Cenote hopping may be the new best thing I tried this year. It is like island hopping but instead of going from one island to the other; you go one cenote to the other.
It was part of my Yucatan road trip. Before Doruk and I hit the road; I made a list of cenotes I wanted to see on the way. Little did I know, we came across a lot more throughout the journey. Someday I hope to go back and visit more cenotes.
Let me give you a good road trip recipe for Riviera Maya. First thing in the morning, go to an archeological site. Climb the pyramids and walk around. When you finish sightseeing; go to the nearest cenote and cool off. The reason behind the recipe is; most tourists choose to stay in Cancun or Tulum and take day trips to the archeological sites. Tour buses arrive archeological sites around 10 am. Also around the same time heat starts to kick in. This way you get to beat the crowds and enjoy it without sweating too much.
What Is A Cenote?
Or what is a sinkhole? Cenotes are one of the most unique and sacred places on earth. A picture is worth 4000 words. I'm going to explain it with a picture and let World Atlas explain the facts.
Read This Before You Go
- Bring Pesos - It's better to have enough pesos with you to pay the entrance fee. Cenotes accept dollars, but their exchange rate is low. Another thing to keep in mind is; each cenote has a different entrance fee.
- Take A Shower First - As tourists, most of us don't step outside without putting on our sunscreen and bug spray. It might be good for us, but it is bad for the natural life in the cenotes. Don't forget to take a shower before you dive into the crystal clear waters. Flora and fauna are very sensitive in the cenotes. Let's do our part to preserve them.
- Life Jacket - Cenotes provide lifejackets. If you are an inexperienced swimmer, I suggest you wear a life jacket. Freshwater can be challenging.
- Valuables - If you don't want to leave your valuables at home or unattended while swimming; you can rent a locker. There are lockers big lockers for backpacks and small lockers for wallet, phone, etc.
Best Cenotes In Yucatan
Cenote Ik Kil
This breathtaking cenote is located 8-minute drive away from world wonder Chichen Itza. After walking around Chichen Itza in Mexican heat; you are going to need to cool off. This cenote is the perfect spot to jump in mineral-rich ice cold water.
Cenote Ik Kil is cylinder shaped. When you are swimming turn your head up and take in the magical view of tree roots, birds, sun, and sky.
Cenote Ik Kil also has well-maintained facilities. In fact, it has the best toilet/changing room I've seen on this trip.
Cenote Dos Ojos
Dos Ojos gets its name from two sinkholes connected through underwater caves. It is one of the best cenotes for snorkeling and scuba diving. The water is crystal clear. Therefore it is perfect for underwater photography too.
It is possible to scuba dive from one eye to the other. I imagine it must be an extraordinary experience, but the thought of cave diving is a little claustrophobic for me. Thus, I chose to walk from one eye to the other. They are a short walk away from each other.
Dos Ojos is becoming more and more popular. In order to experience its tranquility; it is best to arrive there before the tours. It is half an hour drive away from Tulum. If you are using public transportation; be prepared to walk. The drop-off point is a bit far from the cenote entrance.
Like other cenotes, there are showers, changing rooms, and toilets. Also, it's possible to rent a locker and a life vest.
This cenote is by far my favorite one. It is off the beaten path. For this reason, it's not crowded. In fact, when Doruk and I visited Yokdzonot, we were the only visitors. Swimming by yourself in this mystical place is absolutely an incredible experience.
I genuinely understand why Mayans chose cenotes to communicate with gods. Imagine yourself swimming in turquoise waters surrounded by plants and tree roots. Birds are singing and flying over you. It is meditating.
Cenote Yokdzonot like other cenotes has facilities (shower, changing room, etc.). Uniquely its restaurant is looking over the cenote. What a view for a lunch break 🙂 Too bad I was full of fish tacos. Oh, well. There is always next time.
What To Bring
- Snorkel - you can also rent from there
- Dry clothes
- Cash for the entrance ticket
- Flip flops or sandals
- Dry bag (if you are bringing electronics with you)
Cenotes are incredible. You shouldn't miss out on them. Even if you only go to Mexico for a resort holiday; consider visiting a cenote. Ask the hotel concierge if there is a cenote nearby. If it is safe to visit, don't think twice. You won't regret it!
Last, help to preserve these natural beauties. Please leave nothing behind but bubbles.