A little bit of history
Here in Mexico and especially in the Riviera Maya we have a special tour called Cavern Experience, a unique experience that take you exploring the amazing Cavern, underground rivers and spectacular environments, guided by experienced local Guides.
Yucatan peninsula lies on a limestone platform, which was formed millions of years ago, during several glacial periods ocean levels variated greatly, at different eras this region was submerged underwater and other times was above the ocean surface. During lower water level periods is when the caves were formed.
Heavy rains fell into the ground and absorbing carbon dioxide from the soil and decaying plants, create a mixture called Carbonic Acid that is able to dissolve the weaker rock creating large underground voids and passages on his way to the Ocean.
During this process speleothems ( stalagmite, stalactite, etc) were formed creating a magic environments.
Approximately 10000 years ago the Ocean level was close to its current level creating a massive network of underground rivers and living a geological picture of that environment, for the scientist who dare to study it.
Mayan civilization is a mystery, their highest phase was from 300 AD and 900 AD when they inhabited this region, using Cenotes ( Mayan Tzonot, sacred wells)not only as water source but also as a part of their mythology, believing that Cenotes are windows to the underworld.
Artifacts and human or animal rests can be founded, is very important not to disturb anything during the tour.
The Cavern Experience
- Open Water Divers with a minimum of experience and using a normal scuba equipment sidemounted of backmounted, can be accompaniedon a safe tour by an EXPERIENCED and qualified Cavern Guide.
Cavern Guide are certified and active cave diver who must also be Dive Master or higher. These professional must be outfitted with full Cave Diving equipment ( sidemount or backmount), Oxigen, first aid, cavern maps and briefing slates. They must show you experience in the field and dive Caves on regular basis ( a min of 15 cave dives per year is recommended), prove they are regular in the country showing their Mexican resident credentials.
Divers must always remain:
- Within natural daylight zone
- Max 60m/200 ft from the surface
- Max depth 21m/ 70 ft ( can be adapted depending the cavern environment and the level of certification)
- Min visibility 15m /50 ft
- No restriction ( min 2 divers can pas side by side)
- Within no deco limits
- Within an arm length of a guideline. CAVERN GUIDELINE must be visible and followed all time during the tour, a Guide who take you away from the line is putting your and his life on an unnecessary risk, ask him to go back on the surface!
- Not beyond warning signs
- Rule of thirds will be applied on a single cylinder on gas management
- Ratio will be no more than 4 divers and can be reduced for safety reason
Before Each Dive
Your Cavern Guide will give you a detailed site briefing including:
- Site orientation
- Entry and exit procedures
- Map showing course to follow and cavern limits
- Max depth and time
- Equipment check
- Buoyancy check
- Gas supply and turn pressure
- Emergency procedures
- Specific dive procedures ( finning technique, position, halocline etc.)
- Conservation ( No graffiti, handprint or removal of any object from the Caverns)
Most important rules when Cavern Diving are
- Follow the Cavern Line all time
- Any diver, at any time, for any reason. Can Call the dive
After all those information you are able to know if your guide is prepared or not. Do not jeopardize your safety for few bucks less, contact serious Dive Centers or Guides ( there are plenty here). We are diving in this area since 2003 and we have very high standards for our Cavern and Cave guides.
For any information contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org