A cenote is a natural phenomenon, a sinkhole in the Earth’s surface. The Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico has an estimated 7,000 cenotes because it is primarily made up of porous limestone. For millions of years, rainfall slowly ate away at the limestone and a huge system of underground caves and caverns was formed. Many filled with water from rain or from the underground water table. When the roof of a water filled cave collapses, a cenote is born. The water found in a cenote may be fresh water, salt water, or both. Structurally it may be completely open, like a lake, almost completely closed with just a small opening at the top, or somewhere in between.
Called the “Sacred Blue Cenote”, Ik-Kil is a crystal clear, round, well-type cenote. Located on the highway between Chichen Itza (it’s only a couple of miles away from the archeological site) and Valladolid, this cenote is about 130 feet deep! It is about 85 feet from the surface so you will need to walk down a wooden stairway to reach it. Ik-Kil is more popular with swimmers and snorkelers than divers. There is a restaurant and small palapa homes for overnight stays. Look for the waterfalls and the lush green vegetation hanging all the way down to the water!
Cenote Dos Ojos or “two eyes” is located a little over 9 miles south of Tulum on highway 307 on the right. This cenote was named Dos Ojos because it is actually two circular cenotes. There are areas for swimmers, snorkelers and scuba divers. This is a world famous cenote and there is a large cave system below where divers can explore almost 500 meters of the underwater world in the immediate area. IMAX filmed part of their film “Journey into Amazing Caves” here. There are bathroom facilities and snacks available. Look for the “Bat Cave”.
This cenote lives up to its name (gran = grand or large) and is a must see. Located just outside of Tulum, it is easy to find. Take a right off of highway 307 at the second stop light in Tulum. After traveling almost 2 miles you will see a sign for the cenote on your right. There are changing and bathroom facilities and a restaurant. There are areas for swimmers, snorkelers and scuba divers. Look for the fish and turtles and be careful not to hit your head on the impressive stalactites! Many people say this is their very favorite cenote.
The Cenote Santa Cruz is over 50 million years old and has crystal water. From the cenote (460 meters underground), you can see the sky above with all the amazing formations around you. Explore the 2 different worlds that the Cenote Santa Cruz has to offer: an underground gem with a rainforest on top. See
Labnaha’s Eco Park called the Magic Mayan World is exclusively open for a few visitors daily. This Park offers different activities surrounded by an exuberant jungle and a subterranean world known as magical and sacred in the Mayan culture. Experience a unforgettable descend on a zip line into the entrance of a fascinating Sacred Lakes which leads to into most spectacular Kayac traverse in the area. Refresh yourself afterwards in the Cenotes on a once a life time snorkel tour. Labnaha operates only with small groups and counts with a visitor limit per day to avoid mass tourism and the negative impact on the Eco system which allows you to enjoy without being surrounded by hundreds of people.