FAQS

Here are the answers to some of our frequently asked questions. For further information please get in touch.

Frequently Asked Questions

Location, location, location… XTC is based in a small, sleepy fishing village called Xcalak, which borders the Caribbean Sea to the east and Chetumal Bay to the west. This makes us part of a unique, extremely connected and bio-diverse eco-system made up of 15 miles of protected coral reefs, mangroves, rivers, lagoons and bays. It certainly is a nature lover’s paradise!

We are at the center of the Great Maya Reef, the second largest barrier reef in the world so the Scuba Diving around Xcalak offers incredible diversity. We have a large population of manatees inhabiting the lagoons and inner reef and very often see them on our local dive sites. In addition, we have great encounters with schools of dolphins, a large school of HUGE tarpon resides on one of our sites, and we often see a variety of turtles, rays, sharks, schooling jacks and more.

Although Xcalak is unspoiled by development, XTC is a state-of-the-art dive center, hotel and restaurant, plus it’s one of the only dive centers in Mexico to have an IDC classroom, swimming pool AND open water dive sites all in the same center, so being remote doesn’t have to mean that we’re lacking.

As a responsible dive center and a 100% AWARE Partner, XTC is very committed to ocean conservation and, as such, we teach all our candidates about being EcoPros, get them involved in beach cleans, dives against debris etc. and encourage them to pass this on to future generations as well.

So, if you care about quality training, helping our environment and you love quiet, un-crowded places where you can connect with nature… then XTC and Xcalak may be just the place for you.

Options from Cancun airport to Xcalak:

Xcalak is located 400 km south from Cancun airport; it takes about 5 hours to drive. We can organize a taxi to pick you up from outside the terminal area holding a sign with your name on it. Prices are for the car/van, not per person and must be checked with the Reservations department.

You can take the ADO bus at the Cancun airport to Playa Del Carmen ADO station. ADO - Bus schedule & priceshttps://www.ado.com.mx/#/

From Playa Del Carmen, you can then take the Mayab Bus. Please check times, usually the last viable bus in the afternoon is at 1.30'ish. You can take the bus to Limones and from there you can catch a CARIBE bus to Mahahual and onto Xcalak. The bus stops a lot along the way, please be patient as we have had the bus delayed for two hours before! A taxi from Limones can be quite reasonable depending on how well you speak Spanish!

There is also a bus to Mahahual, ADO bus, but only once a day in the afternoon, then you can get a taxi from Mahahual to Xcalak.

Options from Chetumal airport to Xcalak:

Xcalak is located 200 km from Chetumal airport, it takes about 2 hours and 45minutes drive. We can organize a taxi to pick you right outside the terminal area holding a sign with your name on it. Prices will need to be confirmed by Reservations beforehand.

Another option is to take a bus; the Caribe bus to Xcalak leaves Chetumal at around 6.20am (check times) and arrives in Xcalak around 9.30am. The second bus departs Chetumal at around 4pm (check times) and arrives in Xcalak about 9pm. The bus stops a lot along the way, please be patient as we have had the bus delayed for two hours before!

We’ve all probably read about terrible stories of the Mexican drug war or seen the series ‘El Chapo’!

In spite of all the violence you see on TV, this is for most part limited to drug related violence and not aimed for tourists. The Yucatan Peninsula is, unlike some of the border areas, on a day-to-day basis quite safe, especially around Xcalak where there are very few people anyway!

Of course in every area there can be thefts and robbery taking place, as in most places around the world. Taking precautions is never a bad idea, including:

  • Avoid walking alone in unlit areas;
  • Use official taxi’s;
  • Leave valuables in a safe place (including at the dive center, consider a dry bag);
  • Don’t keep any valuables in open view.

Your Course Director will send you a document with all the information for your course, including what you will need to bring. Generally speaking you will need:

DIVE EQUIPMENT

Tanks and weights will be available for use throughout your course. In addition, you will need to have:

  • Fins, mask and snorkel
  • Buoyancy control device (BCD) with tank mount or separate backpack, and low pressure inflator
  • Primary regulator and alternate air source
  • Breathing gas monitoring device (e.g. submersible pressure gauge)
  • Depth monitoring device
  • Adequate exposure protection appropriate for water that is 24-30*C
  • Dive computer or RDP (eRDPml or Table)
  • Instructions for use for dive computer or RDP/ERDPml
  • Time monitoring device
  • Compass
  • Knife/diver’s tool
  • Two surface signaling devices – one audible (whistle, air horn, etc.) and one delayed surface marker buoy with reel

You will need to bring with you your dive computer or time monitoring device, as well as a compass and delayed marker buoy. All other required equipment is available at a very reasonable price for you to rent for the duration of your course should you not wish to carry it with you. Do bear in mind though that, as a PADI Professional, you will be required to have this equipment in the future, particularly if you want to work in the industry.

OTHER MATERIALS

If you have paid for your PADI materials through XTC, the no need to worry… all your PADI materials will be waiting for you when you arrive. If not, then discuss this with your Course Director to check what materials you need to bring.

Depending on which course you are doing you may also be asked to bring with you:

  • Laptop or tablet device and mobile phone – we will need it for the Elearning materials, digital Instructor Manuals and using various apps
  • Calculator (this can be on your phone but there will be rules to follow for using in exams)
  • Pens
  • Notebook
  • Highlighter pens?
  • Pencil and eraser for slates

In PADI Pro Courses you will find the prerequisites for each course. Your Course Director will also send you a document with all the information for your course, including this information. If you haven’t received this just ask.

Some of our courses and internships do offer free accommodation. This is in the “DM Shack” in the village. More information can be found here 

We are incredibly lucky that Xcalak offers year-round diving opportunities. Visibility is affected more by the wind than it is by the time of year so you will be pleased to hear that there is no better or worse season for visibility. Water temperature ranges from 24 – 30 Celsius throughout the year so needing a thick wetsuit is never a necessity! Most dive sites are accessible at all times of the year, but occasionally trips have to be cancelled if wind conditions mean that safety is an issue.

There are many independent blogs and resources that you can look at to check on the weather in the Riviera Maya area, but generally speaking it is divided into the rainy season (which runs from May to October) and the dry season (which runs November to April). The 2 months with the most rain are normally September and October, but this is also when the wind is usually lower.

However, global warming is changing weather patterns and forecasts in the Caribbean are never all that accurate… when a forecast says rain there’s no need to worry, it could be all over as quickly as it started!

You will see on our Pricelist references to “XTC Fees” and “PADI fees”.

XTC will provide you with the training you need to become a PADI Professional and, as such, we will take a fee for those services, known as the “XTC Fees”. This is the same as any other course that you have taken.

This is separate to the “PADI fees” which will be paid by credit card at the end of the training directly to PADI. As a PADI professional you will have to pay PADI initially to apply to become a member, as well as pay annual membership fees to retain your teaching status with them.

XTC Terms and Conditions

XTC Dive Center reserves the right to cancel for any reason and will give a full refund.

To formalize the reservation in any of the activities and / or excursions that we offer, we must receive 50% of the total amount before your arrival and 100% of the amount for the hotel.

Cancellation with notification 14 days before

If canceled, the amount paid will be returned.

Cancellation with notification within 14 days prior to arrival

Your deposit will not be refunded (50% of your activities and 100% of the hotel).

Individual bookings

All activities must be paid 50% at the time of reservation. Total amount is due on arrival in cash only. If the person wishes to use another method for payment this should be taken care of in advance. Bank fees are to be paid by client.

Group bookings

All activities must be paid in full 24hrs before the activity takes place. Special payment terms for group bookings must be arranged in writing prior to group arrival. If payment is not received on time, XTC Dive Center reserves the right to cancel the whole booking and charge above cancellations fees. Bank fees are to be paid by client.

To confirm your reservation, you will be required to pay 100% of the amount for hotel room bookings and a deposit payment of 50% is required for in-water activities or courses; you can do this by PayPal (there is a 6% fee imposed), international wire transfer (there is a fee of US$15) or you make a direct deposit to our Mexican bank account.

ARE YOU READY TO LIVE THE DREAM YET?

Our friendly and knowledgeable Course Directors and Instructors are waiting to hear from you with any questions that you may have.