The Yucatán Peninsula contains many of Mexico’s cenotes. A cenote is a water hole that has been formed by collapsed limestone, then filled with freshwater over millions of years. Many of these cenotes connect, forming an extensive underwater cave system. In fact, the Yucatán Peninsula has the longest underground cave system in the world! This makes the area one of the most impressive cave diving sites.
How to get there
The popular tourist city Cancún is located within the Yucatán Peninsula. A flight to Cancún can easily be booked from major North American and European destinations. From there, you can choose to stay in Cancún or transfer to one of the other nearby tourist areas such as Riviera Maya or Playa del Carmen. There are a number of dive shops in all of these areas and they will arrange transportation from your hotel to the dive sites.
What to consider
To dive in any of Mexico’s cenotes, most dive shops will require you to have your open water diving certification. If you are open water certified, you are able to do what is known as a cavern dive. This means that you will be able to see the source of the natural light, and thus, the exit to the cavern, at all times during your dive. To do a full on cave dive, you will need your cave diving certification. If you are uncertified, the dive shops also offer certification courses.
There are a number of dive shops in the area. Make sure your guide is fully cave certified, even if you are just doing a cavern dive. A good dive shop will suggest which cenotes you should dive based on your level of experience, as well as what you are most interested in seeing.
Cenote cave diving is not for everyone. There certainly are tight spots in these cave systems, which can cause anxiety for those who are claustrophobic. You also must have good buoyancy skills and be willing to learn a few different techniques specific to cavern and cave diving.
What it will cost
Each dive shop will offer many different dive packages at different price ranges. But in general, a single dive will be $70-120. The price is slightly less if you have your own equipment. It is also reduced if you sign up for a package of more than 1 dive. Each cenote has an additional entrance fee of $10-$40, depending on which particular one it is.