Seas the Day: Scuba Diving in Cozumel and Cenote Dos Ojos

Carpe diem: to take advantage of every opportunity that life presents and seize the day

In this case, living in Mexico, so close to ocean, I plan to seas the day. 😛

I headed down to the Yucatan peninsula along the gorgeous Riviera Maya to partake in some beachy fun and underwater adventures. 😛

OK, I’ll stop with the bad puns and begin.

Getting there

The journey began with a Primera Plus bus ride from Querétaro.

From there, I had quick appointment in Mexico City.

My options to get to this pit stop were bus, metro or taxi. With all my luggage, metro and bus were out of the question. Plus, I’d rather not be shoved in there like a sardine. Not cool. :/IMG_2498Luckily, taxis in Mexico are cheap.

From the bus terminal, they have prefixed prices based on destination. My ride was only $10 and included a complimentary tour of the city. 😉IMG_2505IMG_2499IMG_2496Mexico City has notoriously bad traffic, 365 days a year. Sick!IMG_2494As such, I made sure to grab a coffee before the ride, while my driver settled on the reading the newspaper. 🙂IMG_2491IMG_2497Our 20 minute ride, took almost 3-hours with the traffic delays.

After getting there, my driver was even nice enough to wait for me during my appointment, so I didn’t have to hail another tax and haggle a price. 🙂

From there, we were off to the airport. 😀IMG_2513I flew Mexico City to Cancun for only $90. Not too shabby.

I used skyscanner to find a local flight with Vivaaerobus.

Things to Know: 

They airline has open seating and strict categories for baggage weight limit.

I assumed checked baggage would be 25 kg, but the standard is actually 15 kg.
IMG_2509They make you put everything, including your purse, in the overhead compartment. :/
IMG_2507This made me nervous, so I took out my money belt and shoved it down my shirt. Hah.
IMG_2508Sadly, no complimentary beverages or pretzels. 😦
IMG_2511

On the bright side, if you don’t feel like exerting much effort on vacation, you can book your excursions right with the airline. 🙂
IMG_2512After arrival in Cancun, I planned to take the bus to all other destinations.

Just like Primera Plus reigns over central Mexico, ADO  pretty much rules the south of Mexico in terms of local transportation.IMG_2514Luckily, their website is user friendly and the prices are affordable. Each bus trip will cost between 4-10 dollars.

What to Do

After a short 48 hours in Cancun, I was off to Playa del Carmen and Cozumel.cozumelIn the past 50 years these once small fishing villages have blossomed to become two of the top tourist destinations in the world.

Playa del Carmen and Cozumel sit along the second largest barrier reef in the world.

The underwater world is filled with dazzling coral reefs, tropical fish and crystal clear blue water.

For this reason, Jacques Cousteau named Cozumel one of the most beautiful scuba diving areas in the world. 😀il_fullxfull.306760466As Jacques Cousteau once said,

The best way to observe a fish, is to become a fish.

Well I did just that, and chose to admire these underwater beauties from below. 😀
I chose a dive package with the company Phantom Divers, which included two dives in Playa del Carmen, two in Cozumel, and lastly two dives in a Tulum cenote.

Diving Playa del Carmen

Diving price for 6 dives was $290, which is a bargain compared to most other places. 🙂
IMG_2568On Saturday morning, I met up at the dive shop to meet my crew. Our dive master Andres was incredible. He had a very relaxed demeanor and did a great job managing our group. I dove with two girls from Mexico and a guy from Ireland, who had recently moved to Jamaica for business. Our plan for today was to dive the Sabalos Reef and Barracuda Reef.
sss14Ballooonfish.s16s8s12Blue tang. s4sThe most impressive part was the variety of coral. s7s10Squirrelfish. s6S13Holy moley! The current was strong! s17 In fact, we actually ended our second dive early, since we lost the Irish guy. He had drifted far from the group, so we had to ascend. We waited for a bit until a small speedboat came by with him. They had picked him up a few miles down. Honestly, he was quite embarrassed, but it was a good learning experience for everyone. Lesson for the day: always stay with the group. 😉

Diving Cozumel

On Sunday I took the ferry to Cozumel Island. IMG_2589The ferry takes 45 minutes from Playa del Carmen, and costs $10 each way.

On the plus side, with your ticket, you can redeem a free margarita at a variety of restaurants on Cozumel Island. 😀
IMG_2590

equals

dop_margaritaCozumel Island is quaint village, full of chic shops and restaurants. IMG_2601If you’re here more than a day, it’s apparently easier to explore by scooter. 😀
IMG_2608It’s also the perfect starting point to dive these magnificent reefs. IMG_2606At the dock I met up with my dive master Jose, his son, and the other diver, Zion from Israel.

From there, we took a short ride to our pier.
IMG_2610I was actually in disbelief at the size of the boat for only two divers.IMG_2611We were going to ride in style! 😀
g2633691Lifestyles of the rich and famous. Hah. 😉
g2643695Near Cozumel we dove Punta Tuniche and Paradise Reef, both world famous dive spots.

These dive were the most incredible experience I have had diving. The variety of colorful coral, gigantic fish and surprises around every corner. I felt like I was floating in a fish tank! Absolutely amazing! 😀
g2743773Foureye Butterflyfish. g2843824g2873838Yellow Goafish. g2923864g3254142g3424364g4014843g4044859g3614578g3254124g4104931

French angelfish. g3424403g3634588g3684616g4104896g3244037g3254070g3214010Spiny lobster. g3514518King crab. g3994836g3163985

Cenote Diving in Tulum

A cenote, is a cavern or natural sinkhole, and Cenote Dos Ojos is one of the most famous, being featured on Discovery Channel and in the IMAX film, “Journey into Amazing Caves.”
IMG_2627Monday morning, after a delicious coffee, I met up with my dive master Mario for my last two dives in the cenote.IMG_2623
We drove 45 minutes from Playa del Carmen, and then down a rocky dirt road to get to Dos Ojos.
From there, we geared up and walked down to the cavern.
gopr5005g4155017The jungle surroundings were incredible and plenty of bats were flying in and out of the cave.
g4215037Before the dive, Mario gave us a briefing about the plan for the day. gopr5001 Cenote Dos Ojos means two eyes, which refer to the two cenotes, which are connected by a large cavern. We were planning to dive both cenotes, named Barbie Line and Bat Cave Line. For this dive, we would be using flashlights and following a guide line through the cavern. Additionally the dive master went over flashlight signals for problems or issues that may arise during the dive, such as low air and difficulty maintaining buoyancy.The dive is very shallow, at around 15 feet, and hitting the cave bottom could loosen up sediment and reduce visibility.

After our briefing, we hopped in and began our descent. g4175022g4245065g4656996You definitely can’t be afraid of the dark… g4305204…or small spaces. g4546200That being said, the cavern formations were simply stunning. 😀 g4385484g4646716Being in an underwater cave is the surely one of the creepiest and coolest experiences I’ve had thus far. Definitely once in a life time. Absolutely worth it! 😀g4636577

The “Playa” of Playa del Carmen

Playa means beach, and when not your not in the water, the best place to be is soaking up the sun in the sand. 😀

My favorite beaches were Mamitas Beach and Playa Fundadores.

Mamitas Beach
IMG_2613The perfect spot to enjoy breakfast and watch the sunrise. 🙂 IMG_2616Playa Fundadores

Great place to enjoy an iced coffee. 🙂IMG_2567Or enjoy some local music and cocktails. 🙂IMG_2573Or even partake in local events, like the Feria de Quintana Roo. (shown below) 🙂IMG_2588And lastly, the perfect spot to watch the sunset in tropical paradise. 🙂IMG_2575Overall, Playa del Carmen is a small strip of shops and restaurants, similar to the vibe of Key West. IMG_2620It is incredibly walkable and tourist friendly.
IMG_2583

Where to Stay

For the past 3 nights, I stayed at Tres Mundos Hostel. IMG_2585To be honest, this place is not worth bragging about, but it was full of some pretty cool people, mostly from France and Argentina. My afternoons were spent chatting with them in the hammocks. Absolute paradise! 🙂

Now I’m off to Valladolid to enjoy some of the more rustic attractions of southern Mexico.

Until next time, take care and enjoy your week! 😀

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