Dive into the depths of the Yucatan’s longest subterranean cave system at Nohoch Nah Chich outside Cancun. Exploring this enormous cenote studded with stalactites and stalagmites offers the experience of a lifetime for diving enthusiasts, while nondivers can swim and snorkel in its freshwater rivers and pools.
Nohoch Nah Chich, whose name is Mayan for “giant bird cage,” is an easily accessible cenote popular for diving day trips with certified diving guides from Cancun and Playa del Carmen. It’s part of the Yucatan’s vast Sac Actun cave system, which extends for more than 216 miles (348 kilometers) and stretches 5 miles (8 kilometers) inland. At Nohoch Nah Chich you can learn about the formation and history of the underwater caves that the ancient Maya believed were sacred portals to the underworld.
You can visit the cenote independently or on a day tour from Cancun or Playa del Carmen that may also include rappelling, ziplining, and a ride in an all-terrain vehicle. If you want to avoid renting a car in Mexico, you can opt for a tour that includes round-trip transportation from your hotel.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Cenote Nohoch Nah Chich is a must-see for divers and snorkelers visiting the area.
- Diving in the cenote is for experienced divers only; nondivers can swim and snorkel.
- Wear comfortable shoes suitable for walking over uneven surfaces, and bring sun protection and mosquito repellent.
- The cenote offers basic facilities, including parking and restrooms.
How to Get There
The main entrance to Cenote Nohoch Nah Chich is in the Maya community of Rancho San Felipe, about 2.8 miles (4.6 kilometers) south of Cenote Dos Ojos on Highway 307. It’s accessible either by private tour or your own transportation.
When to Get There
Cenote Nohoch Nah Chich is open year-round and cenote tours operate in all weather conditions. Winter brings large numbers of travelers to the Yucatan; during this time, plan to arrive early to beat the crowds.
Rancho San Felipe
While at Nohoch Nah Chich, set aside some time to explore Rancho San Felipe and meet the residents of this modern-day Maya community. The ranch belongs to a Maya family that has lived in this remote jungle location for over 30 years. Experience a traditional purification ceremony led by the village shaman and taste homemade classic Maya fare.