Explore Cenote Calavera – The Temple of Doom
Cenote Calavera is the closest to the Ko’ox Dive Shop, only 5 minutes down the road to Coba. Well equipped, it has parking, restroom facilities and a table for assembling your equipment but there is no shop nearby. To enter the water you walk down a path about 200 feet long and then jump in from a height of eight feet! To get out, there are sturdy wooden stairs.
This is one of the best dive sites to see the halocline (where seawater meets freshwater). The cenote has a depth of 50 feet and there is a permanent guideline that you must follow at all times. You’ll stay underwater for 40 minutes, during which time you’ll see a cavern full of rock formations and be stunned by how the glorious light from the small entrances above looks like a skull from below.
Cenote Calavera also known as Temple of Doom, is one of the best cave and cavern dives in the area is a must do when checking out our cenotes. The halocline, in particular, is a beautiful effect. When not disturbed, it looks like a glass breaking a ray of light. When something passes through it, it makes it appear as if everything is just slightly out of focus. If you float at the north side of the cenote and look up towards the entrances and two little openings you can see the two eyes and the mouth of the skull. You can also see the color of the water change, with the freshwater being greener and the saltwater crystal clear.
Recommendations: Bring biological bug spray, at Kook diving we provide with all the necessary equipment for this dive (5 mm wetsuit, boots, fins, mask, bcd or a plate with harness and a wing, DIN regulators scuba pro, Hog, aqua lung, apex, dive computer, lights, and a go pro camera).
How to get to Cenote Calavera
It’s very easy to get to this cenote from Tulum. Simply head out of town on the road to Coba for around five minutes. It’s an easily rideable distance if you’re hiring a bicycle and are only planning to snorkel. You will see a sign with a skull on it (the word calavera means “skull” in Spanish) showing you where to access the cenote.
There is a gravel parking lot close to the road. After this, it’s a short trek through the jungle to reach this unprepossessing sinkhole. If you’re diving here, the dive tables are near the parking lot, so most people load up with their dive gear and do the walk fully equipped.
Cenote Calavera price and diving experience
Perhaps because it doesn’t look like much besides an intriguing series of holes and a ladder leading down to a small subterranean pool from the surface, this cenote rarely gets busy. The Ko’ox team particularly likes it for this reason and we run several dives at different times of the day (most other local dive shops only visit in the morning) to make sure it’s as quiet as possible when you visit.
But make no mistake, this is one of the most fun classic cenote diving experiences in Mexico.
Cenote Calavera diving with Ko’ox is a 1-tank dive. It lasts around 40 minutes. You can go snorkeling here – a dip in the secluded cenote waters surrounded by jungle makes for a great break from cycling around or being on the local beaches – but there’s not so much to see until you go deeper. Jumping into the water is endless fun though!
We will provide you with all the necessary equipment for this dive: 5mm wetsuit, boots, fins, mask, BCD or a plate with harness and wing, DIN regulators scuba pro, Hog, aqualung, apex, dive computer, lights and a Go Pro camera.
Classification: you need to have standard dive qualifications.
Price for diving: 1 Dive – Cenote Calavera price > $159
From the surface, this cenote looks interesting but not very large. Even when you get down to the halocline layer you would be forgiven for thinking you were in a fairly small space. But beneath the halocline, the water is brilliantly clear and you can see the start of just how much there is to explore. In fact, this cenote links directly onto a huge local cave system which stretches for hundreds of meters beneath the Yucatan Peninsula.
The main part of Cenote Calavera has permanent dive lines in place to follow and some stunning rock formations to explore as well as the occasional fish to swim alongside.
The Surface of the Cenote
The surface of the water in the cenote is actually a solid eight or more feet below the entrance hole. To get in, the best way is to take the plunge via a cliff jump into the water. Do a quick check for divers and snorkelers below and you’re away! It’s a real rush and very highly recommended. If you fancy a slightly narrower aperture to jump into and a slightly higher jump, try one of the smaller “eye” holes to make your entrance through.
To get out again, there’s a very solid wooden ladder.
The light you see through the eyes and mouth of the “Temple of Doom”
This cenote gained its nickname because of the way the three holes in the cavern roof look something like a skull when you look up at them while floating on the surface of the cenote’s warm water.
The beams which shoot down through these holes create some awe-inspiring lighting effects in the cavern beneath the surface. The light is strongest when the sun is at its highest overhead (from about 10 am to 2 pm) so visit between these times if you want the best illumination for your dive.
The bottom of the cenote is known for its rock formations. With a local guide, you’ll be sure not to miss any of the excellent geology to be found here.
Cenote Calavera is best seen from beneath the halocline layer. The clear waters reveal the stalactites, stalagmites and the luminous light beams shining down from above. Diving here could be called a purer experience than that which you’ll find at many other local cenotes.
You will frequently be undisturbed by any other divers.
Calavera Cenote FAQ
Q. How deep is the cenote?
A. The cenote is approximately 53ft deep.
Q. What time of day is best to dive here?
A. The cenote is open Monday-Sunday, 9 am to 4 pm. Despite it’s relative proximity to Tulum and the great quality of dive available here, it’s still a relatively quiet place to visit. You can always check in the dive shop before you head out to ensure it remains this way!
From the middle of the morning to the middle of the afternoon is the time where you will have the best lighting conditions. The sun will be directly overhead and can shine straight down into the entrance holes without the jungle trees getting in the way.
Q. Is the cenote freshwater or saltwater?
A. This cenote has both, creating that wonderful halocline layer – an absolute must-see!
Q. Can I bring a camera?
A. For anyone with even a vague interest in underwater photography, bringing a camera is highly recommended. The amazing clarity of the water beneath the thick halocline layer here makes for very good photography conditions. Do be aware that if you’re diving with a GoPro camera, most of these are waterproof only down to 33 feet. The maximum depth here is 53 feet, so you’ll probably need a GoPro super suit or equivalent. The resulting images are worth it though!