Author Topic: Diving Xcalak, Mexico  (Read 6178 times)

ken & adair

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Diving Xcalak, Mexico
« on: April 16, 2010, 14:41:12 UTC »
Just want to echo here in the forum our happy account in the Instant Reader Reports, about XTC Divers in Xcalak.  We had such a great experience!  If small, out-of-the-way, rustic-but-comfortable is your style, you will love this place.  Xcalak has about 300 people, mostly of Maya descent; in the town itself little English is spoken but folks are friendly & happy to try to help.  At the dive shop & the resorts most people speak English.  Very safe, relaxed, low-key.  The resorts are all small, & all seem to be owned by expat Americans or Europeans.

XTC provided the best service we've ever had (or at least can remember!).  All our dive gear was completely taken care of from day one through a final rinse-&-dry after the last dive; we never had to touch it.  They have Nitrox but it's expensive because they have to travel to another town to get it; we dove with air & were satisfied.  The owner & dive masters were extremely knowledgeable about the area, friendly, enthusiastic, & very willing to accommodate individual requests.  Really fun to dive with.

The diving also surpassed our expectations.  So often in poor areas where subsistence fishing is a necessity of life, protected areas are seriously poached out; I was assuming this would be the case in Xcalak.  Not so!  The dive masters said that illegal fishing does go on, but not too much -- and we saw lots of large specimens of a wide variety of fish, so clearly they have been protected enough to grow.  Unusually large Tarpon, Barracuda, Angelfish (several varieties), Cowfish, Jacks; healthy lobster; turtles & rays; and high numbers of the usual little reef fish.

The diving is easy but interesting.  Very little current; we did one drift dive but it didn't rush us along.  Water temps around 80 :-)  We really enjoyed the reef structure: swim-through to an underwater bowl, canyons, overhangs, pillars -- something new visually everywhere we looked.  And healthy coral -- a Black Coral forest, some Staghorn regrowing after the hurricane several years ago, plus the usual others.  Most of our dives were at or just over an hour, even with air; one dive was to 130' but the others started in the 60-80' range & we drifted up as we progressed.

We'd love to see business grow for this place -- we want it to be there for us to return!

ken & adair

butchfri

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Re: Diving Xcalak, Mexico
« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2010, 17:18:47 UTC »
I'm assuming from your description that it's Mayan Riveria or at least Quintana Roo?  Where is it located, and how did you get there?

ken & adair

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Re: Diving Xcalak, Mexico
« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2010, 20:24:22 UTC »
Sorry -- I should have been more specific!  Yes, Quintana Roo but FAR south of the Riviera area.  If you look at a map of Mexico, you will see a peninsula that juts out, south of the Sian Khan Reserve & the town of Felipe Carillo Puerto.  The northernmost town on the peninsula is Mahahual, which is somewhat better known.  If you go as far south on the peninsula as you can, you reach Xcalak; it's at the very southern end of Mexico -- about a 30-40 minute boat ride from the cays of Belize.

We flew to Cancun & rented a car.  The trip to Xcalak, including a gas stop, takes about 5-5 1/2 hours (the resort owner says he makes it in 4 1/2 but he must be really flying).  It's good 4-lane highway until the last hour & a half or so, which is two-lane but well paved.  The dive shop & the little resorts are on the sand "beach road" out of town -- slow going but not dangerous or difficult.  Our flight got into Cancun about 10:30AM, so we made the drive that day; anything arriving later than noon, you'd probably want to stay a night somewhere in the middle -- Akumal or Tulum -- since getting through customs & car rental are never quick experiences.

In spite of all the press about violence in Mexico (which is accurate if you are talking about major border cities), our experience is that the rest of Mexico is just folks trying to get along as best they can, like everywhere.  The poverty does mean that petty theft is an issue, but that's true all over the world including the US.   
ken & adair

butchfri

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Re: Diving Xcalak, Mexico
« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2010, 20:55:32 UTC »
We actually just got back from Cozumel; the reported violence in Mexico isn't something that's going to stop us.  Thanks for the information!

gusdog

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Re: Diving Xcalak, Mexico
« Reply #4 on: April 18, 2010, 21:38:13 UTC »
link to xtc dive shop  http://www.xtcdivecenter.com/
link to favorite place to stay  http://www.costadecocos.com/
there was an old issue (two years ago?) that had an article on this area.
fun place to get away from it all.

Anne

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Re: Diving Xcalak, Mexico
« Reply #5 on: April 26, 2010, 19:08:34 UTC »
We dove with XTC a few years ago and the owner was brand new.  There were a few kinks, but overall we were satisfied and would return.  One thing to keep in mind is the time of year that you go.  We were there in February and couldn't dive the first 3 days because of winds - the coastal area is inside a reef and you have to go through cuts in the reef to get to the dive sites.  Choppy water makes it really dangerous and we had some wild boat rides.  There is nothing else to do except read, no real swimming beaches.  We rented a house with another couple and I think it only cost us about $500 - 600 per couple for a week.  XTC picked us up at the dock at our house.  Couldn't ask for better service!  We were usually the only divers in our boat, as well, which we always appreciate.

 

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