Sac Actun in Riviera Maya, the largest system of cenotes and underwater caves in the world and you can visit it
The Sac Actun system is the perfect tourist destination to enjoy ecotourism in the exploration of underwater caves, cenotes and archaeological tourism on your trip and we want to share why this will be a great experience for you and your fellow travlers.
The Riviera Maya is famous for its beautiful beaches, its beautiful waters, the warmth of its people and for those beautiful places to spend vacations and rest, it goes without saying that it is a world-renowned tourist destination, but that recognition also falls on ecological tourism, that is, the exploration of natural tourist destinations such as cenotes and underwater caves, activities that are highly demanded as part of the experiences in trips to the Riviera Maya and Tulum, located on the Yucatan peninsula in the state of Quintana Roo, has gained great popularity as a tourist destination thanks to the fact that the Sac Actun system (name in Mayan language that means White Cave) has become the largest system of cenotes and flooded caves in the world.
The discovery of today’s the largest underwater cave system in the world
In the Yucatan peninsula there were two highly recognized underwater cave systems, one of them is called “Pet Cemetery” (it is still recognized locally in Tulum), but later it was renamed Sac Actum, this underwater cave system extended for 263 kilometers (163.4 miles) and was also very close to another system of underwater caves and cenotes to the north of Tulum, the cenotes system called Dos Ojos with an extension of 83 kilometers (51.6 miles), which also has the most flooded underwater cave. largest in the world and is a major tourist attraction.
On January 9, 2018, Robert Schmittner and his team managed to identify that the Sac Actum underwater cave system and the Dos Ojos cave system were connected, this was something for the Great Maya Aquifer (GAM) underwater exploration team it became the finding that he had been looking for for 14 years due to the proximity between the two systems and the search for a possible connection between these two great systems due to their proximity.
An event that determines that both cave systems become the largest underwater cave system in the world
On the GAM website they explain that, in accordance with international caving regulations, when a find like this is produced and it is identified that two submerged caves or cave systems are naturally connected, the entire cave system will be renamed with the name of the largest cave system, that is, the name of the largest cave or system will predominate for its denomination and supposedly, the name of the smallest cave “disappears”, which certainly has not been the case since that the Dos Ojos cenote and its underwater cave system has its own recognition worldwide and locally continues to be identified with that name.
But this discovery makes the Sac Actun system, with a current extension of 347 kilometers (215.6 miles), with more than 240 cenotes that function as entrances, thus becoming the largest system of flooded caves on the planet so far, a system that could eventually extend to more than 1000 kilometers (621.4 miles) if, as suspected, this cave system connects with other systems that exist in the Yucatan area, especially 3 of them that are close to the Sac Actum system.
Sac Actum is a benchmark for archaeological exploration and Mayan ruins
Another of the most outstanding characteristics of this underwater cave system that has been called by Guillermo de Anda, a researcher at the National Institute of Anthropology and History and director of the GAM, as a “time tunnel”, this because this cave system Underwater caves have preserved hundreds of archaeological objects from the Mayan culture and even remains of extinct animals from the Pleistocene era, when the cave system was not flooded (more than 11,000 years ago) and therefore becomes a unique window into the past of America continent and making Sac Actun the largest underwater archaeological site in the world.
Before the discovery of the connection of the two systems, the largest underwater cave system was in Cancun, the Ox Bel system, a system that has an extension of more than 270 kilometers (167.7 miles).
The magnificent Villa la Gran Tortuga is very close to the system of Cenotes Sac Actun
Some relevant data of the Sac Actun system in the Riviera Maya
- The initial name that the system had “Pet Cemetery” was given due to the large number of fossil remains identified in the caverns
- In 2004, the remains of a woman, named as “the woman of Naharon” (between 20 and 25 years old) were found, remains that were dated at 13,600 years old.
- In 2006, the remains of a woman named “the woman of the palms” (between 45 and 50 years old) were found in an underwater cave in Tulum.
- In 2007, in the Aktun Hu section in the place named “Black Hole” the remains of an adolescent woman named Naia (between 15 and 17 years of age) were found, it was estimated that she lived in the area from the Riviera Maya between 12,600 and 12,900 years ago when the caves were not flooded
- Pleistocene fossils of giant sloths and elephants have been found
- 198 archaeological contexts have been found and of these, 138 seem to be identified with the Mayan civilization
- Among the archaeological remains of the Mayan civilization, remains of a mask and the fist of the representation of the Mayan God of commerce, vessels, Mayan buildings near the cenotes or above the caves, as well as masks among other ceramic remains have been identified.
The beautiful and luxurious Villa la Semilla is perfect to enjoy vacation days and visit the cenote
Tourist activities in the cenotes and underwater caves of Sac Actun in Tulum and the Riviera Maya
As we mentioned before, this is one of the great attractions of the Riviera Maya and many people want to enjoy unforgettable experiences during their stay in the beautiful luxury villas from Tulum, passing through Akumal, Playa del Carmen, Cozumel Island and Puerto Morelos to Cancun, within your vacation or tourist plans, one of the must-see and unmissable activities and experiences is visiting the cenotes of the Sac Actun system.
This system of caves and cenotes of course is a great attraction for international tourism that is known as low impact, that is, what we call ecological tourism, and it is referred to as low impact tourism because it does not affect the environment. , you must take care of it and respect it while it is enjoyed by tourists and naturally it is watched over.
Among the most visited cenotes of the Sac Actun system in the Riviera Maya we have:
- Cenote Dos Ojos north of Tulum
- The route of the cenotes in Puerto Morelos with the Cenote Verde Lucero, Cenote Las Mojarras, Cenote Chilam Balam, Cenote Siete Bocas and Cenote Boca del Puma among others.
- Cenote Chac Mool in Playa del Carmen, very good for diving.
- The Cenote that is called Sac Actun, which is near the El Pit Cenote and is reached by the same path, the entrance to the Dos Ojos park, this cenote is one kilometer from Tulum and near the Xel-Ha park
- The great cenote, located in Tulum and is perfect for snorkeling.
- The Tajma Ha Cenote, a perfect place for diving activities and is a few kilometers from Puerto Aventuras
- Among the tourist activities that can be done in these cenotes we have:
- Underwater activities: diving, free diving, snorkeling
- Water activities: swimming, diving
- Climbing activities: Rappelling
- On-site activities: ATV excursions, zip lines, bird and wildlife watching
What you should know when you are going to carry out tourist activities in the cenotes and caves of the Sac Actun system
The entrance to the cenotes has a cost determined by each managing entity of the park (which is also allocated to its care, maintenance and administration), this cost includes different services or implements according to the plan.
The activities of each plan are specified according to the cenote and the activities that can be carried out in it, for example, there are cenotes where there is a zip line activity in the plan, in other cenotes there are snorkeling activities or exploration of underwater caves.
Many basic plans for swimming in clear water include safety elements and others such as a life jacket, mask and/or snorkel, of course, this is something to verify depending on the activities that you want to develop with family, friends or the group of travelers.
It is important to consult previously before going to the cenote in a group since the costs may vary.
In certain activities you must go with a guide, even if you are an expert, you should not go alone for safety and as required by park regulations.
You cannot use perfumes, deodorants, chemical makeup, repellents, sunscreens, repellents or similar to enter the cenote because these contaminate the ecosystem of the cenote and the caves (mostly fish and other native species are found), in part, This is why we talk about responsible ecological tourism with the environment and low impact; only biodegradable products can be considered in some cases and you should check with the park guides about it.
Follow the recommendations of the park guides in each of the activities
It is possible that in certain cenotes to enter the caves you will be required to wear a neoprene suit.
The best hours to visit the cenotes are close to noon, due to their nature and ecosystem they are cool environments and you should take advantage of natural light
If you suffer from claustrophobia or hydrophobia, you should not go to this attraction.
Keep in mind that many activities require a moderate level of fitness, if you are suffering from any type of disease, it is better to refrain from exerting yourself.
We always recommend attending in a group and by hiring a private tour, this offers better guarantees for your enjoyment and experience, thanks to the fact that these can include:
- Private transport
Entrance to Mayan ruins in Tulum
Entrance to Sac Actun cenotes
Bilingual guide (English | Spanish)
- Underwater expert guide
- Expert guide in Sac Actun
- Traditional Mexican lunch
- Bottled water, soft drinks and/or beer (depending on the plan)
With the type of plan and the activities that are going to be developed in the group of guests of the villa who want to attend one of the cenotes of Sac Actun, we will be able to establish which is the best, what is included and what is not included, which is you should be aware of and guide you with our expert staff.
Now that you know a little more about the Riviera Maya and the largest cave system in the world, what are you waiting for to include it in your list of unmissable experiences to enjoy on your vacation?