Temple of Doom
When driving south on Highway 307 toward Tulum, you first past the entrance to the Tulum ruins, then approach an intersection on the north side of town. If you turn right at this intersection, you are on the road to Coba. Several different cave systems are located along the Coba Road, and it took the building of this highway before these caves could be discovered and explored.
The first system you encounter when heading west on the Coba Road begins at Cenote Esqueleto — or, as it is more commonly known, the Temple of Doom. Located just 1.8 kilometers west of the Coba Road intersection, this site is being developed by its owner to bring it up to the standard of other close-by cave diving sites. It will eventually have parking, banos (rest rooms) and a better trail to the cenote.
Until such time as the owner chooses to start collecting it, there is no admission fee to get into Temple of Doom. That’s the good news. The bad news is, until that time, there is no site attendant to watch your vehicle, which will be parked right along side of the Coba Road. Theft has been a major problem at this site, so don’t even consider diving here unless you can arrange for someone to watch your vehicle while you are down.
Assuming you can solve this problem, diving at Temple of Doom offers a unique experience. There are no stairs leading down to the water. There is, however, a galvanized pipe ladder to help you ascend the ten feet from the water to the lip of the cenote. That’s how you get out. How do you get in? You jump. And, before you do, make certain the ladder is in place and in working order. Otherwise, you are going to be stuck for a while.
Once in the water, you will be at the top of a large, circular breakdown pile. A line leads from the top of this pile to a cavern tour line that runs the circumference of its base. From this line, you have the option of jumping off to either of two downstream cave entrances.
One choice is to enter via The Canyons. The more popular choice, however, is to go by way of the Madonna Passage. These two entranceways join up in the Coliseum Room, and proceed onward to the Hall of Giants. From here you can continue on the main line, jump off to the Old Florida Room or take any of a number of offshoot tunnels.
Maximum depths are around 60 feet. Much of the cave is shallower. You will find portions of the cave both above and below the halocline. A map is available for sale from local dive centers that cater to cave divers.