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Cenote Papakal

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Map of Cenote Papakal: Roberto Hashimoto, Agustin Garcia, 1998

Cave Type: Cenote - solutional cave system

Location: Eknakan, Yucatan

Length: 380 m

Maximum depth: 31 m

Description: Cenote Papakal, "Mud Stains", is located south of the village of Eknakan and about 45 km southeast of Merida. The cave is reached over a dirt road passing by the ruins of an old hacienda. From the cave entrance, one enters a large underground chamber, about 50 m long, 40 m wide and with a floor to ceiling height of approximately 20 m. A breakdown slope at the back of this huge room descends to a clear water pool where a line of massive white stalactites, stalagmites and columns extend out into the lake. Underwater, the sloping floor of this pool, made up of sunken calcite rafts, heads southwest into a big passage, about 20 m wide and 4 m from floor to ceiling, eventually reaching a maximum depth of 31 m. At a penetration distance of about 140 m, the passage divides - to the south into a dead end chamber and to the east into a small side passage to the Camera de la Reina. A second but smaller passage, the Linea Muerte Ancestral, has been discovered leading out of the entrance cavern to the east. The submerged part of the cave consists of approximately 380 m of surveyed cave passage.

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Cenote Papakal: diver coming out of southwest passage

Hydrology: Freshwater.

Diving Mode: Standard cave scuba

History: This cave system was first explored by Sr. Mario Zarso in 1982. A French team visited the cave in 1989. Other significant discoveries in the cave include Camera de la Reina (Andrew Pitkin, October 1997) and Linea Muerte Ancestral (Roberto Hashimoto and Agustin Garcia, November 1997).


Conservation status: This cenote is regularly visited by guided dive tour groups.

Contributor: Andreas W. Matthes, Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo; Roberto Hashimoto and Agustin Garcia, Merida, Yucatan

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Cenote Papakal: View of cave lake from top of breakdown slope

Cenote Papakal: View of stalactite columns in cave lake

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