New Cave Systems Discovered in Punta Venado

By Fred Devos

On April 12, 2000 Cave Exploration began at Punta Venado located 10km South of Playa del Carmen. True to its name, many deer (venado) still thrive in this area along with their predatory larger felines.


Yair Azubel and myself were shown several, promising looking cenotes of which 3 had easy access (less than 300m from a road). Another 2 would require horses and/or trail cutting in order to move equipment in.


Turtle Dump Cenote



After 30 minutes of hammering at 16 ft. with a maximum penetration of 300 ft, line was reeled in and it was labeled a no-go. Five huge turtle skeletons were found in the cavern zone and were most likely thrown in by a guilty conoisor of days gone by.


Cow Dump Cenote



A short walk and déjà vu of the last dive resulted in another cenote being checked off the list. 15 minutes at 15 ft amongst the scattered bones of something bovine. Note: It's also important to know where caves do not exist!


Sistema Venado



A beautiful, virgin cenote where it is a rumored, pumas come to drink. It was a relief to find some going passage after a 1 km hike through the jungle and two minutes into the dive showed a depth of 100ft!  A very unique discovery as we were only 800m from the sea. Charcoal littered the floor suggesting evidence of a forest fire. Large passage headed NE with leads to check out later. Relaxed during 45 minutes deco before hauling any equipment back


Sistema Carrillo



Christophe Le Maillot and Fred Devos accomplished the hard work of hammering small leads from Cenote Chan Pek before discovering going passage headed N. From there, shallow, parallel phreatic tubes split to the NE and SW with similarities compared to Sistema Abejas near Tulum. On this first day, 2,500 ft of passage was discovered along with Cenote Rojo Ojo, and Cenote Pajaro. Sistema Carillo was named in honor of the landowner.



Sistema Carrillo came to a halt upstream at a major breakdown nearing Cenote Turtle Dump. Passage continued downstream along with the discovery of Cenote Chupa Hoop.  Total length now exceeds 4,500 ft with nearly enough accessible passage to lead back mount cave divers.


DIR México/ Pto. Aventuras

Quintana Roo, México 77733

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