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

XTC Dive Center/Hotel Tierra Maya, Nov, 2006,

by Francis & Deb Bollag, NY, USA . Report 3214.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Cayman, BVI, Saba, Dominica, St. Vincent & Grendines,
Cozumel
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather windy, cloudy Seas calm, choppy
Water Temp 79 to 82 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 40 to 75 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions [Unspecified]
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins Schools Whale Sharks None
Turtles None Whales None
Corals 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 N/A Boat Facilities N/A
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments [None]

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 5 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 1 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments 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 bill-in-tulsa.com. 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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