Throughout Cancun and the Riviera Maya you will find numerous examples of an incredible natural phenomenon known as a cenote. Cenotes are large natural wells with underground caves and rivers, many of which can be enjoyed by swimming, snorkeling and scuba diving.
Cenotes were created millions of years ago and are attributed to the effects of a meteor that is said to have struck the earth in this region forming the gulf of Mexico. Today they offer a magical experience boasting natural pools, caves and underground rivers adorned with stalagmites and stalactites and are home to unique and a diverse habitat.
The cenotes were particularly important for the ancient Mayan civilization, not only as a source of fresh water but also as part of their sacred beliefs. During the dry season, the cenotes were some of the few places where fresh water could be found, and they were also believed to be an opening to another world where communication with the gods was possible.The ancient Mayans would perform ceremonies at the cenote openings so they could honor the gods in return for protection.
Nowadays, vacationers are enthusiastic to discover the mystery of the cenotes that are portals to a fascinating subterranean world beneath the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. There are a variety of cenotes for visitors to explore with expert guides. Take a look at some of the most impressive below:
The Cenote lk-kil tour is located by the Chichen Itza archaeological site and is a popular cenote to visit. At 39-meters deep and 60 meters wide, this in an impressive location where international cliff jumping competitions and abseiling take place.
The Cenote X-Cajum tour is located on the road to Dzitas-Piste. This cenote is absolutely beautiful and an amazing sight because of its height. The tour will take you down several meters to the underground cenote where the water is crystal clear and blue. There is also a restaurant located here, so if you are on a road trip, you can stop for lunch.
Cenote lik’ (Oasis Maya)
The ancient Cenote lik’ is located in the center of the jungle and offers great zipline, rappel and kayaking tours for a fun packed adventure.
Cenote X-keken (Dzitnup)
The Cenote X-keken (sometimes known as Dzitnup) offers you the opportunity to explore an incredible cave with numerous stalactites along with crystal clear blue waters and fish. Here it is ideal for snorkeling and you will be left in awe as the sunlight shines through the hole that is located in the ceiling of the cave.
The Cenote Zaci tour is located in the center of the town of Valladolid. This cenote is 28 meters wide and 26 meters high, and is surrounded by thick, lush vegetation. Tours to Chichen Itza often feature a stop to this cenote on route to the Mayan ruins.
The Cenote Suytun is located on the way to Valladolid and is also a popular stop on many tours to Chichen Itza. This underground cenote is perfect for children because is it shallower than many cenotes and the water is so clear that you can even see fish swimming without snorkel gear.
If you are interested in visiting one or more of these cenotes, speak to the concierge upon arrival as you may be able to use your discount card in the tour agency.