The cenote which can be entered on the property of Dos Ojos Lodge is considered to be a “dry” cave. Dry is a relative term when discussing cenotes, this term only implies that dive or snorkel equipment is not necessary for its exploration, most or all areas can be accessed by walking, crawling, and wading.

Credit for gathering the initial data on this system is given to Jim Coke, who mapped approximately 400meters in the spring of 2009. Much more extensive exploration was done in late 2010 by a team lead by Peter Sprouse. This cavern system has been mapped to approximately 2km in length at a depth from the surface of about 5m. There are at least 5 known entrances to the system, the most accessible and perhaps only “public” of these residing within the grounds of Dos Ojos Lodge.

Entrance to Tercer Ojos

Entrance to Tercer Ojos

Once inside the Tercer Ojos, lights illuminate the cave landing.

Once inside the Tercer Ojos, lights illuminate the cave landing.

Stalactites inside the Tercer Ojos

Stalactites inside the Tercer Ojos

Once down the stairs of the Dos Ojos Lodge entrance to Del Tercer Ojo, our guests will be greeted by a lighted cave area which is easy for the novice to explore. With water depths of only 1M, and an abundance of stalactite and stalagmite formations, even young children may join their parents in this underworld exploration. Look for fruit bats sleeping in the ceiling during the day, and watch as they fly out of the entrance at night.

Inside Tercer Ojos

Inside Tercer Ojos

A dry cave portion of the Tercer Ojos

A dry cave portion of the Tercer Ojos

Wading along one of the trails inside Sistema Del Tercer Ojo

Wading along one of the trails inside Sistema Del Tercer Ojo

For the more adventurous, there is the option to don headlights (available from your hosts, along with maps) and make your way along the marked “trails” into the massive cavern of Sistema Del Tercer Ojo. Spelunking experience is not necessary to follow the clearly marked trails, but further exploration is certainly possible for those who wish to do so. Making your way along one of these marked trails into the grand cave will not require swimming, but you will be on your hands and knees in water at times, as well as moving through a 2 meter wide “tunnel” with your nose above water but your mouth submerged (see photo); while the tunnel may be daunting, the emergence into the large cavern just outside is stunning.

Señor Dan exploring the Sistema Del Tercer Ojo

Señor Dan exploring the Sistema Del Tercer Ojo

The light in the distance is an opening to another cave.

The light in the distance is an opening to another cave.

A closer view of the cave opening.

A closer view of the cave opening.

With ceiling heights of over 5 meters and tree roots dropping from the roof into the water, it is truly a magnificent area to explore. Off to one side, another marked trail leads through a dry, rocky area into yet another grand cave, this one dry. Again, the rock formations are stunning, as well as the occasional openings in the ceiling which stream daylight.

Señorita Suzan traversing the tunnel between caves within Sistema Del Tercer Ojo.

Señorita Suzan traversing the tunnel between caves within Sistema Del Tercer Ojo.

One of the many natural skylights that illuminate the Tercer Ojos.

One of the many natural skylights that illuminate the Tercer Ojos.

Another skylight that adds natural light to the many features inside the caverns of Sistema Del Tercer Ojo.

Another skylight that adds natural light to the many features inside the caverns of Sistema Del Tercer Ojo.

The total “hiking” time from the DOL entrance to the grand cave can be done in well under 10 minutes, but we suggest you take your time and photos as you marvel at this still natural underwater world; unlike many cenotes that you can visit in parks, this one has not been sanitized for tourists, and with only one known “public” access point, you are very likely to be the only people in the cavern during your exploration.

For those more comfortable with a guide, please ask your hosts, who will be happy to schedule a time to accompany you.