10 Best Yucatan Cenotes.
#10 Cenote Samula (Valladolid)
Tall walls encircle the blue water of Cenote Samula, and the only source of natural light comes from a hole on the ceiling. As the light hits the water, reflections paint the surrounding rocks, creating a dream-like scene. Thanks to the light, you can also see how deep the cenote is. Tree roots hanging from the ceiling take centre stage and create the illusion of a waterfall.
#9 Cenote Hubiku
The moment you step down the stairs leading to Cenote Hubiku, you will want to jump in in its crystal clear water. However, don’t be surprised by the water’s cool temperature, which rarely surpasses 20 C (68 F).
Aside from giving you shelter from the hot sun, the cenote also provides an opportunity to swim with catfish.
In case you need some liquid courage before plunging into the water, visit the nearby tequila museum.
Not to be skipped on your cenote tour, Kantun-Chi cenote serves as the star attraction of an ecopark, and for good reason…
Located underground, this grotto is jam-packed with stalagmites and stalactites closing in on you from every side. These earth-colored rock formations contrast with the translucent water causing it to appear jelly-like. You might think you stumbled on Willy Wonka’s factory.
#7 Ek Balam Cenote
Ek Balam is an archeological site, originating from the late period of Mayan culture. Although overshadowed by Chichen Itza, it too has a lot to offer. After exploring the ruins, take a dip in the Ek Balam cenote.
Out of all Yucatan cenotes, this one might be the most fun. In addition to swimming and snorkeling, you can rent a kayak, ride a zipline, and swing from a rope.
#6 Cenote Zaci
Close to the town of Valladolid, Cenote Zaci comes in handy if you need a quick tropical getaway. To reach it, pass through a short cave which opens up to a pool of dark water and a hole in the sky. The surrounding greenery creates a bit of shade and lets through just the right amount of sun rays.
Many consider Zaci a peace-and-quiet cenote; however, if you want to turn it into a thrilling experience, take the plunge from one of various ledges.
#5 Cenote Cristalino
Lying out in the open–unlike other cenotes which are mostly caves–Cristalino looks like a green oasis. Not only is the water emerald green, but lush, green, mangroves enclose the cenote as well. Chirping birds and sunbathing iguanas only add up to this oasis-like feeling.
Underneath the surface you will find copious marine life making its way around the boulders that cover the floor. The cenote’s depth gives you enough space to safely jump off the towering cliff without hitting the bottom.
#4 Cenote Azul
Another jumper’s delight, Cenote Azul provides long ledges to plunge from. As with other cenotes, fish swarm the water, so don’t be surprised if some of them start nibbling your feet. Think of it as having a free pedicure.
To better explore the cave, rent a kayak and paddle through the whole area. Alternatively, don scuba diving equipment and inspect the cenote’s peculiar floor.
#3 Gran Cenote
Traveling as a family can be challenging, especially when looking for things to do. Luckily for you, Gran Cenote can offer fun to each member of your brood. The kids can splash around in the shallow end–which comes with a sand-covered bed and see-through water—while the adults venture into the darker and deeper part of the cavern.
However, Gran Cenote really stands out for its turtles, who make for docile swimming companions.
#2 Cenote Ik kil
From the top, Ik Kil seems like a portal to another dimension. A big hole goes down as much as 26 m (86 ft), with shrubs and vines crawling down its edges. A flight of stairs will lead you to the dark pool of water which is 60 m (196 ft) in diameter, and 40 m (131 ft) deep.
The cenote belongs to a larger complex of ancient ruins. That is why the Mayans considered it a sacred place where they would come to meditate and find peace. Try and emulate their rituals and maybe you will get inspired by it too.
#1 Cenote Dos Ojos
Found near the Caribbean coast, this cenote actually represents a system of caves, with two large pools of water, connected by a narrow passageway. This shape makes the complex look like eyes hence its name Dos Ojos which is Spanish for two eyes.
To this day, Dos Ojos remains one of the longest cave systems in the world, with a maximum depth of 10 m (33 ft). More interestingly, it has its own bat cave which you have to reach by swimming under an edgy rock ceiling.
Ending your trip on a high cenote
No matter where you stay in the Yucatan, a cenote is never far away. These subterranean swimming holes provide an ideal way to cool off in the tropical heat. After swimming in only one, any other body of water might never measure up.
Use this Cancun trip planner to create your itinerary for Cancun and Yucatan (and don’t forget to add in some cenotes!):