Mexican soil, especially in the Yucatan Peninsula, is very special. There are no surface rivers, but there is a very complex underground system of rivers. All this happened because of the limestone bedrock, which doesn’t allow fresh water to accumulate above ground in rivers or lakes, instead, it collects it underground. And in the underground, because of the softness of the rock, erosions creates natural caves and tunnels, and here is where the water accumulates. At times, the bedrock collapses, reveling the cave underneath. This is how a cenote is created.
In the Yucatan Peninsula, there are more than 6,000 cenotes.

Maya people considered them sacred wells and then settled villages around these spiritual wells and believed that they were a portal to speak with the gods. They were even making human sacrifices in these cenotes.
Today these cenotes are very famous among tourists that come to marvel or to swim here.
These sinkholes are very similar to ponds. The water in cenotes is super clear and clean. It comes from rainwater that is filtered in the ground. Each cenote is different, so we suggest visiting more than one.

They have become a very popular tourist destination either for swimming, snorkeling, exploring even diving, in some cenotes. Unfortunately, we managed to see only a few of them, but definitely, we will see more of them when we will be back in Mexico.
So here are our four visited cenotes:

Ik Kil Cenote
This cenote is one of the most beautiful ones and at the same time is one of the most popular and touristic ones. Because it is only a few minutes drive from Chichen Itza, we saw it right after our visit to Chichen Itza.
When we entered this cenote we were amazed.

Ik Kil is a very deep cenote (about 30m from the surface) with a wide opening into the sky, a stairwell leading down and walls covered in green leaves and vines hang down from the top of the cenote. Most of the vines reach the water below and gives cenote Ik Kil its dramatic look.
The water level of Cenote Ik Kil to the bottom is 50 meters. Which means this is a very deep one.
According to archeologists cenote, Ik Kil was a sacred cenote for the Mayans. They used to pray for the rain, to the god Chaac here. It is said that at the bottom of the cenote remains of humans have been found as a human sacrifice to the rain god.

You are not allowed to jump in the water, but you are allowed to swim. There are changing rooms and lockers for your valuables for 30 pesos.
And you can rent a lifejacket as well, you will find them next to the changing rooms. It cost another 30 pesos.

There are two restaurants on the top of the cenote. You can have a bite or a drink. The prices are not that high.

Because of its beauty and because it is very close to Chichen Itza, to visit Ik Kil cenote was included in many tours, so many people come here to visit. If you want to beat the crowd and the tour groups, then you should come very early or very late. This way you will have a chance to enjoy the place.
Program: 9.00- 17.00
Entrance fee: 100 pesos, cash only
Free parking place
Near Valladolid

Suytun Cenote
This is another beautiful cenote close to Valladolid.
We visited it on the way back to Tulum, right after Ik Kil cenote.
It has a perfect round underground cave with shallow water and a walkway situated right in the middle of it. It was amazing! On a sunny day, a light beam shines right unto the walkway creating a magical moment. The day we visited it was not sunny, but the light was still magical.
The best time to visit this cenote is at noon between 12.00 and 14.00 because the light beam shines directly in the middle of the walkway, but at the same time is the worst moment because it will be very crowded.
Cenote Suytun is very popular among Instagrammers and can get extremely busy. We arrived at about 11.30 and we were lucky to find the place empty, just for us.Although the water is very shallow here, you can swim.
If you are planning to swim there are free changing rooms and lockers at 35 pesos. The lifejacket is mandatory and it is 30 pesos to rent one.
There is a restaurant close to the cenote. It is mostly for tour groups to enjoy a buffet lunch but you can try it if you are hungry.Cenote Suytun is a beautiful cenote, we felt like walking into a movie scene.
Program: 9.00- 17.00
Entrance fee: 100 pesos, cash only
Free parking place
Near Valladolid

Cenote Calavera
This a cenote near Tulum. The Calavera in Spanish means skull, and it has this name because it looks like one. Calavera cenote is placed in the middle of the jungle and it is one of the best cenotes for cave scuba diving because the arms of this cenote stretch deep under the surrounding jungle.

If you plan to go diving, you will need to bring your gear and this can’t be a very comfortable experience.
The entrance to the cenote is rather hidden, so you should pay attention not to miss it.
It is a Cantaro type of cenote where the roof of the cenote has fallen, revealing the water.
There is no dry land inside of the cenote so once inside you must swim and it is only a 5 meters deep cenote.
The entrance is made on a ladder.

We went to Cenote Calavera very early in the morning, at the opening hour, and we were very happy to be the only ones.
We had time to enjoy it.
Program: 9.00- 17.00
Entrance fee: 100 pesos, cash only
Free parking place
Near Tulum

Cenote Zaci
This cenote was practically in the center of Valladolid. It was really impressive.
Cenote Zaci is a massive cave that collapsed only partially. The roof covered most of the cenote. It had a huge gap of almost 50 meters to the water’s surface. The open part of the cenote was covered in beautiful leaves.
There was a path carved out in the walls that made it possible to walk in a circle till the surface of the water.

We reach the place about noon and parked the car in the souvenir area. This cenote has two entrances. One in a souvenir mini-market area at Calle 39 and the second one is at Calle 36.
If you want to swim here and you can rent lifejackets for 30 pesos.
But there are no lockers to leave your valuables.
At the entrance, there is a changing room and they charge 5 pesos to use it. It can be a little intimidating to swim here because the deep of Zaci is about 100 meters.
You will have to pay attention at the time of your arrival because Zaci cenote is considered as a public swimming pool, so many locals came here too.
The best moment is to come in the morning of working days.
Next to the Cenote, there is a restaurant with the same name. From its terrace, you have a perfect view of the cenote. The restaurant has very good food and affordable prices
Program: 9.00- 17.00
Entrance fee: 30 pesos, cash only
Free parking place
In Valladolid

Mexico’s lush jungle is home to some of the best treasures-these underground sinkholes called cenotes.
Although we sow only a few of them, we were amazed.
While in Mexico you shouldn’t miss visiting a few cenotes.


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