Mystical Cenotes in Playa del Carmen

Mystical Cenotes in Playa del Carmen

Playa del Carmen is one of the most sought after diving destinations in Mexico and around the world, well known for its flourishing marine life and rich coral reefs. Located in the Yucatán Peninsula, it ticks all the boxes for a freediving holiday with a Mexican feel: from the local cenotes to the Mayan ruins, the beautiful beaches and a vibrant nightlife, Playa del Carmen offers lots of fun and plenty of adventurous freediving excursions.

Destination Highlights

  • Discover the Mayan underworld in the famous Cenotes
  • Dive with Bullsharks and Whalesharks
  • Visit the most admired boat wreck in Mexico, The Cozumel Wreck 
  • Drift away along the reefs in the warm Mexican Caribbean Sea
  • Depths of over 50m within 100m distance from the beach

    How to get there

    • Airport: Cancun, Mexico
    • Taxi/bus to Playa del Carmen (60min)


    Images by kind concession of Julien Borde.


    Freediving Centre

    • Pranamaya Freediving is a passionate project created by Julien Borde in 2013. The dive centre is located in downtown Playa del Carmen right in front of the Quintana Roo beach, opposite the island of Cozumel. It is well equipped and offers freediving courses, excursions and travel packages aimed at discovering some of the best freediving spots in the Mexican Caribbean Sea.
    • Owner: Julien Borde is an AIDA Master certified freediving instructor trainer and an AIDA judge. He also holds PADI and CMAS Scuba instructor and TDI Full Cave dive certificates. He is supported by one other freediving and scuba instructor.
    • Languages: English, Spanish, French.
    • Seasonality: All year round.
    • Equipment: Complete range of freediving equipment for rent.
    • Recreational activity: Diving in the Caribbean Sea, exploring cenotes or getting your thrill by diving with whale and bull sharks. An array of diverse freediving excursions are available. 
    • Educational activity: AIDA freediving courses are available from Level 1 to Instructor course, as well as an array of specialty workshops.
    • Support Boat: Fishing boat.

    Freediving workshops

    Bi-fins, no-fins, competition, depth, equalisation, confined water (static and dynamic), underwater photography and underwater scooter workshops are available upon request.


        Cenotes of the Yucatán Peninsula (Depth: 30-50m; Duration: Full day): A cenote is a natural sinkhole, that results from the collapse of limestone bedrock that exposes groundwater underneath. It is said that they were sometimes used by the ancient Maya for sacrificial offerings. Despite their eery history, cenotes are spectacular freediving locations which offer perfect conditions for diving, with no waves or currents and plenty of depth. They are also close to the authentic Mexican town of Valladolid and the Mayan ruins of Ek Balam, which are both well worth a visit.

        Reefs of the Mexican Caribbean Sea (Depth: 0m-30m; Duration: 4hrs): Let the currents guide you around on this drift freediving excursion where you can admire amazing marine life around this reef and dive with turtles, rays and all the tropical fish of the Caribbean. 

        The C53 Felipe Xicotencatl 'Cozumel' Wreck (Depth: 10m-20m; Duration: 4hrs): Originally built in 1944 for the US Navy, the ship measured 56m in length, 10m in width and was 12m tall. It was conceived as a mine sweeping ship but in 1962 it was sold to the Mexican Navy and converted to an Admiral Class gun boat, serving in rescue operations and patrolling for illegal trades. In 1999 it has been decommissioned and sunken in the waters in front of Chankanaab Park. The ship is fun to dive as it benefits from plenty of natural light and many easy access entrances to dive into.

        Bullshark Freediving (Depth: 20m-30m; Duration: 4hrs): Meet one of the most beautiful and powerful sharks while freediving. Learn about their behaviour and get the chance to observe them in their natural habitat.

        Whaleshark encounter (Depth: 20m-30m; Duration: 4hrs): This is your chance to meet the largest living nonmammalian vertebrate in the world. Whalesharks can measure over 12m and weigh about 21.5t, but nevertheless are a hamless, gentle and a slowmoving specie. The Mexican Caribbean Sea witnesses the most important migration of Whalesharks in the world with peaks of over a hundred sharks in some days, and other fish like manta rays come to feed on the plankton.


        Other activities: 

        • Yoga
        • Relaxation and meditation
        • Snorkelling
        • Underwater photography

        Pranamaya Freediving does not offer onsite accommodation, but there is a healthy choice of hostels, BnBs and around Playa Del Carmen. A recommended low budget but funky hostel is Yak Hostel, but if you fancy a treat you can check into the luxury KLR IT Hotel.