Are you planning a Cenote dive trip to Mexico, you have probably have done your home work but let us tell you a bit more about them and why diving these ancient sinkholes are not for everybody.
These underwater caves and caverns are a the main dive attraction in the Yucatan Peninsula. When you are scuba diving or snorkeling the Cenotes in Mexico you'll see some stunning formations of stalagmites and stalactites.
Cenote diving does not require you to have a cave diving accreditation because you are technically not entering the cave. Diving Cenotes without a cave dive certification would be a cavern dive.
The technical explanation of a cavern dive is:
"Cavern diving is the exploration of permanent, naturally occurring overhead environments while remaining within sight of their entrances"
This means when you are diving in a Cenote you should always be able to see natural light, theoretically offering you a direct way out of the cavern system, however don't be fooled into thinking this makes it an easy dive.
If you are in two minds about going Cenote diving, here are 5 reasons why it may not be for you.
1. When Cenote diving it can get tight In places
While it is a requirement for all dive tours not to include any areas too tight for two divers to pass through at the same time, and therefore there is nowhere you'll be taken in the Cenotes that you can't go through in pairs if your need to, it can feel pretty tight in places.
This can be disconcerting if you have never been in an enclosed environment on a dive before, for example while ice diving or inside the wreck of a ship.
Even if you think you're not claustrophobic, you can react in unexpected ways and experience anxiety the first time you go cenote diving.
2. Accidents do happen while Cenote diving
Although every guide who takes you into a Cenote must be at least certified as a cave diving guide , you may find that the dangers involved in Cenote diving are somewhat undersold.
Plenty of divers returning from the Cenotes report being in groups with very inexperienced divers for who it maybe would have been better to stay in the open water.
3. Visibility Can Become Poor While Cenote Diving
The waters in the Cenotes fresh and it is crystal clear, however you can find that silt kicked up by divers can blur your vision as you explore through the caverns.
This can be worse if you are following a line of people, as you have all of the sediment they've kicked up in your way.
4. It Can Get Dark In Places
Some parts in the Cenotes are very dark. As any seasoned night diver will tell you, darkness alters your sense of orientation, and this can make you feel like you could get lost easily.
While this is all a matter of perception, and as long as you have a good guide and follow the guidelines you'll be fine, Cenote diving is not something to do if you have never dived in the dark before.
Photo Credit: asbjorn.hansen
5. Guide Lines Can Sometimes Be Hard To See
One of the main safety devices put in place to help divers explore the Cenotes are guide lines through the caverns to show you the way out.
While these are there as an added safety measure and you should rely on your guide to get you through the caverns, they are still important, and many divers have reported that on their own tours they found these lines hard to find and see because of silt and visibility issues.
We do not want to encourage you to go diving Cenotes. Not at all. It is amazing and it can be an adventure of a life time. Make sure you dive well within your limits and do not be afraid to call a dive when you are not sure you are 200% comfortable doing it.
Don't go with the first operator that offers you to go diving the Cenotes. Make sure you know with who you are diving and don't hesitate to ask for any credentials. Cenote diving is for more advanced divers.
When you are in Mexico and you are planning to do these cavern dives do 1 or 2 open water dives first before you head for the cenotes.
What are your thoughts about Cenote diving? Let us know in the comments below
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Blog written by Rutger Tholewho founded bookyourdive early 2012 because he saw that there was no simple and easy to use platform where divers could go to, to read scuba blogs, browse dive centers within locations and where they could read reviews from other scuba divers.