SCUBA DIVE SITES
Isla Mujeres has some of the best dive sites for scuba diving. From Open Water to Advance dive sites. MUSA, drift diving, night dives, and more...
MUSA - AN UNDERWATER MUSEUM
Located at about 9 meters, MUSA (The Museum of Subaquatic Art) was created in November of 2010. MUSA is a great location for all levels of divers, from beginners to the more advanced. This is a dive site that is unique to Isla Mujeres.
The statue installation was created by the artist Jason DeCaires Taylor. Taylor is a talented artist who creates artificial reefs around the world to protect the natural ones from destruction. He creates the statues from a non-toxic, pH neutral marine-grade cement. Taylor's innovation in marine sculptures has created a dive site for Isla Mujeres which includes over 400 statues that have been spread out to protect the Manchones Reef System.
Want to add something new to your dive experience? Some of the statues are also interactive! For example, you can blow air bubbles in the chimney of one of the houses, or check inside the two VW Bugs to see what the smaller fish are up to, then swim through the “Frame” and take a photograph. Come to see the statues and then be amazed by the diversity of marine life that has moved in.
With an average depth of 9 to 12 meters, Manchones Reef is part of the second largest reef system in the world, next to the Great Barrier Reef, in Australia. Isla Mujeres is the start of this large Mesoamerican Reef System that goes down through Honduras, Guatemala, and Belize. It is located off the southern tip of Isla Mujeres and includes five different dive sites.
This is the perfect place for shallow dives with little current. This allows you to really get close to the coral formations and see what lives in and around the reef. Here you can see turtles, nurse sharks, parrotfish, angelfish, southern rays, moray eels, and so much more. Come see the color and life that this major reef system has to offer.
C55 - WRECK DIVE
Located at 22 meters, the ARM Teniente Juan de la Barrera, or C-55, was intentionally sunk in 1999 to create a dive site and artificial reef.
This is one of two wrecks that you can see the eagle ray migration from mid-November through February, annually. In 2005 Hurricane Wilma completely broke apart this ship and you can now only penetrate a small part of the stern. It is home to large grouper, green and spotted moray eels, jacks, and even the occasional crab and spiny lobster.
There is still an abundance of marine life living in all the different broken parts and you never know what you may find there. There is a decent line attached to the stern. This is an Advanced Dive with a strong current.
C58 - WRECK DIVE
Located at 26 meters, the USS Harlequin (AM-365), is known as C-58 here in Isla Mujeres. It was a minesweeper in WWII and then purchased by Mexico in 1962.
Like C-55, it was intentionally sunk to create a dive site and artificial reef. C-58 is the second of two dive sites where you can see the yearly eagle ray migration from mid-November through February. It is here in the winter months where you can see 50 to 100 eagle rays “flying” through the ocean above you.
The C-58 broke in half during Hurricane Wilma into two sections. This now allows penetration into both sections and is an excellent site for a wreck specialty course. You will see much of the same marine life as you do at C-55, and C-58 has an accent and decent line. It is for Advanced Divers and has a strong current.
TURTLE MATING DRIFT DIVE
Punta Sur located at a depth of 16 meters. It is one of the strongest drift dives in Isla Mujeres.
This dive site is best during the months of May through July. It is then that loggerhead, green, hawksbill, and olive ridley turtles come to breed. If you are lucky enough you will also see an old pirates ship's anchor while rounding the island's southern tip.
This is a 3 mile drift dive that takes you from the southern tip of the island to the Caribbean side. Due to the strong current, this is recommended for Advanced Divers.
With an average depth of 9 to 12 meters, the amazing crystal waters of Isla Mujeres are the best for night diving. Go to the Manchones Reef at sunset and enter the water to see what comes out when the sun goes down. Here is where you can see octopus, spiny lobster, and turtles coming out to eat and explore the ocean floor after sunset.
See the colors of the different coral and sponges come alive at night when the rest of the world is dark around you. Then you can put your dive light into your BCD and in total darkness wave your hand in the waters to see them come alight with bioluminescence. This is a dive for any level of certified diver and one not to be missed.
LA BAHIA - CROSS OF THE BAY
Sac Bajo and El Farito are the perfect spots for snorkeling. Here the water is only about 3 to 5 meters deep and this allows you to get closer to the marine life than you would as a snorkeler out in the Manchones Reef. Sac Bajo used to be lined with elkhorn coral that was sadly destroyed in Hurricane Wilma.
There is still a lot to see though, as they have put “pots” made out of the same marine cement as the statues at MUSA. This is promoting other coral growth and also gives an excellent hiding spot for fish.
You can casually float with the current looking from pot to pot to see what you can find. Next, you will arrive at El Farito or 'The Lighthouse', and here you will see the natural coral surrounding the lighthouse. There are all different types of fish here and the popular yellow and black striped sergeant major is sure to come in for a close-up.
DREAMCATCHER - CROSS OF THE BAY
Cross Of the Bay is one of the sites located in the Manchones Reef System at about 12 meters. It is named after the large 3 meters tall Bronze Cross located there, which is a tribute to all the men and women lost at sea.
This dive also incorporates two statues that Jason DeCaires Taylor made called Man on Fire and the Dreamcatcher.
Man on Fire is interactive and you can blow bubbles with your regulator through him. There is also a multitude of natural coral formations throughout.
SLEEPING SHARK CAVE
Sleeping Shark Cave was discovered by local legend Ramon Bravo who showed this site to Jaques Cousteau. They made this a famous site for viewing nurse sharks in swim-throughs “Sleeping”. That is because this area has enough current that the nurse sharks could rest on top of each other in these swim-throughs and still breathe while resting.
It was the first time this phenomenon was seen.
Over the years the site became too popular and you can no longer see the nurse sharks there. However, it is a great site to go spearfishing for the invasive lionfish, and at 16 meters it is also good for a few swim-throughs.
PUNTA NEGRA / GRAMPIN
Located at a depth of 15-17 meters, Punta Negra and Grampin are two drift dive sites off the southern point of Isla Mujeres out toward the wrecks C-55 and C-58. These sites have current and enable you to drift while you see larger fish like the grouper.
Punta Negra is named after the black tip reef shark and you could have the opportunity to see a juvenile one on your dive here. Both sites are part of the Mesoamerican Reef System so there is coral and marine life aplenty to see at both.
These sites can be seen over two days when you combine them with the wreck dives that we have. They have something to see year-round and they are great for all levels of experienced divers.
PADI® DIVE AGAINST DEBRIS
Is not only a great way to help clean up the ocean floor but it can count towards your PADI Advanced Course or Dive Against Debris Speciality.
When you do PADI Dive Against Debris you scuba dive to clean up the ocean floor. You will have a specific area to clean and then what you find is separated on land and weighed. This information is uploaded to PADI and tracked on a world map.
This dive is great for all levels of divers from ages 10 and up. Whether it is your first time diving in Isla Mujeres, or you want to clean up your favorite dive spot, this is a dive for everyone.