Scuba Diving Cenotes
The largest underground river system in the world, the “d’zenots” in Maya, “cenotes” in Spanish, is the main attraction for scuba divers visiting the Yucatan Peninsula.
Centuries ago, rain water on its way to the Caribbean Sea formed cavities in the limestone of the Yucatan Peninsula by hollowing out caves, creating fantastic formations. When parts of the caves grew too large, their ceiling collapsed and cenotes and sinkholes were formed.
The cenotes, which are distributed in the jungle like pearls, are the doors to an incredible underwater world, providing the best cave and cavern diving imaginable. With water as clear as air the visibility is unbelievable as the diver glides through a color-filled fantasy world. The gentle current and mild water temperature (about 75º F / 24º C) create a perfect underwater environment for divers of all experience levels which offers endless opportunities for spectacular underwater photography.
Unlike cave diving, which demands advanced technical training and highly specialized gear, cavern diving requires only an Open Water certification. Guided by an experienced cave diver, you will venture up to 180′ / 60 meters into the caverns staying within sight of daylight.
Cenotes Dos Ojos – are probably the world’s best cavern dives. The name Dos Ojos means two eyes and refers to two neighboring cenotes which connect into a very large cavern zone shared betwen the two. These two cenotes appear like two large eyes into the underground. The original cave diving exploration of the whole cave system began through these cenotes.The Pit – is an amazing sinkhole inside the deep jungle, an upstream branch of the Sistema Dos Ojos. The Pit is with 391 ft/119 m the deepest cenote in the State of Quintana Roo. This dive will be for sure an unforgettable adventure in your life!
Pet Cemetery – is a very beautiful cenote deep inside the jungle which is accessed via the Dos Ojos cenotes entrance from where it will take about a 20 minutes drive over a rough trail. It got its name due to the various animal skeletons found in the cenote one of which are the fossilized remains of an extinct prehistoric camel.Dream Gate – This untouched cavern offers a combination of two magnificent dives – Deamgate Upstream and Dreamgate Downstream. You will enjoy the amazing sensation of flying between very fine stalactites and columns.
Cenote Tankah, also known as Casa Cenote (for the restaurant located nearby) or Cenote Manati (for the manatees which frequently used to swim in its waters) – is located in the middle of a mangrove field, giving the diver the feeling of diving underneath the jungle. Cenote Tankah connects one of the longest underwater cave system, Nohoch Na Chich, with the ocean. Due to the connection with the ocean, both fresh and saltwater fish live here.
Chac Mool & Kukulcan – Popular combination of two dives for any level of divers. Usually we start with the Kukulcan line to enjoy the breathtaking curtain of light, just visible in the morning. Fantastic place for underwater pictures. A strong halocline will give the divers the feeling of diving in jelly. The second dive is performed visiting two cenotes including the fantastic dome with its gigantic collapses and hundreds of stalactites.
Ponderosa (Garden of Eden) – A spectacular pond with crystal clear water full of life is the entrance to this awesome cavern. A thick halocline and fantastic light effects give the diver the feeling of being in another planet. The variation of temperature between the fresh and salt water is surprising. Nice in the morning and in the afternoon.
Tajma Ha – One of the best cavern dives in a very quiet place. This cavern offers the diver all of the main features of this kind of diving: sharp halocline, light effects (thin beams like lasers during summer time, refraction, reflection…), beautiful fossils, typical limestone halls, colapses, tannic acid, speleotherms… four cenotes in one dive. The up and down profile is a little bit aggressive for novice divers and people with sensitive ears.
Temple of Doom – Also named Calavera, wich means skull, because the three holes on the roof gives the impression of being inside a skull. This place has an amazing halocline and the diver will feel a little variation of temperature between the fresh and salt water.
Grand Cenote – This place is the heart of the huge system known as Sac Aktun (the second longest underwater cave system in the world with over 215 km mapped passages) which means “White Cave.” It is an ample collapse that allow the diver to enjoy a large area with natural light. As the name says it, all formations are white and it feels like being in a marble palace.
Angelita – is difficult to describe…you have to dive and experience it by yourself! It is different from other cenote dives because you dive only in the open water area. The specialty of this sinkhole is a thick layer of hydrogen sulfide at around 100 ft/30 m which formed through rotten vegetation and which separates the fresh water from salt water below. Out of this opaque artificial seeming surface rises the top of the collapsed cave ceiling, like a half moon shaped island with trees on it.
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