A visit to a cenote is arguably the most popular and sought-after excursion in the Riviera Maya. These chilly, turquoise blue pools are sprinkled everywhere throughout the region, so there are many to choose from.
We’ve listed our top five cenotes in the Riviera Maya, and the ones we love sharing with our guests!
Why are the cenotes a must-see destination?
The cenotes are where the Mayans communicated with the gods. The cenotes also provided a water source in dry times. You’ll experience two types of cenotes—those that are dark and deep in caves, or those under a canopy of the jungle with sunlight beaming through the crystal clear water.
These beautiful, natural swimming holes were formed by collapsed porous limestone bedrock. The collapsed bedrock opened up Riviera Maya’s best secret: an underwater world of groundwater pools. The pristine, clear water allows you to see deep below—look for scuba divers exploring far beneath you! The open-air cenotes are full of vitamin- and mineral-rich algae, for an added bonus!
Chikin Ha Park is located in Playa del Carmen and is home to three cenotes: Chickin Ha, Ta’ak Bil-Ha, and X’tabay. Chickin Ha is the first cenote in a system that connects several cenotes through more than 10km (6mi) of underwater passages.
Begin your day at the Coba ruins and end it with snorkeling in two different cenotes!
Sac Actun is a special cenote because it is where the famous “pet cemetery” is located. Its nickname comes from the many fossilized animal skeletons in the caves.
Saamal at Hacienda Selva Maya
The experience at Selva Maya is hard to beat. Dine at the Hacienda Selva Maya restaurant before or after jumping into the chilly cenote.
This site is located just five minutes from the historical city of Valladolid. The cenote itself is open-air and surrounded by tropical jungle. High walls surround the pool, and you wind down a stairway to jump in.
Also known as “two eyes,” Dos Ojos is a cenote with two pools of water—one clear blue, and the other dark and secluded in a cave. The darker pool is popularly coined as the “black eye.” Become a Mayan explorer and visit three different cenotes during our adventure-filled tour to Tankah!
Siete Bocas—the “Seven Mouth Cenote”—is a large cenote with seven small entrances. For a true adventure, you don’t want to pass up this cenote. You can climb down ladders into the entrances, jump in, swim through small passageways, and enjoy quite the thrill.
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