The Best Cenotes in Mexico – Swimming in the Yucatan Peninsula

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If you’re headed to Yucatan Peninsula, then make sure to visit some of the best cenotes in Mexico. Swimming in cenotes is easily one of our favorite things to do in the Yucatan with kids.

The Best Cenotes in Mexico - Swimming in the Yucatan Peninsula

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The Best Cenotes in Mexico - Swimming in the Yucatan Peninsula

The Best Cenotes in Mexico

We love exploring Mexico with kids, and after a few months in the Yucatan, we’re happy to tell you about our favorite activity here: cenotes. If you can do only one thing in the Yucatan with kids, it’s swimming in a few cenotes. Are you keen for a dip? Then read on and see which ones to visit first.

What is a Cenote?

If you’re headed to Yucatan Peninsula, then make sure to visit some of the best cenotes in Mexico. Swimming in cenotes is easily one of our favorite things to do in the Yucatan with kids. Our list of the best cents in the Yucatan includes the best cenotes near Cancun, best cenotes near Playa del Carmen, best cenotes near Tulum, best cenotes near Merida, best cenotes near Valladolid and more. Find best cenotes for diving, swimming, snorkeling and scuba diving, best cenotes for families, and more!

Cenotes are natural swimming holes, underground rivers, and cave networks filled with cool blue water. They are fresh water, but many of them empty into the sea. There are thousands of cenotes in the Yucatan Peninsula.

Cenotes came long before man walked the earth. You’ve heard the theory about an asteroid hitting the planet, right? The one that helped kill off the dinosaurs? Well, scientists think that the northwest Yucatan was ground zero. The impact helped create a massive underground network, with thousands of cenotes discovered. They find new ones every year.

Ancient Maya cities were often built around cenotes because it was a source of clean water. The Mayans considered the entrance to the underworld and other dwellings of the gods. Today, they are a great place to cool off in the intense Yucatan heat.

Seriously: temperatures in the Yucatan get up to 97º F/ 36º C and 95% humidity. That’s why a dip in a shaded pool with cool fresh water feels really, really good.

Some people cool off at the beaches of Tulum, Cancun, Celestun, or Playa del Carmen. We do too. That said, we invariably prefer the cooler freshwater we find in cenotes over the sea.

Some cenotes are crystal-blue sun-kissed pools near the beach. Others are subterranean cisterns that require a short hike and a few ladders to reach.

We love being in the water. Whether it’s canyoning in Galicia, kayaking in Borneo, taking scuba lessons in Lombok or learning to surf in the Canary Islands, jumping into some clean water is what we love most.

A day at a cenote reminds us of wild swimming in Spain: few people around, just you and the clear blue water. Beautiful.

Cenotes are really photogenic. Read Our Travel Camera Reviews

This List of Cenotes is Incomplete

If you’re headed to Yucatan Peninsula, then make sure to visit some of the best cenotes in Mexico. Swimming in cenotes is easily one of our favorite things to do in the Yucatan with kids. Our list of the best cents in the Yucatan includes the best cenotes near Cancun, best cenotes near Playa del Carmen, best cenotes near Tulum, best cenotes near Merida, best cenotes near Valladolid and more. Find best cenotes for diving, swimming, snorkeling and scuba diving, best cenotes for families, and more!

It would take years of dedication to visit all the best cenotes in Mexico. There are at least 6,000 known cenotes in the Yucatan Peninsula. Out of those, there are hundreds that are easily accessible by people like you and me.

This cenote list is just my opinion. I’m sure other travelers might agree or disagree on which are truly some great places to swim in Mexico. I could add a dozen more of the best cenotes in Mexico to this list, and this cenote list may need to be updated with time. But here’s what I can tell you about for now.

Tips for Visiting Cenotes in Mexico with Kids

If you’re headed to Yucatan Peninsula, then make sure to visit some of the best cenotes in Mexico. Swimming in cenotes is easily one of our favorite things to do in the Yucatan with kids. Our list of the best cents in the Yucatan includes the best cenotes near Cancun, best cenotes near Playa del Carmen, best cenotes near Tulum, best cenotes near Merida, best cenotes near Valladolid and more. Find best cenotes for diving, swimming, snorkeling and scuba diving, best cenotes for families, and more!

First I’ll cover a few tips before going to cenotes. Then I’ll tell you about some of the best cenotes in Mexico to go to with kids, the best cenotes for jumping, The best cenotes for diving, and more. But before I do that, here are a few general tips and best practices for visiting cenotes.

No Sunscreen/Mosquito Repellant Allowed

Don’t slather up with sunscreen or spray yourself with OFF before jumping in here. The water in the best cenotes in the Yucatan is clear, clean and a joy to swim in. One of the reasons is that all those chemical-laden creams are forbidden. Apparently, some biodegradable sunscreens are allowed. If you use them, maybe put them on before you arrive in order to avoid a misunderstanding.

For what it’s worth, we experienced very few mosquitoes near the water of the cenotes we visited. Moreover, our favorite cenotes were the subterranean or partially underground kind. Because of this, sunburn wasn’t an issue for us. When we visited open-air cenotes, we wore our rash guards.

Maps, Stairs, Ladders and Tight Spaces

If you’re headed to Yucatan Peninsula, then make sure to visit some of the best cenotes in Mexico. Swimming in cenotes is easily one of our favorite things to do in the Yucatan with kids. Our list of the best cents in the Yucatan includes the best cenotes near Cancun, best cenotes near Playa del Carmen, best cenotes near Tulum, best cenotes near Merida, best cenotes near Valladolid and more. Find best cenotes for diving, swimming, snorkeling and scuba diving, best cenotes for families, and more!

Most of the best cenotes in the Riviera Maya (east coast of Yucatan) are big, open and close to their respective parking lots. In contrast, many of our favorite cenotes in the interior of the peninsula require driving or a guide. They also may be down some stairs or require climbing a ladder.

Some openings to the cenote are tight. For example, one of them was under the roots of a tree and I barely made it through with my backpack on.

Deep Pools, Slippery Surfaces, No Lifeguard

Most of our favorite cenotes are far off the beaten track. There may be someone there taking money and handing out snorkels, but don’t expect a lifeguard around. Like wild swimming, there is some inherent risk, and you should be aware of that.

There are stairs, ladders, rope swings, and slippery surfaces, and cenotes are deep — some of them very, very deep. There are ropes strung across the water in many cenotes, but consider life jackets if you or the kids aren’t strong swimmers.

Have fun, but be careful.

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Bring Your Own Food

If possible, of course. We drove ourselves, so we always had a bag of sandwiches, water, and fruit. If you go with a guide, make sure you know what the deal is with food. Some cenotes have food available, Some a have restaurant. Others have just snacks and water. Then there are others that are just a hole in the ground with nothing nearby. Be prepared.

Prices Vary

The prices of the best cenotes in Mexico change frequently. Those prices may be different by the time you read this. They certainly were different than many of the places I read.

Small, locals-only cenotes near the center of the peninsula tend to be around 25-30 pesos per person. Larger open-air cenotes on the east coast near Tulum may cost five times as much.

Amenities Vary

If you’re headed to Yucatan Peninsula, then make sure to visit some of the best cenotes in Mexico. Swimming in cenotes is easily one of our favorite things to do in the Yucatan with kids. Check out our list of the best cents in the Yucatan, including the best cenotes near Cancun, best cenotes near Playa del Carmen, best cenotes near Tulum, best cenotes near Merida, best cenotes near Valladolid and more. Also included are best cenotes for diving, best cenotes for families, best cenotes for swimming, best cenotes for snorkeling and scuba diving and more! ladder

Like with food listed above, every cenote we visited was different. Some have changing rooms and full-time employees working on the landscaping. Others are family-run affairs with little more than a plastic chair and a box to hold your money.

Some rent snorkels and/or lifejackets, but quality varies. The larger, nicer (and more expensive) cenotes tend to have better and more varied amenities.

Bring Dry Clothes

Even in the hottest part of the year, the cenotes are still refreshingly cool. That said, they can feel downright cold if you stay in them a while.

Same goes for the shaded, subterranean environment you find them in. As a result, the temperature can remain much lower here than at ground level.

I tend to enjoy drying out naturally in tropical climates like this one. Afterwards, however, I was glad that I bought a dry pair of shorts. The kids were too.

Things to Bring to a Cenote

Here’s a list of all the things we think you might want to bring to the best cenotes of Mexico.

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The Best Cenotes in MexicoIf you’re headed to Yucatan Peninsula, then make sure to visit some of the best cenotes in Mexico. Swimming in cenotes is easily one of our favorite things to do in the Yucatan with kids. Check out our list of the best cents in the Yucatan, including the best cenotes near Cancun, best cenotes near Playa del Carmen, best cenotes near Tulum, best cenotes near Merida, best cenotes near Valladolid and more. Also included are best cenotes for diving, best cenotes for families, best cenotes for swimming, best cenotes for snorkeling and scuba diving and more! Garden of eden

When listing up the best cenotes in Mexico, the list is heavily weighted in the Yucatan Peninsula. But where are the best cenotes in the Yucatan? Let’s go area by area first.

Best Cenotes Near Merida

The closest cenotes to Merida that we can recommend are Cenote Xlacah and Cenote San Pedro Cholul. These are not the best cenotes near Merida — just the closest. Cenote San Pedro Cholul is clean & clear, but just a hole in the ground near an apartment complex.

Cenote Xlacah is more interesting because it’s next to the small Mayan ruins of Dzibilchaltún. Both are a few minutes outside the city by car.

Now here are our favorite cenotes near Merida.

Cenote X’batun & Cenote Dzonbakal

These open-air cenotes are close to each other and easy to access by car. Many people drop by these cenotes to cool off after a day at the Mayan ruins of Uxmal.

City of Homun

If you’re headed to Yucatan Peninsula, then make sure to visit some of the best cenotes in Mexico. Swimming in cenotes is easily one of our favorite things to do in the Yucatan with kids. Check out our list of the best cents in the Yucatan, including the best cenotes near Cancun, best cenotes near Playa del Carmen, best cenotes near Tulum, best cenotes near Merida, best cenotes near Valladolid and more. Also included are best cenotes for diving, best cenotes for families, best cenotes for swimming, best cenotes for snorkeling and scuba diving and more! rope swing

These small towns between Merida and Valladolid have many cenotes to explore. In fact, most of the town’s livelihood comes from showing people the cenotes of Homun & Cuzama.

You can book a guide and transportation in most major cities in the Yucatan. Or just ask around. Or if you’re like us, simply drive into town and sort it out yourself. Google Maps does a pretty good job of helping you reach most of them on your own — even on dirt roads. Or you can talk to locals when you approach the area.

When we went to Homun, we used Google Maps and drove ourselves. When we went to Cuzama, we drove to some thatch huts. There you’ll find a makeshift train track and horse-drawn carts.

Cenote Yax Bacaltun

If you’re headed to Yucatan Peninsula, then make sure to visit some of the best cenotes in Mexico. Swimming in cenotes is easily one of our favorite things to do in the Yucatan with kids. Our list of the best cents in the Yucatan includes the best cenotes near Cancun, best cenotes near Playa del Carmen, best cenotes near Tulum, best cenotes near Merida, best cenotes near Valladolid and more. Find best cenotes for diving, swimming, snorkeling and scuba diving, best cenotes for families, and more!

The dirt road that leads to this beautiful underground swimming hole is unremarkable. You may even wonder if you’re heading in the right direction (we sure did). However, once you arrive, you’ll discover one of the best cenotes in the Yucatan that we visited.

We like underground cenotes, but not when they’re too underground. If the ceiling is too low or if there’s no sunlight trickling in, it can feel a little creepy or claustrophobic for us. We’ll swim there, but want to leave after 20 minutes.

Not at Yax Bacaltun. This cenote is a large cave with a huge entrance, so there’s plenty of sunlight. There’s also a rope swing, which is a huge bonus.

Cenote Tza-Ujun-Kat

If you’re headed to Yucatan Peninsula, then make sure to visit some of the best cenotes in Mexico. Swimming in cenotes is easily one of our favorite things to do in the Yucatan with kids. Check out our list of the best cents in the Yucatan, including the best cenotes near Cancun, best cenotes near Playa del Carmen, best cenotes near Tulum, best cenotes near Merida, best cenotes near Valladolid and more. Also included are best cenotes for diving, best cenotes for families, best cenotes for swimming, best cenotes for snorkeling and scuba diving and more!

Like Yax Bacaltun above, this is a large underground cenote with a huge entrance letting in the sun. This one is obviously popular with locals, too. There were at least half a dozen families frolicking in the waters here.

Cenote San Antonio

If you’re headed to Yucatan Peninsula, then make sure to visit some of the best cenotes in Mexico. Swimming in cenotes is easily one of our favorite things to do in the Yucatan with kids. Our list of the best cents in the Yucatan includes the best cenotes near Cancun, best cenotes near Playa del Carmen, best cenotes near Tulum, best cenotes near Merida, best cenotes near Valladolid and more. Find best cenotes for diving, swimming, snorkeling and scuba diving, best cenotes for families, and more!

This was an almost fully underground cenote, with only one mattress-sized hole letting in light from the surface.

Most if the cenote looks like a cave with a swimming pool inside. Fluorescent bulbs light the interior. The water is deep and dark, and the kids enjoyed daring each other to go further from the entrance. Then they got creeped out and were ready to leave.

WARNING: Don’t Visit Cenote Santa Cruz

This is one cenote that we won’t recommend. For one, it’s completely underground and unremarkable.

We were told that there’s a second cenote you can reach by swimming under a rock, but it’s dangerous and not worth the risk.

Do you want to swim straight down 40 seconds holding a rope in the dark, only to surface in a dirty pool on the other side? I did. Don’t waste your money on this one.

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City of Cuzama Cenote Tour (Bolonchojul)

If you’re headed to Yucatan Peninsula, then make sure to visit some of the best cenotes in Mexico. Swimming in cenotes is easily one of our favorite things to do in the Yucatan with kids. Our list of the best cents in the Yucatan includes the best cenotes near Cancun, best cenotes near Playa del Carmen, best cenotes near Tulum, best cenotes near Merida, best cenotes near Valladolid and more. Find best cenotes for diving, swimming, snorkeling and scuba diving, best cenotes for families, and more!

Many of the best cenotes in Mexico are not accessible by car. The main cenotes in the city of Cuzama are like this too. You don’t drive up or hike in. Instead, you park near these palapas (straw-roofed huts) pictured above.

There you’ll see what looks like a kiddie train track.

We paid a local here 400 pesos and then climbed aboard a rail car. This may look like a train track, but it runs on literal horsepower. Our guide hooks the horse to the cart, and off we go.

If you’re headed to Yucatan Peninsula, then make sure to visit some of the best cenotes in Mexico. Swimming in cenotes is easily one of our favorite things to do in the Yucatan with kids. Our list of the best cents in the Yucatan includes the best cenotes near Cancun, best cenotes near Playa del Carmen, best cenotes near Tulum, best cenotes near Merida, best cenotes near Valladolid and more. Find best cenotes for diving, swimming, snorkeling and scuba diving, best cenotes for families, and more!

We rolled through the forest to three different cenotes. The first was accessible by stairs and had a large entrance. The second was deeper underground and required a ladder to reach. It had a large jumping point and a small hole for light to enter.

The third was much smaller and completely underground. Once you climb into the cave, you’ll find a cave with stalactites and stalagmites.

We had thirty minutes at each cenote. We could have stayed longer at the second one, but felt that it was a fair amount at each. Our guide waited for us at each cenote and then shuttled us to the next. Once we’d been to all three, the horse trotted us back to where we started.

If you’re headed to Yucatan Peninsula, then make sure to visit some of the best cenotes in Mexico. Swimming in cenotes is easily one of our favorite things to do in the Yucatan with kids. Our list of the best cents in the Yucatan includes the best cenotes near Cancun, best cenotes near Playa del Carmen, best cenotes near Tulum, best cenotes near Merida, best cenotes near Valladolid and more. Find best cenotes for diving, swimming, snorkeling and scuba diving, best cenotes for families, and more!

Disclosure: If you or your kids are sensitive to animal abuse or exploitation, then you may want to give this a pass. The horse that pulled us from place to place was never beaten, but the threat was there. The driver was constantly raising a long stick whenever our four-legged friend slowed his pace.

What we witnessed was no worse than what work animals on a farm experience every day. That said, it bothered my daughter, and there’s an argument to be made that the horse was not living a happy life.

Best Cenotes Near Valladolid

Most people roll through Valladolid during a visit to the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza. I highly recommend this, too. That said, Valladolid is a fun place to visit in its own right.

One of the reasons to visit Valladolid is for the cenotes. Here are our favorites.

Cenote Zaci

If you’re headed to Yucatan Peninsula, then make sure to visit some of the best cenotes in Mexico. Swimming in cenotes is easily one of our favorite things to do in the Yucatan with kids. Our list of the best cents in the Yucatan includes the best cenotes near Cancun, best cenotes near Playa del Carmen, best cenotes near Tulum, best cenotes near Merida, best cenotes near Valladolid and more. Find best cenotes for diving, swimming, snorkeling and scuba diving, best cenotes for families, and more!

This cenote is smack in the middle of downtown Valladolid. It’s mostly aboveground, but also partially covered with a cave wall. So there’s shade.

Cenote Ik Kil

This is possibly the most famous of all cenotes in the Yucatan. Cenote Ik Kil is a short distance from Chichen Itza and is considered part of the ancient civilization.

This can also be a very crowded cenote since many tour groups drop by here after visiting the pyramids. Arrive early if you want the place to yourself. We actually chose to go to a different cenote instead of Cenote Ik Kil simly because we wanted to avoid crowds.

Hacienda San Lorenzo Oxman

If you’re headed to Yucatan Peninsula, then make sure to visit some of the best cenotes in Mexico. Swimming in cenotes is easily one of our favorite things to do in the Yucatan with kids. Our list of the best cents in the Yucatan includes the best cenotes near Cancun, best cenotes near Playa del Carmen, best cenotes near Tulum, best cenotes near Merida, best cenotes near Valladolid and more. Find best cenotes for diving, swimming, snorkeling and scuba diving, best cenotes for families, and more!

This lovely sinkhole ended up being one of the best cenotes we’ve visited. It’s on the property of a Hacienda only 15 minutes outside Valladolid. You can even bike to it, as there are bicycle paths for a lot of the way there.

The cenote at Hacienda San Lorenzo Oxman has a rope swing and a jumping spot. A local told us it was nearly 90meters (!) deep, but I can’t confirm that.

The Hacienda also has a swimming pool and a small restaurant and bar. The food was unremarkable to decent and inexpensive.

Best Cenotes Near Cancun

If you’re looking for cenotes near Cancun, then just hire a driver, book a bus or otherwise head south. Then look at the lists for best cenotes in Playa del Carmen and Tulum below.

Playa del Carmen is a little over an hour south of Cancun. Tulum is two hours. Valladolid is also two hours. Merida is a little over three hours.

Best Cenotes Near Playa del Carmen

If you’re headed to Yucatan Peninsula, then make sure to visit some of the best cenotes in Mexico. Swimming in cenotes is easily one of our favorite things to do in the Yucatan with kids. Our list of the best cents in the Yucatan includes the best cenotes near Cancun, best cenotes near Playa del Carmen, best cenotes near Tulum, best cenotes near Merida, best cenotes near Valladolid and more. Find best cenotes for diving, swimming, snorkeling and scuba diving, best cenotes for families, and more!

There’s plenty to do in Playa del Carmen with or without cenotes, but some of the best cenotes in Mexico are only a short drive away.

Cenote Azul, Cenote Garden of Eden, and Cenote Cristalino

These three cenotes near Tulum are located within walking distance of each other. In fact, the entrances are all right next to each other but keep in mind they are not equidistant from the road. Cenote Garden of Eden was a few minutes’ drive back, which would make for a long walk.

All three cenotes and have large open pools with clear, aquamarine water. Their proximity to the beach probably explains the slight saline taste to the water. Still, they still feel clean and don’t leave the sticky residue that ocean water can leave.

All three have places to jump from, as well. Our favorite was Cenote Garden of Eden, where the jump was around two stories high.

Be careful where and when you jump, though. Groups of scuba divers regularly explore the deepest parts and areas under the earth’s surface. You don’t want to land on them as they emerge.

Best Cenotes Near Tulum

If you’re headed to Yucatan Peninsula, then make sure to visit some of the best cenotes in Mexico. Swimming in cenotes is easily one of our favorite things to do in the Yucatan with kids. Our list of the best cents in the Yucatan includes the best cenotes near Cancun, best cenotes near Playa del Carmen, best cenotes near Tulum, best cenotes near Merida, best cenotes near Valladolid and more. Find best cenotes for diving, swimming, snorkeling and scuba diving, best cenotes for families, and more!

Cenote Carwash

Taxi drivers used to clean up their rides here, thus the name. Today, it’s just another beautiful above-ground cenote, with plenty to see above water and underwater. There is some plant life in the water, as well as a few crocodiles. You read right. They are small and stay from where the people are, however.

Cenote Dos Ojos & Gran Cenote

These are two of the most famous cenotes in Mexico, and for good reason. It’s huge, shaded and has great opportunities for snorkeling and scuba diving.

The grounds here are well-maintained and there is food and changing stations if you need them.

Roundup: Best Cenotes in Mexico by Category

If you’re headed to Yucatan Peninsula, then make sure to visit some of the best cenotes in Mexico. Swimming in cenotes is easily one of our favorite things to do in the Yucatan with kids. Our list of the best cents in the Yucatan includes the best cenotes near Cancun, best cenotes near Playa del Carmen, best cenotes near Tulum, best cenotes near Merida, best cenotes near Valladolid and more. Find best cenotes for diving, swimming, snorkeling and scuba diving, best cenotes for families, and more!

Best Cenotes in Mexico for Families with Little Kids

If you have small children and want to play it safe, then I’d probably recommend the larger open-air cenotes like Gran Cenote, Cenote Dos Ojos, and Cenote Azul. These have some shallower parts and have fewer stairs and steep drop-offs.

Best Cenotes in Mexico  for Teens

Well, any cenote is fun for thrill-seekers, I think. For us, it was any cenote with a rope swing or a jumping platform. Cenote Yax Bacaltun and the cenote at Hacienda Luis Oxman since both have rope swings. Cenote Garden of Eden has a great jumping platform.

Best Cenotes in Mexico for Cliff Jumping

Our favorite for jumps was easily Cenote Garden of Eden. They have a nice platform right over the water so it’s about as safe as it can get. In other words, you could slip and fall off the platform and still fall straight into the water below.

Best Cenotes in Mexico for Swimming

For us, we prefer the partially underwater cenotes because we are prone to sunburn. We need shade, so any underground cenote is our favorite for swimming. All of the cenotes we visited in Homun and Cuzama fit the bill nicely.

If you can take the sun, then the list of cenotes near Playa del Carmen should help.

Best Cenotes in Mexico for Snorkeling

Most of the cenotes in the Yucatan’s east coast are great for this. In fact, they’re all good cenotes for snorkeling, but you’ll see more in open-air cenotes like Cenote Car wash, Cenote Azul, and Cenote Garden of Eden. We’ve also read that Cenote Casa (not mentioned in this post) is a good cenote for snorkeling.

Best Cenotes in Mexico for Scuba Diving

Out of the cenotes listed here, the best for diving are Cenote Dos Ojos, Gran Cenote, and Cenote Car Wash would make the list of best cenotes for diving.  Dos Ojos and Gran Cenote both have good visibility and large galleries. They’re considered some of the best cenotes for beginning divers, too.

Best Cenotes in Mexico for Wildlife

Lots of cenotes have fish, but Cenote Car Wash has even more. There is some lush vegetation as a few turtles and small crocodiles, as well.

Swimming in Mexico: What Yucatan Cenotes Did I Miss?

If you’re headed to Yucatan Peninsula, then make sure to visit some of the best cenotes in Mexico. Swimming in cenotes is easily one of our favorite things to do in the Yucatan with kids. Our list of the best cents in the Yucatan includes the best cenotes near Cancun, best cenotes near Playa del Carmen, best cenotes near Tulum, best cenotes near Merida, best cenotes near Valladolid and more. Find best cenotes for diving, swimming, snorkeling and scuba diving, best cenotes for families, and more!

What other cenotes would you add to this list? Have you been swimming in the best cenotes in Mexico? Where? What do you consider to be the best cenote in Mexico? Tell us in the comments!

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Disclaimer: This article contains affiliate links. That means that if you buy or book something after clicking one of my links, we might get a small commission. You pay nothing extra, so don’t worry. Also, everything you see here is just my personal opinion. I only recommend places, activities, and gear that I believe will genuinely help my readers, and here I only want to help you find the best cenotes in Mexico!

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Comments

  1. We visited Sambula (Motul), Kikil, Xcanche (Ek Balam), and Canunchen & Tza Ujun Kat (Homun) this past week with our 14 and 10 year old boys. Canunchen was the best; hired the mototaxi (200 pesos) at west edge of town, parked at Tza Ujun Kat. We thought guide was taking us to Yax bacaltun after Canunchen as we requested; turns out he just returned us to our car at Tza Ujun Kat (Uinic is also there, we didn’t go in there after Tza Ujun Kat). Ratings:

    Canunchen (Homun) – 5 stars. Great clean site, bathrooms, showers, but bring your food. Drinks for sale. Two rope swings, two jumping platforms. Was 30 pesos each; pay upon arrival at the cenote. Several ropes to hang on to in the water.

    Kikil (Kikil) – 4 stars – Big pool, lots of sunlight, not crowded. 100 pesos adults, 40 kids 12 and under. They made us use their life vest; nowhere else did. There is a ledge you can climb up on that is about 2 meters high to jump in if you want. Also a pair of beautiful Toh birds.

    Xcanche – 4 stars. On site at Ek Balam, but is pricey for a few activities (was 1200 pesos for 4 of us), but definitely the one if you want to combine zip lining, rappeling, rope swing, etc. Kids adore this place, many younger twentysomething European tourists; I think locals avoid it. They either let you rent bike for the 1 km ride, or have them pedal you in a bike taxi. Nice restaurant (with cerveza), changing rooms, showers, and bathrooms. The locks for the changing room lockers are available on a little shaded platform you can walk right by; we did.

    Sambula (Motul) – 2 stars. Only 12 pesos each, and on site restaurant. Is primarily a cave cenote, popular with locals, and has an area to sit at the back end of the cave. Feels like you could drown here and no one would know, but has a spooky cool feel to it. Slippery getting in and out, so be careful. 12 pesos each.

    Tza Ujun Kat (Homun) – 1 star. Damp, dank, stinky and full of live flying bats and associated ground (and on its way to the ground) guano. It didn’t feel like we were in a bat cave; we were! Neat U-shaped swimming area, but our clothes had all been pooped on within 10 minutes. I thought that this cenote should just be left to the bats. 25 pesos each, was all locals. Rocks you can jump off of, but are pretty slippery. Even though the water is extremely clear, I would be scared to see the results of a water quality test here.

  2. Great article. Really interesting read. Our favourite cenote has to be yokdzonot. Incredible swim, beautiful surroundings and a small community run restaurant in site.

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