Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Day 5 - Tulum & Playa Del Carmen (Mexico)


Wiki: "cenote (English: /sɨˈnt/ or /sɛˈnt/Spanish: [seˈnote]; plural: cenotes; from Yucatec Mayadzonot or ts'onot,[1] "well"[2]) is a natural pit, or sinkhole resulting from the collapse of limestone bedrockthat exposes groundwater underneath. Especially associated with the Yucatán Peninsula of Mexico, cenotes were sometimes used by the ancient Maya for sacrificial offerings."

Formation of a Cenote (taken from National Geographic Magazine)


Source: "Dos Ojos is a flooded cave system located south of Playa Del Carmen and north of Tulum, on the Caribbean coast, in the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico. The exploration of Dos Ojos began in 1986 and has never stopped since. The documented underwater extend of the cave system is at least 61 km.

Dos Ojos has remains in the top 10 longest underwater cave systems in the world. Dos Ojos contains the deepest known cave passage in Quintana Roo with 118 meters / 396 feet of depth located at The Cenote Pit."

Map of the cenote

Dive-master giving an orientation of the cenote

Amazing Turquoise water.
(Note: This is fresh water, not sea water. Technically, you can drink from here).

Amazing Visibility!!!

Cave Diving in the Cenote.

This was my first time diving in a cave, let alone diving in freshwater cave (with amazing visibility). An amazing experience, but very scary one for me. I was feeling claustrophobic in this pitch-dark environment. Last year, my friend (a University professor) died during his openwater diving course and his body was found a few days later (underwater). It was a tragedy. 

I kept thinking about my friend's accident and my fear of being trapped in a cave. I knew that if any of my equipment went faulty, the risk is extremely high in a cave, I would be trapped in the cave. At least in open water, I could just fin up and surface to breathe.

At one point, I was a bit paranoid, and kept clearing my mask whenever water seeped in. I was breathing heavily as I was a bit panicky. Fortunately, I was able to calm my nerve (meditation practice does help!) and  breathe slowly. 

Despite paying for 2 sessions of dive, I decided to abort the 2nd dive (I reckon that I have experienced cave diving already, so that's good enough for me).

A special place to dive (near the exit)
Interesting underwater formation.

An Oasis in the middle of the tropical rain-forest.

I went snorkeling instead of diving for my 2nd session. 
Swam through the passageway and avoid hitting the sharp edges.

Amazing formation
(snorkeling is equally fun too).

In another cave with an opening from the top.
It felt like I am an adventurer in Indiana Jones movie, exploring new exotic places.

This is amazing!!!


Wiki: "Tulum (YucatecTulu'um) is the site of a Pre-Columbian Maya walled city serving as a major port for Cobá.[1] Theruins are situated on 12-meter (39 ft) tall cliffs, along the east coast of the Yucatán Peninsula on the Caribbean Seain the state of Quintana RooMexico.[1] Tulum was one of the last cities inhabited and built by the Mayas; it was at its height between the 13th and 15th centuries and managed to survive about 70 years after the Spanish began occupying Mexico. Old World diseases brought by the Spanish settlers appear to have been the cause of its demise. One of the best-preserved coastal Maya sites, Tulum is today a popular site for tourists."


Looks like a tropical paradise.

Mayan Ruin

Caribbean Sea

Tulum is the only Mayan Ruin that oversees the Caribbean Sea.

Caribbean Sea is amazingly beautiful


Looks like paradise to me.
If I am an ancient Mayan, I would choose to live here.



This is the party town in Yucatan Area. Just went to check it out and had a good seafood dinner. 

The popular street - 5th Avenue

For the party animals.

(Unfortunately, we did not party as we were too tired with a full day of activities - diving, snorkeling, driving, walking around Tulum etc...)

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