Cenote Calavera (also known as Temple of Doom) is located about 5 minutes drive west of Tulum and is surrounded by Jungle. Calavera is the Spanish word for skull.
Cenote Calavera (Skull Cenote which is also known as the Temple of Doom) is located 2 km west of the intersection of highway 307 and the Coba/beach road on the northeast side of Tulum pueblo. A very popular scuba diving location for those accredited with cave diving certification, Cenote Calavera is located only 5 km from the Caribbean Sea, to which it´s current flows.
The scary sounding name reflects the ominous feel of the cenote and it´s large underground cave. After walking 100 meters along the trail you come to a literal hole in the ground with a 10 meter circumference. It takes some guts to jump off the edge to the clear water 3 meters below. For those less courageous, a ladder is available to lower yourself. Under the water is a large hill of sediment and rocks in the middle, with a minimum depth of 3 meters depending on the water level.
Once inside, the large cavern opens up all around you to a circumference of 160 meters! Swimming for exercise in the calm 76°F water offers you the chance to look up and with imagination see the "skull"... mid day light passing through holes in the ceiling which create an effect of two eyes and a mouth. The walls of the cave offer rock shelves for you to rest, meditate or just take in the feeling of being inside an underground cave filled with fresh spring water. The water depth around the sides of the cave descend to 14 meters, offering you a view of xibalba (pronounced "shee bal ba", the Mayan name for underworld which is a metaphor for dreamstate and death). Numerous fish seem to enjoy the visitors while visitors enjoy playing with the blind, black catfish, which tend to swim right up to your nose.
Cave certified scuba divers can enjoy four separate entrances to the continuing flow of underground river, with depths up to 19 meters. It is possible to pass through 3 separate halocline layers, the first one at a depth of 10 meters and each one obscuring your view of stalactites and stalagmites. "Halocline" is the word which describes the mixing of fresh and salt water. The salt water does not mix with the cooler fresh water. Instead, it creates a layer which is not unlike the mix of oil and water. The Mayan word for this is "xel ha", (pronounced "shel ha") which means the mixing of the waters. The rainbow colors of light passing through the xel ha, or halocline, creates a magical experience as if you are on, or in, another planet. Below the halocline the salt water is much warmer than the fresh water above. Ask your guide to show you "The Fang", an amazing combination of a huge stalactite and stalagmite formation. Fossils accent the solid limestone rock which surrounds the entrance to Cenote Calavera.
People are invited to bring coolers of food and drinks, enabling tourists to turn a relaxing swim or scuba dive into a nice picnic as well.
Entrance fee is $50 pesos for swimmers and $100 pesos for scuba divers. Inflatable water chairs (floaties) are available for non swimmers and offer the opportunity for a relaxing siesta.