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Dive Review of XTC Dive Center/Playa Sonrisa in
Cozumel and the Mexican Yucatan/Xcalak, Mahahual Peninsula

April, 2010, an Instant Reader Report by Ken New, SD, US
Sr. Reviewer   (9 reports, with 1 Helpful vote)
Report Number 5439
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
101-250 dives
Where else diving
Most recently St. Vincent & the Galapagos
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, windy  
calm, choppy  
Water Temp
79   to 81    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
50   to 80    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Generally, everyone ascended when one person reached 750 psi (there was a
max of 4 divers); but when I had lots of extra air on one dive, the dive
master stayed down with me.  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  4 stars
Tropical Fish
4 stars  
Small Critters
  3 stars
Large Fish
4 stars  
Large Pelagics
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
4 stars  
Boat Facilities
1 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
4 stars  
Shore Facilities  
3 stars  
No rinse tank on the boat, the captain did keep my camera in a safe
location during travel.  Rinse tank at the dive shop.  Boat trips were
short so the camera was not un-rinsed for long; I took a big bottle of
fresh water to use in between dives.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
5 stars
5 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
5 stars
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
5 stars    
4 stars   
5 stars    
The bad (very little!): Nitrox $14 a fill, due to difficulty of obtaining
it in this remote location.  No rinse tank on board.

The good: The most complete, friendly, professional concierge service for
our gear we have encountered anywhere -- complete care of everything from
beginning of first dive to end of last dive, including a final rinse &
hang-to-dry.  Knowledgeable, enthusiastic dive masters, willing to let us
set the pace -- no hurrying of the photographer!  Small groups -- one day
it was just the 2 of us, two days we were 4.  VERY accommodating about
taking us to sites we'd read about, even one that meant using more fuel;
also great suggestions about other sites.  This is a great operation doing
a wonderful job in a somewhat difficult location logistically. 

Both coral & fish life were much more abundant & healthy than we'd
expected.  Black coral (big "forest", very healthy), Staghorn
(small as it's regrowing after hurricane several years ago).  Several large
groups of Tarpon that swam around us; Barracuda.  Turtles; one curious one
came to "visit".  Wide variety of reef fish.  Nudibranchs,
shrimp, conchs.  Sadly, Lionfish. 

This was easy diving but very interesting.  Small chop, very little current
(one drift dive).  Lots of dramatic structure to the reef -- swim-throughs,
canyons, overhangs.  Most dives were close to or over an hour, even on

Xcalak has a rustic, end-of-the-earth feel & the beach is absolutely
gorgeous.  We wish we could have stayed longer; and we will be back! 
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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