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Scuba Diving Mexico: Riviera Maya Scuba Diving

Do you want to try scuba diving in Mexico but aren’t sure where to go? The Riviera Maya scuba diving scene is considered one of the country’s best, partly why so many tourists flock to this area of Mexico.

Scuba diving in Riviera Maya is popular because it’s hot all year, and the crystal-clear water offers excellent visibility. Plus, many direct flights from the USA to Cancun airport make it very accessible.

Quick Tip: Book accommodation, tours, and transport ahead of time online to save money and stress. 

Best Riviera Maya ToursClick here to check out the top Riviera Maya tours
Best Riviera Maya Accommodation: Click here to check out the best accommodation in Riviera Maya
Best Riviera Maya Transport: Click here to book a bus, ferry, or train in Riviera Maya

Best Diving in Mexico

Claire Scuba Diving

Serious, experienced scuba divers consider the Baja Peninsular the best scuba diving in Mexico, but most of it is only accessible via Liveaboard (more details at the bottom of this post). Those who prefer boating in warm waters any time of year will enjoy diving in Riviera Maya. In this post, I’ve rounded up some Riviera Maya diving spots home to the best scuba diving Mexico offers.

Quick Tip: I highly recommend booking all of your Mexico transportation with GottoGo. You can search for buses, shuttles, ferries, and Flights on their website. What I love most about them is their customer service. I know these guys personally from living in Guatemala, and they look after their customers.

If anything happens and you get delayed and miss your bus, you can just call them, and they are always there to help. If you book through them, you will pay a little more than booking in person at the bus station. But it’s worth it for the ease and security. Click here to search for transportation in Mexico.

Scuba Diving Mexico: Riviera Maya Diving Spots

Diving In Riviera Maya | Where To Find The Best Mexican Diving

I’ve organized this guide to Riviera Maya scuba diving spots according to my preference. Diving in Riviera Maya is popular, affordable, and tourist-friendly. Whether you plan to stay in a 5-star hotel in Cancun or a campsite in Tulum, ensure you try scuba diving in Mexico during your next trip!

Cozumel Diving

Cozumel Scuba Diving | Why Diving in Cozumel is Always a Good Idea

Cozumel is my favorite place to go diving in Riviera Maya and is home to some of the best scuba diving in Mexico, in my opinion. What makes Cozumel so great? Read this post to learn why I spend so much time diving in Cozumel with ScubaTony, the only dive operator on the island I use.

The Cozumel coast is a protected marine park with beautiful coral, sharks, turtles, fish, warm water, incredible visibility, and more. Cozumel is always my first choice if you want to try scuba diving Riviera Maya.

Need accommodation in Cozumel?

Check out my guide to accommodation in Cozumel here, or if you don’t have time here are 3 places I personally recommend.

Stingwray Villas boutique hotel in Cozumel
Playa Azul Cozumel
Casa del Solar Centro Cozumel

Read more : Ultimate Guide to Scuba Diving In Cozumel

Cenote Diving in Tulum

Mexican Adventures | The Best Tulum Cenote Diving

The second scuba diving Mexico spot in Riviera Maya I recommend is Tulum, but not for open water diving—here, it’s all about cave diving. Riviera Maya is built on a massive coral reef, and just below is a vast network of underground rivers called cenotes. Under normal circumstances, you can’t go cave diving without a special certificate. However, you can go cavern diving in Riviera Maya if you stay close to the surface.

Most popular Tulum cenotes for diving are shallow, and instructors typically start divers in partially open cenotes before building up to more challenging dives. I’ve done a lot of cave and cavern Riviera Maya diving with Koox, which you can learn more about below.

QUICK TIP: Book your tours, rental cars, and transfers through my local contacts

I’ve been working with Living Dreams Mexico for years and they are who I send all my family and friends to when they visit the Riviera Maya. I really can recommend them enough for private tours and experiences. They have solid 5* reviews on Trip Advisor and Google from almost 4000 reviewers! You can view all their tours here.

If you’re looking for private airport transfers and rental cars then Vanessa and Oliver from Turismo Channel are personal friends of mine and I can 100% recommend them to make an inquiry click here and complete the form. Someone will be in touch within 24 hours.

Reef and Wreck Diving in Puerto Morelos

Adventures in Mexico | Scuba Diving in Puerto Morelos

Puerto Morelos is another excellent option for scuba diving Riviera Maya, thanks to its convenient location and fascinating reefs and wreck spots. I’ve never had a bad dive at Puerto Morelos, and it’s nice to avoid the hassle of ferrying to Cozumel.

Check out my detailed scuba diving Puerto Morelos post for all the details. Puerto Morelos is also an excellent place to stay in the Riviera Maya, especially if you want somewhere smaller and less commercialized than Cancun. 

Did You Get Travel Insurance Yet?

The Insurance companies I recommend are Hey Mondo and Safety Wing

Hey Mondo is great if you are looking for a great value flexible policy. They offer single-trip cover, annual multi-trip cover, and long-term travel cover. Safety Wing is great value, with monthly coverage starting at $45.08. It’s super easy to use, and it just renews each month. I currently use them as they offer me free cover for my son as part of my policy.

Read my full travel insurance post here, where I go into detail about all companies. 

Diving in Mahahual

I hadn’t heard of Mahahual until visiting for a long weekend with my friends. Sadly, I only found out after the fact that the diving in Mahahual is supposed to be excellent. I have yet to verify this, but I plan to do so soon!

I know that Mahahual is the ideal scuba diving Mexico spot for travelers on a budget. The town is small and relaxed, with plenty of cheap accommodations. I’ll report back with a full review of Mahahual scuba diving once I’ve tried it.

Quick Tip: You can book tours from Living Dreams Mexico here:


Akumal Scuba Diving

Considering Akumal is only 30 minutes from my house, I’m not sure why I’ve never been diving there! It’s probably because you don’t do proper scuba diving in Akumal, as you go to the reefs in Cozumel from there. Driving to Akumal and taking a boat to Cozumel is a bit pointless since I can drive myself to go diving in Cozumel.

However, it’s good to know that if you stay in Akumal, you can enjoy scuba diving in the Cozumel reefs and nearby cenotes. Regarding the best scuba diving in Mexico, Akumal is a great place to experience a little bit of everything.

Shark Diving in Playa del Carmen

Adventures in Mexico | Choosing a Scuba Diving Company in Playa Del Carmen

I had a bad opinion of scuba diving in Playa del Carmen until I met Kim from K&K Diving—she and Kelly changed my mind! Kelly specializes in cenote diving, while Kim is a marine biologist and the perfect person to guide you through bull shark diving in Playa del Carmen. This is a must-try scuba diving in Mexico experience. The ocean diving in Playa isn’t as good as in Cozumel, but there are still plenty of things to see.

Need Accommodations in Playa del Carmen?

Here are a few places I recommend. For more detailed information, check out my Playa del Carmen Accommodation Guide here.


Planning on traveling around the Riviera Maya? Check out my accommodation guides below:

Isla Holbox Hotels You Need to Stay In
Best Places to Stay in Cancun
Cozumel Accommodations | Condos in Cozumel
Where to Stay in Tulum
The Best Boutique Hotels in Tulum
The Best Hostels in Tulum Mexico

Scuba Diving in Cancun Mexico?

Many vacationers want to go scuba diving in Cancun Mexico, but you’ll find better Riviera Maya scuba diving spots elsewhere. Puerto Morelos offers the best local diving close to Cancun. Rather than wasting your money trying to dive in Cancun, book a scuba diving experience in Puerto Morelos instead.

Quick Tip: View my full Scuba Dive Equipment List here. And check out my Scuba Diving Essentials shopping list here.

Riviera Maya Travel Guide Planning

🧳 Any recommendations on what I should pack for Riviera Maya?

Yes! I have created a whole packing guide to Riviera Maya which you can read here and you can also check out my packing list for Riviera Maya on Amazon here.

🚗 Where can I book bus or private transportation while I’m in Riviera Maya?

I strongly recommend using GottoGo. You can book almost all transport in the major Mexican tourist destinations through them online. They don’t just cover buses they also cover shuttles, ferries, and private drivers.

🎫 Where can I buy tickets for museums, attractions, and tours in Riviera Maya?

I recommend either Viator or GetYour Guide. They have a  lot of options available!

If you are traveling from Playa del Carmen then I recommend booking through my friend Vanessa at Turismo Channel. You can check out their tours by clicking here and using the following discount codes for the best prices clairecaroff (car rental), claire10off (for 10% off group tours), claireprivate (for a discount on private tours). You can also send her a WhatsApp message quoting the above codes to receive the discount.

👩‍⚕️ What is the best insurance to have while traveling?

I recommend using Heymondo for a great value policy. The app also offers you 24/7 Dr Chat. For Digital Nomads check out SafetyWing digital nomad insurance.

I have also written a blog post covering all my recommended travel insurance here

✈️ Any flight recommendations?

WayAWay offers you cheap flights with cashback. You can use this code CLAIRE22 to get 10% off. Otherwise Skyscanner or Expedia are my go-to flight searching platforms.

📱What do you use for internet connection while traveling?

I’m a big fan of personal WiFi devices and they have saved my ass so many times when traveling. I wrote a full review of the top travel WiFi devices you can read here. I personally use GlocalMe as I can either pop in a physical sim card or use their local carrier.

With regards to my phone connection, I use e-sims while traveling, so rather than having to swap out my regular sim card I can download the app and buy a virtual sim card. I recommend using eitherAirhub or Alosim. Both have great coverage of multiple countries and are very easy to use.

🛏️ What is the best platform to use for booking accommodation?

The 3 best platforms that I normally use are, and Expedia They offer great deals and multiple options. I always check all three to be sure of the best deals.

🛅 Do you have any luggage recommendations for traveling?

I do have a complete list of the best packing and luggage products that I recommend, you can check the list here. I’m currently traveling with this suitcase and this backpack. 

Best Scuba Diving Mexico: Final Thoughts

The Riviera Maya is an excellent region to try scuba diving in Mexico. Many beautiful spots are easily accessible and reasonably priced, perfect for first-time or experienced divers. If you’re curious about the best diving in Mexico outside Riviera Maya, consider booking a Liveaboard.

scuba diving riviera maya,Riviera Maya Diving,scuba diving Mexico

My Current Scuba Diving Mexico Wishlist

1. Socorro Island Diving and Guadalupe for manta rays, hammerhead sharks, and the chance to see humpback whales.

Sea Escape Liveaboard

Socorro Aggressor

2. Bahia de Los Angeles, where you can see whale sharks and sea lions from May to October.

Nautilus Gallant Lady

3. Cabo Pulmo is home to bull sharks, tiger sharks, sea lions, manta rays, and huge schools of fish.

Quino el Guardian

If you are looking for other kinds of excursions and car rentals in Riviera Maya, take a look at what my friends from Turismo Channel have! You can check out their tours by clicking here and using the following discount codes for the best prices: clairecaroff (car rental), claire10off (for 10% off group tours), claireprivate (for a discount on private tours).

Diving in Riviera Maya | The Best Mexican Diving