Cenote Diving in the Riviera Maya – A Unique Experience

Cenote diving is a truly unique diving experience with an adrenaline kick guaranteed! Playa Palms presents the top 5 cenotes for cavern diving in the Riviera Maya.

Cenote Casa

Cenote Casa

Cenotes are natural pits that contain fresh water. These sinkholes were created millions of year ago, as part of the land that forms the Yucatan Peninsula collapsed, giving access to the water running underneath in caves.

Mystical Underwater World

For the Mayas, cenotes were a sacred place, the entrance to the mythical and spiritual underworld. They also used to make human sacrifices there, which is why in some caverns you find skeletons.

Stalactites in the cenote El Pit

Stalactites in the cenote El Pit

Since the 1980s, professional divers explore and map this unique underground system. But as for today, only some of them are accessible for cenote divers. Be prepared for a special thrill in a dark underwater world and discover beautiful formations of stalactites and stalagmites, fossils, antique vessels, and, who knows, maybe even an Alux, a kind of a Mayan leprechaun.

Cavern Diving vs. Cave Diving

Just one more piece of information before we get to the core. In this article, we talk about cavern diving. That means you are, as opposite to cave diving, technically not entering the cave. Equipped with flashlights and of course, always accompanied by a qualified cave diving guide, you will be following explored and safe routes, always remaining sight with the entrances.

Intrigued? Here are Playa Palms Beach Hotel’s top 5 places for cenote diving:

1 Dos Ojos – The popular
Cenote Dos Ojos

Cenote Dos Ojos

Dos Ojos means “two eyes”, and refers to 2 circular shaped cenotes. There is a reason why they are the Riviera’s most popular cenotes. Since they are not covered, and the daylight enters the water and causes a beautiful spectrum of colors. At Dos Ojos, cenote divers can see spectacular stalactites and columns, and a phenomenon called thermocline, the transition layer between water with different temperatures.

2 The Pit – Lightning spectacle
Cenote The Pit

Light spectacles in the cenote The Pit

This cenote appears to be an enormous crater. Its steep entrance leads you to a breathtaking world of beautifully formed stalactites, sulfide clouds and you can even witness a halocline, the point where salt and fresh water meet, creating stunning visual effects. For the best light conditions go for an early morning cenote dive.

3 Angelita – for experienced divers
Cenote Angelita

Cenote Angelita

The “little Angel” makes for a once in a lifetime cenote dive in all respects. It goes straight down to 60 m (197 ft.), with a hydrogen sulfate layer at 30 m (98 ft.) that looks like a huge underwater cloud. The cenote is very dark, giving you a feeling of walking through a dark forest at night. Discover Mayan skeletons, skulls, vessels and fossils!

4 Cha´ak Mol – For novices
Cenote diving in Chaak Mol

Cenote Cha’ak Mol

This cenote has 2 rooms, which make you feel as if you are diving in a cave rather than a cavern. The second room has part of its ceiling collapsed under an air dome. This, together with the light beams that enter, allows you to surface and admire the stalactites.


5 Tajma Ha – The Mayan tower of Pisa
Cenote diving through gorgeous formations in Cenote Tajma Ha

Gorgeous formations in Cenote Tajma Ha

Dive into a large room with light entering through holes in the ceiling, giving the illusion of playful laser beams during the summer months. Tajma Ha is famous for its stalactites and stalagmites that over thousands of years joined to huge columns. The most famous one is called Leaning Tower of Pisa. Further, you will see many fossils and in some areas haloclines create fascinating mirror-like effects.


Map of cenotes of the Riviera Maya

Map of cenotes of the Riviera Maya

If you are fascinated of cenote diving but not a diver, look at these cenotes for a fantastic snorkel experience.

Ask our staff at the front desk of Playa Palms Beach Hotel for more information about cenote diving and for assistance to book your diving experience.


Photos are a courtesy of Phantom Divers.

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