- Fins, mask and snorkel
- Adequate exposure protection appropriate for water that is 24-30*C
CROCODILE TRIPS TO BANCO CHINCHORRO
Banco Chinchorro is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve (under review to become a World Heritage listed site) and is the largest atoll in the Northern Hemisphere. The gorgeous reefs are teeming with life and divers are easily captivated by the large numbers of nurse sharks and pristine reefs in the area, however it is the possibility to encounter American Crocodiles which is quickly making the area more and more famous!
XTC combines the possibility to dive the famous Banco Chinchorro as well as encounter the American Crocodile with special expeditions to the Chinchorro Banks Atoll from June 1st through to September 30th (weather dependent). Although the crocodiles are there all year-round, conditions (mating, nesting, weather etc.) aren´t ideal the rest of the year to run these trips.
WHAT’S INVOLVED IN THE TRIP?
“A day in the life” in Chinchorro:
We set off early on the first day, and either make a stop for a dive (to hunt for lionfish) or to do some amazing snorkeling on the healthy reefs. We then use the hunted lionfish to attract the crocs from about 11am onwards.
After a day in the water observing and photographing the crocodiles in their natural environment, we finish at 5 or 6pm and cook dinner before an early bedtime. We sleep in hammocks in the fisherman’s hut, which gives you a truly unique experience of seeing the artisanal fishermen at work in one of the world’s most remote and pristine environments.
The next two days follow the same routine with a snorkel / dive trip in the morning to visit one of the stunning reef or wreck sites on this enormous atoll, followed by more time in water with the crocs.
Our crocodile encounters are a Skin-Diving activity conducted in very shallow water (1 – 1.5 m/3-5 ft.) around a fisherman’s hut. This is one of the most amazing in-water experiences in the world. In peak season, we average 3-4 hours per day with one or often several Crocodylus Acutus, up close and very personal!
We also include a visit to Cayo Centro, the main island on the atoll, which houses the CONANP marine research station and is home to the world’s densest concentration of crocodiles as well as a healthy population of ‘pink’ iguanas. There we visit the fishermen’s village, check out the old lighthouse and maybe even get the chance to observe the crocs from a raised deck in the main lagoon where they nest, feed and soak up the sun.
On the final day we pack up at about 2pm and leave at 3pm to return to Xcalak after a well-deserved lunch.
HOW LONG DOES THE TRIP TAKE?:
Our expeditions run over 3 full days and 2 nights on the atoll. These expeditions are run as packages and are sold exclusively as private charters. XTC does not sell spots on trips piecemeal, although several of our clients/partners do.
The standard croc package runs over 5 days and is scheduled as follows:
Transfer from Cancún or Playa del Carmen (group would have arrived in Mexico at least the day prior). Arrangements for transfers and activities pre and post Croc trip can be arranged through our sister companies Yucatan Dive Trek and Maya Blue Dive Center (Cenotes).
Local diving in Xcalak (check dives, equipment configuration etc.) In the evening we will do a pre-trip briefing, ready for departure the following day.
Departure to Chinchorro (8:00 am), dive/snorkel and crocs day 1
Dive/snorkel and crocs day 2
Dive/snorkel and crocs day 3, then return to Xcalak
Local diving in Xcalak (La Poza – large schools of tarpon and manatee hunting), afternoon departure back to Playa or next module (Cenotes, Calakmul ruins, Bacalar lagoon, Valladolid, etc.)
Please note, that including at least 1-2 days extra in Xcalak is mandatory as it is giving us some flexibility, should the conditions be too rough to allow the crossing in the open ocean out to the atoll on a specific day.
All trips to Chinchorro are weather dependent and therefore subject to be cancelled on short notice where it is deemed necessary for safety reasons.
XTC is a PADI 5* Instructor Development Resort, which is the highest rating that PADI offers! As the longest standing dive center in the area (and the only one in Xcalak), we have been going to Chinchorro for decades so our staff have built very good relationships with the locals that call Banco Chinchorro home and can ensure that you receive the best possible welcome.
At XTC Dive Center we take your safety seriously and, as such, will only provide CONANP certified PADI Instructors to lead your dives. We also make sure that our Dive Boats are carrying a DAN Oxygen unit and full first aid kit for every trip. For your comfort and safety, there will be two Captains on board and they will be using GPS to pinpoint the best sites for the conditions on that day. This ensures that we give you the best possible dives for the current conditions.
XTC is the only operator with a permit from the Mexican Federal Government to run these in-water encounters with wild American Crocodiles (Crocodrilus Acutus). American Crocodiles are large, wild animals – they are not domesticated or trained, so these encounters have to be run in a very specific way in order to ensure the safety of all parties involved. Logistics are extensive, and this trip needs to be meticulously planned and executed.
We have rigid safety protocols with a trained crocodile ‘handler’ in the water and two spotters on a deck immediately above us to stay aware of the location of all the animals at any given time. There is a maximum of two people in the water with the handler at once and the maximum number of people that can go on a crocodile encounter is six.
All this means that you can rest assured that our highly trained and experienced staff will make sure that your experience is as safe and fun as possible! After all… XTC means Xcalak to Chinchorro, so this is exactly what we do!
Although we don´t have a minimum or maximum age requirement for participants; we don´t recommend bringing children under 10 years old (unless they are very accustomed to being on boats for periods of time) or older adults with any sort of orthopedic, heart or respiratory issues.
Our crocodile trips are open to anyone with a sense of adventure that is willing to go on a true expedition – there are no flushing toilets at Chinchorro!
- Surface signaling devices – one audible (whistle, air horn, etc.) and one delayed surface marker buoy with reel
- Transfer by boat to Banco Chinchorro from Xcalak (26 nautical miles)
- Lodging for two nights at a fisherman´s hut on stilts (hammock included)
- Lunch and dinner on day one, all meals on day two, breakfast and lunch on day three
- One dive (SCUBA or Snorkel) per day while on the croc trip
- Accommodation at the Flying Cloud hotel in Xcalak for the duration of the trip
- Two days of local diving in Xcalak
- Marine park entrance fees