I got a super awesome gift for my birthday! Scuba diving in cenotes! I love that on so many levels:
- It’s a great gift because I love diving!
- Also it’s an experience, not a thing. I’ll keep the memory for ever while a thing might be useless or broken in some time.
- I love the sweet drawing produced by my whole family, so cute! It’s making the gift not only special for me but also for my kids.
So, thanks a ton, Basti (and kids), for the fantastic gift!
We followed a recommendation of a friend and picked Planet Scuba Mexico in Puerto Aventuras. They offer several day packages. I got the one with Casa Cenote also known as Cenote Manati and Jardin el Eden.
Casa Cenote is max. 8 meter deep, it’s shaped like an elbow of a river and has mangroves to both sides.
Since my last dive was already 7 years ago, I wanted to start with something easy and Casa Cenote was perfect for that. Check out my little video:
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Where to find Casa Cenote?
Casa Cenote is located North of Tulum. When coming from Playa del Carmen it should take you around 45 mins. The Highway 307 is a good two lane road, no topes. There are constantly collectivos (small busses) going between Tulum and Playa, so it would not be a problem to visit the cenote with public transportation.
What to bring and what not to bring?
- If you’re there for scuba diving forgo the sunscreen and the mosquito spray. You’ll be wearing a wet suite anyway. Sunscreen and mosquito spray of the 3000 people at the cenote (daily) are hard to digest for fish and nature.
- If you’re there for swimming or snorkeling, a lycra shirt or any other t-shirt will help against sunburn so still no need for sunscreen.
- If you absolutely must wear sunscreen, use biodegradable only.
- Bring enough drinking water and a snack.
- If you’re coming for scuba diving, bring lunch because you’ll be hungry afterwards.
- Obviously bring your diving equipment and diving buddy.
- A towel, bathing suite, snorkel gear.
- An underwater camera! I brought the gopro hero 5 and a floating hand grip. That makes it much easier to hold and in case you drop it, it goes up to the surface and waits for you. I can also recommend an underwater housing. It will make the cam waterproof even beyond the 10 meters it’s waterproof already. Mine behaved funky below 6 meter so next time I’ll bring a housing thing for sure. I’ve also heard great things about this Action Camera from another diver. Worth a look, since it’s much cheaper than the gopro.
Good to know
- Since there are a lot of people, bring some patience too. Just know that the cenote is really long and if you keep swimming you’ll get into areas where it’s not crowded.
- Back in the days before mass scuba diving came over the cenote there were manatis living there.
- There’s just one tiny bathroom aka dixiklo (what’s the real english name for those small plastic chambers with chemical toilet?)
To dive or not to dive?
There are a lot of people, swimmers, snorklers, scuba divers. Is it still worth going though? I think, Casa Cenote is a great cenote to get used to the cavern dives. It’s an easy dive but there are still some parts where you dive under or through something. The channel was my favorite part. Next to finally seeing mangroves from below. I’ve always wondered how they look like in the water.
I would recommend this dive to beginners and people who haven’t had lots of dives lately as a refresher dive before starting with the real exciting cavern or cave dives.
What about Jardin el Eden?
Unfortunately I couldn’t use the gopro at the second dive at Cenote El Eden. This dive was special for me, I had to use some yoga breathing exercises to stay calm.
The dive here goes straight into the cavern. It’s a huge thing, a train would easily fit in, at least in the first part of the cavern. Huge rocks are there and not much fish. The dive is somewhat tricky because of it’s ups and downs. If you don’t constantly work on your ear pressure, you’ll run into problems. At least with my ears that was the case.
Two very nice features does this cenote offer: One is the salt water later at around 11 meter deep (halocline). When there is no water movement from divers the two layers separate clearly and visibly. I didn’t see that because my two buddies went in before me. But the visual effect is still stunning. It’s like on a super hot day where you can see the heat on the horizon. That flickering is there right in front of your eyes. Pretty funky. Also the buoyancy is different in salt water which makes it feel like swimming in chewing gum. Kind of.
The other nice feature of the cenote is the part at the end of the tunnel: There’s an area which looks like an overhead window into the mangrove world that makes an amazing light effect.
A fun and exciting dive for cavern newbies for sure.
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