The cenotes are arguably the most popular and sought-after destinations in the Riviera Maya. These chilly, turquoise blue pools are sprinkled everywhere throughout the region, so there are many to choose from. We’ve listed our top five cenotes in the Riviera Maya, and the ones we love sharing with our guests!
So why are the cenotes a must-see destination? The cenotes are where the Mayans communicated with the gods. The cenotes also provided a water source in dry times. You’ll experience two types of cenotes—those that are dark and deep in caves, or those under a canopy of jungle with sunlight beaming through the crystal clear water.
These beautiful, natural swimming holes were formed by collapsed porous limestone bedrock. The collapsed bedrock opened up Riviera Maya’s best secret: an underwater world of groundwater pools. The pristine, clear water allows you to see deep below—look for scuba divers exploring far beneath you!
The open-air cenotes are full of vitamin- and mineral-rich algae, for an added bonus!
Chikin Ha Park is located in Playa del Carmen and is home to three cenotes: Chickin Ha, Ta’ak Bil-Ha, and X’tabay. Chickin Ha is the first cenote in a system that connects several cenotes through more than 10km (6mi) of underwater passages.
Begin your day at the Coba ruins and end it with snorkeling in two different cenotes! Check out our Temples & Caves Tour!
Sac Actun is a special cenote because it is where the famous “pet cemetery” is located. Its nickname comes from the many fossilized animal skeletons in the caves.
Saamal at Hacienda Selva Maya
The experience at Selva Maya is hard to beat. Dine at the Hacienda Selva Maya restaurant before or after jumping into the chilly cenote. This site is located just five minutes from the historical city of Valladolid. The cenote itself is open-air and surrounded by tropical jungle. High walls surround the pool, and you wind down a stairway to jump in.
Also known as “two eyes,” Dos Ojos is a cenote with two pools of water—one clear blue, and the other dark and secluded in a cave. The darker pool is popularly coined as the “black eye.”
Become a Mayan explorer and visit three different cenotes during our adventure-filled tour to Mayan Jungle Trek!
Cenote Calavera Tulum
Located in the heart of Tulum, Cenote Calavera is a hidden place in the Riviera Maya. Named after the Spanish word for "skull", this cenote features three holes in the ground that look like a human skull when viewed from above.
It is a deep cenote, making it an ideal spot for diving and snorkeling. The cenote’s subterranean setting provides a unique opportunity to explore the fascinating underwater world, with stalactites and stalagmites.
This cenote, like others in the area, has significant historical and cultural importance, having served as sacred sites where the ancient Mayans communicated with their gods. You can read a full guide to the Cenote Calavera Tulum.
Cenote Zaci is located near the colonial city of Valladolid. It is an open-air cenote surrounded by nature. The high walls surrounding the cenote provide a beautiful landscape as sunlight filters through, illuminating the crystal clear waters below.
The cenote is home to a variety of fish species and is a popular spot for swimming and snorkeling. The cenote also features a cavern for those who wish to explore further.
A visit to Cenote Zaci offers more than just a swim; it's an opportunity to immerse yourself in nature while experiencing a piece of Mayan history. We love reading this full guide about Zenote Zaci.
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