Diving Chinchorro Bank – Image courtesy of Fantasea Dive
Introducing Chinchorro Bank
Discover the largest coral-ringed lagoon in the world at Chinchorro Bank (Banco Chinchorro), a 40km-long and 16km-wide reef lying 35km offshore from Xcalak (about a two-hour boat ride).
Mexico's largest coral atoll covers an area of more than 600km²; the atoll has three small islands, with a land area of around 7km². Jagged reefs create a ring of coral with depths ranging from 2m to 25m.
Beyond the reef, the water plunges dramatically to 1000m in the deep channel separating Chinchorro from the mainland.
Chinchorro Bank is regarded as one of the world's premiere shipwreck diving spots. Discover a sea floor littered with the wrecks of vessels that have foundered on the reefs over the centuries.
Explore Spanish galleons as well as rusting hulks of modern cargo ships. Many wrecks lie in shallow water and can be seen by snorkelling.
The west side of the reef is a wonderland of walls and coral gardens where you can dive past spectacular coral formations, massive sponges and see abundant marine life.
The best time of the year to dive Chinchorro is during the summer months (July - August) when the seas are calmest and there is almost daily access.
– XTC Dive Center (www.xtcdivecenter.com) in Xcalak and Fantasea Dive (divingchinchorro.com) in Playa Del Carmen offer dive trips to Chinchorro Bank.