Chikin Ha Cenote is part of the beautiful Mexican natural park of the same name. There are three cenotes in the park – Ta’ak Bil-Ha and X’tabay are wonderful – but it is the eponymous cenote which really draws the most visitors – as well as the skilled divers.
From the surface, cenote Chikin Ha is a paradisical slice of tropical water surrounded by jungle. You can snorkel and scuba dive here while the sun beats down and have one of the most memorable experiences of your life. But to get into the cavern’s depths, you need advanced cave diving qualifications. You can use the stone steps to access the deeper parts of the cave where you’ll find amazing rock formations, fossils and more – well worth the time of even the experienced cave diver.
There a large number of facilities for you to take advantage of here too, including places to eat, showers, toilets, dressing rooms and equipment hire options.
How to get to cenote Chikin Ha
You can reach Chikin Ha by following Highway 307 north from Tulum towards Playa del Carmen”. It’s situated about 23 km before you reach Playa. The road which leads to Chikin Ha park is pretty much adjacent to the entrance to Kantun Chi Ecological Park, so be sure not to miss it. Travel about a mile or so down the road and you’ll find the cenote.
Chikin Ha Cenote – diving
You’ll find that a lot of people enjoy snorkelling and renting lifejackets to swim here. Some people even go on a bike tour of the park or go zip lining over the cenote nearby for a bit of excitement too. The views when snorkelling are beautiful. But for those who came for cenote diving in Playa del Carmen and the surrounding area, only getting deep beneath the surface will do. True Chikin Ha cenote diving requires you to have advanced level skills.
Diving here with Ko’ox is usually a dive of between 40 and 60 minutes as there is quite a long permanent dive line. The water is usually around 23-25°C in terms of temperature and the visibility tends to be excellent.
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 open water dive qualifications for the shallow sections of this cenote. The deeper portions are very much an advanced dive.
Price for diving: 1 Dive – Chikin Ha Cenote > $159
Price for snorkelling: 1 cenote snorkeling tour > $79
This cenote resembles something of a massive half-circle from above. This is filled with perfectly clear water and surrounded by the vibrant green of jungle trees. There is a large undercut area which leads down into deeper depths. There’s only a single cavern to dive in here, but you can follow a tunnel which passes through the halocline to reach the nearby Cenote Rainbow. This latter is so called because of the incredible light shows available here.
Explore the open-air parts of Chikin Ha and you’ll experience all of the stunning beauty which cenotes are known for the world over. You can snorkel, swim and relax in the warm waters and not venture into the deeper cavern if you don’t want to. There are exciting colourful fish which won’t be afraid to swim around and close to you, as well as intriguing rock formations and blooms of algae which you can see without losing sight of the surface.
The light effects
Chikin Ha’s bottom is only a few meters deep in the open water areas, making it the sight of incredible light shows and nature shots which many people take their camera in order to help them to remember long after their dive here. The beams shining down from above don’t penetrate the deeper areas, but when viewed from near the entrance they are mesmerising.
The bottom of the cenote
The bottom of the cenote drops away from the undercut area stretching down to a depth of around fifteen meters beneath the surface. Exploring all the way to Cenote Rainbow – or the “Rainbow Room” as it’s sometimes called – is well worth your effort.
Passing through the halocline layer where the fresh and saltwater meet happens at around 12 meters down on your way to the Rainbow Room. If you haven’t seen this effect before, it is a must-see for your time in Mexico.
When you get into the darker subterranean sections of this cenote, you’ll be entering a completely different world. Here, silent galleries of stalactites and stalagmites will appear to the light of your torch as you swim slowly between light and heavy rock formations. There are fewer of these than you’ll find elsewhere, but the gradual erosion of the rock has led to the unearthing of various fossils which you can see in some parts of the cave walls and floor.
Q. How deep is the cenote? A. This cenote ranges from 2 meters in depth to a little over 15 meters at its deepest point. Q. What time of day is best to dive the cenote? A. The best Cenote Chikin Ha hours are definitely during daylight. If you’re planning on some proper cave diving, you might want to try in the very early morning to avoid crowds. We’ll be happy to advise you on this when you’re in the Ko’ox shop. Q. Is the cenote freshwater or saltwater? A. Freshwater and saltwater with the incredible halocline layer separating them. Q. Can I bring a camera into the cenote? A. It’s highly recommended that you bring a camera to take some snapshots of this cenote. Whether you’re diving deep or just swimming around the surface, it truly is a vision of natural beauty. Not something you’ll want to forget.
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