Cenote Maravilla – Deep Depths and Incredible Light
Cenote Maravilla is a still-quiet gem of the Playa del Carmen cave diving scene. If you are a fan of the times when light shines down into the water from gaps in the cavern roof above, then Maravilla cenote is for you. When the sun is high, it has one tremendous beam of bluish-green light penetrating the depths from the single hole in the cavern ceiling.
This intriguing, privately-owned sinkhole is known for both its rock formations of bell-shaped stalactites and the thickness of the hydrogen sulfide cloud layer too. Combined, these visual effects make for incredible video and photo-taking opportunities if you have the right equipment.
If you do not, dipping beneath the waters here is a memory to hold dear. Even experienced cave divers will find it different enough to the norm to be worth the visit. “Intense” is a word which has been associated with Cenote Maravilla – and for а good reason!
How to get to Cenote Maravilla
This cenote is located approximately 30 minutes from Playa del Carmen. Travel north along the coast to Puerto Morelos and then go 15 km west on the so-called Routa de los Cenotes (also signposted – Central Vallarta and Hol-Box).
The sinkhole is situated on private land, so entry is usually only possible with the permission of the owner.
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Maravilla cenote – diving
Diving here is really solely the province of experienced divers with good buoyancy control. You will need to have gone on a number of other deep dives before this one.
There are a series of steps built into the walls of the sinkhole which allow access to the water.
We will provide you with all the necessary equipment for this dive: complete dive gear, 5mm wetsuit, torch and a Go Pro camera (request it in advance so we can have it charged for you).
Classification: you need to have advanced dive qualifications.
Price for diving: 1 Dive > $159
The topography of the cavern
Maravilla cenote is an almost classically-shaped example of the sinkholes you will find on the Yucatan Peninsula. It is very, very deep – going down to a depth of around 70 meters or more – with a profile something like a giant glass jar, with a narrower open lid at the top and a broader base.
As you descend, you will find a very thick hydrogen sulfide cloud layer at around 28-30 meters.
The cenote’s appearance from the surface is that of a magical, water-filled hole sinking down into the limestone of the earth. The hole is lined with trees and vines which climb down towards the water from the “real world” above.
If you float on the surface of the water here, you are looking up at the world from below, safe in the bright blue waters of your underground tropical pool paradise.
The light and the cloud
Of all of the places to go cenote diving in Playa del Carmen, Maravilla has one of the most impressive light shows. The light beams down like a gigantic laser from the almost circular hole above.
This cenote also has one of the thickest layers of hydrogen sulfide. You will find this cloud starting at around 28 meters. It is thick enough that you should not aim to stay in it for long unless you are properly protected!
The cenote’s bottom is taken up by a mound of rubble – possibly part of the fallen roof of the cavern. It is dark enough that the rubble is often difficult to see, but it is there!
For deeper diving here you will require lights due to the depth of the sulfide cloud. Most people tend to stay above the cloud layer, following the guideline around its perimeter.
Q. How deep is the cenote?
A. Around 77 meters.
Q. What time of day is best to dive?
A. If you want to get the best light show, you will probably want to dive when the sun is higher in the sky. This cenote is rarely very busy, so you most likely will not need to try to get up early to avoid tourists.
Q. Is the cenote fresh water or salt water?
A. This cenote is fresh water.
Q. Can I bring a camera?
A. The light shows and cloud layer at Cenote Maravilla make for great photo opportunities. There is a small charge form the private owner to take your camera in, but it is worth it!