After presenting the most beautiful colorful cities of Yucatan and the Mayan sites to visit in Yucatan, here are our most beautiful cenotes today. With nearly 10,000 cenotes in the Yucatan Peninsula, there is plenty to get lost in when planning your trip to Mexico. Whether they are touristic, frequented by locals, small, huge or even very wild, here are the cenotes that we tested during our road trip in Yucatan as well as the Top 3 of our favorites!
FIRST OF ALL, WHAT IS A CENOTE?
Sacred place at the time of the Mayas, the cenote is a natural well several tens, even hundreds, of meters deep. Typical of Mexico, they are the result of dissolution and collapse of limestone soils. They are found everywhere in Yucatan, both in cities, in the jungle and in a field lost in the middle of nowhere. Filled with land-filtered fresh water, they provide incredible visibility for spotting underwater life or just cooling off after a hot day of sightseeing
At the time of the Mayan civilizations, the cenotes were the only fresh water reserves. They then organized their village around the cenote. But that’s not all, they also used the cenotes to make sacrifices because they considered these places as doors to the world of the dead. Today, most of the 10,000 cenotes in Yucatan are open to everyone and some are even geared exclusively towards tourism (installations, nautical activities, etc.).
These natural pools with crystal clear waters are mainly found in the states of Yucatan and Quitana Roo. They are a must in Yucatan and you will even become addicted to cenotes. It’s up to whoever finds the most beautiful, the wildest or even the most incredible cenote…
WHERE TO FIND THE MOST BEAUTIFUL CENOTES IN YUCATAN?
During our 12-day Yucatan road trip , we swam in 10 different cenotes. And as much to tell you, not all are equal. It is mainly around 3 cities that we bathed in the cenotes: Valladolid, Mérida and Tulum. Please note, the entry prices mentioned in the article date from December 2019. They have certainly increased since this date, because in Yucatan / Mexico, the prices of tourist sites increase very regularly, and in particular those of cenotes.
OUR BEST CENOTES AROUND VALLADOLID
X’CANCHÉ: A WILD CENOTE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE RUINS OF EK BALAM
Cenote X’Canché is the first of the 10 cenotes in Yucatan that we discovered during this 12-day road trip in Yucatan. After visiting the very beautiful archaeological site of Ek Balam, we went to refresh ourselves in the Cenote X’Canché. 1st discovery of cenotes.
Located 2km from the archaeological site, the cenote is accessible on foot (70MXN), by bicycle taxi (150MXN). Before discovering the cenote, you must go through the changing rooms to change and through the shower. The Cenote X’Canché is a large open-air basin, approximately 10m deep. Two staircases allow you to descend into the cenote and a wooden platform allows you to walk all around the basin. The setting is really beautiful with a small waterfall, vines and tree roots that surround the water. But also with the thousands of little black catfish that aren’t afraid to approach us.
Finally, there are even ropes that allow you to jump into the water and a zip line (paying) that overlooks the cenote. It is also possible for an additional fee to abseil in the cenote.
CENOTE OXMAN IN THE GARDEN OF HACIENDA LORENZO OXMAN
5km south of Valladolid is the beautiful Hacienda Lorenzo Oxman. A very beautiful hacienda typical of Mexico with its rooms, its patio, its garden, its swimming pool and… its cenote. A 25 meter deep cenote that is located at the end of the hacienda garde
The Cenote Oxman is impressive. The first contact with the cenote is even dizzying: 25 meters below is the basin! We take a staircase and we discover clear blue water! Neither one nor two, we jump into the water. As in the Cenote X’Canche, there is a rope to throw yourself in the middle of the cenote. Very fun but the best thing is still to do the starfish in the middle of the basin and admire the cenote with its carved cliffs, its bat nests and its tree roots that run along the wall.
YOKDZONOT, ON THE ROAD BETWEEN VALLADOLID AND MÉRIDA
On the road between Valladolid and Mérida, near Chichen Itza is the cenote Yokdzonot. Much less frequented and touristy than the Ik-Kil cenote or the Sacred Cenote which are right next to the archaeological site, the Yokdzonot cenote is a little corner of paradise.