Nohoch Nah Chich Cenote

Cenote Nohoch Nah Chich is the world’s second-largest underwater cave system and one of the most beautiful underwater cave areas. First explored and surveyed during the summer of 1988, it grew in size annually until 2010 through the efforts of the CEDAM exploration teams directed by Mike Madden.

The name Nohoch Nah Chich means "Giant Birdhouse" in Mayan.

Cenote Nohoch Nah Chich is the central cenote of the Nohoch historical section of the connected system Sac Actun-Nohoch-Dos Ojos. Moreover, it is the world’s second-largest underwater cave system, with 376,7 km (234 miles) of underwater lines. The maximum depth is 119.18 mts (391 ft). The Nohoch historical section is an anchialine cave system connecting to naturally intruding marine water and tidal influence in the cenotes. However, this cave system’s coastal discharge point(s) has not yet been explored into the ocean. Despite this, dye tracing to flow towards Caleta Xel-Ha, a nearby coastal bedrock lagoon, demonstrated large volumes of groundwater.

Sac Actun-Nohoch-Dos Ojos Cave lines with cenotes name General Map
Sac Actun-Nohoch-Dos Ojos Cave lines with cenotes name General Map

The next world’s longest cave system, Ox Bel Ha, is very close — just a few kilometers south. So, perhaps shortly, a place will be discovered where these two cave systems connect. The combined cave system will be the largest underwater cave system in the world and the largest cave system in general, including dry caves.

Cenote dives in this area are available to certified cave divers who can go alone or are guided by a qualified cave instructor.

Nohoch Nah Chich cenote

Cenote Nohoch Nah Chich was not only a site of exploration but also a source of inspiration for various art forms. From an underwater cave photographer’s viewpoint, this cenote cave region offers many stunning features to capture as images.

For many years, between the 1990s and early 2000, Cenote Nohoch Nah Chich held the prestigious Guinness Book of World Records for the world’s longest underwater cave. This was a significant achievement, a testament to the cave’s vastness and the team’s dedication to exploration. Currently, that distinction is a neck-to-neck race between Sistema Ox Bel Ha, the number 1, and Sistema Sac Actun, the number 2.

It offers an excellent snorkeling trail amongst many air pockets and air domes.

Ladders are available for safe and easy exits from the water.

Once in the water, swim to the right, where there is a massive overhang, into an area half filled with water and air. Do a surface swim for about 100 ft (30 m) and go down, swimming at ten o’clock facing in. 

Because of the fragile environment and shallow depths, you can’t dive here within cavern limits.

Our Nohoch Nah Chich Cenote cave diving video

Nohoch Nah Chich Cenote cave lines map

Nohoch Nah Chich Cenote cave lines map
Nohoch Nah Chich Cenote cave lines map

Main Cave lines directions

The permanent guideline is located approximately 75 ft (23 m) on the far side of a huge flat rock. There is an open-air area above the entire distance to the permanent guideline. 

The upstream dive is a tremendous maze of passageways. The mainline goes to the spectacular formation named Heaven’s Gate and into the Disneyland area and beyond. It is the gateway to the spectacular Blue Abyss. Moving east and north, you can reach the Dreamgate area and the Tak Be Luum cenote.

Nohoch Proper area cave lines map
Nohoch Proper area cave lines map

The upstream area’s first 2,500 ft (757 m) is a vast delta area of offshoot passages, commonly named the Nohoch Proper area. There is Charlie’s line, Ron’s (Ron Winiker) line, the Bill Carlson line, JJ’s (Juan Jose Tucat) loop line, Joanie’s (Joan Patrick) line, Parker’s (Parker Turner) line, and Alberto’s (Alberto Rodriquez) line. Swim upstream on the main line 800 ft (240 m), and you will see an air dome on the right with a wooden deck platform and a ladder to the surface. Swim another 100 ft (30 m), and you will swim between two massive and impressive formations named Heaven’s Gate. The following 300 ft (90 m) is known as Disneyland. All of the offshoot passageways are beautiful and inspiring.

Going away northwest from Nohoch Nah Chich’s entrance, you will reach a jump to the very nice Blue Abyss and Pet Cemetery area.

Blue Abyss area cave lines map
Blue Abyss area cave lines map

It is about a 3-hour DPV dive here and back. Continuing the main line, you will approach the Outland Cenote area of the historical Actun Hu cave system.

The downstream portions of the cave connect to the huge area of different cenotes and routes.

Nohoch Cenote location map

Denny Atkinson, Mike Madden, Juan Jose Tucat, and Ron Winiker first explored this cenote. On their first dive, on November 26, 1987, they laid 2,620 ft (803 m) of line.

Other explorers were Shelley Baker Tarbox, Miguel Barcena, Patrick Bien, Len Bucko, Alex Buczkowski, Bill Carlson, Doug Carlson, John Curtis, Steve DeCarlo, Kashi Celler, Nancy DeRosa, Tony DeRosa, Pablo Diaz, Bob Eichert, Lamar English, Steve Gerrard, Veronica Guevarra, Charlie Hancock, Eric Hutcheson, George Irvine, Manual (Pio) Jimenez, Burt Jones, Mercedes Jones, Don Keele, George Krueger, Randy Lathrop, Kate Lewis, Dan Lins, Andres Matthes, Tom Morris, Eric Noftall, Robbie Osman, John Orlowski, Shelley Orlowski, Joan Patrick, Katja Peterson, Steve Pittman, Emanuelle Sach, Bruce Schadow, Maurine Shimlock, Karl Shreeves, Ray Siegfried, Wes Skiles, James F Smith, Chuck Stevens, Juan Jose Tucat, Richard Tuma, Parker Turner, Vicki Urbieta, Gary Walten, Kay Walten, and Ron Winiker.

Steve Bogearts and Robbie Schmittner connected it to Sistema Sac Actun on January 25, 2007.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *