Chac Mool Cenote: Scuba Diving In The Cavern That Has It All!
Cenote Chac Mool is one of the closest cenotes to Playa del Carmen. It’s roughly half an hour’s drive away, located off the highway just after the town of Puerto Aventuras. Chac Mool is named after the Mesoamerican sculptures of the region, which depict slain warriors carrying offerings to the gods.
Chac Mool Cenote itself has three open areas and is classed as two separate cenotes, Cenote Kukulkan and Cenote Chac Mool which has the entrance ‘Little Brother’.
You can experience two dives here, one in each cenote. Which makes for a great day of diving!
Chac Mool Cenote map
Why Go Chac Mool Cenote Diving?
A day of scuba diving at Cenote Chac Mool is very popular for novice divers because it is a more open and wider cenote, which can be great if you’re getting used to diving in an overhead environment for the first time. Nonetheless, that doesn’t mean that this cenote not spectacular to see.
In fact, this cenote is fabulous for those who can only experience cenote diving for one day of their vacation in Playa del Carmen. This is because within this Cenote Chac Mool there are ALL of the wonderful features of cenote diving, giving you a kind of ‘best-of’ situation where you can see everything at once.
To dive at this cenote, you need to be Open Water Certified, and have a good understanding of maintaining buoyancy.
Witness Awesome Light Beams
So, what do I mean by everything? Well, Cenote Kukulkan has an area that is open to the cenote at the side. This allows the sunlight to enter through the cenote from above.
This gives you an amazing show, made-up of laser beams of light that penetrate the water creating dazzling rainbows and ripples on the rocks inside the cenote.
Seeing this light can make you possibly believe that there is something special out there – it is a beautifully ethereal experience.
And that’s not the only place where the light is visually spectacular! As you dive through Cenote Chac Mool, from the entrance at ‘Little Brother’, you see the wide opening of Chac Mool. It is like a giant wall of vivid green light scattered with trees and boulders. It looks like a scene from Jurassic Park or the Avatar movies!
The entrance at ‘Little Brother’
Swim Through Fabulous Haloclines
In this cenote, as in almost all of the cenotes across the Yucatan peninsula, the water is fresh.
However, at depth, the water can be salty. The maximum depth of these cenotes reaches around 12.5 meters, and it is at these deeper areas that you can see the haloclines
In Cenote Chac Mool, you get to experience what happens when freshwater and salty water meet! It produces a vivid halocline layer. When mixed together they create a blurry effect. It makes you question your vision – it feels like how it must be to lose your glasses! It can be visually quite strange to swim through but is a unique experience nonetheless.
If you swim underneath the layer into the salt water and look up, it is like seeing a river flowing above you within the water!
Find Ancient Coral and Shells
The Yucatan peninsula was once (many millions of years ago) a large underwater coral reef and the evidence of this can be found in the cenotes. Cenote Kukulkan has many shells, coral fossils, and imprints in the rocks, which prove that it was once part of the sea, with true ocean life there.
It’s kind of hard to believe this now when these cenotes lie in the middle of the jungle! You can ask your DEEP Mexico guide to point out some of the cool shells and fossils on your dive
See Wonderous Speleothems
Inside Chac Mool, you can also see many of the speleothems that the cenotes are famous for. There are thousands of needle-like stalactites that hang from the ceiling. They’re incredible to see, and even more so when you realize that it takes thousands of years for each one to grow only a few centimeters.
You can even see some of them have even broken away from the ceiling in sheets of rock and how the cavern has changed over the many years.
Surface in an Air Dome
Cenote Chac Mool also has an air dome within it, which you can surface into during your dive. In the air dome, you’ll be able to see lots of tree roots that have penetrated through the rock from the jungle above. There are also more stalactites and stalagmites plus the odd creepy crawly or two.
Great Access and Facilities
Cenote Chac Mool is very well kept and the access to the cenote is well maintained and easy for divers. There is a short path from the car park, where there are also strong sturdy tables for you to assemble your dive equipment on, leading down to the cenotes. At each cenote, there is a platform where you can get ready to dive.
Both Chac Mool and Kukulkan have steps that lead down into the water to make it easy to enter while geared up.
At this cenote, there is also a small restaurant (but on a dive day with DEEP Mexico we bring great snacks and sandwiches for our divers anyway!)
There is also a toilet block which is clean and well-maintained.
Come diving at Cenote Chac Mool
Underwater Photography at Cenote Chac Mool
Unfortunately, underwater photography at Cenote Chac Mool is not allowed. This is to help protect the cenote, as often divers who have cameras become less aware of their surroundings and are more likely to bash into the rocks and balls around them. For this reason, Cenote Chac Mool takes a very serious stance against cameras (this includes your handheld GoPro.)
If you are keen to have photographs taken during your dive at Chac Mool a professional photographer is often in the water during dives, and they will offer to sell you your pictures after the dive.
Go Diving at Chac Mool Cenote with DEEP Mexico
Cenote Chac Mool is just one of many cenotes in the area close to Playa del Carmen and Tulum. There are many cenotes related up and down the coast which are all beautiful in their very own way.
At DEEP Mexico, we love taking divers to Cenote Chac Mool and we’re sure you will love it too!