Cenote diving in Mexico has a unique tradition. It is believed that these cenotes were sacred to the ancient Maya population. Today, they are a local and international attraction for divers of all skill levels. But what are cenotes? Made from underwater rock formations made from limestone rock which collapsed a long time ago, cenotes are actual crates, visible from the surface.
Such formations exist in other regions of the world. However, Mexico has the highest number of cenotes, making it the number one destination in the world for this unique type of diving. Unlike cave diving, cenote diving has its unique characteristics. For example, the water is crystal clear and divers can admire the whole beauty of the rock formations.
Many think that cenote diving is a closed-off activity. Others think that it is mainly open to the most experienced divers. In reality, there are many tour operators offering such impressive experiences. They are those who gather divers from all around the world to see the best Mexico has to offer. A typical trip includes 2 cenote dives, which is a plus since all locations have unique characteristics. Mexico has many cenotes to offer, however, the following locations are popular among the locals and visitors.
1. Cenotes Dos Ojos
Close to Tulum, Cenotes Dos Ojos is a popular destination as it offers two pools to dive into. Dos Ojos stands for two eyes in Spanish and it represents the two pools which can be enjoyed at the same location. The best part is these two pools are not the same. One is blue and the other one is dark. This is why the darker option is a good choice for those who want to test out their dive lights and other specific equipment such as a reliable wetsuit.
Those new to the area can also make the most of the cenotes by renting out equipment from local companies. However, they are expected to be a top destination and beating the crowds is something divers are often looking for, especially since the caves are already crammed.
2. Casa Cenote
What better option than to start with a simple low depth cenote? Casa Cenote is one of Mexico’s friendliest cenotes as it has a depth of just 8 meters. This is why divers love it and it stands for one of the top solutions when it comes to improving diving skills.
Particularities include a dive directly from the jungle. Combining such outdoor adventures with the best sights of Mexico’s jungles is a unique experience in itself. GoPro fans will certainly keep their gear close to capture the impressive marine life the cenote has to offer.
3. Gran cenote
Gran cenote meets all the stereotypes these locations offer. It offers a remote and secluded beach which is perfect for memories to last a lifetime. The tropical look of the cenote is completed by stalagmites.
One of the best parts about the cenote is that it also offers a glimpse into the world of unique fish and turtles. The cenote is recommended for beginners.
4. Cenote Angelita
Situated in the Yutakan peninsula, the cenote is one of the deepest seen in Mexico. While it is spectacular, it is also one of the rarest offers for the most experienced divers. Proper oxygen tanks are needed to make the most of the cenote.
One of the attractions of the cenote comes with underground rivers, which offers currents and great photo opportunities. Filled with sulfide, the river is also flowing next to dead trees but most of them can’t be seen as the cenote is very dark. This is why online experienced divers should consider it.
5. The Pit
Probably one of the most surprising cenotes of all, The Pit is another top choice for experienced divers and snorkelers. It has a small surface opening, which would not indicate the depths it reaches. Many believed that even a jet could fit the cenote.
Apart from its breathtaking size, the cenote is also known for its crystal-clear water. While lights are needed closer to the bottom of the cenote, it is also one of the best areas to see the underwater rock formations at daylight. For many divers, it is also one of the deepest cenotes to be enjoyed and this means good planning is needed to make the most of the unique experience.
6. Cenote Car Wash
This cenote has an unusual name. But locals say they call it like this as they used to bring their cars to be washed to this cenote. As a result, there might be some debris lying around the surface of the water. Once the divers get in the water, they can enjoy its unique green looks.
Those who love turtles and fish can enjoy their time at the Car Wash. During certain periods of the year, small crocodiles can also be seen in this unlikely cenote.
7. Cenote Eden
The Cenote Eden is a top destination for those seeking distinct light effects. Since it is a spectacular dive, it is also the perfect occasion to see unique fish and turtles. The clear water is perfect for all types of diving skills. But its unique fish such as the freshwater eels make it a top destination in the Latin country.
Mexico offers one of the best destinations for divers and snorkelers around the world. While there are many great locations on the globe, the Mexican cenotes are very distinct. There are many of them to be considered, even when the diving skills are not yet up there with those who’ve been doing it for years. At the same time, the most experienced divers will find at least a dozen cenotes to challenge their skills and interest.
It is not recommended to go to any cenote without an organized group. The good news is many US and local tour companies already organize trips through the year. Even pairing with divers of similar skill levels is possible, with minimum research.