Diving and Snorkeling Manchones 2, Isla Mujeres
Updated: Aug 8
The thoughtfully named Manchones 2 is the little sister of Manchones 1 and is located just off the coast of Isla Mujeres. It is a shallow reef that is ideal for snorkeling and all levels of diving and is filled to the brim with things to do and see.
Manchones 2 is set to the Cancun side of Manchones 1, within the Manchones National Park. The name derives from the word Mancha (stains in English) and this is how the reef appears in the water when viewed from above. This reef section is more elongated than the wider Manchones 1 and is best viewed by navigating in a zigzag pattern.
This site is set at a very shallow 9-10 meters/ 30-33 feet and has the beautiful Caribbean white sand at its feet. Ideal for bringing out the photographer in us, there are countless willing subjects here. The typical Manchones properties apply on this reef; little to no current, good sunlight penetration, incredible visibility, and coarse white sand. Because of these properties so much can be achieved on this reef in terms of instruction and education, be it specialties, continuing education, or completing your first training dives (although your very first dive will be completed on the more forgiving and less fragile, MUSA).
The continuous issue of mooring buoys that are used to mark areas within the Manchones Reef means that discussing these entry points will be of no value as these buoys are continuously ripped off by larger boats and are not always replaced in the same areas.
There is, however, a main starting point for this dive. The starting point is a large reef outcrop, especially notable for the existence of some obvious coral plantations that at first can be mistaken for a strategically placed large brick on the Eastern side.
Most divers and snorkelers tend to head North from here but a little to the South is another huge reef outcrop that abounds in marine life, fondly known locally as The Cosmic Rock.
From the main starting point, divers need to deviate a little from the standard 330° heading. A heading dictated by the direction of thousands of years of water movement off the coast of Isla Mujeres that created the formation and direction of the reefs. From the starting point, heading North, the jump from the first reef section to the next is at 270° and from there on it is a steady 330° for the rest of the reef. The fun in this dive, however, lies in diving in the zig-zag pattern mentioned earlier and just exploring. There are swim-throughs, many outcroppings big and small, and so much diversity.
This reef tends to have more encounters with pelagic marine life than Manchones 1 so encounters with Turtles, Rays, and Nurse Sharks can be more common. The reef is surrounded by massive schools of Yellowtail Snappers. Sergeant Majors are always close to the boat to benefit from the unfortunate seasick on board. Blue Tangs roam the reef in their continuously moving schools. The wonderful grazer of the reef, the Parrotfish are a much welcome guest, and Trunkfish, Cowfish, Eels, Butterfly, and Angelfish are but to name a few of the neighborhood residents.
Entry to the National Park is by the purchase of a bracelet. This generally is included in the tour costs but this depends on the company. To ensure the safety and enjoyment of the visitors to the area, all guides must be legal and certified by Semarnat. This helps control misuse of the reef and the knowledge of the guides
As with all dives within the park, dive time is limited to 45 minutes and not determined by the air in your tank. Diving your tank can mean that a diver may stay for up to 219 minutes under the water (air supply allowing). To control this possible congestion of divers and boats upon the reef, Semarnat has restricted dive times. This helps not only the movement of divers and boats on the reef to ensure that everyone has their fair share, but utmost, it is also a benefit to the reef to alleviate it from accumulated diver stress. So do not be surprised if you finish the dive with a good half a tank of air.
Good dive practices encourage you to do a safety stop at the end of every dive but when diving at 10 meters/ 33 feet, there is no required safety stop so do not be surprised if your guide does not brief the need for one.
All in all, Manchones 2 is a beautiful place for snorkelers and divers. A peaceful journey away from our loud, chaotic world above the surface.
9 meters / 30 feet
Divers - Entry Level, Beginners, and all levels of certified divers
Average Visibility Underwater
20-30 mt / 66-99 feet
Average Water Temp
28 C°/ 82F°
45 min (Parque Nacional Regulations)