Bright eyed, bushy tailed and newly certified, I could not wait to get into the warm salty Caribbean water & dive in Mexico. My dive shop back here in Southern California had recommended a handful of good dive shops in Playa del Carmen & Tulum. Unfortunately both locations was a decent (30min+) drive from where we were staying… a tad inconvenient especially considering I was the only person in my family certified, or even interested in diving!
Um… do they KNOW what they’re missing out on?? That’s me just chillin’ with my new sea turtle buddy!
Luckily, I found out about Aquanauts, located within our little Puerto Aventuras community. I dove twice with them, on two separate boat trips. Since I had just been certified they wanted to take me on a regular reef dive to measure my buoyancy before they’d take me out on a Cenote dive. (All dive shops around there do this – can’t have you up & down crashing into stalactites! If you’ve had ~20 dives under your belt, they usually let you go ahead)
The staff & dive masters at Aquanauts are superb! I dove with Nick and Maurizio to Paradise Cove and Isla Escuela, respectively.
They really spoil you diving with them… if you’re renting equipment ($5/piece for 24 hours) they’ll set everything up for you – definitely still double check though! (Bruce Willis & all of that) The boat captains help you slide in & out of your heavy BCDs, load the air tanks, etc. And perhaps the best, they do everything they can to maximize your bottom time – my second dive was a full 64 minutes!!
our trusty little boat waiting for us when we came up from our glorious 64 min dive
Okay, it’s been over a week since I’ve been back from Mexico – but between Ev visiting for New Year’s Eve, a short mini-trip to Santa Barbara, and a harsh adjustment back to the work week, I’ve barely caught my breath.
I spent a quick 6 days with my family at Puerto Aventuras along the Caribbean coast. One of our big logistical wins (and there were many many fails) this trip was renting a car. This area of Mexico, Quintana Roo, is pretty spread out; the coastline is commandeered by large hotels and fancy resorts.
It’s entirely possible to spend your trip around the hotel – rotating between beach to pool to hot tub, Mai Tai’s to Corona’s to fish tacos. Nothing wrong with that! But if you want to get out and explore the beautiful nature, having a car is definitely key. The one main road runs straight from the Cancun airport down through Playa del Carmen, Puerto Aventuras, Akumal, all the way to Tulum.
There are 3 main Mayan Ruins within this area – we opted to skip Chichen Itza, mainly because it is so far. It’s located on the opposite end of the Yucatan peninsula… so approx a 3.5 hour drive each way. The entry fees are more expensive (close to $20 USD/per) and everyone I had spoke to had lamented the over-commercialized aspect of this site. Locals swarm the ruins touting their souvenirs and vie aggressively for your
So we spent half a day each at the Tulum & Coba Ruins, and contented ourselves with passing up on visiting one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. (mneh? mneh I guess…)