the-pit-cave

Tulum – Mexico – SCUBA Dive Cenotes


SEPTEMBER 2016:




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OVERVIEW:

I made my way south from Isla Mujeres down the Mexican Caribbean Coast via Playa Del Carmen to Tulum.

The Yucatan Peninsula is famous for it Cenotes: a natural pit, or sinkhole, resulting from the collapse of limestone bedrock that exposes groundwater underneath.

You can snorkel the cenotes or SCUBA dive them. Some can be snorkelled or SCUBA dived. Some can only best be SCUBA dived.

Some of the best cenotes are in and around Tulum … so, I decided to SCUBA dive 3 in one day.


THE OPTIONS:

There are several dive shops in Tulum selling diving trips.

tulum-cenotes-alberto tulum-cenotes-the-pitMost concentrate on the same, easy, low-skill-level ones like Grand Cenote and Los Ojos … as a consequence, these can get very busy if you leave them too late in the day.

The normal price for 2 SCUBA dives is US$145. For 3 dives (across only 2 sites) the price is US$165.

Entry fees have an impact on cost. SCUBA divers are charged MXP200-250 each at each site.

I wanted to dive 3 different sites: The Pit, Dreamgate, and The Car Wash. Each of these sites is very different.

I asked around and negotiated a price of MXP3,000. I chose Koox and my Dive Master was Alberto.


THE PIT:

the-pit-3The Pit is the the deepest dive.

tulum-cenotes-the-pit-steps tulum-cenotes-the-pit-entry Brilliant turquoise shafts of light plunge more than 100 feet straight down.tulum-cenotes-dreamgate-shaun-ready

Unlimited visibility, a hydrogen sulfide cloud, anthropological remains, and cave formations make a SCUBA dive in this cenote unlike any other experience.

the-pit-sunlight-2 the-pit-sunlight-1People have called this cavern dive the best dive of their lives.the-pit-entry-1

I can understand why … but read on …

the-pit-2the-pit-cloud-1The entrance doesn’t look like much but, once you get under the surface the cavern literally explodes in front of your eyes.the-pit-1

Diving through the ‘cloud’ layer between the fresh water and salt water at 30m down is surreal.

the-pit-cavern the-pit-caveSimply wonderful.the-pit-4


DREAMGATE:

Dreamgate has a level 5 difficulty level.

dreamgate-1 dreamgate-2They will not let you dive Dreamgate unless you have good buoyancy.

You dive through many small gaps and negotiate small channels that rise and fall.tulum-cenotes-dreamgate-platform

The silt on the bottom is so fine that the slightest disturbance not only ruins visibility for those behind you but can, also, be a hazard to yourself.

dreamgate-5 dreamgate-3Alberto watched me closely in The Pit and gave me the OK to dive Dreamgate.

I am glad that he did … Dreamgate was my favourite.

This is a Cavern Dive.

You glide through fields of stalagmites, stalactites, and columns.

One famous part is called The Mirror where the water reflects the stalactites so perfectly that it looks like sticks of rock free-floating in the water.dreamgate-4


THE CAR WASH:

The Car Wash is so named because this is where the local taxi drivers used to wash their cars.

car-wash-3 car-wash-shaun-1It is totally different from the other two (which is why I chose it).car-wash-1

The Car Wash is full of flora and fauna.

The bacteria from their biodegradation creates a green hew in the sunlight.

car-wash-shaun-2 car-wash-5 In The Car Wash, you can also do a small Cave Dive.

This requires you to lay down a line as you weave through the caves … so that you can find your way back again.car-wash-shaun-4In reality, it wasn’t that scary nor that difficult … but, because it is classified as a Cave Dive it is a requirement.

Back in the main area you can swim with fresh water turtles.car-wash-2


CONCLUSION:

This is an absolute must do.

If you can’t SCUBA, ask around for the best ones to snorkel.

TTFNcar-wash-shaun-3


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