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Dive Review of Under the Jungle/Casa Paraiso in
Cozumel and the Mexican Yucatan/Diving Cenotes in Yucatan peni

Under the Jungle/Casa Paraiso: "Run Dark, Run Silent, Run Deep Diving Under the Jungle Cenotes Diving", Dec, 2016,

by Pejman Khosropour, CA, US (Reviewer Reviewer 5 reports with 3 Helpful votes). Report 9448 has 3 Helpful votes.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 2 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments
Take a man with over 1000 dives..He has dived Caribbean waters so much that he knows every fish personally. When a dive master or boat operators asks him what he would like to see, he responses enthusiastically how about giant squid fighting a sperm whale as he beams proudly! Though the response is always met with chuckles, snorts or simply a blank stares; and of course my personal favorite..." That is frightfully very specific request". Ironically he is not kidding, because that is the only thing that will get him to drop his jaws and swallow some sea water.

Take that said person put him on the couch as he is flipping through psycho kitties video on youtube, when the said man's wife barges through the door clutching a yellow piece of pamphlet jumping up and down muttering that the dive Shop is organizing a dive trip for cavern diving...can we go please please please!

You have to understand something about the said man, he is 6 foot 8 inches (2.05 meters for our metric friends) and somewhat claustrophobic. So diving caverns or caves are listed way way down on his list of ten thousands things to do before you die, right down the item 999, right before poking yourself in the eyeball. But the said man knows happy and grateful wife means a happy and a very grateful husband, so with some very skillful camouflage rolling eyes he agrees.

Fast forward few months later and we find ourselves on the plane leaving San Francisco with a direct flight to Cancun(again). The dive was organized by Diver Dan dive shop in San Jose CA.

We arrived in Cancun trouble free, got our gears, went through customs and out in the waiting area and there he was our trip organizer Mike.
He guided us to the van where we met other drivers from Bay Area California and after instructions we all headed south.

The trip was divided into two sections: 1) 2 days Diving in Xcalak, Costa Maya, Mexico; 2) 4 days of diving cenotes in and around Tulum, Q.R Mexico.
Xcalak is about 4 to 6 hours south of Cancun in a remote southern area of costa Maya, near Belize. I won't say much about this one other than we stayed at a resort name Casa Paradisio owned by an retired IT engineer from Atlanta Georgia with his lovely wife. The resort was amazing (actually the resort is the wrong name, more like a beach villa), isolated, beautiful and secluded with view of vast blue sea, ideal getway vacation.

You Could easily tell every decoration, every furniture had the owners attentive and caring personal touch. It felt like as if you are a house guest rather than a customer. The place was homey, personable and comfortable.

My only complaint was that we were there only for two days I could have stayed there for a week and not miss a thing..would definitely go back.

Our dive operator was XTC. A bit fumblingly to get us going but over all good. Diving was ..well Caribbean like. We caught up with all the fishes, exchange emails and phone numbers and promised to keep in touch but you know how it is, we never do. It was remarkably Carribien like diving. Enough said.

We packed the van and headed north to Tulum for what we came to do in the first place..Diving Cenotes.

We stayed at Puerto Adventures which is basically a gated tourist community. Very pleasant but a bit bourgeoisie if you ask me., Isolated from locals and real Mexico for better or worst.

Our Dive operator was Diving under the Jungle..(get it? Pretty cool name). Which is run by this petit southern Cal girl named Nataly and her business partner Vincent.

Diving Cenotes and/or caverns is a pretty serious endeavor. It is as close as cave diving as you can get without being certified for caves.

There are several things that distinguish caverns from caves which included but not limited to: amount of space you have to maneuver and wiggle ( others maneuver, I wiggle), acess to sunlight and open air and many others that if interested you can always google.

All the dives are guided as they should be and you should take it very seriously. Being a California diver we are use to briefings like this...here is boat over there is the pinnacle, go when ready, come back when done and please don't die!
Cenotes diving is very different, extremely organized and structure. After all you are diving in a place that has taken eons to form so control and extreme care is essential.
You enter the water from open surface (obviously). You catch a guideline and you follow it. It either loops or at some point you turn around and go back the way you came. Sound simple aye? The margins are much lower than open water diving and things can go sideways real fast and
either due to mistakes by the guides or divers or combination of both. I was well surprised how things are well regulated. But still reputable dive operation is a must.

The owner Nataly is a force to be reckoned with. Went through an hour of orientation followed by practice dive along with her critical and some what soul crushing and humbling feedbacks adjust accordingly, rinse and repeat.

I know lot of divers both wreck, caves and even those who do this for living. Nat is truly a diving Jedi. After few days diving with her you probably easily level up couple of points. She did pick on the what kind of angle your fins are oriented at. She is a perfectionist which by natural selection a cave diver should be. And we were glad she was our guide.

Streamlining is extremely important, even how you kick and breath You want to maintain your total horizontal level with minimum disturbance to bottom, top and surrounding area.

Most cave divers chose sidemount setup ( the ones I know). Our trip organiser Mike mentioned that with Nat's small stature and her being surrounded by two big tanks, make her look like a tie bomber. Seeing her float around so effortlessly, banking left and right did conjure the images of tie bomber in my mind, which followed by chuckle, burst of air escaping, me losing my level and bump into something despite my best efforts. Damn you Mike!

Cenotes themselves are extremely difficult to describe. Yes I can describe the majesty of time broad stroking magnificent structures that escape mind and imaginations. Or how the gentle hand of time molds and shaped these grand cathedrals. Yet these are just words. If you never have done Cenotes then you definitely should. If you are like me then you certainly are awed by its glory and beauty but you also realize this not your thing. I just don't like close spaces. On the other hand you might catch this Cenotes bug like many but definitely something a true diver should do at least once in their life time.

Under the Jungle dive shop is extremely well run and cared for operation. Simply because those who run the operation care and love their sport and this very medium which they practice their religion in Trust me ..cave diving is a religion. they also care for those who come for pilgrimage and visit these hollowed hallways. They consider themselves custodians as we all should.

Despite my jaded views, we do and did enjoyed our Mexico visit; people are kind and embracing. Food is good, place fairly clean and tons of things to do both above and below the water. It was a great trip despite the fact that I did not get to see a giant squid fight a sperm whale. Oh well, there is always next time.
Websites Under the Jungle   Casa Paraiso

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Australia Coral Sea, West Cost Australia (exmouth), all over Caribbean, Florida, California
Closest Airport Cancun Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm
Water Temp 70-83°F / 21-28°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 50-80 Ft/ 15-24 M

Dive Policy

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

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles 1 or 2 Whales None
Corals 3 stars Tropical Fish 3 stars
Small Critters 3 stars Large Fish 3 stars
Large Pelagics 3 stars

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter 2 stars Boat Facilities 3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 3 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments Cenotes Diving is not a ideal environment for Photography due to Restriction, lack of light and how easy it is stir up slit.
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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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