Do You Need Certification to Scuba Dive in Cancun?

Scuba diving is a popular activity in Cancun, and if you’re visiting the city, you are probably planning it. However, this activity has more to renting and booking a diving tour. One of these requirements is certification, and if you already know about it, you may wonder if you need such a certification if you’re scuba diving in Cancun.

You’ll need a certification if you want to scuba dive in Cancun. Without such, most dive shops will not allow you to rent gear or book a diving tour. However, some dive shops allow people between 10 to 65 years old a temporary certification to learn, train, and experience scuba diving for a day.

A scuba diving certification is a requirement for scuba divers in Cancun. As such, if you plan on doing this activity often and enjoying the best of the marine life in the city, you’ll need to know everything about this certificate.

This article will cover everything you need to know about a scuba diving certificate and even ways to scuba dive without it. So you can do this activity safely and abide by rules and regulations.

Let’s get started!

Do You Need Certification to Scuba Dive in Cancun

What Is the Certification You Need to Scuba Dive in Cancun?

You’ll need a PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) Scuba Diver Certification if you plan to scuba dive in Cancun. This certification includes a license that will allow you to dive anywhere under the supervision of a dive expert with a maximum depth of 40 feet or 12 meters.

What Does Being Scuba Certified Mean?

If you’re scuba certified or already have certification, you have received the proper training to do the activity. It includes basic knowledge of the use of scuba diving gear, and you know the techniques essential to this activity. 

In Cancun, dive shops offer all types of certification, but the most common is the PADI Scuba Diving or Open Water Diver Certificate.

How Hard Is It to Get Your Scuba Certification?

As I mentioned, certification may seem daunting, but it’s straightforward. To get certified, you only need to complete basic-level training. Such training is usually included in the package for beginners.

If you want a PADI Open Water Certification, it can take around three days to one year to complete. It all depends on your preference and schedule. 

Almost every dive shop and school in Cancun offer various training options. Some of them even include a diving tour afterward. 

How Much Does It Cost to Get Scuba Certified in Cancun?

Cancun’s typical diving package (including scuba certification) costs around 250 to 310 USD. Once certified, you can use this license even if you’re scuba diving outside Cancun, as it’s known worldwide.

How Long Does Scuba Certification Last?

A scuba diving certificate has no expiration, meaning you’re certified for life once you receive such. However, if you haven’t dived for quite a while, it’s best to enroll in some refresher courses such as PADI ReActivate classes. 

What Do You Learn From a Scuba Diving Certification Training?

There are three main phases that you’ll learn if you undergo the certification training, such as a PADI Open Water Diver Certification.

Introductory Scuba Diving Knowledge and Principles

This step is essential since it will give you the basic principles of scuba diving. It’s usually done in a classroom setup where a diving instructor would give you the basics of scuba diving. 

Scuba Diving Skills

This step is usually done in the water, and here, you get to dive already. This phase takes place in a confined water environment for you to do some basic scuba diving skills and techniques.

Open Water Diving Skills

Once you’ve completed the basic knowledge and training, you need to do open water diving training, where you get to dive in the sea. This step usually involves going to a comfortable diving spot in Cancun so you can review your skills while you explore.

Can You Scuba Dive in Mexico Without Certification?

Since Cancun is a city in Mexico, you’ll need to abide by its rules regarding scuba diving. In addition, in this country, you’ll need certification to scuba dive; while it may sound complicated, it’s a simple process. 

To get a certification, you only need to complete basic level training, and this training already includes a diving activity to a certain depth. Almost all dive shops in Cancun offer this training and certification, and you can avail of it as a package with a diving tour.

What Happens if You Scuba Dive Without Certification?

In general, you won’t have to pay a fine, nor would you be in trouble for scuba diving without certification. However, it doesn’t mean that you should do so.

The only thing that makes the certification essential is ensuring your safety while diving. Without proper training and knowledge, scuba diving can be pretty dangerous. 

If something happens to you, the fault will either be on the diving company you booked or the dive shop that lent you the gear. For this reason, you won’t be allowed to rent gear or book a diving tour if you won’t avail yourself of scuba diving training and certification.

Scuba Diving in Cancun Without Any Certificate

As I mentioned, if you only want to try scuba diving and don’t find yourself doing it often, you can take a temporary diving certificate. 

This temporary certificate still requires you to learn the basics of scuba diving, including techniques and proper use of gear.

You can experience such for around 115 USD in Cancun, including 6 hours of experience, essential diving equipment, an instructor, and refreshments.

Related: Is Scuba Diving better in Cancun or Cozumel?

Such a package is not allowed for pregnant women who are 12-18 years old and need adult supervision. It’s also not allowed for people with respiratory problems.

When you have learned the basic diving skills, you’ll take a boat to the Manchones Gallery in Isla Mujeres’ southern part. 

You can marvel at the Caribbean Sea’s stunning clarity and the hundreds of incredible sculptures at a depth of 30 feet. Then, if you choose to take a second dive, you can see the Manchones reef.

A sea turtle sighting is extremely common in this unspoiled coral reef formation. A wide variety of vibrant fish finds refuge in them. 

You’ll also see how MUSA depicts a wide variety of animals, many of which were thought to be in danger of extinction at one point.


In a nutshell, a scuba diving certification is an essential requirement for everyone who wants to dive in Cancun and the rest of the world. The certification entails knowing the basics of scuba diving, proper gear use, and the necessary techniques. 

As always, you need to scuba dive under the supervision of a professional, and you can’t do scuba diving on your own, with or without certification. Now, if you still want to explore marine life in Cancun but in an easier way, you can try snorkeling. If you’re interested, read Is Snorkeling in Cancun Worth It?

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