As a diver, sharks are up there on the top creatures to see on a dive! If you want to know more about scuba diving with bull sharks in Playa del Carmen, you’ve come to the right place!
Bull Shark Diving in Playa Del Carmen: All You Need to Know
One of the most highly anticipated times of the year for divers in the Riviera Maya is the arrival of the bull sharks.
Find out more about what makes these dives so special and how you can go on them yourself!
All About Bull Sharks
When you think about sharks, it’s often the large fins, and teeth that you imagine first. As divers, bull sharks are exciting to see as they look ‘very sharky’ with their stout appearance, and intimidating glare!
They have a darker coloration on top, with a lighter underbelly, which helps them to blend into their surroundings when seen by other fish from both above and below.
They can grow pretty large too, with males reaching around 7 feet, and females 11 or more feet in length!
Bull sharks like coastal waters and unlike other species, they have also been known to swim in fresh waters and up rivers too! Some have even been found in the Mississippi and Amazon Rivers.
But this also contributes to their reputation as some of the most dangerous sharks to humans because of their aggressive tendencies. But it is because they are more common than other shark species in shallower types of waters. Globally, shark attacks are extremely rare.
When Is the Bull Shark Diving Playa Del Carmen Season?
Usually, it is from around November that the bull sharks descend on the Riviera Maya coastline, and remain here usually until around February, but this can vary from year to year.
In recent years they have disappeared earlier without much warning, and in other years they were still here into March! As wild animals, their calendar isn’t as exact as ours!
Why Do The Bull Sharks Come To Mexico?
The bull sharks that arrive in Playa del Carmen during the winter months are pregnant females. They remain here during their gestation period. As divers and guides, we see them as they grow fatter and fatter over the course of the winter before they suddenly vanish (to where – we do not quite know!) and have their young.
They return for a week or so after they have given birth, before disappearing to travel the seas again, before returning the next year.
Where are the Bull Sharks in Playa del Carmen?
The bull sharks are usually found on a reef named ‘Shark Point’. This is a site at around 25 meters deep, just off the coast of Playa del Carmen. Although bull sharks may be spotted throughout many of the local dive sites during the season, this is where they are mostly found.
This site is adjacent to the famous Mamitas beach, but at a much deeper part of the ocean than the vacation swimmers would ever reach!
What Happens on a Bull Shark Dive?
A dive with the bull sharks in Playa del Carmen is classed as an observation dive. This means that rather than swimming around and seeing the animals along the reef, you descend to the sea floor and settle in one place to observe the sharks as they swim around you.
You need to stay relaxed and still so they will come close to you. They don’t really like the fast bubbles from your regulator if you breathe too heavily.
You will also see lots of triggerfish and remoras at this site, who like to be close to the sharks!
Is Bull Shark Diving Safe?
To keep divers, and the bull sharks, safe, there are safety measures in place for these special dives, which are highly regulated by the Mexican Marine Park authority.
There is a smaller diver : guide ratio, with only a few groups of divers allowed to enter the dive site per allocated time slot.
There are also some regulations on the colored equipment you can use when bull shark diving in Playa del Carmen. White and yellow equipment is not allowed. This includes masks, fins, and any large patches of color on wetsuits.
Other bright colors such as pinks, oranges, and lime green may not be allowed to be used on the bull shark dives either. Your dive guide will be able to tell you more about this during your booking, and darker-colored equipment can be hired if you need it.
When you dive, you are requested to anchor yourself onto the ocean floor (there is a rope to hold in some viewing locations) and observe the sharks with your arms kept close to your body.
As long as you follow your guide’s instructions, Mexico bull shark diving is very safe.
Is There Bull Shark Diving in Tulum?
There is also no bull shark diving in Cancun, Tulum, and nowhere for bull shark diving in Cozumel either, despite how seemingly close the ocean waters are between there and Playa del Carmen.
Can I Go Bull Shark Diving Without a Diving Certification In Mexico?
This is due to two reasons. Firstly, the need for safety, and knowledge of dive skills. As a discover diver, you do not possess the know-how or appropriate buoyancy (plus many other skills) needed in order to see sharks up close.
It is also because the dive site is situated at 25 meters, which is actually even beyond the remit of even the open water diver certification. It would require the Advanced Open Water or a Deep diver certification in order to dive.
If you want to dive as an open water diver, this can be arranged as an adventure dive, but you will need to specify this with your instructor when booking so that your safety can be ensured.
Book Your Bull Shark Diving Mexico!
While you’re on vacation here, why not also check out the wonderous cenotes (only found in this part of the world!) or combine your dives as a package, and head to Cozumel or the reefs of Playa del Carmen for more ocean dives!