Cenotes are freshwater sinkholes commonly found in the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico. In this blog we will show you the best cenotes to visit for a day trip from Playa del Carmen
Exploring the Cenotes of Mexico
An exciting excursion on your visit to the Riviera Maya is to see one of the more than 6000 Cenotes you can find in the surrounding jungle.
These freshwater pools are special places which are valued and treasured by the Mayan people of the region, and make great places to visit to swim, snorkel, and scuba dive.
They are traditionally known by the indigenous Mayan population as the entrance to ‘Xibalbá’, the underworld, with histories of human sacrifices being made in some of them!
Nowadays, these natural jungle pools are an oasis to swim in, and also serve as entrances to a network of prehistoric, subterranean, water-filled caves that can be explored by scuba divers.
These little havens of paradise offer a refreshing option for a splash in the subtropical Mexican climate, and there are so many different cenotes to choose from, each with their own vibe and features.
Close to Tulum, you’ll find the tourist favorite ‘Grand Cenote’. Named for its impressive size, the hauntingly clear azure waters are beautiful to explore.
Being partly covered, this is a great cenote to explore the cavern system and spot the stalactites and stalagmites that are older than the existence of human life! There are several entrances to swim from with water of varying depth, with a cave which you can swim through form one side to the other.
Cenote Jardin del Eden
As the name suggests, this cenote is a little slice of paradise taken directly from the book of Genesis. Nestled in the heart of the jungle, you can swim and snorkel among the little fish and fallen rock formations in this expansive open pool.
If you’re feeling brave, you can also try jumping into the pool below from the high platforms.
Most cenotes contain some small fish (that often give you a free pedicure as they nibble at your toes!) but Casa Cenote has a different popular resident – Pancho, the friendly crocodile!
This open cenote is great to swim in, with lots of space. You’ll also find divers here enjoying the cracks and caverns along the cenote’s edge.
Cenote Zacil Ha
This smaller cenote is popular with families as it has a fun zip line you can swing across on! It also features diving platforms too. Perfect for adventure seekers who want to do a little more than swim and snorkel!
Cenote Ik Kil
Although this list shares the best cenotes in Playa del Carmen, a little further away (close to Chichen Itza) you’ll find the impressive Ik Kil. This sunken cenote is one you’ll recognize from Instagram blogs due to its impressive sunken depths and hanging vines which pour in from above.
It’s incredibly deep, but this also means it is great for plunging into. If you’re brave you might even try the high jump!
Top Cenote Tips:
– Each cenote has a different entrance price, so look it up before you visit. It’s often handy to take cash to pay in small denominations.
– Most cenotes have locker facilities and life jacket rentals for an additional charge.
– Avoid wearing sunscreen for cenotes as it damages the fragile ecosystem, you can protect yourself from the sun with a long-sleeved rash guard.
– Take snorkel gear for an additional swimming experience.
– Pack a picnic. Although some cenotes may have a small store or restaurant, many don’t, so be prepared with some drinks and snacks.
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