Because you’ve done it in the sea many times, nothing is stopping you from doing it in a cave — so try cavern diving in Riviera Maya!
If you’re a certified diver vacationing in the Mexican Caribbean, you must already know about the area’s underground freshwater system. The entire Yucatan Peninsula is connected through a network of subterranean rivers and sinkholes called cenotes.
Yet, nothing you’ve watched or learned about cave diving compares to actually living it. So get ready to meet the places that offer the best cavern diving in Riviera Maya.
Visualize Yourself Diving in Dos Ojos
First of all, certified divers from all over the world have made Dos Ojos the most popular cenote in Riviera Maya. And there’s good reason for this.
Dos Ojos is part of a 51-mile flooded cave system in the Tulum area. Its name translates to ‘Two Eyes’ because divers experience two circular-shaped cenotes in one outing.
A magnificent diving experience awaits at Dos Ojos, whose clear waters reach depths of about 30 feet. Divers have plenty of space to dive freely, while enormous stalactites and stalagmites surround them above and below.
Additionally, when you’re swimming in majestic Dos Ojos, you’ll explore parts where the sunlight radiates into the water, creating even more amazing sights. Rather than attempt to describe it with words, it’s better if you submerge into these deep, sacred waters to experience them yourself!
Radiate and Marvel at Tajma Ha Cenote
Another rightfully popular place to try cavern diving in Riviera Maya is Tajma Ha. This cenote is in the halfway point between Playa del Carmen and Tulum.
Jump in and feel the cool, crystalline waters take you to maximum depths of 40 feet. When you dive, observe phenomenal fossils in the walls and ceilings of this impressive cavern.
Because of the sun’s varying position throughout the year, Tajma Ha divers can witness a special light show. The sunbeams pierce through the cave and into the water in a magnificent manner. Most noteworthy, the cavern’s halocline tunnels will lead you to discover many more impressive rock formations. This cenote is a must.
Enter the Underworld of Chikin Ha
Also halfway between Playa del Carmen and Tulum is Chikin Ha, Mayan for ‘Water of the West.’ Another geological marvel in the jungle, this cenote is part of an underground river called Ponderosa, which measures about 9 miles long.
In addition, you’ll find X’tabay and Ta’ak Bil-Ha cenotes next to Chikin Ha. These triplets form one incredible system where you can try cavern diving in Riviera Maya on one of its many perfect days.
Come into this awe-inspiring cenote from two entry points right in the middle of the jungle. Feel the cool water as the rays of sunlight puncture the surface. They’ll be your guides into Xibalba, the Maya underworld.
The Maya believed these caverns were sacred wells that allowed them to communicate with their deities. Consequently, you just might have a heavenly experience during your dive. With depths ranging from 6 to 50 feet, Chikin Ha will offer all sorts of sights, from rock formations to jungle vegetation to natural light shows.
More Places to Try Cavern Diving in Riviera Maya
As a result of the demand for cave diving experiences, many Riviera Maya cenotes are open to accommodate divers, snorkelers and swimmers alike. And though the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System and its coastal waters continue to attract divers, we know the caverns are still calling you.
So here are a few more cenotes you can dive into during your Riviera Maya vacation.
This ‘Grand Cenote,’ as its name in Spanish suggests, is about 1 mile from Tulum, on the south end of Riviera Maya. Gran Cenote offers cavern diving in a natural rock arch along the cenote.
You’ll dive in fresh water with high clarity and a maximum depth of less than 30 feet. Enormous geological formations will wow you as you’re submerged in this sacred well.
Jardin del Eden
Yet another option for incredible diving would be Jardin del Eden. About 25 minutes away from Playa del Carmen, this cenote does resemble the ‘Garden of Eden,’ per its Spanish name.
At Jardin del Eden, you can enjoy scuba diving plus simpler activities such as snorkeling, swimming, or merely lounging. You’ll have an amazing experience when you see the sun penetrating the water with all its intensity, causing an incredible light effect. The maximum depth for this area is 50 feet.
Furthermore, countless other cenotes in the area are waiting for incredible diving adventures. And, of course, the possibilities for ocean diving are limitless if you’d like to return to salt water.
Whatever you decide, feel free to contact us to arrange your private diving tour. We’ll be happy to help you try cavern diving in Riviera Maya, or any other activity that makes the Mexican Caribbean a paradise for divers.
—This post was originally published March 19, 2015.