The Mahahual dive trip offers a unique experience to dive Mexico’s largest coral atoll. Divers will get to stay at the Nacional Beach Club, located in the heart of Mahahual. These bungalows are beachfront, located right on the sea, the perfect place for divers to rest at the end of a long day of exploring.
Although there are dives in Mahahual, the biggest attraction is the protected Banco Chinchorro, the largest coral atoll in Mexico, less than two hours from the small fishing village.
Diving at Banco Chinchorro
About 20 miles off the coast of Mahahual lies the mysterious and wonderful coral atoll, Banco Chinchorro. This federal reserve, is a graveyard for more than 60 sunken ships, including Spanish and English galleons dating back to the 16th and 17th centuries.
Since the Banco Chinchorro has been a protected area since 1996, it conserves its natural beauty. The atoll also offers wonderful opportunities to see marine life like rays, turtles, eels, nurse sharks, and angelfish. Measuring around 8,500 sq ft, divers have many options in choosing which dive is best for them. The dive sites are custom selected each trip based on multiple factors, including the sea conditions, weather, and the duration of the trip.
The Dives in Banco Chinchorro
Aquario 1 & 2
Some of the prettiest sites in all of Banco Chinchorro can be seen along these dives. More soft coral is found here than anywhere else on the Caribbean coastline, and there is also an abundance of sea fans, elkhorn, fire coral, and brain coral. Some marine life on this dive includes schools of blue tangs, snappers, giant lobsters, huge green moray eels, and barracudas. Nurse sharks and eagle rays often hover over the sandy bottom. The maximum depth of these sites is around 60 feet, with an average of about 45.
This dive is perfect for all the shark lovers out there. Usually, two or three nurse sharks approach divers on their descent and stay with the group for the dive duration. The maximum depth is about 65 feet, but it’s not necessary to go this deep to see the enormous yellow sponges and schools of jacks and sardines. Divers will also likely see groupers, blue parrotfish, and turtles.
Divers who like to use their compasses will appreciate the challenge of staying on course through this dive. In the middle of the dive, a vast rock appears, starting at 50 feet and dropping down to the sand at 115 feet, which is where the navigation practice comes in. To get to the next reef, divers must navigate around the rock from wall to pinnacle to the wall again. Some marine life that can be spotted on this dive are reef and nurse sharks, rays, groupers, snappers, and often turtles. The maximum depth for this dive is about 85 feet.
Nurse sharks are the highlight of this dive site. They’re highly active and follow divers around until the end of the dive while making gentle turns around divers along the way. Among the nurse sharks, divers can expect to encounter reef fish in all different colors, shapes, and sizes, as well as black groupers, hawksbill and green turtles, moray eels, and giant lobster. The maximum depth for this dive is around 65 feet.
Gonzales 1 & 2
This dive is very diverse, with depths ranging between 25 and 115 feet. The reef topography varies greatly, even in the shallower parts of this site, with some of the most beautiful coral formations Chinchorro has to offer. Divers will swim over sandy areas, through canyons, past pinnacles, and along cracks in the reef. In the sheltered areas, a multitude of marine life hides out, and huge sponges and gorgonian fans flourish. Expect to see eagle rays, turtles, and nurse sharks on this dive.