Mexican cave diving in the famous Yucatan



Looking for some challenging adventure in the waters of Mexico? Then, it is none other than cave diving – the most dangerous and exciting on Earth! Mexican cave diving is just matchless because of its opportunity to see its indigenous marine species that are not found anywhere else on the planet. Considered one of the world’s best experiences, the diving here is of two types namely, the cave diving and cavern diving, which also are the unique types of cenote diving. A cenote refers to a fresh water body linked to the underwater caverns as well as other cenotes. A round hole in ground is a standard cenote seen all across Mexico. Now, a cavern diving refers to dive near to the cave entrance and being under the sunlight; while a cave diving involves swimming in the cave where there is no sunlight. So, Mexican cave diving involves one of the most dangerous diving experiences in form of cave diving.

Originally, the Yucatan peninsula was submerged. Today, all ground water goes via the porous limestone and meets underground rivers to meet the sea. So, there are no rivers seen above. With passing of time, a few limestone fragments became fragile making them to crumble forming sinkholes of water, which is now called a cenote. At the time of ice age, sections of submerged rivers dried leaving mineral deposits behind to form wonderful decorations in form of stalactites and stalagmites. As these areas are dangerous to travel, it is only the dedicatedly trained cave divers who are allowed to enter these cave complexes via the entrances of cenotes. For making the truly Mexican cave diving a bit straightforward, most of the open cenotes to public boasts a fixed serving line as a reference. A complete Mexican cave diving can be learnt in a week involving at least 14 cave dives.

Overall, there is no other place on Earth, which holds the underwater caves as many as the Yucatan, especially its celebrated coastal area of Riviera Maya expanding from just Tulum to south of Playa del Carmen. Although the entire Yucatan is known for its breathtaking formations and unbelievable clarity of water, Mayan Riviera is the most preferred for its more than 100 different cave gateways and endless passageways of which a majority are extraordinarily beautiful. In this area, the caves are comparatively shallower, which acts as one more encouraging factor of Mexican cave diving. You can also plan to visit Akumal for cave and cavern diving that opens a new world of the sea to those awaiting divers who have managed to take a risk. Listed below are some cenotes open for a real Mexican cave driving experience.

  • Chac Mool:
    Nestled at 22 km from Playa Del Carmen across Puerto Adventuras, this is the home of two cenotes offering wonderful forest vistas in the cavern. Expect a restaurant as well as bathrooms here.
  • Ponderosa (El Eden):
    This is at 3 km from Puerto Aventuras, which is incredibly extraordinary! Just walk for some time to be at the Coral Cenote holding a big island in the middle. You can swim and snorkel very well – thanks to its unlimited visibility making you to view eels, fish, and turtles along with the others for $5.
  • Chikin Ha:
    This is also very near to Puerto Aventuras accessible down the bumpy road. This path via the forest leads one to more cenotes of which one is dry, holds many fossils, and is big. You can swim here via a tunnel to be at the submerged air chamber.

  • Kantun Chi:
    This is accessible from the above cenote and offers four half dome cenotes with jungle trails. The cenotes are called Uchil Ha, Kantun Chi, Zazil Ha, and Zaskaleen of which one is remotest offering an old Mayan temple. There are good facilities here such as restaurant, zoo, horseback riding, and rentals. Avoid swimming, but go for snorkeling for an entry of $10.
  • Azul:
    Accessible from the above and located near the highway, this is in very light setting of a forest offering comparatively more sunlight and open air. There is only a snack bar here and the fee is 30 pesos.
  • Taj Mahal:
    Reachable from Playa Del Carmen as well as the nearest Puerto Aventuras, this is the site of four linked cenotes, a restaurant, and bathrooms. With 40 pesos, this one is best for the advanced snorkelers who have to swim 5 m under a submerged rock wall for entering a big open cave of shining light.
  • Dos Ojos (Hidden Worlds):
    Accessible from Xel-Ha, this belongs to the Nohoch Nah Chich cave complex offering superb snorkeling amidst stalagtites & stalagmites for $10 and $25 to 40 for a tour.
  • Temple of Doom (Skull):
    This is easily accessible from Tulum and is quite rocky jungle that is not marked well. Well shaded by jungle, there are three holes forming a skull shape giving the site its name. However, it is best site for swimming via rope and ladder.
  • Gran (White Water):
    This is among the famous sites located at 5 km from Tulum where ladder takes one to the crescent cenote holding small openings as well as passages. Meant for all ages, snorkeling is just great here within its shallow and deep waters for 50 pesos.
  • Cristal (Naharon):
    On the same road from Tulum to Coba, this is best for both swimming as well as snorkeling
  • Escondido (Mayan Blue):
    Nestled across the above one, this is serene, clear, remote and beautiful Tarzan style cenote famous for swimming and snorkeling.

Tip:
Look for the cenotes in the Steve Gerrard’s book, but a guide is needed for sure.

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