Flying into Cancun is the most popular way to come to Mahahual. Once arriving in Cancun there are several options. Via bus or rental car, the 4 hour trip to Mahahual on the recently completed 307 highway is an excellent way to see Mexico. You go from the fast paced atmosphere of Cancun to the beautiful and authentic Mexican towns of Tulum and Limones (population under 1000). Don't worry about the roads, they are new and in great condition. You DO NOT need to rent an all terrain vehicle. Go with a comfy compact, midsize sedan, or even a nice sporty ragtop. About halfway through your drive, we highly recommend stopping in Tulum and enjoying an authentic Mexican meal. It's a great way to experience Mexico and it breaks up the drive nicely. You will also travel through a huge natural biosphere of protected jungle. Keep an eye out for tucans, iguanas, monkeys and more. Follow the easy to understand road signs to Costa Maya/Mahahual and within about 4 hours you will be in divers paradise. If the drive is too much to add on to your day of travel, you can always stay overnight in Cancun or Playa Del Carmen at one of the many hotels and resorts, then begin your pleasant drive the next day.
- 1-800-950-0287 from US
- 01-800-702-8000 in Mexico
The diving is on the magnificent Meso-American Barrier Reef System, the largest barrier reef system in the Northern Hemisphere. This reef runs is 900 kilometres long, stretching from Cozumel in the north to Honduras in the south. Parts of the reef are between 2 and 4 million years old.
The amazing section of the reef fringing the Costa Maya is typified by the finger formations, which create canyons and swim-throughs. There are two corridors of concentrated reef in Costa Maya. The first begins at the surface and is amazingly visible from the entire shoreline. This slopes down to around 15m/50ft at around a 45* angle, and then plateaus. There is then a break in the reef. A sandy platform then separates the two corridors of reef. The second corridor starts off at around 15m/50ft and stays level before a sloping wall begins. This wall slopes down at around a 45* angle, until the vertical drop off at around 50m/165ft, which then plummets to an estimated 2000m/6600ft.
Typically in this area, there is a very slight current to the north, which makes for easy diving. Most dive sites are suitable for beginners and/or experienced divers. Visibility averages 25m/80ft, and water temperature averages 27*C/78*F.
Common marine life found in the area includes turtles, lobsters, moray eels, king crabs, various stingrays, the occasional nurse shark, barracuda, as well as most varieties of tropical Caribbean reef fish such as damsels, butterfly fish, pork fish, parrotfish and wrasses. Night dives are particularly spectacular; as well as the odd octopus, honeycomb moray eels are very common, as are lobsters, shrimp and crabs.
There are so many types of hard and soft corals to be found in such vast numbers that you may wish to bring your identification charts down with you! Expect to see healthy plate coral around every corner, dotted in between cactus corals and ancient boulder corals.
Avid divers will be familiar with species of nudibranchs and mollusks such as the flamingo tongues and the purple crowned sea goddess. These species are frequently spotted here, feeding on the gorgonians and sponges, which create the backdrop of this gigantic aquarium. In the shallower waters, often during the last part of a dive, the tiny, yet flamboyant, sea hares are often found, continuously feeding on many hard corals.
The reef itself is very healthy as diving in the area has been infrequent up to now. Fortunately, as tourism in the Costa Maya grows, the local government has shown its concern with the health of the environment, including the reef, and therefore encourages safe and environmentally sound diving practices. They have also focused on ensuring positive fishing habits in the area are followed, restricting fishing on the reef with nets to decrease the chance of damage.
We dive on the local reef which, amazingly, is visible from the entire shoreline of Mahahual. This is the Meso-American Barrier Reef system, the largest Barrier Reef system in the Northern Hemisphere, which runs from north to south, in finger formations - creating lots of canyons and swim throughs. We have a range of sites we choose from each day, depending on diver experience, desired depth, local conditions, etc. Because the reef is so close to the shore - no more than a 10 minute boat ride, we come back to the centre for our surface intervals.
We provide 2 daily departures, morning and afternoon. We can adjust dive times to organize a more flexible schedule (based on availability). We also offer night dives. We require divers to arrive 30 minutes before your first dive time.
(Note: we are on US Central Standard Time)
We are located approximately 10 minutes from the cruise port. Simply take one of the tourist transport vans through the village of Mahahual and straight on to Dreamtime. We are located at kilometre 2.5 at the south end of the town. There is only one street in our little village, so the drivers will know exactly where to come. This ride will take about 10 minutes. We can arrange for taxis after your dives to take you back to town or straight to the cruise ship.
No, we do not combine divers and snorkelers.
Yes! The tour is 1.5 hours of snorkeling on the Meso-American Barrier Reef which is visible from the shore and a 5 minute ride by boat. The maximum depth is 10ft. Included in the trip is a guided tour of 2 different sites, snorkeling at each for around 45 minutes. Included in the price is a tour guide, equipment (mask, fins and snorkel), bottled water is provided on the boat, and life jackets and other flotation devices are also available.
Credit cards are required to hold reservations. Cancellations must be made within 48 hours to avoid full payment via credit card. If the ship cancels or is late you will not be charged. Contact us to arrange a booking either by email or by phone.
The beach out front of our dive resort is beautiful, clean and free to use by non-diving members of the group. There is plenty of shade in the form of palm trees and we have a restroom and fresh water showers for use by everybody. There is an amazing restaurant/bar nearby which we recommend for snacks and drinks.
We can certainly accommodate for you to take part of the PADI Open Water Course while you are here in Mahahual. If you contact your nearest PADI Dive Center/Resort, they will be able to help you get started with the classroom work and probably the confined water exercises (shallow beach or pool). This will eliminate taking the first two days of the course here. Then, to complete the course, you will have 4 open water dives (to a maximum of 18m/60ft) to do with our instructor over two days, which will include a few more practical exercises. If you prefer to take the whole course here with us, (as many people do - preferring to stay with the same instructor for the entire course) it will take four days - two days of classroom and confined water sessions, and two days of 4 open water dives. The cost of taking the PADI Open Water Course with us includes all materials and equipment necessary for the course. If you are just completing the final two days with us, you will need to make sure the first part of your course is taken with a reputable Dive Center (PADI or otherwise), and that they give you all of the necessary referral papers for you to bring with you when you come.
Our dive centre is fully equipped with rental equipment of a very high quality. We use ScubaPro and Aqua Lung BCD's, regulators, wetsuits, masks and fins.
Yes. The Chinchorro Banks trip requires a minimum of 6 divers. Please contact us to add you to the list. When we reach 6 divers we schedule the trip. The trip is based on availiability and weather conditions.
The Chinchorro Banks are located approximately 31km/19miles off the coast of Mahahual. It consists of an expansive coral reef formation and covers an area of approximately 144,000hectares/346,000acres. It is the largest atoll in the Northern Hemisphere, and the only atoll in Mexican Waters. It is approximately 15km/9miles wide and nearly 48km/30miles long. There are 95 different species of coral and over 200 different species of fish.
The formation of the reef at Chinchorro consists of both vertical walls and sloping walls. The reef is home to marine life such as endangered sea turtles, giant barrel sponges, elephant ear sponges, elkhorn coral, brain coral, conch, and spiny lobster. Species of infrequently seen bat fish and the enormous, yet rare, goliath grouper are also found at Chinchorro. The barracuda grow to over 1.8m/6 foot, and there are copious amounts of queen trigger fish. Dolphins are commonly spotted on the boat ride out and also while diving. Chinchorro is truly an underwater photographer's paradise.
This reef is part of the Biosphere Reserve, established to protect the environmental treasures located in the Costa Maya region. It was set up by presidential decree as a natural protected area on July 19, 1996. The World Wildlife Fund has included the Chinchorro Banks Reef and the Biosphere Reserve in its Global 200 priority areas and provides funding to support its protection. Chinchorro Banks is part of the Meso-American Caribbean Reef Eco-region, a region that the WWF treats as a functional unit by applying eco-region based conservation. The World Bank is also a financial participant supporting the preservation of the Biosphere Reserve. A direct result of environmental group actions can be noted through severe restrictions on fishing, such as the outlawing of any type of spear fishing or net fishing. Visibility is generally 25 to 30meters/80 to 100 feet and currents are slight but constant bringing many nutrients to the flourishing reef. If you fancy wreck diving, underwater photography, or just laid back easy dives, Chinchorro has it. So, if diving one of the world's greatest and yet most isolated reefs sounds good, this place is for you!
Dreamtime is one of the few PADI accredited dive shops in the area currently offering Chinchorro dive trips. Please be cautious of non-accredited dive shops for any of your dives. The Chinchorro Banks is quite a distance away and should only be done with qualified dive operators that have full safety and rescue gear as well as a vessel designed to handle the trip.
Yes, we offer refresher courses. You can check details or the refresher course on Dive Courses.
Mahahual has something for everyone. We will be happy to help plan your time in Mahahual. Here are some activities to consider: We provide the diving and snorkeling only.
- Diving (Reef, Cenote, Chinchorro Banks)
- Touring the Mayan ruins
- Horseback riding
Mahahual has wonderful authentic Mexican, Italian, American, and European restaurants.
Please contact us if you have any questions when planning your trip.