The Yucatán Trail – 2016
|Expedition Dates:||July 1, 2016 - July 18, 2016|
After a succesful trip in 2015, DPG is excited to announce our return trip through Mexico’s culturally rich and biodiverse Yucatán region. The “Yucatán Trail” expedition will introduce a small group of six underwater photographers to three unique underwater experiences that can only be found here. While the full program is recommended, this year we offering each part separately as well.
We will start out in the beautiful beach town of Tulum, where we will explore the famous cenotes revered as sacred by the ancient Mayans. We will then head south towards the Belize border to Xcalak and the Chinchorro Biosphere Reserve. Here, we will have the rare opportunity to safely photograph crocodiles, as well as the schooling tarpon, manatees, and the preserved reefs in the reserve. We will then head back up north to witness one of the most impressive natural phenomena on Earth—the gathering of hundreds of whale sharks in the clear blue waters off Isla Mujeres.
THE YUCATÁN TRAIL – DETAILS
Trip Leader: DPG Editor-in-Chief Matt Weiss / Professional Underwater Photographer Keri Wilk
THE YUCATÁN TRAIL – PROGRAM
Part 1: Cenotes
In these sacred sinkholes of Mayan mythology, underwater photographers will find endless subjects worthy of worship. Nestled amidst the Yucatán's jungles and out of sight of the ocean, a truly dramatic light show unfolds each day in these unassuming cenotes, making for breathtaking underwater photography. We will have the opportunity to shoot the spectacular scenery and lighting in the most photogenic cenotes. Highlights include ancient stalagmites, underwater lily pad fields, and, of course, the light shows.
Part 2: Crocodiles, Manatees, Tarpon and Reefs
Banco Chinchorro, located near the Mexico–Belize border, is the largest and oldest reef in the Northern Hemisphere and a candidate for UNESCO World Heritage designation. The area’s pristine reefs make it one of the best places for diving in Caribbean Mexico, but it is also one of the premier places to photograph American crocodiles. The experienced team from XTC Dive Center will give us the opportunity to have safe, close encounters with these magical reptiles. We will have three days, weather depending, in the water with them.
Xcalak is a remote, sleepy fishing village on the beach that remains virtually untouched by development and tourism. The southernmost town in Mexico, it’s located at the center of the Great Maya Reef, the second-largest barrier reef in the world. We will have two-and-a-half days of diving at these unspoiled reefs, with the opportunity to photograph pristine coral, schools of tarpon, and—if we're lucky—manatees.
Part 3: Whale Sharks
During the months of June through September, Isla Mujeres is home to one of the most amazing events in nature—the largest known whale shark aggregation in the world. Hundreds of whale sharks, the world's largest fish, gather to feed on tiny clear fish eggs on the surface of the Caribbean Sea. These gentle giants, which can reach over 40 feet in length, are filter feeders, and can be easily approached in the clear blue waters of Isla Mujeres. This is almost certainly the best opportunity in the world to photograph one of the ocean’s most amazing animals—and in numbers that must be seen to be believed.
THE YUCATÁN TRAIL – ITINERARY
Day 1: Arrive in Cancún, Mexico. Travel to Akumal
Day 2: 2x cenotes dives after breakfast
Day 3: 2x cenote dives after breakfast
Day 4: 2x cenote dives after breakfast
Day 5: 2x cenote dives and then travel to Xcalak (cameras can stay assembled)
Day 6: 3x local dives in Xcalak National Marine Park
Day 7: Crocodile encounter
Day 8: Crocodile encounter
Day 9: Crocodile encounter
Day 10: 3x local dives in Xcalak National Marine Park
Day 11: 2x local dives in Xcalak National Marine Park. Transfer to Isla Mujeres (cameras can stay assembled)
Day 12: Whale shark experience – private boat
Day 13: Whale shark experience – private boat
Day 14: Whale shark experience – private boat
Day 15: Whale shark experience – private boat
Day 16: Transfer back to Cancún
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