A cenote is a natural limestone sinkhole and there are about 700 of them in varying sizes and shapes dotted around Tulum and the entire Yucatan Peninsula. I was beyond excited for Tulum having seen incredible photos of cenotes and their deep cave systems, perfect for snorkelling in. We tried to see as many as possible during our time there, but only managed the following 4! Going to have to go back and do the remaing 696 because we became completely obsessed with these crystal clear natural pools.
1 The unnamed cenote
This first cenote we came across entirely by chance while trying to ride our bikes to the beach. It has no name and doesn’t appear on maps. We paid 80 pesos each and had the place completely to ourselves for the first few hours. Quite the impressive start to our cenote tour!
This was not the deepest cenote we swam in, but it did have the trademark crystal clear water and abundant fish you get at these swimming holes.
Plus plenty of places to relax and read a book.
There was also a very rickety old platform for jumping off.
2 Casa Cenote
Casa cenote was completely different in that it was more of a deep tidal lagoon, completely surrounded by mangroves and with quite a mean current. There are lots of scuba divers here.
We were among some of the first few people there and it was really starting to get busy by the time we left.
3 Cenote Zacil-Ha
Zacil-Ha is very much like a beach bar with its sun lounges, cocktails and zip line. But it was surprisingly quiet until late in the afternoon, when a big family brought a boom box and a reggae ton mix tape.
It’s a fun one to jump into and has some pretty cool caves to explore around the edges of the pool.
The water was a magnificent colour and the frozen pina coladas weren’t bad either!
4 Grand Cenote
We well and truly saved the best (and most expensive at 150 pesos) for last. The Grand Cenote is a huge pool with a cave at either end. You can spot small turtles swimming close by and duck for cover as bats flit back and forth overhead. There are huge stalactites and as the light filters into the back of the cave the whole place has a completely magical, surreal feeling.
It doesn’t look like much from the outside:
But head towards the closed-ended cave:
Ignore how dark it is and swim right in to the back:
Then take a look under water:
It was one of the most beautiful land(water?)scapes I’ve seen on this trip.
The cave on the other side of the pool is open-ended and shallower, but with hundreds more bats flying around overhead. Crazy.
Which do you think is the best? Oh and it’s pronounced ‘sen-o-tay’.