Main Menu
Join Undercurrent on Facebook

The Private, Exclusive Guide for Serious Divers Since 1975 | |
For Divers since 1975
The Private, Exclusive Guide for Serious Divers Since 1975
"Best of the Web: scuba tips no other
source dares to publish" -- Forbes

Dive Review of XTC Dive Center in
Cozumel and the Mexican Yucatan/Xcalak and the Chinchorro Bank

XTC Dive Center, Mar, 2011,

by Jason Marks, CA, US (Sr. Reviewer Sr. Reviewer 7 reports with 4 Helpful votes). Report 5999.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food N/A
Service and Attitude 3 stars Environmental Sensitivity 4 stars
Dive Operation 3 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 3 stars
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 3 stars
Comments In late March, we dove two days (4 dives) on the local reefs of Xcalak and one day (2 dives) on the Chinchorro Banks. All the diving was with XTC Dive Center, located on the lagoon just outside the puebla of Xcalak.
We liked the local diving quite a bit. Hob Na, at the north end of the Xcalak fringing reef, is a beautiful set of deep canyons and ridges, lushly covered with gorgonians and hardcorals. While there were only a few snapper of any size, and I did not happen to see any grouper, smaller fish angels, parrots, wrasses, cowfish, butterflyfish abounded. La Poza, a relatively deep wall with side canyons harboring schools of tarpon (including a couple of monsters), jack and snapper, was spectacular, and the entry, from inside the lagoon and over the wall with breakers rolling overhead, was very neat. Poza Rica and Dona Nica were tamer sites but still fun, a highlight at Poza Rica being the crustaceans, including a huge king crab hanging out under a ledge.
Our trip to Chinchorro Banks, on the other hand, was disappointing. The trip out, through swells of around five feet and against a strong wind, was extremely rough and took more than 2.5 hours. (Coming back was a little quicker and easier at almost 2 hours.) Everyone got soaked as soon as we hit the reef cut, and despite some sun it was impossible to get warm in the wind and spray. It would all have been worthwhile if the dive sites had been anything special, but the two we visited Punta Isabel and Punta Irelanda were not. Relatively shallow reefs (40-60 feet), they had apparently been scoured clean of most coral cover by a storm, probably Hurricane Dean, which hit the area directly a few years ago. Only widely scattered sponges and gorgonians survive with very sparse hardcorals on the mostly sand-covered reefs (especially at Isabel). That said, there were more moderate-size fish (schools of snapper, several grouper, a couple of triggerfish) than at the local Xcalak sites, probably reflecting fishing restrictions on this part of the Biosphere Reserve, as well as numerous conchs and garden eels in the sand flats. I am sure there are good sites available to recreational diving at Chinchorro, but we did not get to them.
XTC Dive Center generally lived up to its reputation as a well run operation with good staff, the exception for us being the divemaster on the Chinchorro trip, who was disengaged almost to the point of uselessness. Perhaps this only reflected burnout at the end of the high season, though our divemaster for the local diving was energetic and helpful. We liked staying in their apartments next door (aka the Flying Cloud Hotel), which were comfortable, affordable and so convenient.
My advice to those considering diving from Xcalak, whether with XTC or another operator, is to concentrate on the local diving unless the weather is very calm, in which case a trip to Chinchorro might make sense. You might also want to inquire about the sites they plan to dive at Chinchorro before signing on for the trip out there.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Cozumel, Caymans, Indonesia, Thailand, Micronesia.
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy Seas choppy, surge
Water Temp 78-80°F / 26-27°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 50-80 Ft/ 15-24 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Ascend with buddy when either reaches 750 psi.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

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 2 stars Large Fish 4 stars
Large Pelagics 1 stars

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

Subject Matter 3 stars Boat Facilities 2 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 3 stars Shore Facilities 3 stars
UW Photo Comments Rinse tank set aside at shop for cameras. On local diving, no rinse bucket on boats, but rides are short.
Was this report helpful to you?
Leave a comment (Subscribers only -- 200 words max)
Subscribers can comment here

Subscribe Now
Subscribers can post comments, ask the reviewer questions, as well as getting immediate and complete access to ALL 1053 dive reviews of Cozumel and the Mexican Yucatan and all other dive destinations. Complete access to all issues and Chapbooks is also included.


Want to assemble your own collection of Cozumel and the Mexican Yucatan reports in one place?
Use the Mini Chapbook Facility to create your personalized collection.

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.

Undercurrent Home

Get more dive info like these and other important scuba updates sent monthly to your email.
And a FREE Recent Issue of Undercurrent

Free Undercurrent Issue
Get a free
monthly email and
a sample issue!

Find in  

| Home | Online Members Area | My Account | Login | Join |
| Travel Index | Dive Resort & Liveaboard Reviews | Featured Reports | Recent Issues | Back Issues |
| Dive Gear Index | Health/Safety Index | Environment & Misc. Index | Seasonal Planner | Blogs | Free Articles | Book Picks | News |
| Special Offers | RSS | FAQ | About Us | Contact Us | Links |

Copyright © 1996-2023 Undercurrent (
3020 Bridgeway, Ste 102, Sausalito, Ca 94965
All rights reserved.

Page computed and displayed in 0.18 seconds