One of the most popular cenote dive is the Dos Ojos cenote. Dos Ojos, which in Spanish translates to “Two Eyes” due to two sinkhole caverns connected. Dos Ojos cenote is not far from The Pit which is just a few km north of Tulum, Mexico. The Mayan world considered cenotes the entrance to the underworld called Xibalba and regarded them with reverence. I too hold these in reverence for their mystical charm.
We started in Playa Del Carmen meeting at Blue Life and met two other diver’s that will be in our group. My friend Ken has flown in from Southern California to join me in his first cenote dive. Our dive guide is Sean. On the drive up he tells us more about cenotes and asks us questions to see what we have absorbed.
The difference between a cavern dive and a cave dive lies in the limits which is a maximum penetration at 60m or 200ft. Meaning there will be a light source visible somewhere. However that light source is not bright enough to dive without a flashlight. You’ll be able to see a turquoise blue glow where there are exits or holes.
At arrival we are given the dive briefing by Sean in front of a large mural like many of these cenotes have. They give you an overview of the cave layout, distances and depths. We go over hand signals which differ slightly from ocean diving in that you need one hand to shine your light onto your signal hand. Buoyancy control is reviewed since we will have cave formations above and below us and some smaller openings to pass through.
We gear up and check everything before we make our way down the steps to the cenote entrance. I have my GoPro Hero 10 on a wrist strap mount on my right hand and my Sealife flashlight on a hand mount on my left hand. I do a bit of multi-tasking with my hands between my accessories gear and my BCD buoyancy. This cenote site is well established. You’ll have bathrooms and easy access to the cenote.
I personally find cenote dives enchanting, surreal, mystical, otherworldly, an awesome experience quite different from ocean reef diving. Some people love them, some people hate them and prefer just the ocean life. There is very little life to see in these cavern type cenotes except a few small fish near the cenote entrances.
What cenote diving is all about is the crystal clear water where you ‘fly’ through stalagmites and stalactites. There are light beams of glowing turquoise cavern openings. Also the flashlight beams of other divers take on different shapes and colors as they dance around illuminating the cavern. Consider the last time you visited a cavern (if you have) but now imagine flying weightless through this cavern with all this surreal lighting.
The temperature of the water is at a steady 75-77°F (24/25 celsius) year round and is perfect for scuba diving or snorkeling. There are no currents or waves to deal with. I wore just a shorty 3mm suit for this dive, but I do tend to run warmer.
We did the “Barbie line” first which has a literal yellow rope line tautly tied along stalagmites. The Barbie line is so called after the Barbie doll that is tied up at some point along the yellow rope.
You’ll follow the line in order not to deviate (aka get lost). A certified cave diver, well experienced is required to guide you through these cenotes.
After awhile we come across an entrance to a deeper section which is an extensive cave system. There is a large sign posted at this entrance warning you of the dangers for proceeding any further.
After 45min we exit the cavern, have our lunch, check our pics, take pics of iguanas then gear up for the Bat Cave. In the Bat Cave I’m wondering if I like this better than the Barbie line or not. It seems a little more cave-like, darker and it seemed to have more formations. There’s a point where we we surface to an air cave with bats for about 5min then continue our dive. We pass by different groups of people entering while we are exiting waiving to each other.
If you have never dived in a cenote before and the thought alone of cavern diving doesn’t turn you off then consider Dos Ojos Cenote. This cenote makes a great first cavern dive experience that you will find awesome and probably crave for more. Of our group, the other 3 divers had not done a cavern dive before but they all though it was indeed an incredible experience.