A native of Columbus, Ohio, Matt Scantland is a health-tech entrepreneur who splits his time between the U.S. and the Riviera Maya, where he’s nurtured his passion for cave diving. Rosewood Mayakoba is proud to support Matt, whose work exploring the vast underwater cave systems of Mayakoba has unearthed an entirely new world and underscored the importance of protecting this fragile environment.
Photos courtesy of SJ Alice Bennett
Matt discovered cave diving more than 10 years ago and first came to the Riviera Maya in 2012, immediately falling in love with the area, which has the most extensive underwater caves in the world. In 2020, he bought a home at Rosewood Mayakoba, where he now spends several months a year with his wife and family, and leads the Cenotes of Mayakoba Project, an effort to discover and document the area’s underwater caves so that more people can understand the importance of protecting these special places.
Everyone should see El Burrodromo, one of the cenotes located right on property. You can access it directly by taking a walk on the nature trail. It’s a “closed cenote,” which means there’s a dry cave you can enter, as well as the more extensive water-filled section which is off-limits but spans across the property. You can see bats and stalactites hanging from the ceiling, still forming in as water drips down from the cave ceiling.
The Sian Ka’an Biosphere is about a two-hour drive from Rosewood Mayakoba, followed by a boat ride, so plan to take a full day. The biosphere is enormous, and you can see an array of wild birds, protected fish and marine life like dolphins, manatees, crocodiles, and sharks, all populating an undeveloped, marine lagoon environment. You will also find a small Mayan ruin emerging from the water. Have Rosewood arrange for a tour by boat, or for experienced fly fishers, local guides can support catch-and-release fly fishing in one of the few places holding bonefish, tarpon, snook, and permit in one healthy fishery.
In the evenings, the lagoons come alive with life, and a boat tour or just watching from a dock in the early evening should not be missed. The birds roosting, the fish jumping, and even the mosquitoes who come out for about two minutes create a great symphony of nature getting ready for bedtime.
Watching a whale shark glide past you in its natural environment is a powerful, even spiritual experience. Go in the summer, when the ocean is calmer. People that are comfortable snorkeling will have the best experience and will likely also see the huge rays that accompany the whale sharks, which are the largest fish on this planet. Rosewood can arrange the trip to Puerto Morelos, a short drive north of the property.
The Chef’s Garden Dinner at La Ceiba, in the property’s garden, is a wonderful way to get to know other guests as well as the staff. And of course, the food is always incredible too. For a quicker bite, the TJ Tacos at the beachfront food truck Aquí Me Quedo are my favorite.
We love yoga with Tania at the spa—either in the palapa or at the spa cenote. During this practice, we allow ourselves to relax, connect with nature and practice mindfulness for a few minutes.
The reefs in Cozumel are among the best in the Caribbean, making this an excellent spot for ocean diving. You will see incredible coral formations, and significant numbers of fish, sharks, and eagle rays set against water that can be strikingly blue, frequently with great visibility owing to the currents that make this mostly a destination for drift-diving from boats.
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