Adventure Travel

Mexico’s Best Cenotes For An Amazing Underground Adventure

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Mexico’s landscape is diverse, with beautiful coasts, Mayan ruins, deserts and jungles, towns from the Spanish colonial era, and trendy urban centers. But it was the ‘Cenotes,’ which are both beautiful and magical, that piqued the interest of every traveller. Swimming in one of Mexico’s cenotes is an experience you must have throughout your visit. Let’s learn more about cenotes and where they might be found.

What are Cenotes?

Cenotes are God’s gift to all water babies in Mexico. They are pits formed by the collapse of limestone bedrock, according to a textbook definition. They are natural swimming holes or caves with fresh, ultra clear, and pure water, to put it simply. The water beneath is exposed, generating magnificent, ready-to-dive-into clear pools. Cenotes are a combination of open, semi-open, and underground caverns. Finding the smaller, more secluded ones with little or no water exposed at the surface, which are known as cave cenotes, is more enjoyable.

Cenotes are generated by the gradual disintegration of rocks, hence the size and openness of the cenote is determined by the amount of erosion of the surrounding rocks. As a result, you can find smaller, circular ponds that are half collapsed or entirely open. Some may necessitate some digging, crawling, and crouching to locate the water. It’s time to turn this into an adventure and try to find them all!

What Can I See At Cenotes?

Cenotes are generated by the gradual disintegration of rocks, hence the size and openness of the cenote is determined by the amount of erosion of the surrounding rocks. As a result, you can find smaller, circular ponds that are half collapsed or entirely open. Some may necessitate some digging, crawling, and crouching to locate the water. It’s time to turn this into an adventure and try to find them all!

Where Can I Find Them?

In Mexico, there are about 6000 different cenotes. Some cenotes in Mexico have been converted into swimming holes and used as scuba diving centers for tourists over time. However, there are still several that are unreachable due to their location in the distant Mexican wilderness. The majority of Mexico’s cenotes may be located on the Yucatan Peninsula, such as Ik Kil, Sacred Cenote, and Merida, but several can also be found in Zacaton, Tamaulipas’ northern state. The ones in Chichen Itza with open water pools are particularly popular. These are known as caverns because they enable natural light to pass through. Continue reading to learn more about some of Mexico’s most prominent cenotes.

Scuba diver exploring the underwater cenotes.

Best Cenotes Near Tulum

Cenote Dos Ojos is one of the most famous cenotes on the Yucatan Peninsula, located between Tulum and Playa del Carmen. This cenote is one of the greatest in Tulum, with its brilliant turquoise water. Long wooden stairs go down to the clear lake, which will greet you. People come from all over to scuba dive between the “two eyes” (sinkholes) separated by a 400-meter underwater tube. Because the caves are barely above the waterline, you can even attempt snorkeling through them.

Aktun Ha (Carwash Cenote) – Cenote Car Wash was rumored to have been utilized as a carwash stop before it was designated as a protected site. This popular snorkeling and diving location is located 10 kilometers inland from Tulum. You may see a lot of fish, water lilies, iguanas, and even turtles once you’re down there. The downed trees at the bottom create an interesting underwater habitat to explore.

Gran Cenote – The entrance to this deep cave system can be found just 5 kilometers down the road to Coba, behind wide, rocky overhang coverings. Because the Gran Cenote is tucked away in the jungle, get there as soon as possible. This cenote in Mexico is ideal for diving, snorkeling, or simply swimming and taking in the scenery.

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Best Cenotes Near Playa Del Carmen

Cenote Azul – This is not one of Mexico’s largest cenotes, but it is famous for a tiny limestone cliff from which you can jump. This cenote is located 20 to 25 minutes south of Playa del Carmen, on the Riviera Maya’s major roadway. It’s also popular with families because it includes both deep underwater and shallow open-air water to explore.

Cenote Chaak Tun – This location is just a few kilometers outside of Playa del Carmen, in the Riviera Maya’s core. The limestone ceilings have small holes in them through which one may see the beautiful light shows as the sun shines. The two main caves are connected, and the wonderful underground environment will fascinate you once you enter.

Jardin del Eden is a hidden gem in the woods 25 kilometers south of Playa del Carmen. Because of its lush vegetation and clear water, this is one of the best cenotes to see from Playa Del Carmen. The Garden of Eden is a verdant oasis where you can swim and sunbathe.

Best Cenotes Near Cancun

Cenote Verde Lucero – Located about 50 minutes from Cancun and Playa del Carmen, Cenote Verde Lucero is a natural wonder. The open cenote Verde Lucero has crystal clear waters and reaches a depth of 20 meters. The spectacular freefall, which is flanked by tall cliffs and forest and has vivid green water beneath it, is a must-see in Mexico.

Cenotes with beautiful turquoise water for snorkelling at Xel-Ha, Cancun

Cenote La Noria – Because Cenote La Noria is only a few kilometers from Cenote Verde Lucero, you can visit both places in one day. Cenote La Noria has two entrances, one through the main entrance and the other through a tiny passageway. You can choose the narrow one if you are not claustrophobic. The primary entrance leads to the cenote’s center via a wooden staircase. With a depth of 18 meters and a diameter of 47 meters, this location is suitable for swimming and diving.

Casa Cenote – Casa Cenote is a one-of-a-kind cenote located just 1 hour and 15 minutes from Cancun. What distinguishes it from other cenotes is that it resembles a river rather than a pit. It’s a wonderful area to visit because of the crystal clear turquoise seas, lush vegetation, and proximity to a beach. This underwater tunnel system connects directly to the ocean, and it can be explored at one’s leisure. Swimming, diving, kayaking, snorkeling, and paddleboarding are all available to visitors.

Best Cenotes Near Chichen Itza & Valladolid

Cenote Ik Kil – This massive cenote, which is almost perfectly circular, is one of the best on the peninsula. The water level is around 26 meters (85 feet) below ground level, with a diameter of 60 meters and a depth of 50 meters. You can descend to a swimming platform through a handcrafted stairway. Large vines that cascade down to the water’s edge, coupled with miniature waterfalls, are truly stunning.
Cenote Suytun — It’s worth the fifteen-minute journey outside of Valladolid for that one spectacular photo. A truly wonderful click is standing on a stone walkway in the heart of a deep cave, surrounded by deep blue water.

Cenote Zaci near Valladolid is without a doubt one of Mexico’s best and most beautiful cenotes. Cenote Zaci was a large cave that had partially collapsed, allowing a lot of natural light to enter through the open sky. The lush greenery, numerous stalactites hanging from the roof, and the clear blue waters below make it well worth the trip.

Cave Diving Vs. Cavern Diving

Apart from the jokes, diving here is a fun but serious sport. The environment is delicate and diversified, and it must be treated with extreme caution. Mexico conducts a survey to identify all water-filled caves (by length and depth) inside its borders. Cavern diving gives natural light, so it’s important to make sure that divers can see by natural light the entire time they’re investigating and don’t wander off where the light fades. There is no natural light when cave diving, so safety precautions must be observed before exiting the cave. While both cave and cavern diving require certain fundamental qualifications and diving experience, cave diving requires a cave diving certification.

Deep under the jungle, these cenotes in Mexico were sacred wells for the ancient Mayans to give human sacrifices to the water Gods. These natural water filters, as well as the crystal-clear waters, are now popular with tourists, adventurers, and explorers. So, what do you have to lose? Go diving and enjoy yourself responsibly!

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