Gran Cenote – One of the Best Places for Cave Diving & Snorkeling
Gran Cenote might not be the most popular cave diving site near Tulum. But with stunningly clear waters through which amazing light shines from above, a plethora of beautiful lirios and other plants lining the cavern and it being home to turtles, bats, small fish and other marine wildlife, it is easy to see why it still attracts so many visitors. Sometimes called a “garden cenote” by those who see it, the beautiful environs make it a great place to relax and cool off as well as to explore while snorkeling or cave diving. It’s a simply unmissable cave diving experience if you are on the Yucatan Peninsula. It has both attractive shallow areas suitable for snorkelers and swimmers and deeper depths where cave divers with good skills can see breathtakingly decorative walls, geology, and underwater wildlife.
2-4 people small group visits – every day, meeting points available: Tulum, Playa Del Carmen, Puerto Aventuras Open water certification or equivalent is required for scuba diving. Cavern & Cave diving certification is required for cavern & cave diving. For private tours, please contact us, so we can provide an exclusive offer for you. Prices include: Transportation to and from the meeting point High-quality dive equipment rental: full dive gear set, tanks, air, 5mm wetsuit, boots, fins, bcd, dive computer and torches Free GoPro & video lights rental Insurance for you and your belongings Prices are fixed, regardless of the number of people in the group.
How to get to Gran Cenote near Tulum
Head out of Tulum on the road to Coba and around 4-5km on you will find Gran Cenote. There is a large parking area which is easy to spot from the road. You can drive to there very quickly but many people prefer to hire a bike or walk as it’s not too far. There are also at least a couple of nice spots – bars and restaurants – along the way, which can make for a very pleasant trip.
The entrance to the cenote is located through some very attractive gardens. Before proceeding inside you can take a little splash in the open shower space.
Snorkelers can enjoy spending time in the sandy area to the bottom of the stairs. Explore some of the formations in the shallow waters of the cave structure or spend time with fish and turtles swimming among the lily pads.
Your Gran Cenote Tour
The “Grand Cenote” is an enduringly popular location on the Tulum dive scene, being the favorite of a great many local and visiting divers. It is also very well equipped with facilities. There are changing rooms, toilets, gardens to relax in nearby, lockers for you to store your equipment if necessary and even a small shop selling snacks and drinks.
Diving here with Koox is a 1-tank cave dive. The water temperature is a refreshing 20°C and the air temperature is 25-30°C.
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 GoPro camera.
It is usually a good idea to bring biological bug spray with you.
Certification: you need cavern or cave diving qualifications in order to do a Gran Cenote dive tour. Very good buoyancy skills will be required.
The Topography of the Grand Cenote
The large entrance area to the sinkhole is around 200m in diameter, with two entrances separated by a short, dark rocky tunnel and surrounded by beautiful gardens. These make a paradise-like spot to relax in before or after your dive. If you have been picturing lying on the grass beneath some palm trees as a key part of your break in Mexico, Gran Cenote near Tulum is the place to make it happen.
The cenote is part of the huge Sistema Sac Actun (The White Cave), a system of underground rivers – the longest in the world – which stretches for over 346 km beneath the surface of the Yucatan Peninsula. More than 130 cenotes are connected to the system, with this one near Tulum being one of the best regarded.
Beneath the water, the cenote is a marvel of magnificent geology in the form of incredibly decorative tunnels, stalagmites and stalactites, most very pale in color. With plenty of light beaming down from the surface and several routes to explore, this cenote is pretty much a must-see for cave divers visiting the local area.
The Rocky Cave and Entrance
The surface of this large cenote itself is well worth viewing on its own. Even if all you fancy is a swim or snorkel through the shallower areas you will be well rewarded – especially when spending time in the sandy area at the bottom of the stairs at the entrance. Families of turtles like to make their home here, so if swimming with these fascinating little creatures has always been your dream, now could be the time!
After this, you can swim beneath the cave roof and see the bats fly past over your head.
The Light Beams
The play of light through the almost translucent blue-green waters of Gran Cenote is jaw-dropping when you see it for the first time. Visibility is high throughout the year and you can get some amazing shots with very little practice. The excellent light penetration in most of the cenote makes it a great place for underwater photography as well as for snorkeling.
The Bottom of the Cenote
From it’s shallow end to the circular further edge which has a depth of around 10 meters, the bottom of the cenote starts off as a sandy paradise and drops away down to the intriguing deeper sections. Exploring areas like this is, simply put, one of the reasons which many people get into cavern diving to see in the first place.
Deeper Diving in the Cenote
The tunnels beneath the ground offer several different routes for skilled divers to enjoy. There are permanent guide ropes in place but do be sure you have the right local guide in order to manage this occasionally challenging dive.
Frequently Asked Questions About Gran Cenote
How deep is Gran cenote?
Grand Cenote is 9 meters (30 feet) deep.
What time of day is best to dive the cenote?
This cenote does tend to get busy, so it’s a good idea to dive earlier or later in the day. Feel free to ask for some advice as to what the best time to visit is. The cavern is accessible all year long.
Is the cenote fresh water or salt water?
Can I bring a camera into the cenote?
You not only can, it is highly encouraged that you do! This cenote is one of the darlings of the Tulum cave diving scene because of the simply stunning underwater views, which the translucent waters and great lighting make easy to capture on film.
Gran Cenote Detailed Information
Why visit: very decorated cavern, sandy bottom, full of plants: lirios, home to turtles and bats
Suitable for: snorkeling, cavern & cave diving
Accessibility: all year long
Average water temperature: 20C (68F)
Average air temperature: 25-30C (77-86F)
Water visibility: 10-30m
Water depth: 9m (30ft)
Dive duration: 40 minutes
Certification required for diving: Cavern or cave diving
Very good buoyancy required for diving
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