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The Riviera Maya has a lot to offer for people who love diving; here you will find a diver’s paradise with many great opportunities for top-notch diving such as Cozumel’s world famous reefs, diving with bull sharks in Playa del Carmen, or Isla Mujeres’ Underwater Museum. However there is one opportunity that stands out from the rest as it is unique in the world: the cenotes.

Beneath the ground of the Yucatan Peninsula there is a network of caves and underground rivers and sprawling caves. In some places, the limestone ceilings of the caves colapse, uncovering the cave or underground river below; these entrances are known in the area as cenotes, or tz’onot in Mayan.

Gate to the Mayan Underworld

Life in the Yucatan Peninsula has always been linked to the cenotes. The region’s first settlers used the caves here for shelter and housing over 10,000 years ago. Thousands of years later, the Mayan civilization was born here and most of their cities developed around cenotes since these provided water for the population but were also considered to be sacred places.

For the mayans, cenotes were the gate to the underworld; a portal to a realm beyond ours where some of the most important gods dwelled. This civilization revered cenotes and would bring offerings to be deposited in them, going as far as human sacrifices; that is why today it is possible that when you go to a cenote you can come face to face with history and admire the well preserved relics of this fascinating civilization.

Yucatan Cenote diving

An Attraction for Anyone in the Riviera

It doesn’t matter if you are in Cancún or any part of the Riviera Maya or Tulum, there will always be a cenote nearby, and most SCUBA centers in the area offer excursions for this kind of diving. These tours are available to any certified diver since many of these cenotes are very easy to dive in. For more experienced divers or those with a cave diving certification there are dive shops that specialize in more advanced cenote and cave diving.

These freshwater dives will be something you won’t son forget. The beautiful and ornate rock formations that decorate the caves will leave you in awe. But without a doubt the greatest thing this dive has to offer is the breathtaking show of light caused by the tropical sun pouring into the caves and the water, illuminating the caves with powerful beams of light that will leave you feeling as if you were floating in another world.

Don’t miss this great opportunity that you won’t have anywhere else in the world. Besides SCUBA, cenotes are also great for snorkeling and swimming; in some cenotes you will even find more things to do like zip-lining and jungle trails. This makes cenotes a great experience for anyone in the family, not just divers. So there is no excuse left, if you are a certified diver, come and have one of the best dives of your life.

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