What to do in and around Mahahual – Chinchorro bank
Chinchorro bank is part of the Meso American reef system. It has 3 islands:
- Cayo Norte
- Cayo Central
- Cayo Lobos
Cayo Central is the largest one with a surface of 5.6 km2.
Over the centuries quite some vessels foundered on the coral reefs. They turned Chinchorro into a true “ships graveyard”. The seafloor is dotted with wrecks of many Galleons, 19th century merchantmen and modern cargo boats. Around the wrecks you will see an amazing world of beautiful colored fishes & coral reefs. With its crystal clear waters Chinchorro is a true divers and snorkelling paradise. Some of the shipwrecks have been identified as: SS Tropic, SS Far Star, SS Ginger Screw, SS Caldera, SS Glen View, SS Penelopez, SS San Andreas and SS Escasell .
In 2009 the semi-d0cumentary Alamar by Pedro González-Rubio has been filmed at Banco Chinchorro.
Snorkel and dive tours
Banco Chinchorro is an ecological protected place and was named a Biosphere Reserve in 1996. Only a few diveshops in Mahahual have a permission to take tourists on snorkel and dive tours. For a trip to Banco Chinchorro you need good weather and a minimum of 6 persons. When the weather is good and the sea is calm, the average time to get to Chinchorro is 1.5 hours. However, when the sea is rough, it will take easily 2 hours or more to get there.
Dolphins are spotted during many of the boat trips from Maya Luna to Chinchorro. During our first trip to Chinchorro we ran into a group of 60 dolphins on our way back to Maya Luna. Our boat captain encouraged us to jump in the water and swim with the dolphins. It was a beautiful experience, one that I will never forget.
Banco Chinchorro, Patrimonio Cultural Sumergido – Arqueología Subacuática INAH / SAS.
An online book about the history of Chinchorro bank (in Spanish)