Aktun Ha (Carwash)
Open Daily. The entrance fee for divers is 10 USD. Toilets and changing facilities are available. There is a parking area with tables to set up dive equipment. Very easy entry and exit, it is just a few steps from the car park to the water. No Permanent Cavern Line. Maximum depth 18m/60ft.
Carwash is a very popular site for swimming as well as Cavern and Cave Diving and is located on the Coba Road 15 minutes from the town of Tulum. The Cenote is just a few meters from the road and has extremely easy access. As a result Carwash was one of the first cenotes to be found and dived by explorers. It got its unusual name as years ago local Taxi drivers used to take their cars there to wash them. Its proper Mayan name “Actun Ha” means Cave Water.
Carwash is a classic inline sink with both spring and siphon entrances with a very pretty shallow spring basin separating them. A Cavern dive can be made both on the Spring (upstream) and Syphon (downstream) sides but the Spring entrance is by far the larger, more open and more decorated of the two.
There is no permanent Cavern Line in Carwash so your guide will install one using a primary reel that you will follow during the dive.
During the summer months there is typically an algae bloom at the surface of the cenote sometimes several meters thick which reduces visibility considerably. The layer of algae traps much of the sunlight and really warms up this layer of water so that is feels like a warm bath. Once you descend below the algae layer the water is crystal clear and a lot colder by comparison! The sunlight that does make it through the algae has a beautiful green tint. At other times of the year lots of tannic acid laden water is washed into the cenote and creates an amazing band of orange water at the surface tinting the sunlight shining down through the Lily pads in glorious shades of red, gold and brown. It is like seeing a sunset underwater.
The entrance of the Cavern is very wide with a lot of light penetration and has a screen of dead trees in front of it creating the cool effect of a drowned forest. Looking back out of the entrance from the Cavern through the silhouette of the trees at the green or red light streaming through the opening is a stunning sight and very popular with photographers. The rest of the cavern zone is very nicely decorated with many different types of formations that are chestnut brown/caramel in color. If you are very lucky you may get to see the ghost like albino Blind Cave Fish during your cavern dive.
Back out in the open water Carwash has a large population of Tetras that like to shoal and play in diver’s bubbles. Also look out for the small crocodile and turtles that make carwash their home. Often you will see them sunning themselves, sometimes together, on the far bank.
Carwash is a popular training site and you may well see some Cavern or Cave classes being taught while you are there.