Cenote Zapote - Hells Bells

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Cenote Zapote – Hells Bells near Playa del Carmen

Cenote Zapote is one-of-a-kind. The cenote gains its official name from the Zapote trees which grow around the vibrant jungle entrance. From above ground, it could be any one of the Yucatan Peninsula’s incredibly beautiful water-filled sinkholes, surrounded by stunning jungle and with the sounds of birds and insects rising from all around you…

But when you dive beneath the translucent blue water, sinking deeper into the depths of the cavern, you will eventually find the alien-looking rock formations which give the sinkhole its other name – Hells Bells Cenote.

No one seems to know what led to these formations – or why they cannot be found elsewhere. One thing is for sure – they will be one of the sights you will always remember about cenote diving in Playa del Carmen.

How to get to Hells Bells cenote

Cenote Zapote Eco-park is easy to find – and eponymously-named cenote is one of three located inside.

To get there, you will want to travel north from Playa del Carmen until you reach Puerto Morelos. There, turn left onto the so-called Routa de los Cenotes and travel west for around 20 km. The sign should indicate that you’re heading to Central Vallarta and Hol-Box too.

When you hit the 20 km mark, you should see a turn-off with a large Zapote Eco-park and Kin-Ha Natural Park sign. The gravel road is around 6 km long and the turning for the cenote clearly marked.

Check the prices for Cenote Adventures

Cenotes – from Playa del Carmen Price Duration Get this tour
2 Cenote Dives from Playa 204USD 8am – 2:30pm Book Now
3 Cenote Dives from Playa 267USD 8am – 4:30pm Book Now
🌿PROMO: Playa Del Carmen’s Best for certified divers: 1 Cenote Dive + 1 Ocean Dive🐠 174USD 8am – 1pm Book Now
🌿Best for non-divers: PADI Discover Scuba Diving Casa Cenote + Snorkel Dos Ojos🌿 204USD 8am – 2pm Book Now
PADI Discover Scuba Diving: 1 Cenote Dive + 1 Ocean Dive from Playa 184USD 8am – 1:30pm Book Now
Full PADI Open water course – 5 Dives + E-learning 564USD 2-3 days Book Now
PADI Advanced Open Water Diver Course from Playa + E-learning 534USD 3 days Book Now
2 Snorkel Locations Tour from Playa 124USD 8am – 12:30pm Book Now
1 Cenote Fun Freedive from Playa 144USD 8am-12pm Book Now
2 Cenote Fun Freedives from Playa 214USD 8am-2pm Book Now
SSI Discovery Freediving – 1 dive 154USD 8am – 12pm Book Now
🐊Crocodile Night Dive Cenote Tour from Playa🐊 214USD 6:30pm-10pm Book Now
🐊Crocodile Night Snorkel Cenote Tour from Playa🐊 164USD 6:30pm-10pm Book Now
Cenotes – from Tulum Price Duration Get this tour
👌🏼Full Day Adventure: Best of Tulum Cenotes – 3 Dives🌴 267USD 8am – 4:30pm Book Now
2 Cenote Dives from Tulum 204USD 8am – 1:30pm Book Now
1 Cenote Dive from Tulum 174USD 1:30-4:30pm Book Now
🌿Tulum’s Best for certified divers: 1 Cenote Dive + 1 Ocean Dive 🐠 174USD 8am – 1:30pm Book Now
🌿Best for non-divers: PADI Discover Scuba Diving Casa Cenote + Snorkel Dos Ojos 🌿 204USD 8am – 1:30pm Book Now
PADI Discover Scuba Diving 2 dives: 1 Cenote + 1 Ocean Dive from Tulum 184USD 8am – 1:30pm Book Now
Full PADI Open water course: 5 Dives + E-learning from Tulum 564USD 3 days Book Now
PADI Open Water Diver Course + 2 Dives in Dos Ojos from Tulum + E-learning 684USD 3 days Book Now
PADI Advanced Open Water Diver Course from Tulum + E-learning 534USD 3 days Book Now
1 Cave dive from Tulum 204USD 8am – 1:30pm Book Now
2 Cave dives from Tulum 264USD 8am – 3:30pm Book Now
2 Cenotes Snorkel: Dos Ojos & Casa Cenote from Tulum 124USD 8am – 12:30pm Book Now
2 Snorkel Locations from Tulum 124USD 8am – 12:30pm Book Now
1 Cenote Fun Freedive from Tulum 144USD 8am – 12pm Book Now
2 Cenote Fun Freedives from Tulum 214USD 8am – 2pm Book Now
SSI Discovery Freediving – 1 dive 154USD 8am – 12pm Book Now
🐊Crocodile Night Dive Cenote Tour from Tulum🐊 214USD 6:30pm-10pm Book Now
🐊Crocodile Night Snorkel Cenote Tour from Tulum🐊 164USD 6:30pm-10pm Book Now

Get a Quote View All Tours

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.

Cenote Zapote

There are great facilities at this cenote – as you might expect from an organised park. There are some car parking spots, bathrooms and toilets, open-air showers and two platforms for jump-diving into the cenote.

Regarding the latter, you will want to spot these early (and possibly have a go) before preparing your gear on the far side of the cenote and orientating yourself so you know where to surface safely away from divers afterwards.

Surrounding the cenote, Zapote Eco-park is well worth taking the time to explore. There are some wonderful flora and fauna, some hints of Mayan culture and the opportunity to go on a walking or biking tour of the area. That is on top of the zip lines and other adventure activities!

We will provide you with all the necessary equipment for this dive.

Certification: you need to have advanced diver qualifications.

Cenote Zapote

The topography of the cavern

Hells Bells Cenote is shaped something like a giant hourglass. If you dive down to 20 meters you pass through the centre of the “glass” and emerge into a large chamber hidden beneath the floor of the cavern “top” above.

In this lower chamber, you will reach a cloud of hydrogen sulfide at around 35 meters. Stray fingers of dead branches and trees can be seen poking up through this misty bottom.

But it is in this cave where the “Hells Bells” can be seen – truly bizarre rock formations which you will find nowhere else. Everything is illuminated by an eerie greenish-blue light from above.

The surface

The surface of Hells Bells is perfect for swimming. The tropical jungle above is lush, there are green lilypads dotting the water and you can hear birdsong from the surrounding trees.

Cenote Zapote
The light and the cloud

The deep layer of hydrogen sulfide lends a creepy air to the lower part of the cavern. When paired with the “Bells” themselves and the strange light, the effect can be disorientating for the inexperienced.

But most people would argue it is the very strangeness makes diving in this cave such a unique experience.

The bottom

The lower portion of the cave is in an overhead environment, so do make sure you’ve done the proper training.

Cenote Zapote
Deeper diving

The very bottom of the cenote is beneath the hydrogen sulfide cloud. Very few people will go down through it. If you do, be aware that it will be completely pitch-black. There is a line laid out around the debris cone and fallen trees at the very base.

Cenote FAQ

Q. How deep is the cenote?

A. The base of the hydrogen sulfide cloud can be as deep as 42 meters down, but you can get beneath it to see the true bottom.

Q. What time of day is best to dive?

A. Any time of day is good to dive here, although you will want to be aware that the park may get busier after early morning. The middle parts of the day give the sun the best chance of shining down to deeper depths and producing a more impressive light show, however!

Q. Is the cenote fresh water or salt water?

A. This cenote is fresh water.

Q. Can I bring a camera?

A. Yes. Whether you are on the surface of Cenote Zapote or diving, bring a camera. It is a wonder of natural beauty. Please mind that there might be a Gopro usage charge for some cenotes

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