Diving the Cenote Kukulcan, Mexico

Updated August 2015

By Cacinda Maloney

Cancun Diving

Diving Cenote Kukulcan, Yucatan Mexico

Yucatan, Mexico

Cenote Kukulcan, Yucatan, Mexico

The stunning Kukulcan Cenote is a 33 feet(10 meters) deep blue cavern that is part of the Chac Mool caving system in the Yucatan, Mexico.  It has a jungle scenery with fresh and salty water, lots of fossils, and even a few stalactites. The main attraction, though is the unbelievable beams of light piercing the water and creating somewhat of a laser show.

You can reach the cenote on a well-worn, dirt road, that become very popular for first-time cave diver experience. First Time divers will have an abundance of sunlight in the cave and the passages are wide enough to get tanks thru with no problem. Many Cancun diving and diving Playa shops bring divers out to  all the time.

Cancun Diving

Diving Cenote Kukulcan, Yucatan Mexico

Having left the Cancun Diving shop, we met at the crack of dawn to get the good spot.  Wide-eyed and bushy tailed, we arrived after about half an hours drive down the freeway. We then turned off on some dusty road to what looked to be some guy’s dilapidated old house.  He pulled the run-down, tiny pickup truck with our gear loaded in the back into where the front yard should be and then turned off the engine.  I thought we were there to buy breakfast burritos or for him to pick up a friend, as this certainly couldn’t be the place.  Off he goes without saying a word into the neglected shack with a slam of the door.  We sat in silence, as we anxiously looked around, when I suddenly spied a skinny chicken coming from around the corner. As it turned out, this was the entryway into the sacred lands of the cenote and our guide had gone into the entrance building to pay the fee!  After all, this is Mexico, I shouldn’t be surprised.  Eventually he returned, and yells “Buena Suerte”– Wishing us to have “good luck!”  As the first arrivals at the faded old house (entrance), we had beat the other early-rising divers and were able to park the truck in the parking spot closest to the entrance of the Kukulcan Centote.  We would be the first ones to enter into the cave system down below.

“Lucky? I thought, hmmm, I don’t know yet.”  Shortly thereafter, other divers began to arrive.

Yucatan, Mexico

Cenote Kukulcan, Yucatan, Mexico

We are geared up and I can’t for the life of me figure out where the heck the water is!  It looks like we are in a jungle with lush trees and brush everywhere. “Who the heck could have found this place?”  I am wondering. Loaded down with my wet suit, tank, BC (buoyancy compressor), mask,  fins and booties, I start walking only about 10 feet from where we geared up to see a cemented staircase to the underground.  We walk down a few steps and there is:  This beautiful, crystal-clear turquoise water, which is the entry way to the KuKulKan Cenote through a beautiful pond of fresh water.

Cenote Kukulcan, Yucatan, Mexico

Cenote Kukulcan, Yucatan, Mexico

Cancun Diving

Diving Cenote Kukulcan, Yucatan Mexico

Cenote Kukulcan, is an underwater cavern system in the Yucatan area of Mexico.  Its entrance is only a couple of hundred feet away from the Cenote Chac-Mool, which is 100 meters  South of Puerto Aventuras.

Yucatan Mexico

Map of the cenotes of the Riviera Maya, Yucatan, Mexico

At approximately 10 meters, you will be entering the Halocline zone, which I call the “oil and vinegar” zone.  The halocline is the interface of fresh and salt water and when mixed produces zero visibility.  If you shine your light at the point were the salt and fresh water meet, you can marvel at the reflections projected onto the walls of the Cavern.

Cenote Kukulcan, Yucatan, Mexico

Cenote Kukulcan, Yucatan, Mexico

The light effects are amazing, as sunlight penetrates the darkness. Here, as you look towards the ceiling at the entrance, you can also see the colors of the rainbow.

Cenote Kukulcan, Yucatan, Mexico

Cenote Kukulcan, Yucatan, Mexico

Cenote Kukulcan, Yucatan, Mexico

Cenote Kukulcan, Yucatan, Mexico

Cancun Diving

Diving Cenote Kukulcan, Yucatan Mexico

The underground river system is open to the ocean, so while fresh water from the mainland flows out into the the ocean, saltwater from the sea also creeps inland to the cenotes.  Since saltwater is denser than freshwater, you can see the layers of the water, which by the way, make it almost impossible to see through while you are diving.  Just the areas where the two intermix is the part where you can’t see anything, you can see above the layers of water and below the layers of water, but not in that “mixed” area. (Remind me of mixing oil and water during a science experiment).

Yucatan, Mexico

Diving Cancun cenotes

One of the interesting properties of salt water is how it absorbs and transmits light. Divers descending into the salt water portion of the cenote will notice that the salt water has a sparkling blue quality. Rays of sunlight filtering down through the salt water lose their red tones, and the surface appears a rich cobalt blue.  It is very cool to observe this interesting light effect.

Yucatan, Mexico

Cenote Kukulcan, Yucatan, Mexico

Cancun Diving

Science Lessons Diving Cenote Kukulcan, Yucatan Mexico

Also a cool thing to notice while you are down there are the stalactites and stalagmite that occur in these limestone caves. The stalactite is above and hangs downward like an icicle;

Cenote Kukulcan, Yucatan, Mexico

Cenote Kukulcan, Yucatan, Mexico

while the stalagmite is below and sticks up. They grow in pairs or groups, the slightly acidic water dissolves some of the limestone, carrying it downward.  When the water evaporates, the limestone appears to have flowed downward.  Some of the water does not evaporate until it has fallen through the air and landed on the floor while the remaining limestone builds the stalagmite.

Cenote Kukulcan, Yucatan, Mexico

Cenote Kukulcan, Yucatan, Mexico

The Yucatan Mexico peninsula is basically a giant limestone slab that was once a coral reef.  For millions of years, rain water carved the porous stone, creating these beautiful caves.  This Yucatan Mexico peninsula is penetrated with miles and miles of cave systems, which is great for the Cancun Diving shops, as they have plenty of places to dive!

Cenote Kukulcan, Yucatan, Mexico

Cenote Kukulcan, Yucatan, Mexico

Cenotes usually offer the perfect dive conditions such as crystal clear water, almost current free and the best visibility you could ever imagine.  Not to mention that the water temperature is 77 °F all year long!  All that sounds like a divers dream to me.

Yucatan, Mexico

Cenote Kukulcan, Yucatan, Mexico

The whole thing seemed crazy to me at first, but I am always up for some adventure and now I believe it should be a “must” for every scuba diver, so put it on your bucket list!  I loved it and would do it again in a heartbeat! I guess we really were lucky that day!

Want more information about Mexico’s secret cenotes?

Cancun Diving Stats

Diving Cenote Kukulcan, Yucatan Mexico

Level: easy
Max Depth: 50ft / 15m
Approx Dive Time: 40 min
Observe: light, fossils, halocline

While you are in the Yucatan, Mexico, and Cancun Diving, you might as well check out Cancun’s Underwater Museum!  I had a blast and find the sculptures quite interesting.  See below the link to my article about Cancun diving.

Here are a few other articles I wrote about diving:

Cancun’s Underwater Museum

Diving Belize: Ambergris Caye

Belize: Life in the Underworld

Diving at Castaway Island, Fiji

Diving the Red Sea, Aqaba, Jordan

L’Estartit, Costa Brava, Spain Diving

Here are a few other articles I wrote about Mexico:

Foodie Heaven: Benazuzu, Cancun Mexico

Gliding Thru Hidden Worlds

Xcaret, What is it?

Step Back in Time: San Miguel de Allende

The Circus is in Town; Zihuatanejo, Mexico

Zihuatanejo, Mexico:  Unplugged Paradise

Oh the Colors of Mexico: Zihuatanejo

My Secret Lover: San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

It is True: I have Two Lovers

Stone Island, Mexico

Arizona’s Beach: Rocky Point, Mexico

Arizona’s Beach: Rocky Point, Mexico, Part 2

Arizona’s Beach: Rocky Point, Mexico, Part 3

 

2017-06-28T15:00:23+00:00

5 Comments

  1. Jennifer August 16, 2013 at 7:45 am

    I so need to get dive certified! These photos are great! What kind of underwater camera setup are you using?

    • admin August 16, 2013 at 3:19 pm

      For these photos, I have an underwater casing for my Lumix ZMC 7, a point and shoot. It takes great underwater photos, as well as land photos.

  2. Liz August 29, 2013 at 6:26 pm

    Amazing amazing amazing!!! We have been talking about doing something like this down in Mexico later this year. But after reading this and seeing your pics, I’m sold! This looks like an incredible experience. Thank you so much for sharing!

    Liz
    http://Www.peanutsorpretzels.com

    • admin August 29, 2013 at 6:48 pm

      It is an absolute must for divers!! I loved it and would do it again in a heartbeat!

  3. […] Dive or snorkel in a cenote […]

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