The Crocodiles of Chinchorro
Banco Chinchorro Atoll is located off the southernmost part of the Mexican Caribbean coast. It is isolated, and until recently, could only be reached from Belize. Although still not easy, it can now be accessed from Xcalak in southern Mexico.
Chinchorro is part of the Mesoamerican reef system. It's the largest and one of the healthiest atolls in the northern hemisphere. The Mexican government has declared this site an Archaeological Marine Sanctuary due to the many colonial-era and steamboat wrecks (almost 200, but most are protected and cannot be dived) that have run aground. The atoll is also renowned for its excellent dive sites characterised by a great variety of flora and fauna. One of the most interesting species inhabiting this atoll is the crocodile!
Our trip will be led by the world-renowned underwater photographer Jakob DeGee, a graduate of the Warsaw Academy of Photography, specialising in... shark portraits! The winner of many prestigious photography competitions, including Underwater Photographer of the Year, GDT European Photographer of the Year, Hasselblad X You, Ocean Geographic Pictures of the Year, and many more. Jakob specialises in a rather unique field — photographing large underwater animals at an incredibly close range!
His work is enjoyed worldwide, and you'll be able to watch him in action. He'll be happy to share his knowledge and talents during our trip to Banco Chinchorro!
Chinchorro Atoll is a continuous reef with 6 entrances leading to the shallows (max. 5m) and a handful of small islands. There are no permanent residents — literally a few wooden huts on stilts where local fishermen stay. Less than your basic standard but adventure with a capital "A"!
The waters surrounding the atoll are very deep, dropping to depths of up to 1000m, inviting all kinds of species. Flora and fauna are abundant: turtles, sea anemones, over 20 species of sponge, sharks, groupers, beautiful coral arrays, eagle rays, lobsters, and a rainbow of coloured fish.
Banco Chichorro was known only to a tight circle of adventure travellers for many years. The difficult access (2.5 hours at sea in a small boat) and spartan conditions don't exactly encourage mass tourism — just what we want! Those who do decide to make an effort can be sure to experience one of the Caribbean's best-kept diving secrets! The logistics aren't straightforward, but access is now possible — we will even arrange permits from the Mexican Federal Government! About 700 divers a year venture into the area, so the reef is in excellent condition, considering it covers 600 square kilometres! Our partner in the area is the only company with permission to take people diving with the crocodiles. This activity is organized in small groups with clear and transparent safety rules.
- visit Mexico, a country with beautiful beaches, incredible history, tequila, Zorro and Salma Hayek!
- dive in the crystal clear waters of the famous cenotes!
- go on a trip to perhaps the most inaccessible area of Mexico - Banco Chinchorro! Dive in its waters teeming with life.
- take a selfie with a real, live crocodile and return home with all your limbs!
- observe a professional photographer at work and find out what you've been doing wrong all these years :)
Day 1 — Flight from Poland to Cancun in Mexico.
Day 1 — Touchdown in Cancun, transfer to our hotel. Rest after the journey.
Day 2 — After breakfast we’ll go diving in two of the local cenotes!
Day 3 — Two more cenotes to dive today. In the afternoon, relaxing on the beach.
Day 4 — We pack ourselves (and our stuff!) into a car and make the five hour journey south to Xcalak.
Day 5 — A couple of dives and relaxing by the sea.
Day 6 — Today, we hire a power generator, buy lots of water, and board a local fisherman's (narrow) boat, who will take us to Chinchorro Atoll (about 2.5 hours). There can be some seaspray — bring a rain jacket! On arrival, we set up in our stilted hut in the shallow lagoon. The hut is sparsely furnished; there is a toilet, no running water, and electricity for only a couple of hours a day. Its elevated position above the water will protect us from the crocodiles — the perfect place for a real diving adventurer to relax!
Today we enter the water in search of crocodiles — the adventure has begun.
Day 7 — More crocodile searching. Sometimes, it's as if they're loitering, in wait, outside the hut; other times, they might not show up for 24 hours. Whatever the case, there are plenty about, we'll see them for sure! Between crocodile sessions, we dive in the surrounding reefs.
Day 8 — the last day of playing tag with the crocodiles — this afternoon we return to Xcalak and some semblance of civilisation :)
Day 9 — last two dives on the surrounding reefs.
Day 10 — return to the airport in Cancun and catch our flight home.
Day 11 — touchdown in Poland.
End of trip.
PRICE per person:
USD 3985 + flights
Included in the Price:
- twin room accommodation including breakfast, plus two nights in a fisherman's hut on Chinchorro;
- 4 dives in Xcalak, 3 dives in Chinchorro, and 4 dives in the Cenotes;
- all meals on Chinchorro, breakfast and dinner on day 9 of the trip;
- generator hire, plus fuel;
- all transfers;
- bottles and lead;
- services of an experienced English speaking guide/organiser/diving instructor 24×7;
- insurance: medical expenses (PLN 120,000), personal accident (PLN 16,000), baggage (PLN 1,600).
Not included in the Price:
- flights. Price depends on the timing of your reservation and departing location. For logistical reasons, these should be purchased through our office;
- additional meals not in the itinerary;
- admission to the Cenotes;
- diving equipment and nitrox;
- costs related to extending the trip;
- personal expenses;
- extended diving and medical insurance.