Under the surface of the Yucatan peninsula extends the longest underwater cave system in the world. In many places, the ceiling of earth and cave gives access to the whole free cave systems.
These openings are the cenotes.
The word “cenote” is derived from the Mayan word “T’z oo not” for “sacred well.” In the Mayan mythology this “sacred well” represented the entrance to a parallel underworld full of gods, spirits and demons.
The most accessible region of the cenotes is the cavern area; we dive this with you. A cavern is defined as a day-lit area and the maximum depth from the surface must not exceed 60m. Cave diving, on the other hand, occurs in total darkness and at a larger distance from the surface; this type of diving is only allowed with specialized cave training and cave equipment.
The cavern areas are usually very open, wide spaces with crystal clear water and permanent guidelines. Prerequisite for cavern diving in the cenotes is a dive-basic certificate as PADI or SSI Open Water Diver, CMAS* or equivalent.
Beautiful rock formations, fossils, amazing stalactite and stalagmite formations and spectacular rock columns decorate these caves. Light penetrates and filters through rock columns for truly spellbinding effects.
This is a unique and extraordinary diving experience you should not miss!
Scuba diving in the Cenotes
The diving in the cenotes is something very special. The Yucatan peninsula is famous for this wide cross-linked, underground river system, and each year thousands of divers come to Mexico just to have this experience.
Hundreds of kilometers extend along the coast. Mystical places of a bygone culture. The cenotes.
To get there, we take the pick-up truck directly into the jungle. We provide equipment, tanks, weights, snacks and drinks. Having arrived at the cenote we consider the local conditions, and provide a detailed briefing about the safety regulations and the dives. Then we prepare the equipment and start for the first dive; there are usually two. Between dives we offer a snack with cold, non-alcoholic beverages. After the second dive, we have lunch.
What makes the cavern diving in the cenotes something special?
The crystal clear water gives you a feeling of floating in the middle of an underground room. The light has a laser intensity and the ancient formations are breathtaking. A must for every diver.
The Kin Ha cenotes are located on the Ruta de Cenotes between Puerto Morelos and Valladolid. After about 20km, a 6 km gravel slope leads to the entrance of the cenote. On site there are 3 cenotes. Actually, the term sinkhole is more appropriate, since none of the cenotes is connected to the underground network system. The main building at the Cenote Kin Ha offers parking, toilets, changing facilities and a snack bar. The Cenote Kin Ha is a huge Air dome with a wooden platform. Maximum diving depth here is 40m along the cavern wall. Rare bell formations decorate the walls at about 30m depth. The Cenote Holbox is similar to Cenote Kin Ha. This is an adventurous dive and the air dome is several times smaller. Underwater can also be found here at 30m the rare bell formations. The highlight is the Cenote Zapote. This cenote is open at the top and possesses an hourglass profile. The entry-level range narrows steadily up to a diameter of about 5m to 20m depth. The space then opens and the ceiling and walls are decorated with incredibly large bells, formations in swaths of hydrogen sulfide. All three are absolutely unforgettable dives and only recommended for experienced divers.
Chac Mool is one of the most popular cenotes for cavern divers. Chac Mool is located just outside of Puerto Aventuras on the highway 307 from Playa del Carmen to Tulum. A well-developed gravel slope leads us to the large parking lot of the cenote. On site there are 3 cenotes with 2 separate leader lines and completely different diving experiences. The first dive moves through the Cenote Kukulkan. A large pool with huge daylight area and boulders that separate the forward part from the rear. The dive takes you along the daylight area with its curtains of light and then through halocline and numerous fossils, coral and shells. In the ceiling area, there are several beautifully decorated openings. The second dive starts in the Cenote Little Brother and leads to the Cenote Chac Mool. Again, the huge daylight range here is enchanting. The left side of the cenote offers large, decorated parts, some of which have broken and fallen, adding to the interesting ground topography. The cavern line goes through these impressive formations to an air dome with individual roots and stunning decorations. Both dives have a maximum depth of15m, the halocline at about 12m and, due to the spacious overhead areas, perfect for the first and second dive in a cenote.
Chikin Ha is located about 23km south of Playa del Carmen on the highway 307 from Playa del Carmen to Tulum. Toilets, changing facilities, parking and tables for the equipment are available. Chikin Ha has two leader lines connecting the Cenote Chikin Ha through a large tunnel to the Rainbow Cenote. In addition to the halocline and the great light effects, there are numerous shells, fossils and corals inclusions on the walls and the ceiling. The maximum diving depth is 15m and the halocline is found at about 12m. Chikin Ha is the perfect for a first cenote dive.
Ponderosa (El Eden)
Ponderosa is located about 26km south on highway 307 between Playa del Carmen and Tulum. Parking, toilets, changing rooms and tables for the equipment are available. Ponderosa has a very large open area with lots of fish and turtles. The dive is fascinating and leads from the Cenote Ponderosa Cenote Corral and continues along mangroves with different colorations of the water and a curtain of sunlight along the daylight range. There are shells, fossils and corals inclusions on the cavern walls. The maximum diving depth is 15m and at 12m you meet a strong halocline.
Taj Maha is located about 25km south of the highway 307 between Playa del Carmen and Tulum. After driving leads a 2km country gravel slope to the entrance of the cenote. Parking, toilets, changing rooms and tables for the equipment are available. The dive has a sawtooth profile and is one of the most diverse in the whole Riviera Maya. Three different light shows in three different cenotes. Halocline, fossils, shells and a beautifully decorated air dome are the highlights. Taj Maha is not recommended for divers with ear problems.
Dos Ojos is one of the most popular cenotes in the Riviera Maya. There are parking, changing facilities, tables for equipment, showers and a professional underwater photographer on site. Two independent and different caverns tunnel through beautiful formations in the underwater maze of this cenote. Dos Ojos are two, consisting of a large tunnel, interconnected cenotes, very open and the system has large daylight areas with plenty of space. One of the highlights is the famous Bat Cave with beautiful formations and countless bats in between. Because of the vaulted ceiling, this cenote is an ideal first or second cenote dive.
The Pit is the deepest cenote in the Riviera Maya with a depth of more than 100m. The entrance is located almost at the end of the gravel road of Dos Ojos. Toilets, tables for equipment and parking are available. The Pit is one of the most spectacular dives with a maximum depth of 40m. Exemplary laser light beams extend to the hydrogen sulfide cloud at a depth of 30m and transform the Cenote into a light theater. Under the vaulted ceiling hang gigantic stalactites. The Pit is only recommended for experienced divers.
Pet Cemetery is at the end of the gravel slope of Dos Ojos and The Pit. Parking, toilets, changing rooms and tables for equipment are available. Pet Cemetery is richly decorated with amazing stalactites and stalagmites in bright colors and has a maximum depth of 6m. The cavern is the longest with almost 800m to travel and it leads to a huge air dome around. In some places, there are fossilized parts of animal skeletons. Pet Cemetery is only recommended for experienced divers.
Dream Gate is located 2km south of Dos Ojos on Highway 307 between Playa del Carmen and Tulum. A long, rough gravel road leads to the entrance of the cenote. Parking, toilets and tables for equipment are available. And truly, Dream Gate is a dream of a cenote. The walls and ceiling are richly decorated with thousands, sometimes very delicate and fragile formations. There are two independent guide lines and the maximum dive depth is 6 m. Dream Gate is only recommended for experienced divers.
Casa Cenote is well signposted and is located a little off the highway 307 on the ocean side. The cenote connects via a tunnel to the sea and, at first, appears similar to a lagoon. There are a few parking spaces and no tables for the equipment. The dive is very different from the other cenotes. It leads through mangroves and blue crabs, young barracuda, tarpon and many other sea creatures hide in the root of the thicket. The maximum diving depth is 8m with a ubiquitous halocline. Casa Cenote is a great dive site for all divers.
Calavera (Temple of Doom)
The Cenote Calavera is located about 2km west on the highway between Tulum and Coba 109. Calavera, like Grand Cenote, is part of the second longest underwater cave system in the world, Sac Aktun. A wooden ladder in an opening of about 5m diameter results in a large underlying chamber. From here the dive goes in a wide arc around the ceiling indentation and leads around. The maximum diving depth is 15m and at 12m one encounters the halocline. The special features of this cenote are the formations along the cavern wall, strongly reminiscent of sculptures in a modern art museum. In the summer, algae form on the water surface and infuse the daylight with a neon green light.
Grand Cenote is located about 4km west on Route 109 between Tulum and Coba and is part of the second longest underwater cave system in the world, Sac Aktun. On site there are toilets, changing rooms and lots of tables for equipment. The caverns lead with small zigzags to the daylight range of the cenote. Grand Cenote is an underwater fairy world with beautiful, bright formations along the ceiling and the walls. Curtains of light and dancing laser beams are present throughout the entire dive and make it an unforgettable experience.
Aktun Ha (Carwash)
Aktun Ha is located about 8km west on Route 109 between Tulum and Coba. Previously, the taxi drivers have washed their cars here and, therefore, the name Carwash. The cenote has toilets and tables for equipment. Aktun Ha, like a small lake, does not have a guideline is strongly reminiscent of an amphitheater. It is a special diving experience in the summer months, when the water surface is covered with algae that color the water almost neon green. The cavern area is beautifully decorated and the opening is framed by the formations with the neon green background, wonderful opportunities for photography.
Cenote Angelita is located just before Muyil on the highway 307 Tulum to Chetumal. There are toilets, changing facilities and tables for equipment. Angelita is a sinkhole with no connection to other cenotes and has a maximum depth of 56m. This depth makes the water appear slightly greenish and it lacks all the references when loading or descending. Beneath the surface, the cenote widens from the bottleneck profile. At a depth of 25m, a gravel island is surrounded by tree remains from an intense hydrogen sulfide cloud. Maximum diving depth is 40m and therefore the dive is only recommended for advanced divers.
|Playa del Carmen||79 USD||➤ Half day 2 tank diving trip to the local reefs at the morning and at noon.|
|Night diving||79 USD||➤ 1 tank diving trip to a local reef at the evening.|
|Cozumel||105 USD||➤ Full day 2 tank diving trip at the reefs of Cozumel.|
|Diving with bull sharks||84 USD||➤ Dive trip with one dive at the bull shark point in the morning or the afternoon.|
|Diving in the Cenotes|
|ZONE 1||119 USD||➤ Half day 2 tank diving trip to a Cenotes of ZONE 1.|
|ZONE 2||139 USD||➤ Half day 2 tank diving trip to a Cenotes of each ZONE 1 and ZONE 2.|
|ZONE 3||159 USD||➤ Half day 2 tank diving trip to a Cenotes of each ZONE 3 and ZONE 1 or 2.|
|ZONE 4||179 USD||➤ Half day 2 tank diving trip to at least one Cenotes of the ZONE 4.|
|Full equipment||20 USD||➤ Full diving equipment including diving computer.|
|Partial Equipment||5 USD||➤ Each part of the equipment (mask and fins, bcd, suit, regulator, computer).|
- Cenoten ZONE 1: Chac Mool, Chikin Ha
- Cenoten ZONE 2: Eden, Taj Maha, Dreamsgate, Tak be Ha, Casa Cenote, Calavera, Grand Cenote, Carwash
- Cenoten ZONE 3: Dos Ojos, Angelita, Tak be Loom
- Cenoten ZONE 4: The Pit, Kin Ha, Zapote
There is the possibility of combining cenotes for 3 dives.
- All prices are in US Dollar and subject to change without notice.