Recreational Scuba Diving in Xcalak
XTC Dive Center is located in the town of Xcalak, within the Xcalak Reef National Marine Park. We are fortunate enough to operate diving excursions in two Natural Protected Areas, both priority areas for the World Wildlife Fund. The only reason why Xcalak is not a world renowned dive destination unto itself (yet) is because it´s located in front of Banco Chinchorro, whose fame tends to eclipse Xcalak´s. There is also the fact that up until recently it took an entire day to drive here from Cancún. With new roads and easier access it still takes 5 hours. Xcalak is the last town on the Mexican Caribbean coast, a mere mile north of the Belize border. Some of the things you will NOT find here are air conditioned rooms (you will only find small beach inns that operate on self-contained power systems), cell phone coverage (sorry, no Blackberry), any sort of nightlife (we do have the biggest concentration of three-star restaurants per capita on the coast), large resorts or crowded dive boats.
What you WILL find here is a remarkably pristine, vibrant reef system with a number of unique dive sites that are worth a visit in their own right, many of which are starting to become must-do´s for many experienced divers. The majority of our divers are either experienced divers in-the-know (many dive professionals vacation here); or avid divers (or prospective divers) who have taken the time to locate an unspoiled destination, away from mainstream resort destinations and tourists (don´t let Tulum fool you). Xcalak is the quintessential fishing village, more resembling Caribbean island culture than Mexico (for years access to the Belize Cayes and other islands was easier than mainland Mexico). Here, you can still find fishermen who set out to fish in wood Mayan “cayucos,” using age-old low-impact free-diving fishing techniques. A lot of those fishermen are now dive boat captains and guides, willing to share their intimate knowledge of the reef, acquired by years of free-diving for conch, lobster and grouper. All of our staff is made up of local former fishermen.
Xcalak offers dozens of fantastic scuba dive sites between 5-30 minutes by boat from the Aventuras Xcalak to Chinchorro Dive Center pier. We have deep and shallow walls, huge tongue and groove formations, “pozas” (blue holes), swim throughs, and much, much more. You might have heard of “La Poza” (also known as “The Tarpon Hole”, the only formation of its type in the whole Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System); or “La Chimenea.” The deep walls (Hob Na, Punta Gavilan) in the north end of the park are ideal for deep technical dives, with the advantage that you can swim up from any depth (we´ve never seen the bottom) to 10 ft without ever leaving the reef; with 250ft tall walls filled with huge black coral colonies, and massive fluorescent-colored sponges that will change your take on what a dramatic wall looks like.
Xcalak is well known for having a very wide range of dive sites. XTC´s instructors and guides are well known for carefully choosing the dive site based on your skill-level and interests, ranging from entry level students to all kinds of photographers, tek divers and everything in between. We have very little staff rotation, with most instructors having been here several seasons and with hundreds of dives on the reef. We think nothing of having two dive boats out with two divers each if skill level and interest are not compatible. All this will make it possible for you to have the perfect dive, every time.
Now here are a few of our favorite (and/or better known) dive sites:
Scuba Dive Prices
• If you will be travelling with 8 or more scuba divers, please contact us for special group rates.
• All prices are per person. The price of open-water boat dives includes an 80 cubic ft. aluminum tank, weight belt, and weights. See equipment rental below if you need additional items.
• All prices are in US dollars. You can pay us cash in US dollars, Mexican pesos, Euros, British pounds, Canadian dollars, Swiss francs and other currencies at the conversion rate published on the day payment is due or a deposit taken. You can also pay us via Pay Pal directly on our website. We can also take Visa/Master Card credit cards with some creative logistics as our terminal is 40 miles north in the next town over where there is a cell tower. We are aware that paying us can be a challenge so we´ll work with you.
• All prices include taxes.