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Cenotes in the Riviera Maya

If Cancun is your next travel destination, there will be probably a lot of places in the Riviera Maya you´ll want to visit while you're around, but what you can't miss is definitely The Cenotes.

The Peninsula of Yucatan and the whole Riviera Maya are connected by an underground water system and The Cenotes are the entrance.

There are cenotes for all tastes, some are open, closed and semi-closed, they come in different sizes too. Some are ideal for snorkeling or diving, but in addition than being places with beautiful nature, there is ancient mysticism hidden inside.

The word “cenote” comes from the Maya " Dzonot " which means " well ". the Mayans considered them an entry to the mythical underworld, a way to communicate with their gods. It is believed that the water of the cenotes is sacred and the Maya used it to ask the gods for abundant crops, enough rain, and fortune. The Cenote´s water was even used in the mayan temples as an offering.

These amazing water bodies are geological depressions that were formed more than 10,000 years ago, after the last ice age.

It is impressive to think of all the history behind these natural pools and you can notice it as soon as you enter the caves with fabulous landscapes of stalactites, stalagmites, and columns that have been forming over the years allowing water leak.

Now, you must be wondering, what cenote should I visit? It really depends on what kind of experience would you like to have, , some of us like open cenotes and other people prefer the closed ones.

So I will share with you a list of five recommendations of cenotes, both open and closed so you have a clearer idea of what a cenote looks like.The important thing is not to miss this experience.

1. Chac Mool

Ideal for diving or snorkeling, it is located in Puerto Aventuras. It has two entrances, the first one is wide and the second one is surrounded by stalagmites (a type of rock formation that rises from the floor of a cave).

Something very particular that this cenote has is that it confluence freshwater with saltwater, which causes a phenomenon known as halocline, in which the two layers of different salinities form perfectly delimited columns.

Diving into this imposing body of water surrounded by stalactites will be like entering into another world.

2. Cenote Ponderosa

Better known as “The Garden of Eden”, live up to its name. It is an open, crystal clear water cenote in the middle of the jungle.

A family place, excellent for swimming, snorkeling and were you can enjoy a relaxing day.

In High season many people visit this cenote, so I recommend you arriving early. It is located 24 km south of Playa del Carmen.

3. Cenote Manatee

It is called this way as this cenote converges in a lagoon connected to the sea and some people have seen manatees there.

In addition, it has a dazzling beauty of flora and fauna, it is ideal for swimming and snorkeling as it is quite wide.

You can even rent a kayak there and take a trip. It is located 11 km north of Tulum.

4. Cenote Two Eyes

Considered a paradise for cave diving as it is one of the deepest cenotes of Quintana Roo with 118 meters deep, it is one of the 10 deepest cave systems in the world.

Even if you are not an expert on diving, you can enjoy the experience of exploring this wonderful crystal clear water cenote with beautiful flora and fauna. You will see butterflies, swallows and for the most adventurous, a cave of bats.

There you can take a snorkeling tour with professional guides.

It also features hammocks and relaxation areas to spend a magnificent day. I recommend arriving early since it is a well-visited cenote in the holiday season.

5. Cenote jaguar

Located in the middle of the Mayan Rainforest of Tulum in the park "Dos Ojos". it is an open cenote surrounded by mangrove and a dense jungle. It is ideal to spend the day with the family. Children will love to jump from the zipline or the diving platforms.

The water is fresh and you will breathe an atmosphere of tranquility and connection with the nature of the majestic Riviera Maya.

Now, you're ready to choose the best cenote to spend an amazing day with your family.

It's time to head the right direction! It is important to know that almost every cenote opens to the public from 10 am to 5 PM and the price of entry varies between 75 and 200 pesos.

There you will be able to rent equipment for snorkeling or for other activities. You must always respect the signs and not go beyond what is permitted for your own safety. Enjoy!

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