The natural wonders of the state of Yucatán are countless and some of the most important and unusual are the “cenotes”, or sinkholes. In Yucatán there are over 6000 cenotes, with only 2400 actually studied and registered. Here are some of our readers’ favorites.
Located less than 2 miles from Chichén Itzá. Called the “Sacred Blue Cenote,” it is a perfectly round well-type cenote with magnificent hanging vines and waterfalls. This is an ideal place for cooling off after visiting the archaeological site! The open cenote sits about 85 feet from the surface, and a grand stairway leads you down the steps into the water. Access is safe and easy.
The town of Cuzamá is known for the large number of cenotes found there. Especially unique is a tour that you can do in this area where you will visit three cenotes. If you go to the hacienda in Cuzamá, you can hire a guide who will put you on a platform buggy pulled by horses along interesting paths through the surrounding countryside. The main cenotes are: Chelentun (laying down rock), Chansinic’che (tree with small ants) and Bolonchoojol (nine drops of water). The Chelentun Cenote has incredibly blue and clear water, with excellent visibility. Stalactite and stalagmite formations add to its unique beauty.
Located in the center of Valladolid, this is a popular cenote for swimming in the refreshing turquoise waters. You will see a rare species of eyeless black fish known as “lub.” A third of the cenote is covered with stalactites and stalagmites and there is a walkway around the entire cenote. There is also a restaurant on the property, serving many Yucatecan specialties.
This village about halfway between Izamal and Tizimín gets its name from the large number of cenotes located within the town and the outskirts – more than 150, according to the locals. Ask around for a guide to take you to some of them.
Located at the Maya site of Dzibichaltún, just north of Mérida, this is the closest cenote to Mérida. Meaning “old village,” it is an open ground level cenote, great for swimming. It is more than 140 feet deep at one end. Another great place to cool off after climbing pyramids!
Dzitnup (2 cenotes are here)
Located about 4 miles southeast of Valladolid, the two cenotes are X’Keken and Samula. Each one costs 59 pesos for foreigners, 29 pesos for Mexicans, 18 pesos for children under 13, and 24 pesos for seniors with INAPAM card. Both schedules are 8.30 to 5.30 in summer and fall, and 8 to 5 in winter and spring.
At Kankirixche (tree with yellow fruit) Cenote, you will find a large, spectacular sub-aquatic cavern with crystal clear water that allows fantastic visibility for snorkeling or scuba. You will also find stalactites and tree roots in impressive formations from the ceiling to the water.
– Map of the Yucatan Peninsula
Tours to cenotes: