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“Great 3-day Package”

Playa Scuba Dive Center
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: "Playa Scuba Dive Center" in downtown Playa del Carmen is a "Boutique Dive Center" run by the owner Klaus, offers small, personal dive trips exploring the exciting reefs in Playa del Carmen, or amazing coral structures in Cozumel and mystic dives in the crystal clear waters of sacred Mayan Cenotes. Shark diving with Bull sharks and Whale shark encounters are the specialty of Playa Scuba. Small groups of four scuba divers in Cenotes or up to five divers in Playa del Carmen or Cozumel reefs. PADI courses from Discover Scuba to Dive Master. Eco land tours to Chichen Itza, Tulum, Coba, Xcaret, Xel-Ha and Belize
Useful Information: Activities for older children
Hamilton, Canada
Level Contributor
6 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Great 3-day Package”
Reviewed October 8, 2013

We researched dive shops on Tripadvisor and chose Playa Scuba based on the great reviews. We opted for the 3 day dive package which gave us 2 Cenote dives, 2 Cozumel dives and 2 Playa dives. All 3 were an amazing experience. Although we found the cenote dives to be a little beyond our comfort level it was still gorgeous and clear and a great experience. The 2 Cozumel dives were the highlight with sharks, turtles, seahorse, and reef that was unbelievable. Playa was also gorgeous and had amazing fish life and more seaturtles. Only complaint I had was the small boat on the Playa dive made me very seasick but that did not stop me from doing the 2nd dive. Maybe on a clear day without a tropical storm coming in it would have been better.
I would not hesitate to recommend Playa Scuba to friends and plan to use them again when we return.

Visited September 2013
Helpful?
Thank Leathertaz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
playascuba, Public Relations Manager at Playa Scuba Dive Center, responded to this review, October 12, 2013
Thank you for the great review we hope to improve our operation and be better for your future dives so you will refer friends and family to us
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Las Vegas, Nevada
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 attraction reviews
“Excellent Dives!”
Reviewed September 25, 2013

Klaus was a terrific guide. Knowledgeable and personable. Gave a great history of the Cenotes on the way out and moved us through the dives at a comfortable pace. He's willing to let you set your own gear, help if you have trouble, and keeps the day fun. I highly recommend the 3 day package.

Visited September 2013
Helpful?
Thank tsaurini
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
playascuba, Guest Relations Manager at Playa Scuba Dive Center, responded to this review, October 12, 2013
Thank you for your great review hope to be able to dive with you again in the future and be better each time
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vancouver, BC
Level Contributor
29 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“Cenote diving was excellent, ocean diving was just OK”
Reviewed September 14, 2013

First off I will provide some background, my partner and I are both very experienced divers (with cameras) and we originally booked 3 days of diving with Playa Scuba, which led to a 4th day (an additional day of cenotes). We chose Playa Scuba because of the good reviews here on TripAdvisor and mainly because how it was stated that divers were taken out in small groups (although turned out not to be the case for our dive in Playa), and had excellent DM's, and mainly, due to the affordable pricing.

Their 3 day package is advertised as $200US. When we arrived, we were each charged $210 (minus of course our $25 deposit paid via PayPal ahead of time), so that is $10 extra. We did not mention the overcharge as it was only $10 and we didn't feel it was worth the argument (again, even at $210 it was a good price for 3 days of diving). We paid an additional $85 (same as advertised for the extra day of cenotes booked at the end of the original 3 days). As also mentioned by others, make sure you bring CASH as that is the only form of payment they accept.

One really great thing about the shop is that they allowed us to store our gear with them after our days of diving so we didn't have to cart it back to our hotel in-between dive days. This was much appreciated. Also, after the cenote trips, we were dropped back off at our hotel instead of taken directly back to the shop, this also was a nice added plus - thank you Julian.

1st day of diving was with the DM Ari at the reefs in Playa. Some information that you may or may not be aware of, however some divers may like to know ahead of time is that it is a few blocks walk to the beach from this shop and there are several shops closer to the beach where the boat picks up and drops off. Not a huge deal for me, however for those with issues carrying their gear in the hot sun, this may not be ideal. There was quite a bit of waiting around at the shop each day as they were quite busy and several groups had to be organized (this was a bit annoying as vacation time is at a premium, I felt it could have been a bit better organized) - those diving in Playa, those heading to Cozumel, and those going out to the cenotes. We filled out our paperwork, met our DM, and other boat mates for the day, and headed to the beach. They suggested that we remove our gear from our dive bags but we politely declined as it is easier to carry in the bag. We were given a bit of a look for that, but with large cameras and gear bag, last thing I want to do is be carrying loose dive equipment and drop/lose something on the first day.

This first day of diving was my least favourite of the four for one main reason. There were SIX divers in a little boat for the Playa reefs with the one DM. On the boat itself, everyone was literally on top of each other and the DM had to ask the other divers to clear some space for my partner to sit down as everyone seemed oblivious that they hadn't even made enough room for him to sit on the bench with them (not to mention that my partner was standing there getting a bit seasick from the rough seas on the small boat). Too many people on a small boat, it was cramped for gearing up to say the least.

I have a camera with two strobes and a video light and I had asked our DM back at the dive shop that I would appreciate it if we could dive slowly in order to enjoy myself, really take in the small stuff, and to snap a few photos. I have lots of dives in Cozumel, so diving in Playa and taking photos of lots of things wasn't really going to happen however in the water, we cruised along at a fast clip in the current and even at moments when we were amongst ledges and overhangs (where there is less current), there was no stopping to wait around or to take a moment. Not even when we came across two very large green moray eels under a large ledge. I had but a moment to snap only 3 photos before the group moved on literally out of my sight and I had to swim to catch up.

In general, my partner and I did not receive any personalized attention during the dive. Whether it was because the group was too large (in complete contradiction to what I had read about them taking out only small groups) or because she determined that my partner and I were fine on our own, however when Ari did finally point out one thing to me on the reef, I swam up to see what it was she was gesturing towards (not making a fish sign for anything) and after scanning the reef and showing her the "what am I looking for signal" and finally spotting a drummerfish I showed HER the drummerfish sign, she acknowledged, yes that's what she was pointing out, and swam off. Kind of odd for the DM to wait for me to ask if that is what she was pointing out. Came up at the end of that dive with 1,200 psi. Not exactly the experience I had been expecting. The 2nd dive of the day was pretty much the same thing, however I came up with over 1,500 psi. Guess there was an air hog in the group of 6 that ended our dives so early.

2nd day of diving was in Cozumel with the sister company Blue Angel. This was exciting for my partner and I as we were interested in trying out their dive op as we have stayed/dove at many places in Cozumel and Blue Angel was on the list of places to try. We went out with a Blue Angel DM and it was just the two of us with him. That was FANTASTIC... as we were able to dive at our slow pace that we wanted. However, we had left our cameras at home on this 2nd day as we were expecting the same experience as the day prior. What a terrible day to leave the camera at home! Anyhow, had a nice slow dive and the DM really quite ignored us the entire time. He did point out a Cozumel toadfish which was great, but not anything else. That's ok though because we are good spotters ourselves for each other and just being able to go slowly was good enough after the previous day.

However that being said, our dives were VERY SHORT because we shared the Blue Angel boat with another dive shop called Queen Angel from Cancun and a group of tourists from Japan that had a timetable to stick to and accordingly we were advised our dives were to be limited to 45 minutes - WHAT?! Seriously?! We had our own DM and we were to be limited to 45 minutes?! We asked if we could be 1st in the water and last out of the water, surely that would extend our bottom time. The DM said he would see what he could do. It didn't happen. We were 1st in the water and 1st out of the water for both dives. We did however have an hour long 2nd dive, with a 15 minute safety stop. The DM was pretty proud that he'd let us have an "hour long dive" as he reported to Playa Scuba though... however, my partner and I don't consider a 15 minute safety stop hovering well above the reef in open water to be really part of a dive. We both had over 1,200 psi in our tanks after both dives (my partner even more than that as he's better on air than I am - I hate "wasting" air by having such short dives. Blue water dives are such a treat for me living in Vancouver, BC Canada and diving drysuit at home and I really want to get the most out of my tank). Anyhow... I can't fault the Blue Angel DM too much, he was following rules not chosen by him I imagine and he did the best he could with the situation, however I do think we could have had more bottom time if we were allowed to board the boat last after both dives as I had asked for.

Julian from Playa Scuba rode the ferry over with us to introduce us to the crew at Blue Angel and remained on land for our two dives and he arranged with the shop for us to shore dive after our free lunch. This was great as it was our best dive of the day. Lunch at Blue Angel in Cozumel (chicken leg, cold french fries, a salad, and some kind of very sweet fruit punch - ok meal but it was free so I guess it was ok) when my partner and I grabbed a tank for $10 each and shore dove just the two of us. You can swim along the fence to the left of the stairs and then some pilings however we didn't even make it very far out in an hour and twenty minutes - lots to see at shore there. Yes, we had an hour and twenty minute shore dive before grabbing a taxi back to the ferry and heading back to Playa. It was super shallow there and our computers said we could have stayed down another half hour even, but my partner was ready to call it quits for the day - however it was a great dive to end the day in Cozumel. $6 or $7 (I can't remember exactly) for a taxi ride back to the ferry terminal. Just missed the 7pm ferry, had to wait until 9pm, but grabbed some dinner at Wet Wendy's in town (a spot we always eat at when in town), so it was a nice evening.

3rd and 4th days were the cenotes Dos Ojos and Eden (as we had done Chac Mool on a previous trip to Playa) and they were both lovely. Julian was our DM and he was an excellent guide, hence why we booked a 2nd day of cenotes with him. He was very safety aware and yet allowed us the time to take our photos and enjoy the dives the way we wanted. I truly enjoyed diving with Julian and he made up for the first two days of our booking with Playa. I wouldn't book ocean dives with Playa again, however I would book the cenotes with them again. The rule of thirds as far as air in tanks meant we had the same dive plan as anyone else would in these cenotes, however he allowed us the "extra" on the day at the Eden cenote to swim around in the open area and photograph the fish both before the 1st dive for a bit and after the 2nd. Truly appreciated the extra time - thanks Julian for being our best DM of the trip - my September birthday vacation.

Visited September 2013
Helpful?
3 Thank jodylynn007
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
playascuba, Director de Relaciones con Clientes at Playa Scuba Dive Center, responded to this review, September 20, 2013
Thank you for your elabourate constructive critisism which for shure will help us improve our service. As you have noted we have no docks and marinas in Playa del Carmen and the access to the beach is cut off by a pedestrian area so we cannot drive you and your bulky cameras directly to the beach which is merely 75 yards from the shop, also tanks and weights are on the boat so basically you are only carrying a BCD, regulator MFS and your camera. Sometimes we have divers ask us to carry their gear and we gladly do but you have to ask us if not we think you are ok with it.
We take no more than five divers plus instructor we don't use DM or dive master all our crew is Instructor level or higher. For divers with big bulky professional cameras we recommend our private chartes with dedicated just to your needs crew as well as one hour plus dives. As of the 10 US we are sorry for the misunderstanding but the free lunch in Cozumel cost 10 US we will talk to the kitchen to make shure your french fries are hot next time.
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San Diego, California
Level Contributor
36 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
“Guides that know the area... and show you a great time!!”
Reviewed September 4, 2013

My husband, brother and I just completed 4 days of diving with Playa Scuba and had a wonderful time. Arie was our guide for the ocean.. we dove Playa and Cozumel and every site was amazing. We've had the good fortune to dive a lot of places and Playa and Cozumel were some of our favorite dives ever. Playa Scuba did a wonderful job of coordinating our trip to Playa where we dove with our same dive master but with a sister company in Cozumel. It was wonderful and went above our expectations (included a wonderful lunch post dive).

The REAL reason I'd choose Playa Scuba is if you're going to dive the cenotes. It's an amazing, once in a lifetime experience and you want someone that KNOWS the cenotes and puts safety first. For this reason, I HIGHLY recommend Playa Scuba. Klaus, our divemaster (and one of the owners) has been diving the cenotes since the 70's and trust me when I say you want someone who knows what they're doing.. you're in underwater caves after all!! I was nervous before the dive but Klaus absolutely knew what he was doing and that put me at ease. You can definitely trust Playa Scuba which is what you want from a dive shop!! Oh and Klaus' stories are worth the price of the dives themselves.. he is hilarious and has the most amazing stories.

Loved this dive shop.. thanks to Louis and Klaus, the owners and to Arie for an awesome week of diving! We are so sad to leave.

Tip: They put in on all their emails but be sure to bring CASH to pay. We forgot and had trouble pulling out cash from the ATMs... so plan ahead :)

Visited September 2013
Helpful?
3 Thank Goldenlove7112
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
playascuba, Director de Relaciones con Clientes at Playa Scuba Dive Center, responded to this review, September 20, 2013
Thank you for your good review I'm happy you had a great time and hope you will dive with us soon since the bull shark season will start soon
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vancouver, Canada
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Happy, small dive shop offering great dive package.”
Reviewed August 22, 2013

While on vacation with non-divers in Playa earlier this year, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to dive a cenote. After spending a bit of time both on Trip Advisor and on foot, I elected to go with Playa Scuba's 6 dive combo package (2 dives off Playa, 2 dives off Cozumel and 2 dives in local cenotes). The price and service were great, as was the general condition of the gear (as much as can be reasonably expected of a small shop, anyway).

For the Playa dives, a happy, young divemaster led myself and 2 others for a pair of pleasant, relaxed shallow coastal dives - turtles were my highlight.

The Cozumel dives were slightly more complicated; Playa Scuba doesn't (or didn't, at that time) conduct the dives themselves. Instead, Playa Scuba had a reciprocal arrangement with a Cozumel-based dive shop, Blue Angel (I believe). You take the ferry from Playa to Cozumel to meet the Blue Angel dive boat on the ferry pier, run your two dives and eat lunch with them, and then are returned to the ferry terminal to make your way back to Playa. Easy enough operation, but there was some confusion as to whether my name was on the Blue Angel operator's list (although I was allowed on the boat and, I image, a cell phone call during the trip cleared things up - no hassle to me). The dives included some serious drifting, which makes it easy to cover a lot of reef with little effort. Pretty neat reef structures off Cozumel's coast, though the fish life was not particularly abundant.

Finally, the cenote dives. On this, myself and three others were guided by Klaus himself. In short - he is a character. Ask him about working as PhD research chemist in an earlier life....or living on a sailboat....or being an ultra-light pilot.

Anyway, the unique thing about diving the cenotes with Klaus was that we all piled in to his personal Toyota and drove to the dive site as a small group. Following the dives, we had a nice lunch together at a roadside restaurant. All of this, good. My only hesitation with this shop (if you can call it that) is Klaus' approach to guiding. It isn't bad, but he does expect you to have some level of self-sufficiency (this is a good thing!) and seems somewhat less than johnny-on-the-spot when it comes to ensuring everyone always has full instructions 100% of the time, well before needing them. If you are confident in your dive skills and want someone with vast amounts of cenote experience (something like 9700 dives?) guiding you and providing you with interesting information, Klaus is your guy. If you want someone to coddle you because you're not quite confident in your dive skills and need someone to remind you that your weight belt should be right-hand release, he probably isn't. He definitely took extra time with the less-sure members of our group, so I think everyone had the attention necessary for their comfort level, but still, something seemed....slightly lackadaisical? This did not detract from my own experience, but is intended as a caution to those who might appreciate it.

All of that to say: the cenote dives themselves were spectacular. It was my first foray into something like cave/cavern diving and I loved it. I was fortunate to go on a sunny day, which meant bright, hard sunlight penetrated the cenote entrances, creating beautiful crepuscular underwater rays; on a cloudy day, the light would be softer, and the rays non-existent. If you are a diver in the area, be sure to explore at least one cenote, whether with Playa Scuba or otherwise!

Visited April 2013
Helpful?
3 Thank Itsasmallplanet_84
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
playascuba, Director de Relaciones con Clientes at Playa Scuba Dive Center, responded to this review, September 20, 2013
Thank you for the great review we are glad you had fun and hope for your prompt return
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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