Often overlooked due to its party reputation, Cancún is the perfect location for a Mexican dive adventure.
Diving off this section of the Yucatan Peninsula means gliding over reef systems, through shark-filled tunnels and exploring excellent shipwrecks. You’ll also enjoy easy access to a fascinating underwater museum and the world-famous Isla Mujeres. Further afield yet still reachable within a day trip, you can dive into glassy cenotes or maybe head out to the verdant walls of Cozumel.
Diving in Cancún can be completed by boat or from shore, depending on your preference. Some areas may be restricted to snorkeling only. A 16% tax is levied on all diving activities in Mexico.
When to go
Diving in Cancún is possible throughout year. For uncrowded dive sites and whale shark encounters, book your holiday between May and November.
December to April
There is no bad time to dive the Caribbean. In fact, the water temperatures remain constant year-round and cool only slightly during the winter months, meaning it’s possible to dive approximately 300 days each year.
December to April is considered the best time to visit Mexico and therefore is the most popular time to dive in the Caribbean. Because the winter months constitute high season, you should make sure to book as early as possible in order to secure the best rate.
On average, water temperatures vary between 78 and 82ºF (25 and 28ºC) in Cancún.
May to November
The best time for cenote diving is between May and September. These months bring the best light to the caves and result in the better photographs.
Also note that diving in the Caribbean is possible year-round. Simply keep an eye on the forecast during the summer and early fall. These seasons do see the occasional hurricane. When there isn’t a hurricane, the weather during the summer is hot and humid with the occasional rain shower.
June to September in particular is best for whale sharks near Isla Mujeres.
As an added bonus, the summer months are low season throughout Mexico. At this time, you’ll find the best deals on diving and accommodation. If you enjoy uncrowded, Caribbean dive sites, travel to Mexico between May and September.
Prices for scuba diving tours in Cancun
For scuba diving tours the price rage is between $80 – $400 depending on the tour location and the number of hours it takes. (3 hours – 15 hours)
Much cheaper are the snorkeling tours, starting from $40.
Diving Highlights in Cancun
Diving in Cancún is a diverse experience. Pelagic lovers can go to Isla Mujeres. Photographers will want to dive MUSA and tec divers love the cenotes.
El Museo Subaquàtico de Arte (MUSA)
The MUSA, located next to Cancun, is an underwater contemporary museum of art consisting of over 500 permanent life-size sculptures from English artist Jason deCaires Taylor.
Whale Sharks in Isla Mujeres
Isla Mujeres, just off-shore from Cancun, sits at the join of the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean. As such, it attracts hundreds of Whale Sharks from June to September each year.
Cenote Diving in Yucatan
Hundreds of crystal clear cenotes (caves) can be found throughout Mexico. Cenote Dos Ojos near Tulum is the most famous and is easily accessible to most divers.
Snorkeling in Cancun
Non-divers will find plenty of reasons to enter the water in Cancún. From shore, you’ll be able to access the region’s best reefs and even dip your head in a cenote. If you happen to be in the area from June to September, make sure to take a day trip to Isla Mujeres in order to snorkel with whale sharks. MUSA is also perfect for topside spotters as many of the statues are placed at a shallow depth.
Best dive sites in Cancun
The reefs of Cancun are teeming with life. Right off Cancún’s main drag of hotels there is a pretty little reef that begs your exploration. You can see a surprising amount of sharks and barracudas in this area, as well as all your other favorite Caribbean fish. One especially nice spot is MUSA (Museo Subacuático de Arte).
This underwater sculpture park was installed in order to relieve the overwhelming pressure on Cancún’s coral reefs. Today, this museum represents a shallow dive with so much to see. You’ll discover several Biorock statues under the surface. These statues are constantly distorting due to their coral growth, so bring your camera to capture the magic! While in Cancún don’t miss out on diving in the cenotes. These freshwater caverns are unreal, seemingly from another world. Several are within a short drive of the city. Dos Ojos, in particular, features fascinating rock formations; looming stalagmites and stalactites. Finally, don’t miss the opportunity to snorkel with whale sharks during their annual migration past Isla Mujeres from June to September.