The researcher still discover Mayan artifacts in the underground cave systems which show that these places were sacred and gathering point for Mayan rituals. make it clear how sacred these places were.
These natural limestone holes in Yucatan Peninsula are the best treat you can give to your overheated body after exploring Mayan ruins or colonial cites or just to escape the midday heat of the sun. The water is natural fresh water and totally clear so that snorkeling or diving becomes a marvelous experience for you.
This cenote is huge, but not on the surface. As I was there a tourist was complaining and wanted his money back as he was expecting the biggest cenote ever and he claimed that they lied to him 🙂 Anyways…
Gran Cenote is named after its huge cave system. Even if you don’t dive, only by snorkelling you get the idea how big it is after you see the huge stalagmites everywhere. Its water is so clear that I won’t forget that colour blue.
Even though it is very popular and usually the next stop for shuttle bus tourist after visiting Tulum, you don’t get the feeling surrounded by crowds. There is enough space to put your towel on and relax.
It is only 3 km away from Tulum on the way to Coba (Highway 109), on the roadside and very easy to find.
Cenote Dos Ojos
Dos Ojos means “Two Eyes” and it refers to two pools which are connected by a 400 meter long underground passageway. It is 118 meters deep which is the deepest known underwater cave passage. The whole cave system is ~60 km long.
One pool is half open and filled with blue clear waters which is perfect for snorkelers. The other pool is cavernous which makes it to a favourite diving sites by cave divers.
It is also only 3-4 km away from Tulum on the way to Playa del Carmen (Highway 307).
Cenote Samula y Xquequen
Cenote Samulá is one of the two cenotes in “Cenotes Dzitnup”. The only sunlight comes from one hole in the ceiling from which long tree roots hang down. You go down the slippery stairs to get in this cenote and you feel like a whole new world opens for you. It is mystical.
Cenote Xquequen is also as beautiful and mysterious as the Samulá.
In the entrance you can either buy a ticket for only one of the two or a combination ticket for two together. Diving in the Cenotes Dzitnup is not possible, but you can snorkel.
Cenotes Dzitnup are only 7km away from Valladolid and easily to find thanks to the signs.
This cenote is part of the Chichen Itza archaeological site. Here it is not allowed to swim, snorkel or dive. Thanks to the early researches in this cenote where bones and jewelries were found in the deep waters we know today that the Mayans performed rituals such as human sacrificing.
I haven’t been to this one but it is a very popular cenote near to the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza. Some claim that it is the most beautiful cenote in Mexico. Unfortunately I missed the opportunity to make my own opinion on this.
Useful info about cenotes
Entrance fee for normal visitors and snorkelers costs about 100-150M$ (6-8US$). For divers it costs about 200 Mexican Pesos (11-12US$). Of course you need to pay for your equipment and dive operator separately.
Most of the cenotes open at 10:00 and close at 17:00 O’clock.
I’d recommend to bring your own snorkel gear, but in most cenotes you can rent swim fins, life jackets, masks and snorkels.
Dive equipment is also mostly available but check this with your diver operator.
Don’t forget to bring
Well, your swimwear of course. Apart of this don’t forget your flip flops and towels. Use biodegradable sunscreen and mosquito repellent.
Most of cenotes don’t have lockers (saw some in Gran Cenote), so leave your valuables at the hotel safe.
Check my Pack List for useful travel items, such as a safe in case your hotel room doesn't have one.
Even though the water in the cenotes is chilled and cool, the air in the caves get hot and very humid which can be very uncomfortable if you’re not in the water.
If you want to know more about traveling in Mexico check my blog post "Everything you need to know about Mexico". For more insights I recommend Lonely Planet's Travel Guide for Mexico or the travel guide for Cancun, Cozumel & The Yucatan.
For price worthy accommodation check Booking.com or Agoda.com.
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