With these pictures, you really have to look two or three times and still ask yourself what is it really that you can see. Is that a river under water? I can tell you that you’re absolutely right! What you’re looking at is the Cenote Angelita!
The fascinating underwater river lies on the Mexican peninsula Yucatán. Its name “Angelita” in English means “Little Angel”. This magical place is located only 15 minutes by car from Tulum. If you want to know how this natural phenomenon comes about and how you can experience the river itself live, just read on.
Underwater River: How does this natural phenomenon occur?
To clarify what the Cenote Angelita is: A cenote is a limestone hole created by the collapse of a cave ceiling filled with fresh water. There are more than 100 cenotes in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo. The total length of all explored underwater cave systems is over 480 kilometres. So-called day openings, which are visible through the cave ceiling, provide the opportunity to create an entrance into these cave systems. The underwater river itself is not a real river, but an illusion caused by a phenomenon called halocline or salinity jump.
When water meets different salt contents, in this case, salt and fresh water, they do not mix because of the different density. The cave, 15 kilometres south of Tulum, falls directly 60 meters steep. In Cenote Angelita fresh water is available for the first 30 meters where you have a clear view. This is followed by an approximately 1 to 2 meter of a thick layer of hydrogen sulfate, which simply explains a kind of sulfur layer. This layer is milky, misty and blocks the view into the depths. Underneath, the cenote is still about 30 meters deep filled with salt water. The alleged underwater river is more like a layer of salt water, which settles in the cave under water.
Only experienced divers can enjoy this surreal sight
To reach this underwater cave, you have to walk a short distance through the jungle and then reach the well-hidden cenote, which invites you to dive excursions of the extra class. However, this cave system is only suitable for experienced divers with at least 20 completed dives, as it goes down to 60 meters. If you fulfil this requirement, you can witness an incredible phenomenon, diving through clouds and even observing underwater trees with foliage leaves that are on the edge of the river. That makes the illusion perfect!
Are you excited about how beautiful and diverse our planet is? It’s hard to believe that there is a river under water! Would you want us to report more often about such extraordinary places and natural phenomena in the future? Then let us know in the comments. One thing’s for sure, if you are planning a trip to Mexico and you are an experienced diver then an excursion to the Cenote Angelita is a must.