Among the many things to do in Tulum, none of them attract the attention of visitors like the cenotes. These incredible freshwater sinkholes were formed thousands of years ago, when a meteorite crashed in the Yucatan Peninsula, causing erosion on the limestone and by rain filtration got filled with water. The Mayan civilization considered cenotes sources of life and the entrance to the underworld or spiritual sites to communicate with the gods. Today, this pieces of paradise are one of the biggest attractions in Tulum and the Riviera Maya, available for the enjoyment of the visitors. Taking a dip in the crystal clear waters of a cenote is an experience that connects you immediately with nature and somehow transports you to a different time, away from the modern and stressful world. Exactly what the Maria del Mar guests seek when they choose us to be their hosts.
There are 3 types of cenote: open, cave and underground cenotes which can be found in all of the Yucatan Peninsula. It is known that there may be more than 2400 cenotes. In María del Mar we think you don’t have the time nor the intention to do some exhaustive research to pick the best cenotes to visit, so here’s our pick for the top 5 cenotes in Tulum, based on our experience, our guest’s comments and of course the proximity to our hotel.
One of the most popular cenotes since it is of recent discovery and has been adapted to turn it into a tourist center, without letting it lose its essence and natural feel. The Zazil Ha Cenote is located just minutes from Tulum on the road to Playa del Carmen. This beautiful open cenote reaches a depth of 3 meters and the emerald and turquoise color of its waters is something that you don’t wanna miss. It is a great spot for snorkeling or just taking a cool swim. The facilities are well conditioned so you’ll find everything you need to spend a fun day with your family.
Cenote “Zazil Ha”
We start our list with a locals’ favorite due to the diversity of beautiful scenarios to be found. The Gran Cenote is located less than 2km from the center of Tulum towards Cobá. Surrounded by lavishing vegetation, this cenote has some open areas but also a huge cave system, making it a great spot for snorkeling and diving. Amaze with the rock formations as stalactites and stalagmites that will make you feel like entering a new world. This cenote reaches a depth of up to 10 meters, great for diving.
As the name suggests, this place is like a hidden paradise in the middle of the jungle. A natural wonder of crystalline waters that call for you to swim in its refreshing stream or if you feel, to jump from its rocky edges. It’s located at the south exit of Tulum.
This cenote is located right in front of the Hidden Cenote, but its peculiarity is the abundant vegetation of the surrounding forest, so the experience of being in contact with nature is even greater. Relax swinging on a hammock in the shade of the trees while listening to the sounds of the jungle and then take a dip into the crystal waters of this piece of paradise, a great way to escape the sometimes unbearable tropical heat.
Cenote Dos Ojos
To close this list we left diver’s favorite cenote in Tulum. Dos Ojos cenote is known for having one of the largest underwater cavern systems in the world, one of them being called “the pit” for its 120 meters depth! Definitely a diver’s paradise. Also as an extra, in the Dos Ojos Park is found the Dos Ojos Museum of Prehistory, one of the few museums in the whole Riviera Maya, so visiting this particular cenote represents a complete experience.
Would you like to visit one or more of the cenotes listed? At Maria del Mar we’re always glad to help. Reach us for info and tour planning for a better experience.