Cenotes in Riviera Maya are a wonder, usually with waters so calm and clear you can see the bottom, even if this is 100+ feet in depth! There are so many different kinds of cenotes, each one is a unique mysterious adventure.
We’re going to give you an all around about cenotes so you can enjoy a whole different activity besides the beach, the pool and the lagoon!
What is a Cenote?
Cenotes are natural acts of magic, more specifically, they are sinkholes primarily made of limestone – There are over 6,000 of these throughout the whole Yucatán Peninsula and each one of them is uniquely amazing.
They’re filled with either fresh water from the rain, or connected throughout underwater cavern systems filled with salt water; When the rooftop of an underwater cavern collapses, cenotes are born! And in some cases they have both fresh water and salt water too.
There are many types of cenotes, structurally speaking, some are wide open like a natural pool, others can be completely closed and have access through diving or very small entrances and some others are somehow inbetween having great openings and narrow entrances.
Cenotes Have a Unique History
Back in the day, Mayans would use cenotes as fresh water sources. They would call them ‘dzonot’ which translates to ‘sacred well’ because Mayans thought cenotes were filled with magic elements and helped them communicate with their Gods. There are some cenotes that have been found to be ancient Mayan graves and ritual places, like Cenote Sagrado at Chichen Itzá which was used to sacrifice people to their gods!
Did you know that the oldest skeleton found on this side of the world (The Americas) was found inside a cenote near Tulum? That’s right, this was at cenote ‘La Virgen’ in Quintana Roo, which also happens to have a secret cenote behind it called ‘Hoyo Negro’ or Black Hole, an ancient cemetery filled with extinct animal bones. This is where they found the oldest skeleton in the contintent.
Riviera Maya weather is a mix of sun, heat and sometimes torrential rain. This rainwater is what created the cenotes so many years ago and this is why the area is full of undergound caves.
The best cenotes in Riviera Maya
When you have over 6,000 cenotes, it’s hard to tell which are the best, however there are many famous cenotes that you can practice cenote diving or cenote snorkeling or simply enjoy the marine life swimming with your friends or family!
Located 3km from the ancient Chichen Itza (don’t worry, this one isn’t the one Mayans used for their sacrifices and rituals) there’s not much to say about this cenote except that it’s beautiful and a very great choice when it comes to cenote swimming, a simple round well cenote with fresh water, a delightful swim!
17 kms south of Tulum is a natural wonder like no other – Cenote Angelita, this magical place is known for its beautiful waters and unique existence. With a depth of 60 meters and visibility from the surface to 30 meters, you will be astonished when you realize that if you swim to the depths, you will find what locals call ‘a lagoon inside the cenote’
This is basically a hydrogen sulfide river that flows at the bottom which creates an unreal panorama. With trees and fallend leaves, the eerie feel of this cenote is an experience that any adventure lover will find amusing. One of the most unique cenotes in Riviera Maya!
This cenote is completely open and gorgeous, between Puerto Aventuras and Tulum, this stunning beauty leads from the cenote to the lagoon to the ocean, where you may find some manatees and enjoy the colorful life that surrounds these bodies of water. A great place to practice cenote snorkeling.
Cenote Tak Be Ha
A cenote formed by thousands of years of relentless changing currents, the singular beauty in this cenote is impeccable. You can swim, snorkel and dive freely here so take your time and enjoy the unique cavernous formations in this cenote.
This cenote has many caverns! Underwater, slightly flooded and completely dry, a complete labyrinth which you access through a very narrow hole only to find yourself inside a huge cave.
Cenote Taj Mahal
This amazing cenote is a few kms away from Playa del Carmen, and you’ll find this is the best cenote for diving! To get to the main giant chamber, you must be an experienced swimmer to at least swim 5 meters underwater with your snorkel or scuba gear to reach the mentioned chamber.
This cenote is for those who wish to see how unique these underwater cavern sets really are!
These are only a few off the cenotes you can dive, snorkel, swim and enjoy yourself in, however like we said, there are over 6,000 cenotes and some are still yet to be found in the wild.
Don’t forget to bring the right equipment and take the proper safety precautions, after all, cavern diving is a very unique activity which requieres a lot of preparation before doing some diving in one of the cenotes in riviera maya.
Check out this activites we’ve got here for you to enjoy your diving skills.