You are planning a dive trip to the Yucatan Penninsula in Mexico? Then you might have come accross some amazing pictures of the beautiful Cenotes. Once stunned by these pictures you probably want to see it with your own eyes and live the experience.
But this question keeps popping up: is Cenote diving for me?
What are Cenotes?
Cenotes are sinkholes distributed all over the Yucatan Peninsula. They are the window to the underwater caves and caverns. And they are one of the main dive attraction in the area and one of the top dive destination in the world.
Those caves are highly decorated with stunning formations such as stalagmites and stalactites which makes them very unique.
Your first Cenote diving experience will probably be a cavern tour. You are not required to have a cave diving certification as you will not be technically entering the cave.
What is a cavern dive?
A cavern dive is the exploration of a natural overhead environment while remaining within sight of natural light.
When diving in the Cenotes you will always see natural light and have a sight of a direct way out of the cavern. However do not underestimate safety by thinking it is an easy dive. And here are some thoughts to consider before going for a cavern dive.
- Will I be swimming in tight places?
No you won’t!
It is a requirement for all cavern dive in the Cenotes to go through areas where two divers can fit side by side at all time. You will not swim in any tight areas.
Should any problem arrize you will be able to swim side by side with your guide to exit the cavern.
- Can accidents happen while Cenote diving?
Yes, it can happen…
Your cavern guide should be a qualified divemaster or instructor in teaching status and a certified cave diver. Of course the more experienced the better the guide can react to a bad situation. And the more he/she knows the site, the better he/she can handle the situation.
Cavern diving by the book, is really safe. The conditions are optimal: shallow dives, no current, great visibility, group size limited to 4 divers maximum per guide and all divers should be experienced.
We recommend you to choose carefully your dive operator or guide. And remember the most experienced the guide the better he/she can show you around and yet commit to safety and conservation.
- Is it dark down there?
Yes it is!
Some parts in the Cenotes are very dark and darkness can alter your sense of orientation, and you a feeling you could get lost easily. This is why everyone is diving with a dive light.
Your guide should be carrying all his/her full cave gear that includes a bright and long lasting primary light used for showing you around and for communication as well as 2 back up lights. And yourself should carry at least one dive light.
The waters in the Cenotes are crystal clear, and will stay that way if all divers follow the basic rules: maintain good buoyancy, swim using non silting kicking techniques and follow the guideline.
Will I be able to find my way?
Yes, as long as you follow the Guide Lines
One of the main safety rule in cavern diving in the Cenotes is referencing the guideline at all time. Your guide will explain how to identify it, how to use it and where to position yourself at all time. The same guideline will show you the way out. You should also be able to rely on your guide to follow them at all time.
We strongly recommend to dive the Cenotes. It is a unique and magical experience. Always make sure you dive well within your limits and remember the golden rule: anyone can call the dive, at any time, for any reason. So, do not hesitate to do so whenever you don’t feel comfortable.
When comes the time for you to book your dive tour to the Cenotes, remember that safety is important. Cenote diving is for advanced divers and you should be sharp on your dive skills, so don’t hesitate to refresh them by a couple ocean dives before you head for the cenotes.
Enjoy your Cenote dive 🙂
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