Naharon (Cristall) Cenote

Cenote Naharon (Cristall) is considered one of the most outstanding because of the tannic-stained walls and decorations above the 60-foot (18.3-meter) halocline.

Historically, the Naharon (Cristall) Cenote, the Mayan Blue (Escondido) Cenote, and the Jailhouse Cenote were part of the Naranjal Cave system. On March 28, 2011, Steve Bogearts of Playa del Carmen connected Sistema Naranjal to Sistema Ox Bel Ha. Support cave diver Bil Philips of Tulum assisted with logistics.

Naranjal Cave general map
Naranjal Cave general map

Nestled south of Tulum and near the captivating Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, the Ox Bel Ha cave system unveiled its mysteries in 1996 when a team of cave divers embarked on its discovery and exploration.

Ox Bel Ha Cave System from January 2023 (thanks to CINDAQ team efforts) becomes again the World’s Longest Underwater Cave. It boasts an impressive length of 496.8 kilometers (308.6 mi), securing its status as the world’s longest underwater cave system. As of the end of 2023, the cave system encompassed 160+ cenotes. The most notable ones are cenote Jailhouse, cenote Naharon, cenote Escondido (Mayan Blue). According to the latest CINDAQ annual report, the system includes 56674 survey stations, 615 sections, more than 2500 jumps, 1500+ T intersections, and 7683 cave line markers.

Ox Bel Ha Cave System map

Ox Bel Ha general map
Ox Bel Ha general map

The Yucatan Peninsula’s distinctive geological history, a testament to the Earth’s transformative power over millions of years, has given rise to a sprawling labyrinth of underground passages and cenotes. This unique geological formation, a gift to cave divers and geology enthusiasts, has established the Ox Bel Ha cave system as a paradise to explore and admire.

Cenote Naharon (Cristall)

Tannic acid intrudes into the aquifer from a huge swamp area 8 km further west into the jungle. Within geological time (thousands of years), the tannic acid stains the calcium carbonate into a dark brown. Because everything is so dark, the cave divers’ light is absorbed. The few saltwater areas are not affected, as the calcium carbonate is bleached by the saltwater.

It has decent snorkeling spots and is a great place to swim and enjoy the cenote atmosphere.

There are upstream and downstream passages. One other cenote is upstream. 

Upstream and downstream areas

The best dives are the main line to Chac’s Room and beyond, which involves one jump. To get to the Deconocido Dome line, swim to the main line, take the first jump to the left of 8 ft (2.4 m), and follow that line 2,100 ft (637 m) upstream to the Double Domes. 

The Southwestern Sacbe passage involves two jumps. Go to the permanent main line, take the first jump to the left, follow that line for 200 ft (60.1 m), and jump down a steep slope for 65 ft (19.8 m) to this offshoot line. One more jump left will bring you to traverse to Mayan Blue Cenote (to tunnel A) through The Southern Sacbe passage. Follow the line to the South, take T-left, and arrive at tunnel A of Mayan Blue Cenote. 

Our Naharon Cenote cave diving video

Naharon Cenote cave lines map

Naharon Cenote Cave lines map
Naharon Cenote Cave lines map

The first explorer was Jim Coke in 1985. In 2003, Steve Penn and Sergio Granucci added 1400 ft of the line using DPV past Chac’s Room. Other explorers during the late 1980s were Steve Penn, Mike Madden, and Parker Turner. Other explorers have pushed the lines beyond what is on the map, but they are unknown.


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