Cenote diving isn’t technically cave diving, because when you get below the small entry points they open up into immense cathedral-like caverns where it is almost impossible to get lost – so if you have an open water certificate, you’re ready to go!
“You don’t actually need any specialist qualifications, other than the PADI open water certificate” says Aaron, the local divemaster who has been exploring the cenotes of Mexico’s easternmost region for over fifteen years, “the most important thing is a sense of adventure.” That’s putting it lightly thinks I, as we climb down a rusty set of ladders some twenty metres down a natural bore hole in the middle of the jungle, an hour’s drive from the nearest town.
Cenotes are a natural phenomenon unique to this part of Mexico and neighbouring Belize, a result of the huge meteor that wiped out the dinausaurs 65 million years ago. The whole of the peninsula is dotted with these holes, ranging from cavernous wells to tiny potholes- many of them are linked by an underground network of tunnels. Because of this, there are no natural rivers here and all water flows underground creating a vast undiscovered world below the blooming jungle of the interior.I begin to realize that there is more to Mexico than meets the eye- the luxuriant grandeur of Cancun and bustling markets of the Spanish Colonial cities are a world away from this remote spot.
Speaking of immense, cathedral-like spaces, here’s a link to the real dive that inspired the movie “Sanctum”. The real incident sounds a lot more exciting than the actual movie.