Every time I plan a dive trip to the Caribbean side of Mexico, I struggle making the decision on which side I should use as a base. Depending on the time of year, each side offers compelling elements. The Cozumel side offers short boat rides to great dive sites and some dive resorts even allow divers to shore dive. However, if a weather system is approaching the island, Mexican officials will close the port and restrict diving which will kill your dive plans. That is also true for the Playa side. Fortunately, there are many Cenotes not far from Playa del Carmen which make a perfect backup plan.
This time I decided to lodge in Playa del Carmen. I decided to stay on the Playa side because between November and March female Bull Sharks inhabit coastal water about 80-90 ft. from the beach. The female Bull Sharks are in the area to feed on small fish before they give birth.
Since, I was visiting during December, I anticipated port closures due to weather. So, it was a quick and easy decision to abort ocean diving and head to the Cenotes and dive in freshwater.
The video above highlights health of the reefs and various fish I saw during my ocean dives. I was able to execute two dives on the Cozumel side and the rest on the Playa side. Visibility was not that great on some days but I was able to capture a few good moments.
I used two scuba diving operators: Phantom Divers and Blue Life Divers. Both shops are easy to work with and have a great staff. The major difference is that Phantom Divers will bring small snacks for the Bull Sharks and Blue Life Divers does not feed the sharks. My opinion is that if you want to get really close to the Bull Sharks, go with the shop that feeds them.
Here’s an underwater photo collage from various Cenotes taken in December.