Cancun is synonymous with great weather, sunshine, and holidays, especially for North American tourists. It is also famous for scuba, and a scuba diving Cancun trip is a must for almost every diver based in North America.
You can dive in Cancun year-round, and while there is a hurricane season that runs from July to October, the most likely bad weather is during September and October. The high season and the busiest time of year to visit and dive Cancun is during the winter from November through April every year.
One thing to remember about scuba diving Cancun is that the water is not the warmest during the high season averaging 24C/76F. So a good 3/5 mm wetsuit is advised. This is especially if you are planning on doing multiple dives over multiple days, which is very easy to do since Cancun has some stunning dive sites to choose from.
The Underwater Museum
If you ask anyone about Scuba Diving Cancun, the first thing they will probably say is the underwater museum. The Underwater Museum (MUSA) comprises a huge number of statues 500, of which 487 are the work of sculptor Jason deCaires, and the rest are the work of 5 Mexican artists.
The Underwater Museum (MUSA) is split between three locations, with one-off Punta Nizuc, one-off of Isla Mujeres, and one-off of Punta Cancun. All of the sites are offshore, so you can only visit the museum by boat whether you want to dive or snorkel at either site.
The primary artifact is The Silent Evolution, which comprises 400 statutes depicting human interaction with nature in its positive and negative aspects. The piece emphasizes the devastating effects we can have on corals and how we have to learn to live with nature.
While the current phase of the museum was finished in 2013, more is planned. The organizers plan to place a further 1,200 statues at ten different destinations around Cancun in the next few years.
Manchones Reef is one of the best dive and snorkeling sites around, and a scuba diving Cancun trip would not be complete without a dip at Manchones Reef. The site is part of the National Marine Park and lies south of the island.
Manchones Reef is a relatively shallow site averaging in depth between 26 and 32ft/~8 and 10 meters and is 800meters/2,625ft long. The site is incredibly rich with massive biodiversity, including brain, staghorn, and elk coral. Aside from corals, there are lobsters, crabs, angelfish, nurse sharks, and stingrays. Being shallow and rich, the site is ideal for photographers to take some excellent marine life shots.
If the marine life has not impressed you enough, then there is some art to grab your attention. The site is home to two sculptures from the Underwater Museum (MUSA), the “The Man on Fire” and “The Ernest Hemingway Desk.”
C-58 Wreck Dive
A former US navy Minesweeper that saw service in the second world war and was previously known as the USS Harlequin. After being sold to the Mexican navy in 1962, she was repurposed and renamed several times, finally ending up as General Anaya.
The wreck was sunk in May 2000 to act as an artificial reef. The ship is broken into two halves and lies on the seabed at a depth of 85 feet / 26 meters. Over the years, the wreck has become home to rich and diverse marine life. The wreck is home to groupers, barracudas, and the occasional manta ray can be seen passing by.
One thing to keep in mind is that eagle rays can be found in substantial numbers at the wreck in the winter. Encounters with up to 30 or 40 individuals are well documented and make for a fantastic experience. So remember, on your next Scuba diving Cancun trip to check out the wreck of the C58.
The Ultrafreeze Wreck- El Frio
One of Cancun’s more famous dive sites is the wreck dive, commonly known as El Frio. The wreck, whose real name is Ultrafreeze, is 110meters/350ft long and lies in 29m/90ft of water. The wreck was towed to its destination and sunk in 1979 after it caught fire and was destroyed beyond repair.
After over 40 years in the ocean, the wreck is home to a wealth of marine life. Diving El Frio, it is common to encounter turtles, groupers, barracudas, and even passing manta rays. The secret to the site’s wealth of life is the strong currents in the area, which make this a particularly challenging dive for inexperienced scuba divers, especially on the descent and ascent on the shot line.
Exploring the wreck is a fascinating experience, especially when you consider that Hurricane Andrew broke her in half in 1992, creating an L shape wreck. Both parts are easily accessible and remain upright, creating interesting exploration opportunities through the holds and the ship as a whole. Due to the wreck’s depth, with most of the dive being conducted below 20m/80ft, it is only recommended for advanced divers and makes an ideal nitrox dive.
Scuba Diving Cancun Secret Manta Valley
A scuba diving Cancun trip would not be complete without a dive or two at Manta valley. Getting to the dive spot needs an early rise since it takes about 3-4 hours to get there by boat. But it will all be worth it once you are at the manta cleaning station.
The dive site is a seamount that rises to a depth of 21m/75ft, and the best time to visit the site is at the end of the fall season when the mantas are at their most plentiful. Diving the site is about one thing and one thing only! Mantas and more mantas. On a typical dive, you will descend and just enjoy being in the company of giants.
The site has strong currents and some challenging conditions, and while it is within reach of open water divers, experience counts when visiting. Most local operates will require that you have a minimum of 40 to 50 dives before they take you. In addition, the site is best-dived using Nitrox, especially since the Secret Manta Valley tends to be a two-dive trip. If you are going to scuba dive Cancun, the best advice you can have is don’t miss out on manta valley if you have the training and experience!
Brought To You By
Our Top Dive Sites of the World guide is brought to you by Suunto. We recommend that you use a Suunto Dive Computer when scuba diving or freediving at one of these dive sites. Suunto is the world’s leading dive computer designer and manufacturer providing diving instruments for recreational, technical, and freediving. You can find out more at Suunto.com.