Translating to Water (ha) from the West (chik’in), this system of underwater passages connects several caves and caverns over a distance of about 10kms/ 6.2mi. Most of us have likely heard about Chikin Ha, however few are aware that this cenote is only one of three that can be experienced in this nature park.
Cenote Chikin Ha is the shape of a tunnel, creating the sensation of swimming through a gallery formed by white rocks. Divers and snorkelers alike will love their underwater adventure especially on sunny days when sunrays break on the surface creating an exciting light show. Divers on their way to the Rainbow Cenote will encounter a Halocline in about 10m/ 32ft depth, which appears as the blurry layer where fresh and saltwater meet.
As the name suggests, the Rainbow Cenote is all about colors and light effects, enhanced by the entangled roots of trees and plants that have been digging through the rocks to reach the water of the underground river.
Popping your head out of the water by the end of your dive, you will be welcomed by this breathtaking view:
The first cenote that you will come across past the park’s entrance is called Xtabay. It’s characterized by a large opening with breathtaking light effects and is suitable for both swimming and snorkeling.
Waterlilies, freshwater turtles, different species of fish, and trees mirroring in the cenote’s surface make Xtabay a magical experience. But not only that!
Mayan urban legend has it that the spirit (tabay) of a beautiful woman (ix) in a white dress combing her long black hair under a Ceiba tree is carrying out her evil deeds here, luring men to their death to seek revenge for the love that she had never experienced during her lifetime. Any time one of them commits adultery, a new thorn will grow on the Ceiba tree, giving the women of the neighboring villages reason to argue with their husbands.
Don’t let Xtabay fool you, or otherwise end up in Xibalba, the Mayan underworld!
A dive at “Chikin Ha” provides excellent conditions for a diver’s first cenote experience. It is easily accessible through steps into the water, you get to see two cenotes in one dive, can gaze at underwater light shows, encounter a halocline, have amazing photo-ops, spot turtles and other marine life, amidst the jungle of the ancient Maya.
The park is well maintained, featuring a reception, toilets and showers, bicycle rental, trekking routes, and even zip-lines (at a fee), if you are brave enough.
How to start your Chicken Ha Adventure?
- Join Pro Dive International’s Cenotes Dive Excursion as a certified diver.
- Boost your skills and experience by becoming a PADI Advanced Open Water Diver, and/ or Peak Performance Buoyancy Specialist, and/ or Cave Diver, and/ or Enriched Air Diver, as Nitrox is FREE with Pro Dive.
- Explore the highlights of the Riviera Maya & Cozumel with the Yucatan Explorer or Yucatan Great Explorer.
- Go cave diving as a certified cave diver.
- Sign up for our Cenotes Snorkel Adventure, Sacred Mayan Ruins & Cenote Discovery, Mexican Snorkel Adventure, or 3 Cavern Snorkeling Tour.
- Contact us for guidance.