Cenotes in the Riviera Maya, Mexico

Cenotes (limestone sinkholes) are an abundant phenomena in the Riviera Maya and the Yucatan Peninsula. They are deep water filled sinkholes formed by water percolating through the soft limestone soil during thousand of years.

Cenotes (limestone sinkholes) are an abundant phenomena in the Riviera Maya and the Yucatan Peninsula. They are deep water filled sinkholes formed by water percolating through the soft limestone soil during thousand of years.

Description: Cenotes are mostly profound lakes of fresh and cold fresh water embedded and hidden in abundant tropical vegetation. Sometimes, they appear as perfectly round and drilled holes, several tens of meters in diameter. The water level changes from some inches to several tens of meters below the ground level. The most beautiful variant is the one formed by the breakthrough of the ceiling of an underground cavern resulting in a tiny entrance to an underground lake illuminated by an astonishing spectrum of colors.

Cenotes such as Taj Mahal, close to Puerto Aventuras which is 4 interconnected cenotes, offers some of the greatest view you can expect, with natural light offering more than 50 meters of visibility in crystal clear water and huge caves. Escondido, cenote which has less visitors is south of Tulum. After a quick walk through the jungle, you will find this great sinkhole, ideal to swim and snorkel. You will be able to swim along a wide range of little fish, perfect for children and to refresh yourself.

Exploring Cenotes: Cenotes invite to be explored by swimming, snorkeling or diving. Some cenotes and connected subterraneous caverns, can even be visited by foot. Fresh water, usually 15°C (60°F), is ideal to refresh your body from the tropical heat. The shadows of the surrounding tropical trees and cavern ceilings become resting places to escape the sun during the mid-day.

In most of the public accessible cenotes, anyone is allowed to snorkel or swim. But only cavern diving certified divers or certified open water divers accompanied by a certified cavern diver may explore these treasures by diving expeditions. Most of the Riviera Maya’s marinas offer economical and guided diving tours to nearby cenotes for experienced certified divers.

General Tips: Several cenotes can be found along the road from Cancun to Tulum, and from Tulum to Coba,and Chichen Itza. Most of the cenotes are privately hold and you will be asked to pay an entrance fee, generally between $2.00 USD and $8.00 USD per person. This fee covers the admission to the cenote only.

Please take care of the cenotes. They are sacred for the Mayans and some are still serving as water resource for the locals. Please do not pollute them and avoid littering around.

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