Travel Guide

Xcalak Mexico Dive and Journey Information

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Xcalak is a bit of fishing village situated in Mexico proper subsequent to the border with Belize. Situated on the Meso-American Reef the Xcalak Reef Nationwide Park is by some means nonetheless top-of-the-line saved scuba diving secrets and techniques in Mexico. I’ve dived and labored as a scuba teacher everywhere in the world and don’t perceive how this place just isn’t but world famend. Situated on the Yucatan Peninsula between the Caribbean Sea and Chetumal Bay the spectacular biodiverse ecosystem surrounding Xcalak consists of wetlands, lagoons, mangroves, rivers, and wonderful coral reefs. Scuba diving on the wholesome coral reefs of Xcalak, divers have loads of swim throughs, partitions and caverns to navigate, typically seeing dolphins, sharks, rays and a wide range of searching pelagic species. 

Our favourite spot to dive in Mexico and the most effective diving I did within the Caribbean. Xcalak cannot evaluate with the explosion of life and color you encounter when diving the most effective of South East Asia, however three unimaginable highlights of diving from Xcalak are; the large resident faculty of enormous tarpon, the large inhabitants of manatees typically encountered on dives and the saltwater crocodiles you possibly can pores and skin dive with in Banco Chinchorro. For my part in the event you can see one in all these it’s already definitely worth the journey and all three are potential.

Diving from Xcalak just isn’t low cost, a Three tank dive day prices $165 and going to Banco Chinchorro $185. Gear rental is a further $25.

Xcalak Mexico – the Little Fishing Village 

Situated within the Costa Maya, the southern a part of Quintana Roo on the Caribbean coast of Mexico, Xcalak is simply about 20 km (7 miles) from Belize. This rustic village, with solely 375 everlasting residents has hardly been touched by tourism and is residence to world class fly fishing and fowl watching. The sleepy little rural city of Xcalak just isn’t probably the most stunning city with little exercise and a few garbage washed out on lower than excellent seashores. Far-off from resorts, touristy seashores and worldwide franchises Xcalak is nonetheless surrounded by unreal pure treasures and visited by extra adventurers and explorers than common vacationers. The city is the departing level for excursions to the elusive Banco Chinchorro coral atoll. This legendary dive spot, visited by few is residence to spectacular coral reefs, tiny islands, greater than 200 shipwrecks and might be the most effective spot on the planet to dive with salt water crocodiles. 

Alya strolling on the Xcalak jetty.

Xcalak just isn’t a seashore vacationers dream, however is a good Carribean city to discover, drink rum, eat cerveza and set up diving and fishing actions most solely dream of.

Scuba Diving in Xcalak

Touring for diving is often not low cost and going to distant places might be troublesome and complicated. Excursions to those off the overwhelmed observe places, should actually provide one thing particular to make it definitely worth the time and the hassle.  Xcalak is one in all a handful of spots within the Caribbean I felt was definitely worth the money and time we spent to get there particularly for diving.

Situated on the Nice Maya reef, Xcalak affords a wide range of unimaginable dive websites, steep partitions, canyons, swim throughs and distinctive geographical formations to discover inhabited by a large number of marine  creatures. Diving in Xcalak anticipate to see turtles, rays, sharks, dolphins and a big number of fish swimming over the attractive reef with exhausting and mushy corals, massive followers and a few stunning and attention-grabbing nudibranches. 

The reefs nearer to shore and  lagoons have a big inhabitants of resident manatees which can be typically seen on the dive websites. Probably the most well-known inhabitants of the reefs surrounding Xcalak is the large faculty of enormous tarpons. 

From Xcalak go to the well-known Banco Chinchorro atol with among the most pristine reefs and spectacular diving anyplace within the northern hemisphere. That is additionally the place to dive with Saltwater crocodiles. 

Dive coaching at Xcalak

With superior amenities and an enormous number of dive websites it is a excellent spot to do dive coaching. XTC dive middle is a 5 star IDC PADI middle that provides the total vary of programs from a at some point Uncover Scuba Diving to teacher programs. Many individuals keep right here for a pair days to do their Openwater and superior coaching. I’ll suggest you learn a few tripadvisor evaluations earlier than making a reserving.

That is additionally a extremely popular place for technical dive coaching providing the entire vary of programs Sidemount, Tec and Rebreather.

Xcalak Dive Websites

La Poza

Max Depth: 22m  Avg Depth: 11m  Temp: 25C  Viz: 20m

La Poza is probably the most well-known dive web site in Xcalak recognized for encounters with colleges of tarpon, manatees are additionally typically seen right here.  The positioning is situated near shore, a fast boat experience from the jetty. It’s a pretty shallow dive appropriate for all ranges. It is not uncommon to see snappers, barracuda, trevally, groupers and eagle rays diving on this web site. The tarpon swim by gaps within the reef to search out some shelter from sturdy currents. It’s a tremendous large fish diving experience swimming these unimaginable prehistoric wanting fish.  There are a whole bunch of fish within the large colleges and a few of these large fish are about 2m (7ft) lengthy and I estimate over a 100kg (200 kilos+). Positively the positioning to not miss diving from Xcalak.

Tarpon dive La Poza xcalak mexico
Diving in a college of Tarpons at La Poza.


Max Depth: 30m  Avg Depth: 17m  Temp: 25C  Viz: 20m

Good dive web site situated near Xcalak. Improbable views over the coral spurs. Some attention-grabbing nudibranches on the reef. Many invasive lionfish on this reef, our divemaster caught them with a hawain sling speargun for the restaurant, you possibly can order the lionfish on the restaurant it’s scrumptious! We had a college of dolphins come by on the protection cease.

La Chiminea

Descend subsequent to a drop off from 13 m to about 35 m sloping sand backside goes deeper. Good coral backyard with loads of parrot fish. Swim to  “La Catedral ” at about 28m, a big cavern with an enormous collapsed rock within the middle. Turtles, moray eels, large groupers, tarpon, barracuda, and colleges of silver sides are sometimes seen right here. Swim up a canyon to a protracted swim by, ascent by The Chimney. 

Superior divers solely. Max Depth 35m

Moray eel

La Pozeta

Dive web site drops from 5m to about 30m, a lot of very good swim throughs and delightful coral reefs. Manatees are sometimes seen at this web site. 

Diving Banco Chinchorro

Banco Chinchorro is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and the biggest coral atol within the Northern Hemisphere. It’s well-known for glorious diving internet hosting pristine coral reefs, enormous barrel sponges, loads of wrecks and wonderful marine life. The coral atol is situated about 30 km (18 miles) from Xcalak and it takes roughly an hour to get right here by boat relying on climate and the boat you’re going with. It’s a lengthy drive and a authorities allow is required so diving right here just isn’t low cost.

Anticipate to see unspoiled reefs  teeming with life. Marine animals typically seen diving within the clear heat water of Chinchorro embrace massive groupers, napoleon wrasse, lobsters, barracudas, crabs, inexperienced turtles, stingrays and reef sharks. Cease at one of many easy fishing homes on stilts and take a look at the large iguanas and 1000’s of hermit crabs on the tiny island, confidently you possibly can spot a crocodile or two throughout lunch.

Dive Xcalak, an interesting nudibranch.
Fascinating nudibranch diving round Xcalak

Snorkeling at Banco Chinchorro

Banco Chinchorro is famend for excellent snorkeling on the great reefs with loads of fish, reef sharks and different marine life simply reached by snorkel. Among the wrecks are very shallow and nice to discover snorkeling Try the wreck web site of a picket ship known as 40 Cannons for among the greatest snorkeling within the space.

Crocodiles at Banco Chinchorro

Snorkeling with the American Crocodile (Crocodylus Acutus) is an thrilling, distinctive exercise you are able to do at Banco Chinchorro. These animals can develop very massive, as much as 6m lengthy and weigh 900kg.

To work together with the crocodiles, the XTC dive middle in Xcalak combines diving the Banco Chinchorro with an American Crocodile encounter. You’ll keep on the atol for Three days and two nights, dive among the wrecks and reefs across the atol and spend Three to four hours per day in shallow water (1 – 1.5 m/3-5 ft.) round a fisherman’s hut pores and skin diving with the crocs.

Croc expeditions run from June 1st by to September 30th (climate dependent).

The American Crocodile primarily inhabits salt and brackish water resembling rivers, lagoons and swamps, it has a excessive tolerance to salinity, just like the saltwater crocodile. This crocodile species just isn’t seen as very aggressive for a crocodile species and doesn’t typically assault people. We aren’t a part of their food plan, however American crocodiles have reportedly been answerable for 36 assaults on people from 1995 to 2017 within the Cancun space of Mexico.

Snorkeling from Xcalak

Xcalak affords some nice snorkeling. Snorkeling from the jetty the place dive boats launch within the village, it’s fairly shallow sandy backside with small patches of reef, however we noticed a few eagle rays, a barracuda, a turtle and another fish. For the most effective snorkeling journeys are supplied by XTC dive middle and you’ll go on both 2 or 5 hour excursions to the coral reefs, the place you possibly can see a big number of fish, generally even the big tarpon. The boat stops at spots on the reef which can be shallow sufficient for snug snorkeling within the clear, heat water. On snorkeling journeys to Xcalak Reef Marine Reserve, Manatee reserve and the mangrove forest manatees are sometimes seen. Following a snorkeling tour the boat typically stops for some fowl watching

snorkel Xcalak An eagle ray gliding past
An eagle ray snorkeling at Xcalak.

Extra Things to do in Xcalak

Fly Fishing – This iconic fly fishing spot hosts massive residential colleges of bonefish, allow, tarpon, jacks, cudas and extra. 

Fishing journeys – Chetumal Bay, solely a 15 minute boat experience from Xcalak, affords among the greatest allow fishing within the Carribean. 

Chicken watching – Xcalak is a hidden gem for Carribean fowl watching with pelicans, egrets, frigate birds,  grackles, attention-grabbing native birds just like the Ocellated Turkey and extra typically being seen right here.

Chicken Island excursions – go on an tour in the Bay of Chetumal driving by the canals by boat, cease to do some snorkeling. Nice fowl watching and perhaps run into the resident manatees residing within the mangroves.

Kayaking or Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) – lease a kayak and discover the bay or go on a guided kayak or SUP journey within the mangroves and the lagoon see birds, fish and perhaps even crocs or manatees!

Cycle – Hire a bicycle and discover the little Carribean city.

Attending to Xcalak

This off the overwhelmed path vacation spot just isn’t straightforward to get to. Xcalak is about 400 miles / 650 kilometers from Cancun, a 5 to 6 hour drive or a protracted day or two on public transport. The simplest means is to lease a automobile. Driving from Cancun Airport it’s a few 5 hour drive. Take a look at Rental Automotive for a comparability of rental automobiles from a wide range of companies at the most effective costs.

To get to Xcalak by public transport you should first get to Chetumal, the town has an airport or you possibly can arrive by Ado Bus from Cancun, Playa del Carman, or Tulum, this may take all day.

There are two every day Caribe buses from Chetumal primary station to Xcalak taking about four hours to reach in Xcalak. `The Caribe bus will drop you off on the Xcalak city pier

Lodging in Xcalak

Xcalak is a small place, so there are usually not many lodging choices.

Costa De Cocos Good bunglows on the seashore, glorious location, nice evaluations, test it out.

There are some personal flats for lease in Xcalak, see on AirBnB or ask on the dive operator you’re utilizing.

Dive Insurance coverage

Xcalak is a distant location, Scuba diving does have dangers, be sure that your well being and your gear is roofed, learn the small print. World Nomads Diving Insurance coverage

Up to date July 2020

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Hey! A bit about us - we’re John & Maria and we're a couple that loves to travel the world and document our adventures! We enjoy writing, blogging, exploring and sharing our adventures. We’re always embarking on new journeys and here you’ll find articles covering many travel destinations, and topics, such as culture, history, art and cuisine. Our goal and mission is to present compelling stories, photography and personal opinions, as well as serve as an online resource for anyone who wishes to plan their own trips and visit the destinations we've been to. We genuinely love meeting new people, mingling with locals, listening to their amazing stories and trying new travel experiences.

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