One of the absolute best and most unique things about Mexico has to be the cenotes that can be found all throughout the country, particularly along the Riviera Maya on the east coast. A cenote is a natural pit or sinkhole, resulting from the collapse of limestone that exposes the crystal clear water underneath.
The sinkholes are the perfect place to cool down and enjoy the long summer days, and if you’re lucky you might even get some of the smaller ones all to yourself. On our last trip to Mexico we visited Ik-Kil Cenote, found near Chichen Itza, and it was one of our favourite days.
So this time around, we dedicated a whole day to visiting local cenotes around Tulum.
Cenote Maya at Caleta Tankah
Although the smallest of the cenotes we visited, Cenote Maya might just be my favourite. Found in the jungle next to the hotel Caleta Tankah, the cenote was completely deserted when we arrived, offering us a beautiful private moment to enjoy the peach and tranquillity by myself.
The water was so clean, clear and refreshing and you could see the tiny fish swimming around next to the little jetty. There aren’t many places where you can experience a cenote with a beach right next to it, but Caleta Tankah is where you will find it! It costs $100 pesos each to visit Cenote Maya, but it’s definitely worth it.
Caleta Tankah || Km 233+400, Mexico 307, Tulum
With crystal clear stunning water and great facilities, Zacil-Ha attracts visitors by the bus load. A cenote so perfect that it feels like someone has built an in-ground swimming pool in the middle of the Yucatan forest. However, the cenote is completely natural, full of fresh water and the perfect place to cool down on a hot summers day.
This cenote definitely had the best facilities of all the ones we visited, with toilets and showers and even a small cafe where you can buy pizza, beer and margaritas. And even better, it only costs $60 pesos to visit – worth every cent!
Cenote Zacil-Ha || Carretera Federal Tulum-Coba km 8
Another cenote that’s a little off the beaten track is Nicte-Ha, found in the grounds of Dos Ojos, a flooded cave system north of Tulum. We had some free time on our way back to the airport, so we thought this would be the perfect place for our last day in Mexico.
Dos Ojos is actually a massive park, that offers several different cenotes to swim in and cave systems to snorkel, scuba dive and explore. Since we were running on limited time, we paid $100 pesos to visit only Nicte-Ha, but if you’re planning on spending the whole day here, it would probably be worth paying $500 pesos for access to the whole park and access to snorkelling equipment.
Cenote Nicte-Ha || Cenote Jaguar Road, Tulum
One of the most famous cenotes in the Tulum region is the Gran Cenote, located just a few kilometres from Tulum on the road to Coba. It consists of several cenotes connected together by wooden walkways and surrounded by the looming jungle. It is a top spot for snorkelling and even has a little part of the cenote roped off for turtles to swim in!
To be honest, the Gran Cenote was probably our least favourite of all that we visited. It was extremely crowded and difficult to enjoy the experience. And after already paying the incredibly steep entry price of $25USD per person, you also had to fork out pesos to rent a locker. To be honest, I would have preferred to spend more time at some of the lesser known, quieter cenotes to really enjoy the experience, rather than visit the Gran Cenote.