Sistema Vaca Ha
Continuing on the Coba Road a short distance past Gran Cenote, you will come to the entrance of Vaca Ha (“Cow Water” is Spanish and Mayan). The entry is gated; a professional guide can help you with admission fees and other entry requirements.
The cave entrance is a short distance from the road and right next to the parking area. It sits at the edge of a grassy swamp and was once a well where cows came to drink.
You start the dive by backing down a ladder into tannic water and near-zero viz. Carry your fins in your hands. At the bottom of the ladder you will find the start of the permanent line. Follow it, fins in hand, until you reach clear water and a hard bottom, just a few feet away. Don your fins, move into the clearer water and await the arrival of your buddies (reverse this process when exiting).
Vaca Ha is a largely linear system with few offshoots. Depths will tend to increase the farther you get into the cave, maxing out at around 75 feet. Unlike neighboring Sac Aktun, there is a halocline. Formations tend to be large and somewhat isolated.
Vaca Ha was originally owned by Don Camillo Solice Acosta. He was a familiar fixture, driving back and forth from his modest home in Tulum in an ancient and beat up Datsun pickup. Few were aware than Don Camillo was actually a very wealthy (if eccentric) man. He owned and leased out heavy construction equipment, earning enough money in the process to put several of his many children through law and medical school.
A few years back, Don Camillo got the idea to excavate the land next to the well to create a clear water lagoon next to it, thus attracting the snorkelers and swimmers who flocked to places such as Gran Cenote. What Don Camillo did not realize is that clear water requires flow, something an offset sinkhole such as Vaca Ha did not have.
The “laguna” was a flop. Tragically, old Don Camillo accidentally fell into Cenote Tortuga one day and drown. He is missed.