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The Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico was once best known for pretty fishing villages, but is now a world-class site for luxury holidays and some of the most diverse diving opportunities you'll find anywhere in the world. It's no great surprise really, the basic ingredients were always there. The Riviera Maya offers white sandy beaches, the second longest barrier reef in the world, and Caribbean water known for both its clarity and its dive-friendly temperatures.
Punta Nizuc - Popular with snorkelers and divers alike, the site is famous for its richly populated offshore reef. The underwater museum, the Museo Subacuático de Arte is well worth a visit too.
Punta Cancun - The Punta is found at the eastern end of the Cancun resort area and offers several different dive sites featuring colourful coral and a rich variety of marine life including rays, barracuda and sharks.
Playa del Carmen - The town with its many European visitors is busy and bustling, while the neighbouring villages of Akumal and Tulum offer a simpler style, evocative of Yucatan's fishing village history. These are great locations if your diving preference is for shallow dives with great visibility.
Cenotes - Diving in the Rivera Maya isn't limited to the sea. The area is also known for it's underwater caverns, many of which lead to extended underwater cave systems meaning that the riviera is a great place to complete a cave diving course in Mexico.
The area is served by Cancun International Airport. In dive season you'll be able to pick up a direct flight to Cancun from the USA, Canada or Europe to name but a few. Major credit cards are accepted in the tourist areas, and while Spanish is the official language English is widely spoken.
To make sure that your hard-earned money and leisure time are used to the best advantage there are a few steps you should follow.
Even if getting your dive training done is the main focus of your holiday, you probably won't be spending most of the days underwater. If you're looking for a sunny and relaxed location that's foreign enough to be exotic but has enough familiar elements that you won't be risking culture shock at the same time as you're acquiring a new skill, doing your scuba certification in Mexico makes a lot of sense.
You can find a pre-packaged tour that's all-inclusive of everything from flights and equipment hire to post dive parties, or book your accommodation and dive tuition separately. Either way, it's vital that the people who you'll be working with are competent and professional. Reputable dive schools will be registered with a professional organisation so however you book your tuition do check this out.
Organisers of dive certification vacations will generally send you a textbook, or links to an online learning centre so you arrive ready to take the required written exam and move quickly on to your first pool based practical lesson. The information may seem a bit dry at times, but it's vital to your safely once you get in the water. Arriving at your destination well prepared will ensure that you get the maximum possible time to do the fun stuff.
Your basic course is a life-long qualification, so the cost of the tuition is actually pretty reasonable. Dive schools are independently run so prices vary slightly. When you're looking at different packages be sure to check exactly what's included in them so you can be sure to compare like with like. Free diving for the rest of your holiday once you've completed your basic training is a common perk that enables you to consolidate your skills on your first scuba experience.
Infinity2Diving are the only five-star PADI dive resort in Tulum and offer recommended courses suited to all levels from absolute beginners to experienced divers looking to take on new challenges. You might find that doing your basic open water certification is enough for you, but for many people diving can be more than a little addictive. The possibilities are endless; deeper dives, cave dives, technical dives and who knows...maybe you'll eventually want to become a dive instructor yourself.