Destinations we offer > Mexico & the Yucatan Peninsula

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Photos © JP Trenque

Mexico - have an adventure!

The Great Mayan Reef and subterranean rivers & caverns.

Introduction to Mexico & the Yucatan Peninsula inc Belize

The Yucatan Peninsula probably offers the most varied diving of all our programmes. Where else could you see bull sharks, whale sharks, have drift dives and dive walls, caverns & caves whilst based in the same place!!! The Riviera & Costa Maya have resorts that are lively, sedate, romantic and pioneering. Basically there is something for everyone. A well worn cliché but in this instance true, honest!

For those with a non diving partner the land activities are numerous. A hire car is recommended to explore the interior which holds many ancient Mayan sites, with Chichen Itza comparable to the Egyptian Pyramids. Understand and feel the ‘real’ Mexico by visiting Merida and Valladolid with their history and colonial buildings. For nature lovers the World Heritage Site of the Sian Ka’an has a plethora of fauna. Surrounded by turquoise lagoons it’s a great place for birdwatching and spotting crocodiles, manatees, monkeys, pumas and the elusive jaguar.

To summarise the area is suitable for clubs, couples and families. The activities and diving are numerous and varied. One word of warning, beware of the chilli’s!

Our Mexico Holidays

Liveaboards

Solmar V, Belize Aggressor III.

Tours

View Mexico Tours.

Mexico Hotels & Resorts

View Mexico Resorts.

Mexico - our rough guide

History

Mayan history goes back some 4000 years but they only settled in the Yucatan about 1300 years ago. Other civilizations conquered the area like the Toltecs and Itzaes before the Spanish arrived in 1530. However there harsh rule led to many Mayan rebellions. By 1821 the whole Mayan area and the rest of Mexico proclaimed their independence. At first the Yucatan was an independent state by later seceded to encompass a larger Mexico. However this decision had a negative effect for the Maya and soon they would want to reassert their independence. A fruitless 8 year war, ‘War of the Castes’, from 1847 to 1855 saw the Mayan population halved. The region was declared a Mexicon ‘territory’ in 1936 and did not become a state until 1974.

Diving

 

 

Off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula is the Great Mayan Reef. Considered the second longest barrier reef in the world it stretches close to 1000km from Mexico down to Honduras. Part of this reef is the island of Cozumel and Chinchorro Banks. Wall diving, drift diving and some of the most pristine sites we have seen are on offer.

The regions jewel is its cavern or ‘Cenotes’. These subterranean rivers formed by water filtering through the limestone provide a unique and awe inspiring opportunity for the ‘normal’ recreational diver. These dives are a must!!

Underwater Photography

 

Highlights

  • Merida: Capital of the Yucatan it is a city of narrow streets, colonial buildings, shady parks & Mayan pride.
  • Chichen Itza: Very impressive Mayan Temples based on the Mayan astronomical calendar. A must visit especially 20-21 March and 21-22 September.
  • Valladolid: A small city with best preserved colonial buildings in the area coupled with a laid back atmosphere.
  • Coba: Largest of all ancient Mayan cities set in the heart of the rainforest.
  • Sian Ka’an: A World Heritage Site that is home to varied fauna: monkeys, foxes, pumas, crocodiles & jaguars.
  • Diving: Whale Sharks (July & August), Cozumel, Cenotes & Chinchorro Banks.

Climate & Weather

Being near the equator the temperature on the peninsula is always hot often reaching 40 degrees in the heat of the day. From May to October, the rainy season makes the air hot and humid. From October to May it is hot and dry, though there are occasional showers even in the dry season. The hurricane season is officially from the 1st June until the 30th November. However most activity on average tends to be in the months of August and September.

General Information

  • People: The indigenous Maya still make up a high proportion of the Yucatan. The remainder are ‘mestizo’ or mixed race which is predominate in Mexico.
  • Religion: Xibalba & Catholicism.
  • Language: Spanish & Maya.
  • Visas: No visas are required for British passport holders but please be aware that there is a departure tax of $US 48
  • Health: Mineral water is recommended. Each resort has chemists and or clinics/hospitals with adequate provision of medicines. There are recommendations of inoculations but consult your G.P for the latest advice. Even though the risk is low in the major resort areas of the Yucatan it is a malarial area. There is more risk during the rainy season May to October.
  • Time: GMT + 2 hours.
  • Electricity: 110 Volts, flat pronged plugs & sockets.
  • Currency: The Mexican Peso. £1 = 20. Denominations are 500, 100, 50, 10, 5 & 1. Local banks deal with foreign currencies and travellers. Cash dispencing machines are becoming more widespread in the major tourist destinations. Banking hours are Monday-Friday 09.00 - 13.30.
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