If you are looking for exciting diving or snorkeling experience near Tulum, Casa Cenote is the right place. The unique peaceful spirit and exotic scenery of Casa Cenote will enchant divers of all levels. The emerald green crystal waters, the play of light and the mangrove forest will leave you with unique memories. You will explore outstandingly beautiful natural caves hidden in the jungle and the astonishing Mayan flora and fauna. This makes Casa Cenote into the perfect diving and snorkeling destination throughout the whole year
Casa Cenote, also known as Cenote Manati (Manatee) in Tulum, has its name from the manatees which used to swim there many years ago but can rarely be spotted these days. It’s located on Tankah Tres Bay in Mexico, 10 km north of Tulum, 70 km south of Playa del Carmen and only 10 minutes from our dive shop.
The Cenote has wonderfully clear emerald waters which lure in snorkelers and cave divers from the local area and visitors from around the world.
Amazing Crystal Clear Waters of Casa Cenote
Perfect for lovers of underwater wildlife, this long, narrow cenote is well-known for the hundreds of little fish – guppies, platys, and mollies most prominently – which can be seen swimming between the mangrove roots and fronds. These plants descend from above, making a dip into these sheltered waters an exploration of a thrilling underwater ecosystem.
Casa Cenote is a unique, wide, open pool of water, one of the few surface rivers on the Yucatan Peninsula. It lays in the middle of the mangrove field, which gives divers the feeling of diving underneath a jungle. It connects one of the longest underwater Cave Systems in the world Sistema Sac Aktun (partially Nohoch Nah Chich) with the ocean. With its open areas, this cenote is a great diving and snorkeling site. Just where its ends reach the sea, is one of the most popular spots for photo shoots, one definitely needs to be the early in the morning or late in the afternoon.
The mixture of warm sea water and cool fresh water of the cenote forms a mixing zone called halocline. It appears at various depths creating wonderful visual and lighting effects. The combination of salty and fresh water has led to an amazing diversity of marine life including blue swimming crabs, green moray eels, barracudas, snapper and tarpon fish. Huge rocks overgrown with mosses and green algae decorate the bottom. There is much to see outside the waters of the cenote as well.
Here is one of the best places for a discover dive – to teach beginners how to dive, as one has to concentrate on their buoyancy pretty much the whole dive.
For the experienced divers, there are multiple swim throughs including mangrove tunnels, passages, and rocky overhangs as if you are diving into the jungle itself.
Stunningly clear, the pure, translucent waters of Casa Cenote are beloved by enthusiasts of underwater photography, snorkelers and divers alike. If you want to experience something a little different when cave diving in Mexico, try this cenote.
Meet Panchito – the Casa Cenote Crocodile
Casa Cenote is also famous for its mascot – Panchito. Panchito is a Moreletii crocodile; almost 2 meters in length, but quite friendly and can be spotted basking in the sun and chilling in mangroves of the cenote. Moreletii crocodiles are found mainly in freshwater swamps and marshes. Juveniles prefer denser covered areas for protection. They also love coastal brackish waters, making the cenotes a perfect habitat.
This species is largely found in the eastern coastal part of Mexico, from Yucatan Peninsula throughout Belize and Guatemala. Their scales are equipped with integumentary sense organs, that detect changes in salinity, pressure and vibrations. They can live between 50 and 65 years and hunt primarily at night. Juveniles feed on fishes and small invertebrates. Older individuals have a more varied diet consisting of turtles, birds, lizards etc.
We can also take you on night dive in another cenote where you can also see some crocs in their natural habitat – try the crocodile night dive.
How to get to Casa Cenote near Tulum
If you’re wondering how to get to Casa Cenote it isn’t too hard and it only takes around 15 minutes from Tulum. All you need to do is head around 8 km north of the village on Highway 307. On your right, you will see signs for the Tankah Inn or Pavo Real. Follow the private road to the Pavo Real resort.
At the end of the road, you will see a left-hand turning which is usually blocked by a rope and a person standing guard. Simply say that you are heading to Casa Cenote and you’ll be let past without any problems. The parking spaces around the entrance to the cenote will be on your left after a journey of around four or five minutes. If you really want to walk to this cenote you can do so from the highway after you get a lift or collective bus to the end of the private road. It is around a 15-20 minute walk from the highway even at a steady pace, meaning that if the temperature is high this can be a bit of an endurance test. So do remember to take plenty of water with you if you plan on doing this!
Casa Cenote Diving
Diving in this cenote is a very different experience to many others in the Tulum and Playa Del Carmen area. Set in the heart of a mangrove forest, it makes you feel as if you are swimming beneath the jungle.
But despite feeling surrounded by the wonders of nature, there is also a small store not too far away from the entrance. It’s possible to get there on foot. Plus, there are several affordable restaurants along the road to the entrance and one restaurant with a sweeping ocean view directly adjacent! Casa Cenote diving with Koox is a 1-tank dive lasting around 40 minutes. The temperature of the water is a warm 25-28°C and the air temperature is on average around 25-30°C. As well as cave diving, many people enjoy experiencing this cenote while snorkeling.
We will provide you with all the necessary equipment for this dive – full dive gear set, wetsuit, torch and optionally a GoPro camera. Certification: you need to have Open water diver certification and reasonably good buoyancy skills. In fact, the conditions are so ideal here that this is one of the favorite spots for local diving shops to run their open water certification courses.
From above, Casa Cenote – which can be reached from Playa Del Carmen but more easily from Tulum – looks like a long crooked “L” extending around 250 yards into the jungle. It was formerly called Cenote Manatee or Cenote Manatí because of the animals which used to live here, but sadly you will rarely see one these days.
That said, this cenote is one of the best in the local area for amazing wildlife. Several people have reported seeing a crocodile in addition to the subsurface creatures which are more commonly found here!
The Surface and the Jungle
Out of all of the water-filled sinkholes of the Yucatan Peninsula, Casa Cenote is perhaps one of the most unique and subtle to see from the surface. The cenote can be snorkeled, swam or even kayaked along its entire 250-yard length into the jungle. In fact, snorkeling is a highly recommended way to see this beautiful area. The view is picture postcard-perfect.
When you dive you will see the fronds and roots of the mangroves cascading down into the water with hundreds of small fish – which lay their eggs in the safety of the mangroves – flitting between them. The quality of the light coming down from above is mesmerizing.
The Light and the Halocline
One of the most wondrous features of this cenote happens where it meets the sea at its very end. Where the salt water and fresh water clash is the halocline, a place where magical photos can be taken and a glorious light effect seen. It’s truly unmissable.
The Bottom and Deeper Diving
This cenote is best imagined as something like a river rather than a sinkhole. Deeper diving isn’t really possible but open water diving here is a wonderful experience along the cenote’s entire length. You can bypass the 500 meters or so which separate the start of the cenote from the ocean by swimming all the way under the road and intervening country and then pass directly out near the great local beach.
Casa Cenote FAQ
Q. How deep is the cenote?
A. The cenote is around 8m (20ft) deep at its deepest points, but it varies along the length. Q. What time of day is best to dive here?
A. Local divers love this spot. But because it is a little off the beaten path for many, it can often be nice and quiet. Usually stated as being open from 9am to 5pm – in particular, the local amenities are – the daylight hours are the best time to see this cenote anyway because of the incredibly clear water and the wonderful light effects through the halocline and when swimming the entire length. You can always ask in the Koox dive shop what times are best before you head out. Q. Is it fresh water or salt water?
A. This cenote is well known for its amazing halocline layer, which forms where the saltwater and freshwater meet. As such, it is freshwater along most of its length but has both. Q. Can I bring a camera into the cenote?
A. Yes. The perfectly clear waters and amazing light in this cenote make bringing a camera actively encouraged. With even a little skill, you can gather some awe-inspiring shots. With a lot of skill…
Casa Cenote Detailed Information
Why visit: large open lagoon, connecting Nohoch Na Chich with the ocean, emerald green waters, one of the few surface rivers
Gives the feeling of diving underneath a jungle
Natural rock formations and waters beaming with life: shrimp, blue crabs and fish
1-4 people small group visits – every day Cave diving certification is required for cave diving
For private tours, please contact us, so we can provide an exclusive offer for you. Prices include:
Transportation from our dive shop in Tulum or Playa del Carmen
High-quality dive equipment rental: full dive gear set and torches
Free GoPro & video lights rental – upon request – please mind that there might be Go pro usage charge for some cenotes
Prices are fixed, regardless of the number of people in the group.
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