If you go to Riviera Maya or Cancun and don’t go to a Cenote, you are missing out.

These impressive sinkholes are formed after the collapse of limestone bedrock connecting the surface with a aquatic world of calcareous caves or subterranean rivers, some of them are great places for swimming and relax, other are awesome places for diving.

Here, we’ll show 10 of the most impressive cenotes in Riviera Maya.

Cenotes in Riviera Maya

Chac Mool

Cenote Chac Mool

Cenote Chac Mool. Photo by Pierre Lobel. CC.

Located in Puerto Aventuras, Chac Mool have two entries that lead you to the corresponding cavities, the first one of significant size and the second one full of stalagmites.

You are going to love the fact that in this place converge currents of fresh and salt water creating something called halocline that creates the effect of a river inside the river.

Even when Chac Mool is a popular cenote between beginners divers it is important to obey the signs and keep out of the restricted areas.

Xkekén

Cenote X´Kekén.

Cenote X´Kekén.

This cenote is 3 kilometer from Valladolid, in the road between Valladolid and Merida.

Here you are going to experience a strange sensation because the only access of light is through a very narrow aperture and then it opens into a huge space, the view is haunting.

Because is a popular cenote, Xkekén is very well-appointed. Its name means “pig” because it’s believed that it was discover after a local farmer was looking for its little pig, falling inside the cenote.

Cenote Sagrado

Cenote Sagrado.

Cenote Sagrado. Photo by Erik Cleves. CC.

Inside the archeological site of Chichen itzá is the Sacred cenote, it is called sacred because the Mayan people believed cenotes are a door to the infra world.

With a diameter of 60 meters (200 feet) and walls of 15 meters (50 feet), the sacred cenote is connected to the Kulkulcán pyramid by a 300 meters road.

Tajma-hál

Cenote Taj Mahal

Cenote Tajma hál. Fotografía de MironCaro. Lic. Creative Commons.

This is the local name of the Taj Mahal Cenote, which has taken its name from the famous Indian monument, thanks to the majesty of this natural wonder.

It is actually four intercommunicated cenotes 25 kilometers south of Playa del Carmen. It is very well equipped, with bathrooms and a restaurant, but to explore it in its fullness you will have to be an expert diver and overcome the wall of five meters deep that allows access to grandiose cavities.

The landscape of stalactites and stalagmites will be overwhelmingly beautiful.

Gran Cenote

Entrada al Gran Cenote.

Gran Cenote. Photo by Eugene Kaspersky. CC.

Almost 4 kilometers from Tulum, in the direction of Coba, is located the most famous cenote in this part of the country.

It has a characteristic half-moon shape and is suitable for everyone, as it consists of shallow areas where you can enjoy snorkeling without difficulty. You can also dive in other areas with depths up to ten meters, a feature to take into account if you are an expert diver.

There are good facilities, including car parking and diving equipment rental. Its transparent waters alternate a fantastic experience, both in the open sky and in areas covered by stalactites.

Suytun

Cenote Suytun.

Cenote Suytun. Photo by Eugene Kaspersky. CC.

Suytun is not only a beautiful cenote, but also a wonderful rural and natural tourism complex.

It is located 8 kilometers from Valladolid and offers lodging in cabins and a museum with archaeological remains found inside the cenote itself. As a complement you can enjoy the experience offered by the cattle ranch that is also located at this point.

The entrance fee is just over $4 and allows access to a beautiful and impressive subway cave with shallow waters so transparent that you will be able to observe the fish.

Ik Kil

Cenote Ik Kil

Ik Kil Cenote. CC. By BORIS G.

Around this impressive and beautiful cenote, a whole eco-park has been created, where, in addition to its exuberant forest and many birds, there is the possibility of staying overnight in one of its upscale cabins, in the purest Mayan style, but with a jacuzzi.

There is no shortage of restaurants and stores where you can buy souvenirs. The Ik Kil Cenote is one of the most spectacular places in Yucatan, just 3 kilometers from Chichen Itza. You should not miss it.

Ponderosa

Cenote Pondesora o Jardín del Edén

Cenote Pondesora or Garden of Eden.

This cenote in Quintana Roo is also known as Cenote Eden.

As soon as you arrive, the reasons for its name will be very obvious, since the environment in which it is located, under the open sky, is wonderful.

The vegetation of this enormous natural pool, with a depth of about 15 meters, falls to the sides of its walls.

The waters are of a crystalline green that will allow you to see the species that live in this ecosystem. You will see how friendly the turtles and eels are.

Dos Ojos

Dos Ojos

Two eyes Cenote. CC. By Alex Berger.

We enter one of the favorite cenotes for diving enthusiasts.

Its discovery is quite recent, in the 80’s, and kilometers and kilometers are still being explored, with more than 6,700 meters already investigated.

At some points, Dos Ojos cenote is up to 120 meters deep, so it is very important that you have a lot of experience in this flooded cave.

If you do not have the necessary skills, it is best to hire the services of qualified instructors who will accompany you during the dive.

Cenote Samula

Cenote Samula.

Cenote Samula. Photo by SEDER Yucatan.

Before entering this beautiful cenote, you have to enjoy its fabulous access and its picturesque local handicraft stalls. Then you will have to go down some narrow stairs carved into the stone.

We recommend that you stop for a while on this second floor and contemplate the captivating beauty of this flooded cave. Then you can continue the descent down wooden stairs to the floor of Samula Cenote.

Here there are platforms where you can rest, leave your things and get ready to swim. It is also the ideal place to contemplate the very long roots of a tree that hang down to the bottom of the cenote. If you want to dive, you can rent equipment outside.

Cenote Azul / Blue Cenote, Tulum.

Cenote Azul, Tulum.

One of the classic cenotes of the Riviera and one of the most popular for its location, size and depth. Ideal for the whole family.

Located between Playa del Carmen and Tulum, the blue cenote offers a lot of water activities and has everything you need to spend a spectacular day.

In addition, being close to three other cenotes and other tourist attractions, you can visit several places in one day.

General information:

  • Working hours: Most cenotes are open to the public from 10 am to 5 pm.
  • Price: Although there are cenotes with lower prices, the entrance fee for the most visited ones is between 4 and 8 USD. Hiring a snorkeling tour with qualified personnel costs between 25 and 40 USD..
  • Tour cenotes: If you want to make the most of your time and visit several cenotes during your stay in the Riviera Maya, there are specialized companies that offer a tour starting at 75 USD. In these cases they usually offer a tour of four cenotes and include activities such as kayaking, snorkeling, zip lines, rappel and picnic.
  • It is important to consult before contracting if you have health problems (asthma, heart, diabetes, pregnancy…), as some activities may not be recommended.

Cenotes map

In the following map you can find the main ones within the area that comprises the Riviera Maya called “The route of the Cenotes”.

Descargar mapa PDF 8.31MB. 103 Downloads.

Cenotes map. Mapa de cenotes.

The route of the Cenotes.

In this map we can see the cenotes located around Tulum:

Cenotes around Tulum. Cenotes alrededor de Tulum.

Cenotes near Tulum.

Cenotes on this list:

Mapas de cenotes de la Riviera Maya.

Map of cenotes in the Riviera Maya.

Cenotes Tour

One way to explore several cenotes in a single day is with an organized tour. One of the most popular cenotes tours is conducted by Xcaret and is called Xenotes.

This tour includes:

Kids $59 USD
Adults $117 USD
  • Round trip with certified guide in all cenotes.
  • Visit to each of the types of cenotes that exist.
  • Rappel in a cavern cenote.
  • Zip lines and jumps in an open cenote.
  • Canoe and kayak in a cavern cenote.
  • Kayaking and swimming in a semi-open cenote.
  • Non-alcoholic beverages and fruit.
  • Life jacket, visor, kayaking equipment, rappel and tire.
  • Lifesaver vest, visor, kayaking equipment, rappel and tire.
  • Dressing rooms, toilets and towel.

It can be booked at the official Xenotes site.