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Dive Review of XTC Dive Center/Hotel Tierra Maya in
Cozumel and the Mexican Yucatan/Xcalak

November, 2006, an Instant Reader Report by Francis & Deb Bollag, NY, USA
Report Number 3214
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
251-500 dives
Where else diving
Cayman, BVI, Saba, Dominica, St. Vincent & Grendines,  
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

windy, cloudy  
calm, choppy  
Water Temp
79   to 82    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
40   to 75    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  4 stars
Tropical Fish
5 stars  
Small Critters
  5 stars
Large Fish
5 stars  
Large Pelagics
  3 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
Boat Facilities
Overall rating for UWP's  
Shore Facilities  
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
5 stars
4 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  
1 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
3 stars   
5 stars    
We hoped, we prayed, we rose at the crack of dawn each day in anticipation.
But strong winds blew up (no pun) every plan to visit Banco Chinchorro. XTC
Dive was very sympathic, rescheduled the trip daily and took us on some
fantastic local dives. The short boat ride to the sites was a bit cool and
sometimes rough. The diving was spectacular with max bottom times.
Outstanding sites were La Poza, packed with exciting finds, and La
Chimenea, a deep, colorful gorge. We saw lots of eagle rays, tarpon,
groupers and cero and were checked out by four dolphins at depth and a
friendly brown booby at the surface.

XTC uses its small boat for local diving. The boat is open and holds four
tanks and a captain. DM's and boat captains are experienced and
knowledgeable. Entry is by backward roll and exit is by ladder. All dives
are drifts. The boat returns to the shop's dock after each dive. Since our
first dives had heavy profiles, we took extra-long SI's to allow for more
bottom time on our second tanks, which started at around 1 pm. XTC rinses
and securely stores equipment. They prefer that divers retrieve and set up
their own gear, which the shop staff delivers and loads onto the boat.

The beachfront Hotel Tierra Maya is very, very nice. It offers air
conditioning and the rate includes breakfast at the onsite restaurant. Due
to the constant ocean breeze, we didn't need the AC. The restaurant is good
-- too much food actually -- and serves as a one of the town's gathering
places so we were able to learn from the locals. Our room was HUGE and
contained three beds and a hammock, a tiled food-prep counter with fridge
and bottled water, dining table and 4 chairs, large storage area with
safe-deposit box and loaner books, bathroom with shower and a large patio
with a table and chairs. All rooms face the ocean.

The hotel also has a good snorkeling beach often visited by turtles, a dock
and plenty of outdoor seating areas for reading, relaxing or visiting with
other guests. They also have kayaks and other gear for guests.

No matter where you stay in Xcalak, there are a few things you should know:
You will receive a discount on diving and other services at XTC if you book
lodging with Be sure to arrive in Xcalak with a full
tank of gas, insect repellent and some groceries. There's a market in town
but it might not have what you want and the nearest city is almost two
hours away. Also, if you're there on a day when it's open, be sure to have
dinner at the Leaky Palapa for terrific food and company.
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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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