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“Padi certification”
Review of XTC Dive Center

XTC Dive Center
Ranked #1 of 7 things to do in Xcalak
Certificate of Excellence
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Owner description: XTC Dive Center is located within the Xcalak Reef National Marine Park, a strictly protected region of the Meso-american Barrier Reef system. The area boasts some of the most breathtaking dive sites on the Yucatan peninsula and offers visitors an opportunity to enjoy the pristine marine environment without the crowds present in the more developed areas of the coast. XTC Dive Center is internationally known for our world-class customer service, top notch equipment and expert guides. We provide a seamless customer experience through careful planning, logistics and proprietary local knowledge. All of our standard trips and courses provide great value!
Reviewed 26 November 2013

I had done all my classroom, pool session in Minnesota-USA before taking my open water dives at XTC--I almost quit 3 times but AJ wouldn't let me--He and his student Beck were patient, understanding and helped me see that the anxiety I was experiencing was normal and they weren't going to let me quit. I so appreciate their patience and expertise--world class! I would recommend this dive center to anyone.
Sandy Vogel
Minneapolis, Minnesota-USA

Thank SVK1433
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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133 - 137 of 283 reviews

Reviewed 24 November 2013

AJ and Captain Jorge proved that they were great in a crisis situation but any other dive operation I've ever gone with would not have put us in the crisis situation in the 1st place. XTC says they go out everyday so I warn anyone who dives with them to be your own judge of the weather and the diving conditions. XTC is probably not going to call off a dive if the conditions are bad or the visibility is poor. We went diving with them one day during a rainy week with the expectations that they are the experts and would cancel the dive if the dive conditions were either dangerous or the visibily so poor it was not worth going in. On our 1st dive, the water was rough so we had to swim a fair distance on our backs to meet up with AJ. My husbands leg cramped during the swim so he aborted the dive before he submerged. [They charged him full price for the dive even though he didn't even submerge]. The dive site looked like it was probably wonderful on a sunny day, but on this day the visibility was poor with lots of particulate matter stirred up from the storms. Maybe 25 ft of grainy visibility at best. For the 2nd dive they took the boat to a dive site toward the northern part of the reef hoping for better visibility. The water was rough even on the "calm" side of the reef and the wind was picking up. I think they should have cancelled the dive at this point but they said it was fine. During our underwater swim through the small channel in the reef the surge picked up and we were getting bashed into the reef, then after about 10 minutes into the dive the visiblity went to about 5 feet max and divers were getting lost. AJ was great finding everyone and gathering everyone together so we could surface together immediately since we had almost zero visibility. Once on the surface the storm was raging with wind, rain and 10 to 12 foot waves. The boat was not there and evidently lost us when the storm hit. Everyone blew up their safety sausages so hopefully the boat could see us but the waves were much higher than the sausages. We swam on our backs to stay away from the reef and bobbed up and down in the waves for about 20 to 30 minutes before the boat found us. AJ was great keeping everyone together and keeping everyone calm and safe and helping me get back on the boat. Once on the boat, the danger was not over. Jorge was a terrific captain keeping the boat upright but we were almost swamped a couple of times. He could not visibly see the pass in the reef so relied on his GPS to find it. It took a couple of attempts to finally get through the pass because the waves and wind would throw the boat off course and we had to turn around and try again or we would have crashed on the reef. Finally Jorge found the sweet spot and it was like surfing in on a giant wave through the reef. AJ and Jorge did a fabulous job getting us back safely....my concern is this dive operation seems to operate in just about any weather conditions and their main concern seems to be making money not for the saftey, comfort or pleasure of the divers they take out. On good days, I'm sure people are thrilled with them, but beware of bad weather or low visibility days. Even after this near disaster, they charged us full price for the dives.

4  Thank Linda B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
JavierSalas, Propietario at XTC Dive Center, responded to this reviewResponded 5 December 2013

Dear Linda,

I was very sorry to read your account of your time diving with us. I wish you would have expressed your feelings while you were still in Xcalak so that we could have addressed your concerns then. At XTC we do our absolute best to exceed our client´s expectations while visiting Xcalak and conducting dives in challenging weather is sometimes part of that. If you read our reviews the overwhelming majority of our customers feel that we do in fact exceed their expectations in every way. We cater to divers of varying skill, experience and comfort levels that visit from all over the world and dive in many different conditions. For many of them, going diving in even less than ideal conditions is still a treat. Please know that making money is certainly not our main concern when deciding weather or not to call a dive; it´s our customers. We do cancel dives on a regular basis and would never think of running a trip if we thought the safety of our customers, staff and boats could be compromised.

Please receive our most sincere apologies because we were not able to determine that you and your husband should not have been diving off of our boat that day and for not having realized your diving experience with us had not been to your satisfaction. During the first dive AJ offered to descend with David and relieve his cramp, which David declined and chose to abort the dive. It is not industry practice to refund/discount dives that a diver decides to sit out, which they do for various reasons. Having said that, if you had asked for refund/discount we would have given it to you. Please get in touch with us with you PayPal account or bank account information and we will provide you a full refund. Again we would have been happy to address your concerns in Xcalak if you had brought them up then.

After that first dive AJ specifically asked David if he was keen on going on the second dive, making sure he understood the conditions were challenging. The second dive was conducted at La Poza, a site that must be entered through a narrow cut in the reef where it is particularly surgy. The boat stays moored on the inside of reef, reason why it wasn´t immediately there when you surfaced, not because it lost you. You were on the surface for exactly 8 minutes while the boat reached you. It is true the weather changed for the worse during your dive, however, like you say, our guides and captains are trained and experienced in keeping you safe.

Again thank you for your feedback.

Safe diving,

Javier Salas
Owner/Operator
XTC Dive Center

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Reviewed 24 November 2013

We spent 5 days diving with XTC in early November 2013 - it was a great experience overall - everyone we met there was friendly and helpful. Louis was our dive master/guide and we appreciated having the continuity of diving with him every day. Many good sites within a short boat ride from XTC. I hope we can return some day to see the renovations, which were well underway during our visit.

Sara and Cyrus
Everett, WA
USA

Thank Sara N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Jules P, General Manager at XTC Dive Center, responded to this reviewResponded 21 January 2014

The facilities at XTC Dive Center, Coral Bar and Grill and Flying Cloud Hotel have been given a major make over. The team do their best to ensure this doesn't affect services and we appreciate you taking the time to write us and let us know we did a good job.

Louis is a superstar! Seriously all our dive guides are great however we know as divers it's great to be able to build rapport with your guide and get into a dive rhythm with them so we try to ensure you are consistently with the same guide.

We look forward to your return!

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Reviewed 29 October 2013

My buddy, my wife and I had 4 days of delightful diving this month with AJ and his crew. The service was excellent and the variety of dive sites very good They couldn't have been more accommodating. We stayed at the Flying Cloud hotel on site which was very basic but clean and comfortable. The food was excellent and served with a smile. Xcalak itself is not much of a place, so don't expect a lot of options for food and accommodation.

Thank BillFitzpat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Jules P, General Manager at XTC Dive Center, responded to this reviewResponded 21 January 2014

Part of Xcalak charm is it's sheer remoteness. That means they are only a few restaurants in town however they aren't all open every day of the week! At XTC we have opened a small cafe to serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, catering to not only our dive clientele but everyone!

The hotel rooms are well looked after and have been road tested to ensure our guests have a comfortable stay. We are glad your group enjoyed your visit with us!

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Reviewed 17 October 2013

Wandered into Xcalac on a day trip and stumbled on XTC. They accommodated us on zero notice! The friendly staff and crew were multinational, mostly European and Australian, and multilingual. We had just had several days of torrential rain, so I didn't expect good visibility, but the site they selected was great. Monster tarpon and plenty else to see. Their shop had plentiful dressing rooms, restrooms and showers. I would definitely go back, this time for a few days.

Thank chrisbur
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Jules P, General Manager at XTC Dive Center, responded to this reviewResponded 21 January 2014

We are lucky to have such an array of sites that normally we are never left without somewhere to go! Often when the weather is looking pretty bad you come back from La Poza having swam with 100 tarpons (who we think go there to 'hide' during the rougher weather).

XTC aims to have comfortable and clean facilities. We are glad that you were pleasantly surprised by the amenities on offer.

The more notice you can give us, the better we can be prepared but we also try to have a boat, a captain and a DM on stand by, just in case we have a passer by!

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