On a scorching hot day there is nothing better than dipping into a crystal clear pool of sparking cold water in the lush jungle. Cenotes are natural sinkholes that expose the fresh groundwater beneath, ferns and plants drape the edge, and these magical pools exude mystery and lore tied to the ancient Maya. Some centoes are accessible at ground level while others have steps or a ladder to climb down to reach the water. Some are road-side attractions while others are secret spots that only the locals know about. The Yucatan has an estimated 7,000 Cenotes.
Definitely take a trip to visit a cenote. Bring a towel, snacks, swimsuit, snorkel gear. You can also book a diving excursion with a tour group.
Some have small entrance fees. Here’s a list of recommendations from another blog:
“1. Called the “Sacred Blue Cenote”, Ik-Kil is a crystal clear, round, well-type cenote. Located on the highway between Chichen Itza (it’s only a couple of miles away from the archeological site) and Valladolid, this cenote is about 130 feet deep! It is about 85 feet from the surface so you will need to walk down a wooden stairway to reach it. Ik-Kil is more popular with swimmers and snorkelers than divers. There is a restaurant and small palapa homes for overnight stays. Look for the waterfalls and the lush green vegetation hanging all the way down to the water!
2. Dos Ojos or “two eyes” is located a little over 9 miles south of Tulum on highway 307 on the right. This cenote was named Dos Ojos because it is actually two circular cenotes. There are areas for swimmers, snorkelers and scuba divers. This is a world famous cenote and there is a large cave system below where divers can explore almost 500 meters of the underwater world in the immediate area. IMAX filmed part of their film “Journey into Amazing Caves” here. There are bathroom facilities and snacks available. Look for the “Bat Cave”!
3. Gran Cenote is a must see. Located just outside of Tulum, it is easy to find. Take a right off of highway 307 at the second stop light in Tulum. After traveling almost 2 miles you will see a sign for the cenote on your right. There are changing and bathroom facilities and a restaurant. There are areas for swimmers, snorkelers and scuba divers. Look for the fish and turtles and be careful not to hit your head on the impressive stalactites! Many people say this is their very favorite cenote.”
The Cenote pictured above is at the Ek Balam Mayan Ruins outside of Valladolid.