Back in January I travelled to Cancun in Mexico for a two week break and I chose to travel to Playa del Carmen for a few days to dive the Cenotes. I booked a day’s diving the cenotes with Beyond Diving, a dive centre located close to the main strip of Playa and eagerly anticipated my dives.
What Are Cenotes?
The Cenotes are underground rivers and caves that are unique to the Yucatan Peninsula. Created over 6,500 years ago, the caves and passages are over 300 miles long and they are unlike anything that I had seen before.
The word Cenote comes from the Mexican Dzonot which means sacred well, and in fact, divers have only been able to dive here for the last 20 years.
Many Mexicans actually believed that the Cenotes were the closest thing to the “underworld” and so this is where many buried their family members. When diving it is actually possible to see human bones and prized possessions in some areas of the caves.
Cenote Dos Ojos
As mentioned above I decided to dive Dos Ojos which is located just south of Playa Del Carmen This is one of the largest cave systems in the world and also one of the most popular – not only with divers but snorkelers too.
Dos Ojos means “two eyes” in Spanish and it has this name due to there being two Cenotes to dive, both of which look a large eye from above ground.
Our first dive was to be the Bat Cave Line (named after the bat cave that is part of the dive site) and the second was the Barbie Line (named after the toy Barbie doll being eaten by a toy crocodile that can be found inside the cave, not after a German woman called Barbie who was eaten by a crocodile as my instructor so keenly told me).
The real cenote Experience
I have never cavern dived before and so diving the Dos Ojos Cenote was a completely new experience for me. Although the beginning of the dive is in daylight, it wasn’t long before the cavern was completely dark and we were using a torch for light.
At first I felt a little bit uneasy but before long I grew to love the fact that I could only see what my torch was shining on – it made the whole experience a little eerie and forced me to concentrate on things that I may have otherwise missed.
The Bat Cave was incredible and it was something that I had never experienced before. Rising to the surface to be in a cave with minimal natural light and bats flying around was truly immense and something that I am sure I will remember forever.
And of course the natural decorations in the Cenotes themselves cannot be compared to anything.
In fact, it is hardly surprising that a number of Hollywood films have been filmed here! My husband came along as a snorkeler and he also had a great time although he didn’t go as far into the caves as we did.
Go dive the cenotes of Playa del Carmen
If you have been considering heading over to Mexico I highly recommend that you dive the Cenotes. Whilst there are hardly any fish in the caves, the scenery is sure to be unlike anything you have seen before and it will definitely be an experience that you will never forget.
What is your favorite cenote dive? Let us know in the comments below
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Guest post written by Laura Ginn who is the founder of Ink Elves Ink