The Best Scuba Diving in Mexico

Dive Xcalak Mexico

This entry Diving Xcalak, prices, marine life, dive operator, transport, accommodation and our video diving at Xcalak!

We had our appetites wet for diving in perfect, fish tank like conditions while diving in the cenotes near Tulum. The plan was to dive in the crystal clear Caribbean being circled by sharks and big fish, idyllic National Geographic kind of stuff. Unfortunately we missed both the bull shark and whale shark seasons. Most Mexican dive sites seemed to have mainly small fish, patches of coral with the odd turtle or barracuda swimming around in the clear water. Doing some research Alya stumbled upon Xcalak. Fueled by the promise of huge schools of massive fish we were off, hitchhiking towards paradise just on the Mexican side of the border with Belize.


Just like at many small rural towns close to top Asian dive sights, Xcalak is not the most beautiful little town. There was a lot of pollution from passenger ships washing out in the shallows. La Poza, the main dive site was  however an awesome dive. We were surrounded by a variety of fish as soon as we entered the water; snappers, barracuda, trevally with one or two eagle rays also joining the party. Swimming  just impatiently scanning the horizon, waiting for the tarpons to show up. Two smaller tarpon appeared from nowhere and we started following these prehistoric looking fish.  All of a sudden there where massive tarpon swimming everywhere. Some of these giant fish being about 2m long and I estimate over a 100kg. The other dive sites and snorkelling were nice. Nothing that can however be compared with the awesome dive at La Poza.

Dive Xcalak A school of small trevallies
A school of small trevallies

The tarpon is the main attraction, other than that the diving is nice, but not amazing. It can not be compared with top sites in Asia. I loved diving with these schools of big fish and there were  a lot of other fish around. Don’t however expect the massive color explosion and a variety of large pelagic creatures that you can find around some top international dive sites.

Dive Xcalak An eagle ray gliding past
An eagle ray gliding past


Dive site: Canones  Max Depth: 30m  Avg Depth: 17m  Temp: 25C  Viz: 20m

Canyons, nice bottom structure, crayfish, many lionfish, some interesting nudis, DM spears lionfish (an invasive species)

Dive site: La Poza  Max Depth: 22m  Avg Depth: 11m  Temp: 25C  Viz: 20m

The highlight was many massive tarpons. Greater Barracuda, trevally, spotted eagle ray, snappers and some nudibranches.

Dive Xcalak, an interesting nudibranch.
An interesting nudibranch.


XTC is a very professional operation and the diving is good, but it is VERY EXPENSIVE! We paid $140 for 2 dives, they except VISA.


There is a daily bus from Chetumal main station to Xcalak. The bus leaves around 6:00 am and 14:00 pm hrs and takes about 4 hours to arrive in Xcalak / Mahahual (Majahual). From Xcalak the bus returns around 10:00 am and 18:00 PM from the dock of Xcalak to Chetumal.

We hitchhiked to Majahual, there were no cars passing beyond this town and we took the bus coming from Chetumal for the last stretch.

We hitch hiked most of the time around Mexico, we did not have any safety issues, but some days we spent hours waiting for a ride.

Dive Xcalak Some big tarpons coming over the reef at La Poza.


Xcalak, self-catering apartment, 350 peso ($18.50) for a double room per night. We had a stove plate and could buy limited groceries in Xcalak and cook for ourselves.

Dive Insurance

Xcalak is a remote location, Scuba diving does have risks, make sure your health and your gear is covered, read the small print. World Nomads Diving Insurance

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One Comment

  1. Hi guys, good post about Xcalak diving! I’ve dove there as well, and I agree that it is expensive to dive with XTC. They’re really professional like you mention, but wow. If you’re used to rates in Asia it’s a bit of a rude wakeup call.

    The tarpons are what I enjoyed most too! The crevasses were really interesting, and the sites were really fast to get to which was a bonus. I think though, that I agree with you – not so much a colour explosion as Asia can be. I actually recommend snorkeling in Xcalak before diving, unless you’re pretty hardcore.

    One thing about XTC – if you train as a Divemaster there, you get free diving with them for life! Not that you’d necessarily be in the neighbourhood that often…

    In case your readers want to know more about visiting Xcalak, my husband and I made a guide XcalakMexico I think you will agree that the online information about Xcalak can be pretty crap. Well, we decided to change that so we have a free guide that has stuff about transportation, accommodations, things to do, etc.

    Thanks again for your post about Xcalak diving, I found it both fair and honest.

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