You are currently viewing The most beautiful cenotes on Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula

The most beautiful cenotes on Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula

  • Post author:
  • Post category:Mexico

Azure water & mysterious flair – Mexico’s cenotes are for many one of the highlights of their trip. A particularly large number of cenotes can be found on the beautiful Yucatán Peninsula in eastern Mexico.

Cenotes are subterranean karst caves filled with fresh water . You can swim in many of these cenotes in Mexico, even dive in some or just admire them from the outside.

Which cenotes in Mexico are particularly attractive? What do I have to consider when visiting a cenote in the Yucatán? In this blog article we will tell you all our personal tips for your trip to the natural wonders of Mexico.

1. Cenotes on the Yucatán in Mexico (with personal experiences and tips) Gran Cenote Let’s start with one of the best known, but also one of the most beautiful cenotes in terms of landscape, the Gran Cenote (also called Grand Cenote) . It is located about 5 minutes by car outside of Tulum, one of the most touristy places in the Yucatán.

The Gran Cenote is a natural beauty: Deep blue water and impressive rock formations waiting for you here The Gran Cenote is a cenote straight out of a picture book.

You may already have an idea of ​​what’s coming: As beautiful as the cenote is, it’s unfortunately quite crowded by now. So don’t let the photos take you , which show a supposedly lonely cenote, are not deceptive. Our tip: Come either early or late – this way you can at least avoid the crowds a little.

Information on visiting the Gran Cenote Entry: 500 Pesos per Person; Snorkeling equipment and lockers cost extra (all were taken when we visited)

Starting point: Tulum

Recommendation accommodation: Biwa Tulum
Getting there: On the Tulum to Cobá road (on the right hand side), approx .5 kilometers outside of Tulum; by car (approx. 5 minutes) or by bike (approx. 15 minutes), free parking is available

Cenote Carwash We are staying in Tulum. At first glance, Cenote Carwash (also called Cenote Aktun Ha) doesn’t look like a classic cenote at all. It is much more reminiscent of a small lake. So if you’re looking for a cave-like cenote, you’ve come to the wrong place.

Nevertheless, we found the cenote worth seeing – if only because there is significantly less going on here. This cenote is great for swimming. There’s even a diving board.

Our conclusion: If your main concern is the swimming experience, you will like this cenote. The underwater world is also great: there are many fish, turtles and supposedly even a small crocodile. Crazy, right? We’ve never read of an incident, so this specimen appears to be harmless to humans.

Information on visiting Cenote Carwash Entry: 100 Pesos per person
Starting point: Tulum

Recommendation accommodation: Biwa Tulum

How to get there: On the Tulum to Cobá road (on the left), about 8 kilometers outside of Tulum; from Tulum Pueblo by car (approx. 10 minutes) or by bike ( approx. 20 minutes), free parking is available

Cenote Calavera All good things come in threes: The third well-known cenote around Tulum is Cenote Calavera. It is very special, because it is completely unsuitable for swimming.

The Cenote Calavera is famous for two things: Firstly, you can dive here (we didn’t test it, but it’s supposed to be great). And on the other hand, the cenote is a very popular photo motif. There are thousands of photos of this cenote circulating on Instagram.

What you don’t see on these photos: Down here it’s (at least during our visit) teeming with bats. Swimming or snorkeling is relaxing so not inside. But what’s pretty cool: Instead of climbing down the ladder, you can simply jump down through an inconspicuous hole in the ground.

Information on visiting Cenote Calavera Entry: 250 pesos per person

Starting point: Tulum

Recommendation for accommodation: Biwa Tulum
How to get there: On the Tulum to Cobá road (on the right hand side), about 2 kilometers outside of Tulum; from Tulum Pueblo by car (approx. 5 minutes) or by bike (approx. 12 minutes), free parking is available

Cenote Azul Lake or Cenote? In fact, Cenote Azul is so vast it could be mistaken for an ordinary lake. This cenote is located in the southern Yucatán, very close to the paradise lagoon of Bacalar.

If you want to visit a mystical, cave-like cenote, you should look elsewhere. However, if you are primarily looking for a cenote for swimming, then Cenote Azul is definitely a nice spot.

Information about visiting the Cenote Azul Entry: 25 Pesos per person

Starting point: Bacalar

Recommendation for accommodation: hotel Aires Bacalar

Arrival: approx. Minutes drive south of Bacalar town center along the main road, free parking is available

Cenote Ik Kil Wow! From a purely visual point of view, the Cenote Ik Kil is a natural jewel! Thanks to the hanging lianas, you almost feel like you are in the jungle. The cenote is just a stone’s throw away from the wonder of the world Chichén Itzá. Last but not least, it is very popular and well attended.

Our tip: Come in the morning! Then you can enjoy the wildly romantic cenote in peace. We were almost the only guests in the morning – a dream!

During the day the cenote unfortunately looks more like a water park than an oasis. Unfortunately, there is no longer any trace of the mystical flair. If you are lucky enough to experience Cenote Ik Kil (almost) deserted, then you will definitely love it here as much as we do.

Information on visiting Cenote Ik Kil Entry: 150 Pesos per person

Starting point: Chichén Itzá

Hotel tip: Mayaland Hotel & Bungalows

Getting there: about 5 minutes by car from Chichén Itzá

Cenote Tsukán An Unlike its big sister Ik Kil, Cenote Tsukán is still a small insider tip near Chichén Itzá. This cenote has only had its doors since 1024 open to visitors.

With the Cenote Tsukán you can expect a scenically beautiful cenote. Here you swim in a cave-like cenote, which is characterized by stalactites. Speaking of swimming, wearing a life jacket (provided) is mandatory.

The Cenote Tsukán is located in a very well-kept and well-designed tropical park. It also includes a restaurant. Our conclusion: if you want to visit a cenote away from the crowds in Yucatán, you’ve come to the right place.

Information on visiting Cenote Tsukán Entry: 225 Pesos per person

Starting point: Chichén Itzá

Hotel recommendation: Mayaland Hotel & Bungalows

Arrival: approx. 10 Minutes by car from Chichén Itzá

Cenote Zaci Crazy but true: Cenote Zaci is located in the middle of Valladolid urban area. If when you enter the entrance, you might not believe what an oasis only a few G away from the main square.

The Cenote Zaci is surprisingly spectacular and really nice to look at with the small waterfall. If you are looking for a cenote to swim then you are in the right place. The brave can also jump from the edge into the depths.

Information on visiting Cenote Zaci Entry: 30 Pesos per person

Starting point: Valladolid

Accommodation recommendation: La Flor C asa Boutique

How to get there: At the crossroads of Calle 36 and Calle 37 in Valladolid, walk not even minutes away from the main square

Cenote Samula & Cenote X’keken The two cenotes Samula & X’keken are on the same are al. You can either visit just one of the two cenotes or – with a combination ticket – both.

Both cenotes are classic cave cenotes like in a picture book. It is quite dark in the cenotes, gigantic stalactites hang from the ceiling and the atmosphere is very mystical. Light only enters the caves through a small hole in the ceiling.

As beautiful as the cenotes are to look at, we personally found the experience on site to be too staged and unpleasantly commercialised . As an example: At the entrance you are urged to take photos with a parrot. It’s not possible!

Our tip: It’s best to come in the morning then you can enjoy the area in peace. A free guide is usually offered at the entrance. Of course you can assume that, but it doesn’t have to be. If you don’t want that, just politely decline.

Information on visiting the two cenotes Admission: 80 Pesos per person (one of the two cenotes), 125 Pesos per person (combined ticket for both cenotes), 15 Pesos per cenote for the life jacket (since 2021 unfortunately necessary)

Starting point:

Accommodation tip: La Flor Casa Boutique

Arrival: approximately 16 by car from Valladolid

Cenote Suytun If you look at Instagram photos of various cenotes, sooner or later you will come across quite a bit Security on the Cenote Suytun. It is probably the “most instagrammable” cenote on the Yucatán Peninsula.

Taking a photo on the circular stone slab is one of the must-dos for many travelers to the Yucatán. And admittedly: We were also attracted by photos. Unfortunately, the cenote is really quite dark. This gives her a very mystical flair, but makes taking pictures without a tripod quite difficult.

If you want to swim in the cenote, you must wear a life jacket. (Can be borrowed for a fee.) By the way: The iconic cone of light that you see on some photos falls (when the sun is shining) into the cenote around noon. But then, of course, there is usually a lot going on. We were therefore there in the late afternoon and were lucky that apart from us there were only a few other guests in the cenote.

Information on visiting Cenote Suytun Entry: 150 pesos per person

Starting point: Valladolid

Accommodation tip: La Flor Casa Boutique

Arrival: approx. 16 drive from the center of Valladolid

2 . Interesting facts & tips for visiting cenotes on the Yucatán in Mexico What is a cenote anyway? Cenotes (often also called “cenotes” in the Spanish plural) are karst caves that are filled with fresh water. They were uncovered when the cave ceilings collapsed. The exciting thing about it: Many cenotes are connected underground. Under the ground of Yucatán there is a extensive, fascinating cave system.

It is estimated that there are over 6 in the Yucatán Peninsula .000 Cenotes there. Some sources even talk about up to .000 Cenotes. The fact is: there are too many to visit them all in one lifetime – let alone on a trip.

As many cenotes as there are, their optics and characteristics are just as different: from dark, mystical stalactite caves to extensive cenotes, which are more reminiscent of a lake than a cave, everything is included.

What should I take with me when visiting a cenote? First of all: If you If you want to swim in the cenote, you should bring swimwear and towels with you. At more well-known cenotes you will usually find changing facilities on site, sometimes also lockers.

If you want to snorkel, we recommend that you bring your own diving goggles and snorkel. You can sometimes borrow the equipment on site, but personally we wouldn’t do it.

We always had our GoPro with us. In many cenotes it is almost too gloomy for underwater photos, but sometimes there are really great shots.

Also take some cash with you – card payment is not always common. We would rather leave valuables at home.

What do I have to consider when swimming in a cenote? The Swimming rules vary by cenote. In some, for example, you are only allowed in the water if you are wearing a life jacket. (Can be rented on site.) In almost all cenotes you have to take a shower (sometimes including your hair) before entering the water.

Important: Be sure not to put on sunscreen or insect repellent before swimming in a cenote. They pollute the water.

What is the best time to visit a cenote? The more well-known the cenote is, the more we recommend that you come off peak times, ie either early in the morning or later in the afternoon. (Note: Most cenotes only have up to about 16: 30 or 17 open at noon. )

The disadvantage, if you come early or late: In some cave cenotes, the sun’s rays around noon provide a great light cone and of course also a gorgeous azure color of the water. In some (not all) cenotes, the sight is not quite as spectacular in the morning or late afternoon.

3. Map: All cenotes on the Yucatán at a glance To give you a better overview If you can get the location of the individual cenotes on the Yucatán Peninsula, we have marked all the cenotes mentioned on this map. In this blog article we will tell you how you can best integrate the cenotes into your itinerary: Yucatán Route.

Transparency: Affiliate Links This blog article contains our personal recommendations in the form of so-called affiliate links. If you book or buy something through the links, we will receive a small commission. For you, this does not change the price at all. A thousand thanks from both of us!

Have you already been to the Yucatán and have you already visited a cenote? Which cenote did you particularly like? Please let us know your experiences. We look forward to your comment.