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Dive Mexico

Dive MexicoDive MexicoDive Mexico

Dive Map of MexicoMexico is a fascinating and extremely diverse country to visit. This great republic is today an assortment of Mesoamerican cultures and modern indigenous tribes, Spanish traditions and a large, vibrant, modern economy.

Mexico's history dates back as far as around 10,000 BC having been populated with the ancient civilisations of the Olmecs, Maya, Toltecs and Aztecs. The first Spaniards arrived in Mexico in 1517 and the Spanish Conquest of the Aztec Empire began in February 1519 under the hands of Hernan Cortez. The Aztec capital of Tenochtitlán was captured in 1521 by Cortez where he subsequently rebuilt Mexico City on top of the ruins of the Aztec capital. This marked the beginning of a 300 year long colonial period during which Mexico was known as "New Spain". The fusion between indigenous and Spanish cultures during this colonial period gave birth to many of today's Mexican cultural traits such as tequila (first distilled in the 16th century), mariachi (18th), jarabe (17th), charros (traditional Mexican horsemen / cowboys) (17th) and Mexican cuisine - a mixture of European and indigenous ingredients and techniques.

Mexico's diversity extends from its pleasant and warm coastal weather to snow in the Sierra mountains, rainy jungles in the southeast and its iconic cactus strewn deserts in the northwest; its unique food, art and archeology; ancient pyramids, museums and haciendas; the superb architecture of its colonial towns and 21st century cities; numerous golf courses, excellent fishing, and world-class destinations like Acapulco, Cancun, Cozumel, Los Cabos, and Mazatlan along its miles of attractive shoreline.

Mexico has the largest Spanish speaking population in the world and in addition, recognises over 60 indigenous national languages.

A common phrase in Mexico is "ahorita", translating loosely as "a little bit of right now". This could mean almost immediately, or maybe never, depending on the context. Life moves at a different pace in Mexico and the concept of time sometimes seems like it does not exist!

    Geographical Information

  • Mexico straddles the southern part of North America. It shares a 3,141km border with the United States of America to the north and Belize and Guatemala to the south, and is bounded by the Gulf of Mexico to the east, the Caribbean Sea to the southeast and by the Pacific Ocean to the west. The Sea of Cortez (or the Gulf of California) is positioned between Baja California and the mainland, forming the world's longest peninsula. Overall, Mexico has 9,330km of coastline. Low coastal plains rise to a central plateau of rolling hills, valleys and farmland. A desert environment surrounded by mountains is dominant in Northern Mexico whilst mountainous jungle hiding Maya and Aztec ruins is prominent in the south.

    The Cordillera Neovolcánica extends from the Pacific Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico and includes the active volcanoes Popocatépetl and Volcán de Fuego de Colima, as well as Mexico's other highest peaks: Pico de Orizaba, Iztaccíhuatl, and Paricutín.

    The Isthmus of Tehuantepec which runs through southern Veracruz and Chiapas, marks the smallest distance (200km) between the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific. The northern side of the isthmus is wide and marshy whilst lush tropical rainforests and dense jungles occupy the Gulf Coastal Plain, Chiapan Highlands, and the southern Yucatán Peninsula. These regions are hot and humid, keeping the region green and teeming with wildlife. Jungle turns to tropical savanna at the end of the peninsula.

    Regions of Mexico

    Baja California (Baja California, Baja California Sur)
    The western peninsula, which borders the U.S. state of California surrounded by stunning blue water and has an array of marine mammals, including California sea lions, elephant seals, finback whales, humpbacks, blue whales, the California gray whale, and bottle-nosed dolphins.

    Northern Mexico (Chihuahua, Coahuila, Durango, Nuevo León, Sinaloa, Sonora, Tamaulipas)
    Includes the expansive deserts and Sierra Madre Occidental and Oriental mountains of the border states. Southwestern Chihuahua is home to the Copper Canyon, one of the world's most majestic canyon systems, larger and sometimes deeper than the Grand Canyon in the U.S.

    The Bajio (Aguascalientes, Guanajuato, Zacatecas, San Luis Potosi, Querétaro)
    Historic states in a traditional silver-mining region.

    Central Mexico (Hidalgo, Mexico City, Mexico State, Morelos, Puebla, Tlaxcala, Veracruz)
    Centre, surrounding the capital city. Home to the famous agave americana, also known as maguey in Mexico, used to make pulque (similar to tequila) and other useful products.

    Pacific Coast (Chiapas, Colima, Guerrero, Jalisco, Michoacan, Nayarit, Oaxaca)
    Tropical beaches on Mexico's southern coast. Weber blue agave is the official plant used to make tequila and is mostly grown in the state of Jalisco

    Yucatan Peninsula (Campeche, Quintana Roo, Tabasco, Yucatán)
    Jungle and impressive Mayan archaeological sites, along with the Caribbean coast.

  • Mexico Activities

    Mexico is a traveller's and adventure lover's paradise with a wide range of activites to choose from. Some of these include:

    1. Surfing in Baja California, Vallarta and Oaxaca.
    2. Sea Kayaking in Baja California.
    3. Snorkeling in Baja California, Cancun, Cozumel, Isla Mujeres, etc.
    4. Scuba diving in Baja California: Cabo San Lucas, Guadalupe and Socorro Islands; the Yucatan Peninsula: Cozumel, Playa del Carmen, Tulum, Cancun, Puerto Morelos, Akumal and Isla Mujeres including cave diving in the cenotes; Acapulco.
    5. Whale Watching in Baja California and Guerrero Negro.
    6. White Water Rafting in Veracruz.
    7. Visit a Volcano in Mexico, Toluca etc.
    8. Take a ride on the Copper Canyon Railway, a spectacular train journey with many bridges and tunnels, passing deep valleys, mountains, forests, sheer drops and waterfalls.
    9. Enjoy the beautiful coastline and beaches of Oaxaca - Mazunte, Puerto Escondido and Yucatan.
    10. Go for a horseback ride in the Barrancas de Chihuahua.
    11. Visit the archaeological sites: Chichen Itza - a majestic Mayan city, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988 and voted as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World; Tulum - a Mayan coastal city with spectacular Caribbean vistas dating from the late Mayan period; Coba - another Mayan city located around two lagoons; Monte Alban - in the state of Oaxaca, a Zapotec site dating from about 500 B.C and also a UNESCO World Heritage Site; Palenque - a Mayan city in the state of Chiapas, famous for its elaborate paintings and also well known for having the largest tract of rainforest in Mexico located in the same area; Teotihuacan - in the state of Mexico, near Mexico City, an enormous site with several large pyramids.
    12. Visit ecological parks in the Mayan Riviera.
    13. Trekking and see the cave paintings in Baja California - Guerrero Negro.
    14. Explore the cities: Mexico City - capital of the Republic, one of the three largest cities in the world and where you will find everything from parks, Aztec ruins, colonial architecture, museums, to nightlife and shopping; Acapulco - famous for the Quebrada Cliff Divers plunging from 37 metre high cliffs into the shallow ocean below, a sophisticated urban beach setting known for its top-notch nightlife, elegant dining; Cancun - with its Hotel Zone, restaurants, bars, lively party atmosphere, clear Caribbean waters and soft white sand beaches; Guadalajara - a traditional city, capital of Jalisco state, and the home of mariachi music and tequila blessed with perpetual spring weather and a graceful and sophisticated colonial downtown; Taxco - in central Mexico west of Cuernavaca, this nice steep mountain town was once a major silver producer, and now has a strong place in the trade of decorative silver; Mazatlan - a lively Pacific coast beach resort destination with miles of sandy shore, shipping port and transportation hub with ferries to Baja California; Cabo San Lucas - in Baja California with it's first class beach resorts, world class fishing and elegant dining.

  • When to Travel to Mexico

    Mexico can be visited at any time of the year. The weather at sea level is warm to hot all year, with the most hot, humid and highest rainfall months being June to September. Hurricane season extends from June to November. The interior of the country in the highlands has a more temperate climate and can get quite cold in the winter months of November to February. Traveling in Mexico will also be busy during any of the many fiestas, during Christmas, Easter, the summer months and through the American Spring Break week in March.  

  • Scuba Diving in Mexico

    Scuba Diving Mexico

    The freshwater-filled limestone sinkholes known as Cenotes situated in the state of Yucatan, Mexico lead to some of the most beautiful and intricate underwater caves and caverns in the World. The natural beauty of these cenotes and caves, with its crystal clear turquoise waters, sunlight reflecting stalactites and stalagmites are truly enigmatic works of art drawing divers the world over to explore its waters. With over 3000 Cenotes, 1400 of which have been studied and recorded it's impossible to pick just one as the best. The Riviera Maya has the World's three longest running underwater Cave Sytems - Ox Bel Ha (146.7Km.), Nohoch Nah Chich (61Km.) and Dos Ojos (57.7 Km.). Cenote Dos Ojos, Cenote Tajmahal and Gran Cenote are some of the notable cenotes.

    Best Cenote dives Best dive sites in the area: Moc Che Deep, Tortugas, Mama Vina, Cenote Chac Mool, Cenote Dos Ojos, Sabalos, Cenote El Pit

    It is possible to dive all year round. Underwater visibility average around 30M/ 100F. Water temperatures: 26-29C/78-85F.

    The Great Mesoamerican Reef(the Gran Arrecife Maya) is the second largest barrier reef in the world stretching from the northern tip of the Yucatan in Mexico all the way to the Bay of Islands in Honduras. Dive sites on this reef can be accessed from Mexico along the Mayan Riviera, the coastal stretch between Cancun and Tulum. Here you will find sites to suit divers of all experience levels. Steep walls and drifts dives will be followed by a second dive on shallow, scenic reefs. Eagle rays, turtles, nurse sharks and even whale sharks (Jun-Sep) can all be found amongst schools of smaller reef inhabitants. Then there are the cenotes (flooded limestone cave systems) which have made the Caribbean coast of Mexico world famous.

    The waters around Baja California also boast some world class diving destinations. To the east lies one of the world's youngest seas, the Sea of Cortez, home to sea lions, manta rays, barracuda, whales and sharks. Guadalupe Island, 150 miles (240km) off the west coast of Baja California is world renowned for cage diving with the Great White Sharks and 240 miles (386km) south of Cabo San Lucas is Socorro island, part of the Revillagigedo Archipelago (also known as the Mexican Galapagos), a group of four volcanic islands in the Pacific Ocean. This is where you will find a high concentration of the "big stuff" such as Giant Pacific Manta rays, bottlenose dolphins, whale sharks, humpback whales, at least seven species of sharks and many pelagics.

Guide to Mexico

  • General Details
  • Entry & Visa Requirements
  • Medical & Health Requirements
  • Currency
  • Baggage
  • Duty Free
  • Weather
  • Clothing
  • Electricity
  • Banking
  • Language
  • Religion
  • Water
  • Shopping
  • Tipping
  • Diving
  • Departure Tax

General Details

Mexico shares a border with the USA to the north and Belize and Guatemala to the south and is surrounded by the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean Sea and  the Pacific Ocean. The international country code for Mexico is +52. Mexico is 6 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (GMT)

Entry and Visa Requirements

(subject to change) Citizens of Australia, New Zealand, USS, Canada & EU countries are amongst those who do not need a visa to enter Mexico. A Tourist Card for a max. stay of 180 days is to be obtained on entry. The cost is approx. US$22 (included in your airfare if entering by air). Please check with your closest Mexican Consulate for the most up-to-date entry requirements. If travelling via the USA, an ESTA visa waiver is required.

Medical and Health Requirements

Good health care is available in Mexico City. Adequate care is available in other major cities but may be limited in rural areas. Recompression chamber locations in Mexico include the main diving areas of Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Cozumel and Acapulco. Mexico has some malaria and dengue fever. Ensure you have had vaccinations for Hep A, Hep B and rabies. Protection from mosquito and sand fly bites is essential to avoid insect borne diseases and infections. Please check with your physician for the best precautions to be taken. (For further details contact Travel Vax on 1300 360 164).

Currency

The currency of Mexico is the Peso (100 centavos = 1 Peso). Major credit cards are widely accepted. A surcharge may apply for credit card payments or a discount given for cash. US dollars is the most easily exchangeable foreign currency. 
1 AUD = approximately 13.50 Mexican Pesos (June 2017)

Baggage (International flights Ex Australia)

United Airlines: 1 bag 23kg. 2nd bag for a fee of US $100.
Virgin Australia: 2 bags of 23kg each per person.
Note: Domestic flights in the Americas if booked separately often have no free baggage allowance.
(Subject to change without notice)

Duty Free

Alcohol: 3 litres of wine or liquor. Tobacco: 400 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 250 grams of pipe tobacco. Photographic equipment: 1 camera/video for tourists.

Weather

The weather at sea level is warm to hot all year, with the most hot, humid and highest rainfall months being June to September. Hurricane season extends from June to November. The interior of the country in the highlands has a more temperate climate and can get quite cold in the winter months of November to February.

Clothing

Cover yourself decently when visiting cities and indigenous villages. Swimming trunks, bikinis and other beachwear are acceptable at resorts. Bring long pants and long sleeved shirts for protection against mosquito and sand fly bites. Warmer clothes are required if visiting the highlands. Sun protection is absolutely essential.

Electricity

Mexico uses 127-volt AC at 60 hertz cycles. Plugs are type A and B same as USA and Canada. Some electrical outlets are still the 2 prong type so bring a converter. (For further details refer to  http://www.iec.ch/worldplugs/ ).

Banking

Travelers cheques (American Express & Visa) are accepted by most banks and some casas de cambio (exchange houses). ATM’s can be used to obtain cash from your credit card and some bank cards. 
Banking hours are Monday - Friday 8:30am to 4:00pm with some larger branches open limited hours on Saturday.

Language

The official language of Mexico is Spanish with about 6% of the population speaking both Spanish and an indigenous Amerindian dialect.

Religion

Mexico has no official religion. Approximately 80% of the population practices Catholicism.

Water

Use bottled water for drinking, brushing your teeth and washing fruit and vegetables to avoid upset stomachs. Avoid drinks with ice. In the tropics it is important to drink plenty of non-alcoholic fluids to avoid dehydration.

Shopping

Shops in cities and big towns are open from 10 or 11am to between 8-10 pm 7 days a week. In smaller towns hours may be more limited. Some shops may close for siesta between 2-4 pm in the hotter, non tourist regions and may not open on Sundays.

Tipping

10-20% of the bill before tax in restaurants/bars; 15-20% in spas. Waiters US$1 per drink; hotel housekeepers US$2-5 per night; porters US $1-2 per bag (in Pesos). Guides should be tipped. Only tip taxi drivers for extra services such as un/loading bags, waiting etc. Tip grocery baggers a couple of pesos.

Diving

Ensure that all equipment is serviced and in working order prior to departure. You will need to bring a DIN converter for DIN regulators. Check the season for wetsuit requirements. Dive operators supply tanks, weight belts and dive guide services. There will be an extra charge if equipment hire is required.

Departure Tax

Departure taxes are usually included with your airfare.

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