Nohoch Nah Chich

Nohoch Nah Chich underwater cave system


Location: Tulum Municipality, Quintana Roo     Map

Depth: 71.6 meters (235 ft)

Length: 67 kilometers (42 mi)


Description of Nohoch Nah Chich

Nonoch Nah Chich is located in Tulum Municipality in Quintana Roo state of Mexico. It is a massive underground system that is completely submerged under water. Nohoch Nah Chich which means "giant birdcage" in Mayan is a system of underwater caves that measures in total over 67 km of explored portion. It is located just south of Playa del Carmen, Mexico. Nohoch Nah Chich is connected to the Caribbean sea via a coastal spring called Casa Cenote. Judging by stalactites and stalagmites the cave was formed while it was dry and submerged only later as water level rose.
Although Nonoch Nah Chich is not fully explored divers suggest that it stretches as far as 8 km from a shore. Two main camps are established by divers at Cenote Far Point Station and Main Base Camp located at the main Nohoch Nah Chich Cenote entrance. You can arrange a snorkeling trip through your hotel that will find company that will provide transportation and rental of snorkels. However then it comes to SCUBA diving this cave is for experienced divers only due to possible hazards. Do not attempt to go there on your own. You might be fined if you fail to show proper certification.


For more than ten years the system of Nonoch Nah Chich was extensively explored by dedicated cave divers starting from Cenote Nohoch Nah Chich. In 1987 Mike Madden of CEDAM International Dive Center established the CEDAM Cave Diving Team principally to conduct annual exploration projects to focus on cave exploration, while a number of cave research efforts were logistically supported, with contributions in the fields of karst hydrogeology, water chemistry, microbiology, cave ecology, and underwater archaeology.

The technique of establishing jungle exploration camps at newly found cenotes and cave entrances of Sistema Nohoch Nah Chich was developed and refined during many cave exploration projects, thus allowing cave diving exploration effort to continue more efficiently at the edges of the known caves. The main camp of exploration became Cenote "Far Point Station", located 6 kilometers (3.7 mi) from the coast, and 2.8 kilometers (1.7 mi) further inland than Main Base Camp situated at the main Nohoch Nah Chich Cenote entrance.

During the Nonoch Nah Chich 1997 expedition, the 60 kilometers (37 mi) of total explored cave passage mark was surpassed. In early 2007, Nohoch Nah Chich included 36 cenotes and had a recorded length of 67 kilometers (42 mi), when it was connected to, and subsumed into the 14 kilometers (8.7 mi) longer Sistema Sac Actun by the Sac Actun Exploration Team (SAET). This portion of the system is now called the "Nohoch Nah Chich Historical section", where with 71.6 meters (235 ft) also the greatest depth of the entire system was reached at "The Blue Abyss".