Welcome to XTC Dive Center! We are located in the small fishing village of Xcalak, Mexico (population 400). Xcalak is the southernmost town on the Mexican Caribbean coast, near the Mexico-Belize border.XTC Dive Center sits on a peninsula facing the Caribbean Sea, within the Xcalak Reef National Park and 36 nautical miles from Banco Chinchorro Biosphere Reserve . XTC stands for “Xcalak to Chinchorro,” and we are the only dive operator serving both locales.
XTC Dive Center is a PADI 5-Star Dive Resort and Instructor Development Center offering the full range of PADI recreational, professional and technical diving courses—everything from Bubblemaker to Technical Diving Instructor. We have a world-class dive training facility in a remote, idyllic setting, where we accommodate customers of all experience levels as well as professional-level students.
Xcalak is the quintessential fishing village, unspoiled by development and remote in the best sense of the word. All of us who work here at XTC were drawn to its peaceful, paradise-on-earth feel. We work very hard to protect and preserve its unique ecosystems, both under the water and above it. You will find that spirit in everything we do, from our fully self-contained facilities to our one-of-a-kind trips and instructional philosophies.
XTC Dive Center is located in Xcalak, Mexico, the southernmost town the Mexican Caribbean coast. This small, traditional fishing village has become a model for sustainable ecotourism in our region. Its conservation status is the result of a well thought-out and implemented plan to preserve the natural environment and unique heritage.
Xcalak sits at the tip of a peninsula bordered by the Caribbean Sea to the east and Chetumal Bay to the west, forming part of an extremely biodiverse ecosystem of coral reefs (over 20 km of protected reef), mangroves, rivers, lagoons and bays—a nature lover’s paradise.
Xcalak is located within the Xcalak Reef National Park, which is protected by strict federal environmental regulations both in the water and on land. It has been a focal point for natural resource management studies and a priority area for the federal government, World Wildlife Fund, and many researchers and naturalists. It is not unusual for marine biologists, high-level conservation officials or professional underwater photographers to join us on the dive boat.
Xcalak is also at the center of the Great Maya Reef, the second-largest barrier reef in the world. Scuba diving in Xcalak offers incredible diversity: deep and shallow walls, unusual geographical formations, vast canyons between spur and groove reef systems, swim-throughs, caverns and an exotic array of Caribbean marine creatures.
More than a decade ago, the local village requested that the federal government declare Xcalak a National Park to protect it from the kind of development that was happening just a few miles north in Mahahual, where there is now a cruise ship port. As a result, Xcalak is one of the few marine reserves that was protected well before any development occurred, making it an ideal place for focused, professional dive training courses and for hands-on learning about marine conservation.
When you come to Xcalak, you will find your cell phone doesn’t work here, internet access is limited and most lodging options are small beach inns that run on renewable energy. This allows our guests to unplug and enjoy a truly memorable experience in a very special place.
You will also find an eclectic community of lifelong residents, expatriates and sustainable-tourism entrepreneurs working together to provide you with a collection of small beach inns, guesthouses and sustainable tourism operations that make Xcalak a hidden gem for people looking for that last, unspoiled frontier.
Xcalak Reef National Park, which includes the waters in front of its 30 km stretch of coast, starts at the Bacalar Chico River to the south—also the border between Mexico and Belize. The marine park was decreed on November 27, 2000, thanks to an initiative put forth by local Xcalak residents in 1996.
This park protects species of fantastic biodiversity both under and above the water. Diving in the marine sanctuary, you’ll find one of the healthiest reefs in the Caribbean and a wide variety—and healthy populations—of coral and fish species. In addition to the park’s 31 species of land mammals, many of which are rare and/or endangered, there is a large population of manatees, some of which show up at our local dive sites on lucky days.
The park’s wetlands are a designated Ramsar Site, making Xcalak Reef National Park one of the most widely and thoroughly protected national parks in the region, with enough measures in place to ensure it stays that way for years to come.
For a rural area, Xcalak has the best grocery service ever. About every other day, “veggie trucks” come by the dive shop loaded with fresh fruits, vegetables, meats and bread. For other basic supplies, you will find several abarroterias (little shops) in town.
For those who like to taste the local flavors, there are options for eating out:
The Coral Bar and Grill is part of the XTC Dive Center resort. All you need to do is let one of the friendly staff know you are ready for some tasty breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Toby’s is a popular choice for many of our staff and guests. They are open for lunch and dinner 6 days a week. You have to stop in and try the lionfish ceviche at least once during your stay.
Gringo Dave’s is a little restaurant right at the town entrance, famous for its tasty curries.
Gallo, one of our boat captains, runs this longstanding Xcalak establishment. His place has four small studio apartments, each with a double bed, private bathroom (hot-water shower, toilet and basin) and kitchenette (sink, fridge, and double stovetop cooker); which, at around $350 US a month for two people, is a great bargain.
The Purple Palace, one of two Divemaster houses that XTC provides for interns, was named for its lovely fuchsia paint color. It is a typical, Caribbean wooden-stilt house with three bedrooms, a bathroom and full kitchen. This house can accommodate up to seven students and is only available to our current interns.
Flying Cloud Hotel
The Flying Cloud Hotel, part of the XTC Dive Center resort, is a spacious, beachfront hotel with three rooms, located right next to the dive center. Guests enjoy a wonderful sunrise view every morning.
The upstairs room is certainly the most romantic with a king-size bed, en-suite bathroom and private balcony ($55 per night). Downstairs, the Playa room has a king-size bed or two singles, full kitchen, dining room and en-suite bathroom ($60 per night). The Selva room has a double bed (and if requested, a single bed can be brought in), and en-suite bathroom ($45 per night).
All room prices are based on double occupancy; an additional person can be accommodated for $10 more per night. Rooms include coffee-making facilities and free kayak use.
Do you want your own house? Just let us know how long you’d like to stay and what you require. We will help you look for something available and suitable to your needs and budget.
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