on the sand that this beautiful species appears. Look, admire and enjoy. Feeding dive means that the shark is attracted to bites of fish.

 

bull sharks 4

 

Each diver is free to choose one of these ways or both to see a bull shark. Anyway, it’s a unique dive! Just watch and feel the underwater emotion with them! Remember, Diving with Bull Sharks in Playa del Carmen is always an unforgettable experience.

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3

Dec - 2019

 

One of the goals for any trained cave diver is to find a new cave system to explore, the feeling to be there as the first human is like to discover a new Everest and climb it all in one breath. Cave Diving exploration…..
Planning and training are essential parts of such a difficult and technical section of cave diving.
You will need to be trained in climbing ( not all the entrances are easy to reach), multistage and decompression diving, deep diving, survey diving, advanced side mount diving and no mount diving.
Be prepared physically and mentally :
long walks in the jungle carrying a lot of heavy equipment can be impossible if you are not fit enough.
Cave diving in new caves can put you in very hard task loading dive, no visibility can be expected, even for long periods, you need to lie new line in the system, then you need to survey it, your mind has to be well trained to avoid put you in danger all time.
Here in the Riviera Maya we still have a lot of caves to discover, we only need time to go to the jungle and work for it.
New discovery is done in a different time, you need to find the new place as the first part of the plan.
Way to do that are, talking with Landowners (they know their lands), walk around in the jungle ( not safe) or take a small Plane and fly over taking GPS references at the interesting places.

 

 

Cave Diving exploration, Once identified the possible cave to go you will need to find the owner and ask for permission to go there if he says yes the planning will start.
Reach some places can be difficult and sometimes you will need to cut the thick  jungle to open a decent path to walk in, then you will need to carry equipment there, for the first time can be used very light
One, just to see the cave potential, small cylinders, primary and back up lights, fins, and mask, a big Primary reel.

A short drive will be done in all the directions to find a way to go, if you got it, will be time to come back with more equipment to continue the survey. Essential is to mark the place with GPS coordinates to know where you are and make a precise map.

Now we have something to work on, the real diving plan can start, we need Sherpa to go there? Maybe mules? The path can be cleaned enough to pass through with a truck? How many cylinders are we gonna need? How many cave divers?

Once you answer realistically to all those questions you can start your first real dive at the cave.

Normally a team of two cave diver is good to start, with a set of double cylinders each ( better if inside mount ), they can work together or in different ways, one in upstream and the other in downstream ( be more conservative), starting to lie down line with proper tie-offs and markers, if they are lucky they can both finish an exploration reel of knotted line ( each 10ft/3m), at that point the real survey start, with slates you need to mark at each tie off (called station) Azimuth, depth, and distance , once on the surface will need to copy all the data on a proper survey page, avoiding to lose all the work done.

 

 

As much as the system grows during the next dives, as much is complicated to make a proper cave diving plan, Cave Diving exploration team or divers will need more cylinders, deco stops can be involved, passing into major restrictions, deep places can be reached than gas switches must be expected, sideways passages will be visited before to continue on the mainline and amazes of cave can be grown.
The possibility to find connections with other caves is very high here in the Riviera Maya, leading a team of cave divers that love to discover new places to continue the survey for long periods of time, putting down miles and miles of new cave line per year.
The curiosity of the unknown guides them along with dirt places, long walks, task loading dives, complex navigation, and danger just to have the personal reward to have been in symbiosis with the magic of nature, that magic you can only find in cave diving.

 

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30

Nov - 2019

 

The plan is stage diving in a cave , using side mount equipment.

 

Early morning wake up, 6:30 am, have a nice breakfast

 

To get on a hard day, 10 minutes to check online news and socials, then get ready for the meeting in Pluto Dive Shop.

 

At 7:45 Marcia, Fulvio and Me meet at the shop and start to load the equipment in the truck, 3 tanks each diver, the plan is a long cave diving, pressure check, light check, video and equipment check, ready to go.

 

 

At 8:20 we are on the highway direction to the cenote Dos Pisos, just after Tulum, we do a brief stop in a market to buy some soft drinks and water, is really hot and we need to be hydrated, then we have to drive 1 hour to get at the place, we call the owner to advise we are arriving in a bit, we start to talk about life and our bucket list, after one hour drive we are at the dive site, it is time to set up gear and take everything down to the cave entrance, after 40 minutes all is ready and we jump in the water, bubble check, equipment check, and match, plan review, gas, time and depth, team position and we start our long dive, plan is 90 minutes in….

 

 

Descending in a small and silty passage we move on the mainline slowly, after 10 minutes the cave opens up and show us an amazing place with a lot of speleothems, we stop to take some photo shots and then we move over, 35 minutes in the dive is time to leave the stage tanks, proper signal, switch to side mount bottles and we are ready to continue our swimming in the cave, is beautiful over here, impossible to describe, you need to be in this place to understand what we feel. After 90 minutes into the dive we call the turnaround, it is time to go back, we start to swim toward the exit of the cave, at 140 minutes we find our stage bottles, a little bit earlier but we do not stop a lot to take pictures on the return.

Another gas switch and we are again breathing from our stages, 35 minutes we will be out of this amazing place.

We slowly move in the alley, take some other shot and finally get back to the surface.

 

 

We are trained Cave Instructors and dove those places many times but you need to see our eyes and faces after that dive, we smile and the only words are thank you each other, it is impossible to explain that feeling, we get caved again and we are happy like puppies.

Now is the time to pack all the equipment taking only memories and leaving only bubbles.

Getting back on the highway we are ready for the yummiest roasted chicken in all the Riviera Maya.

In the late afternoon we are back at the shop, store everything and prepare the equipment for another day in the Amazing Caves in the Riviera Maya.

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27

Nov - 2019

 

Playa del Carmen in Mexico is an idyllic location in the world. It is located in the Riviera Maya and has grown from just a fishing village into a site for scuba diving and other cultural activities.
Playa del Carmen diving is a popular activity thanks to the vibrant sea life and the underwater caverns which attract divers from far and wide to explore that beauty. It is a tourist destination with beautiful landscapes, underground rivers, ancient Mayan architecture, and incredible forest cover.
In the summer the temperatures soar to 30 degrees and during the winter, the water temperature is 27 degrees Celsius.

 

There are a couple of reasons why you should dive in the Riviera Maya. First, the reefs are unforgettable. You can scuba dive in Cozumel as the island is considered one of the top sites for reef diving. The clear, unpolluted waters of the Riviera Maya provide you with a grand opportunity to do technical and deep diving. You can do deep-diving either in the Cenotes or the ocean, the water is warm and there are plenty of marine animals to watch as you go along. In fact, there is an array of marine life you will see in Playa del Carmen scuba diving activities. Aquatic animals like squids, caguama turtles, rays, bull sharks, whale sharks, and sailfish.

 

The Cenotes are flooded underground rivers which in the Riviera Maya in Playa del Carmen. They are underground caves for which lead to ancient Mayans underworld. Diving in the Cenotes is a rare experience you will ever get elsewhere in the world, it is like no other. Playa del Carmen diving cannot be mentioned without feeding bull sharks in the period between November and March. What about diving with the sea turtles? The Riviera Maya has been a potent breeding ground for some of the endangered species which are awesome looking. You can scuba dive alongside whale sharks which are harmless and can grow up to 40 feet long. They migrate to the Yucatan Peninsula and appear between May and September. This is a thrilling experience with nature. This is not to mention the beautiful coral reefs that you see along the way.

 

 

Cozumel is the largest Mexican island in the Caribbean. It is a magnificent dive site that offers plenty of marine flora and fauna. You scuba dive through large canyons of coral that drop to the bottom of the sea as well as being in awe of huge coral mountains. This is a sight to behold. It is an ideal location for wall diving and spectacular walls at that. The Tulum area as well as a great site for diving as it has beautiful reefs and is abundant in Cenotes. Diving in Tulum’s crystal clear waters, you will witness the unparalleled beauty of stalactites and stalagmites in an experience that is not to be missed for anything. In Tulum, there are reef and Cenote snorkeling tours.

 

This is a paradisiacal experience which Mexico and in particular Playa del Carmen offers you. You do not have to know how to swim or dive, there are lots of activities for non-divers like excursions, visiting Mayan archeological sites and ATV tours as part of the rich and diverse offerings of Playa del Carmen.

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