Hidden Worlds Cenotes Park
Adventure tours into the jungle for cenote/cavern snorkeling and diving
Out of sight
In the darkness below ground exists a mysterious water filled world the ancient Maya called Xibalba. They believed it to be realm of fearsome Gods who controled the forces of nature, life, death, and even rebirth. We know Xibalba as the labyrinth of caves that honeycombs the limestone of the Yucatan peninsula, and under the Riviera Maya coastline, in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, these subterranean passageways can go for miles.
Entering this hidden world reveals a dark maze of multi-level passageways that constantly change in shape and size. Many lead to enormous caverns like the one above; chambers that can be totally submerged, humid but otherwise dry, or a little of both. The Riviera Maya is home to the longest, most spectacular underwater caves in the world, and visitors can get a glimpse into a small part of the Maya's Xibalba by taking a snorkel tour to Tak Be Ha Cenote and Don Hilario's Well with Hidden Worlds Cenotes. These two cenote/cave snorkel tours are located on the Ejido Jacinto Pat, one of the Yucatan's most precious geological gems and home of amazing caves. The journey starts with a wild truck ride into the jungle.
The ride into the jungle sets the tone for this extraordinary adventure as you rock and roll down sand covered roads in a jungle truck worthy of Mad Max. Hidden Worlds Cenotes has been doing these tours since 1993 and while they are not the only game in town, they are still the best at providing unforgettable jungle experiences to the uninitiated. These are the guys who provided the location support for the underwater segments seen in the 1999 IMAX film "Journey into Amazing Caves", and the 2004 Hollywood film "The Cave".
How deep does the rabbit hole go?
After the ride in (about 15 minutes) the truck rolls to a stop and a short jungle path ends at this smallish hole in the ground (above). Here a soon-to-be cavern snorkeler peers down the tiny entrance that opens to enormous Tak Be Ha cavern, site of the first snorkel tour.
Halogen lights are placed in strategic locations along the ceiling and underwater along the snorkeling route. Stalactites and stalagmites cover the ceiling and floor, casting eerie shadows above and below the waterline. The water is crystal clear and about 78°F. Each snorkeler wears a shorty wetsuit and snorkel vest for floatation, and each gets an underwater flashlight. The guide briefs the participants and then leads them around the elliptical snorkeling route.
Don Hilario's Well
Next stop is Don Hilario's Well which is usually done on the ride out of the jungle because it's not far from the Park entrance. This cavern has a larger entrance shaft but once inside it's obvious that the cave is actually smaller. A series of chambers and passageways with lower air space above makes up the snorkeling route, and the cave is mostly underwater. The tour winds around curtains of stalactites illuminated by halogen lights and the snorkelers' underwater flashlights. The play of light on the stalactites above is really beautiful. Don Hilario's Well is considered more advanced than Tak Be Ha because of the lower head room. If you're claustrophobic this one may not be your cup of tea. But for adventurous, it's awesome.