The cenotes in Mexico are sink holes and one of the many wonders that can be found in the Yucatan Peninsula also know as the Rivera Maya. It is estimated that there are over 6,000 cenotes, but at present only 2,400 have been registered and studied. The Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico is famous because of it ancient Maya culture and because of the Cenotes wide spread over the region.
Photo Credit: AlphaTangoBravo / Adam Baker
The Rivera Maya stretches from Cancun all the way to Tulum and includes Playa del Carmen. Many dive operators in Playa offer day trips to divers to explore and dive the cenotes. Many of the Cenotes in this part of Mexico are open to the public but make sure you only dive them under direct supervison of a certified cave dive instructor. Diving the cenotes is not for everybody.
Besides scuba diving the cenotes a trip to the underwater museum of Cancun and a day trip to dive the reefs of Cozumel should be on your list when you visit The Yucatan Peninsula.
Some of the most amazing cenotes in Mexico include:
- Dzitnup or Keken
Cuzama is a town and there are vast numbers of cenotes to be found there. The best cenote for diving is the Chelentun (which means rock that lays down), where the waters are crystal clear and blue and visibility is excellent.
Zaci is very popular for swimming and diving. If you are lucky, you will be able to see an incredibly rare species of fish called “lub”. This is a black fish without any eyes.
Ik-Kil is known as the sacred blue cenote. It is perfectly round and has the most beautiful vines and waterfalls. There are also ruins nearby, meaning that Ik-Kil is a fantastic place to cool off after visiting these.
The cenote is around 85 feet deep and can be accessed safely through a grand stairway. Cenote Ik-Kil has even got its own facebook page
Cenotillo is another village with more than 150 cenotes surrounding it. There are many guides in the village itself who will each have different views on the best cenote for diving. A diver or nature enthusiast could spend countless days in Cenotillo.
Xlacah is on the Mayan side and is the closest cenote to Merida. Xlacah means old village and is one of the best cenotes for swimming. Diving is also very popular in this area, particularly since it is more than 140 metres deep on one side of the cenote. This is another area that is fantastic to visit if you have been visiting the Mayan pyramids and are looking for a place to cool off, surrounded by fantastic natural beauty.
Cenote: Dzitnup or Keken
This underground cenote has a hole as a ceiling. The waters in the cenote are very deep and also crystal clear. If you ever see a picture of a cenote, it will probably be Dzitnup or Keken. A guide rope has been installed for ease of access, as well as lighting systems.
Kankirixche means tree with yellow fruit. This is probably the most beautiful cenote you will find in the Yucatan Peninsula, as it is a sub aquatic cavern with the most beautiful and crystal clear waters. Visibility for both diving and snorkeling is absolutely amazing.
A tour guide to visit this cenote is mandatory, so do ensure you have made arrangements. Within the cenote, you will see the most amazing stalactites as well as tree roots. Formations run from the water right the way through to the ceiling.
As you can see, cenotes in the Yucatan Peninsula are a true marvel of natural beauty and there are plenty for you to choose from if you are looking for a fantastic dive. Please do ensure that you first check whether or not you need a tour guide in order to access any of the cenotes and check whether you are allowed to dive.
Have you ever been SCUBA diving in the Cenotes?
Would you like to go dive the Cenotes?? Feel free to contact us. We have multiple partners that offer dive packages to these sacred caves and caverns.
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Blog written by: Rutger Thole who is an avid scuba diver and loves to travel, dive and write about scuba diving. Based in Amsterdam he runs bookyourdive.com and at least twice a year he plans a dive trip of the beaten track.