Frequently Asked Questions
Everything You Want To Know (And Are Not Afraid To Ask)
What’s The Weather Like?
In a nutshell: warm. The Riviera Maya has a tropical climate, which means there are only two seasons: summer (hot, humid, and occasionally rainy), and winter (cooler and drier). Hurricane season is between June and October, and although they’re common in the Caribbean, hurricanes seldom make landfall in this part of the world. The traditional holiday “high season” is from December to March, and the area is thronged with divers and other holidaymakers. On the upside, guests will enjoy cooler weather, but popular cenotes will obviously be more crowded. Outside of these months, the crowds are much thinner, which makes for a more relaxing environment. The downside is, is that kitting up can be an especially sweltering experience. We recommend donning wetsuits in the water, where possible!
What Do I Need For Exposure Protection?
More than you think. The caves’ average water temperature is about 25°C /77°F, so at a bare minimum, we recommend a 5 mm wetsuit plus hood for cavern dives, and a 7 mm wetsuit and a hood for cave dives. Due to the shallow depths and lack of flow that characterize Mexican caves, dives are fairly long in duration and not very strenuous. After a few consecutive days of diving, you will feel chilled towards the end of your dives, which is why you’ll see a lot of guides and instructors sporting drysuits.
Am I Qualified?
To sign up for a guided cavern dive, we ask that you have a minimum of 25 logged dives, have dived within the last six months, and have excellent buoyancy control. You must complete the Diver Medical Statement, present certification cards, and sign and understand our Cavern Diving Liability Release – you can find these forms on our website here.
If a diver has any affirmative “yes” answers on the medical statement, the diver will need a doctor’s clearance to dive.
For more advanced levels of guided dives we will be happy to bring you on dives to whatever your certification level allows.
For prerequisites on more advanced levels of training you can read here.
Do You Ocean Dive?
We absolutely do. We’re big believers in diving in diverse environments, and with the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System lying just meters offshore, it’s hardly a chore. We can arrange dives off Akumal and Playa del Carmen, and of course, there are also day trips to Cozumel for magnificent wall diving. Of course, a quick detour to a cenote to rinse the salt water off your gear is highly recommended!
What Should I Bring On A Guided Dive Day?
If you’re on a guided dive, all you’ll need is a sense of keen anticipation, your dive gear, and just enough money to cover admission fees to the cenotes. A C-card, sunglasses, and some bug-spray also wouldn’t go astray. We’ll provide ear-beer, a packed lunch, snacks, and lots of fluids to keep you hydrated and happy.
Is There a Nearby Hyperbaric Chamber?
Yes, there are two hyperbaric facilities in Playa Del Carmen. Of course, we have a full DAN oxygen kit and first aid kit onsite for all guided dives, and Rog is moreover a certified emergency medical technician, as well as a DAN First Aid and O2 Administration Instructor. For more general health issues, there is a large hospital in Playa Del Carmen, some 25 minutes north of XOC-Ha, and an emergency hospital and a 24-hour Red Cross post in Tulum. Both towns also have numerous clinics and pharmacies, and we can always refer you to places staffed with English-speaking medical professionals.
What’s There To Do Other Than Dive?
There’s all sorts of amazing stuff to do, but we’re usually too busy cave diving or stocking Xoc-Ha with provisions to actually do any of it. You can snorkel with the turtles in Akumal Bay, or doze on the white sandy beaches that stretch along the 120 kilometers of the Riviera Maya. The nearest beach is just a half hour walk from Xoc-Ha, or an even shorter bike-ride. If you’re of a more cultured, cultivated mindset, you can visit the picturesque Mayan ruins in nearby Tulum or Muyil, or drive further inland to Chichen Itza for a day-trip. Nature-lovers will revel in the plants and animals that populate the Sian Ka’an Biosphere, whereas more active folk can visit the numerous adventure parks that populate the area, or get their zen on at Tulum’s plentiful yoga studios.
Do I Need A Mexican Visa?
The same as what Nelly wears under her drysuit: Depends. It depends on a lot of things, especially whatever passport you carry. Consult your friendly Mexican Embassy or Consulate at home before making travel plans.
Is Your Water Safe?
Absolutely, providing you use the "right" water" for the "right" function. The tap water is fine for showering and brushing your teeth, but everyone here drinks bottled purified water. We provide free bottled water at all our guesthouses, and all the water/ice cubes in the restaurants and bars you visit in Tulum or Playa del Carmen is purified – while you’re out and about, you will no doubt see water trucks making their rounds in all the towns. So drink up with absolute peace of mind– hydration while diving is especially crucial.
Is the Riviera Maya Safe?
Yes. The crime and drug cartel-related violence that continually makes the headlines is chiefly confined to the country’s border territory with the United States – very distant from the Yucatan Peninsula. It’s a three-day drive, in fact (we should know, we did it). That’s not to say you should leave great flipping wads of cash and credit cards in your car while diving, or walk around Playa del Carmen with your passport sticking conspicuously out of your back pocket, but surely you never do stuff like that anyway? Leave all that stuff back at your guesthouse, and it will be as safe as – well, houses. Now, if you prefer a more visual representation of this region's safety, this graphic pretty much says it all!