The Yucatan is dotted with hundreds of Cenotes (pronounced say-NOH-tay) which are naturally occurring fresh water pools formed in caves of limestone. Each Cenote offers crystal clear water that maintains a consistent warmth (around 78 degrees Fahrenheit!). Cenotes are a natural phenomenon and an incredible tourist destination that you won’t want to miss during your visit!
The Cenotes may be used as giant swimming holes, some are ideal for snorkeling, and some are advised for only experienced cave divers. Whatever your preference may be you are guaranteed to find a Cenote that will make your time at the Yucatan unforgettable. We find Cenote diving an incredible adventure while visiting the Yucatan, so we’ve narrowed down the options of our favorite dives:
The most well known diving cave is probably Dos Ojos or “two eyes”, the two large Cenotes that make up Dos Ojos have been said to resemble two eyes. This is the third largest underwater cave system in the world and it is located about 10 miles north of Tulum. We think a guided diving tour is definitely the best option while visiting Dos Ojos so you can make sure you don’t miss out on the untouched and intricately decorated underwater caves. Absolutely breathtaking! There are many different guided dive options in the Tulum area run by knowledgable and experienced divers, ideal for divers at all levels.
The Gran Cenote which is the main entrance of Sak Aktun “The White Cave” is another popular choice located just outside of Tulum. There are over 130 Cenotes interconnected within this cave system. It is popular for families and visitors interested in snorkeling or swimming, but there is also plenty of room for anybody looking to take a dive. The Grand Cenote is a perfect day trip for a less experienced diver, but there are plenty of places to explore for experienced divers as well! Be sure to bring your camera because this Cenote is perfect for its many photo opportunities.
Although the list of beautiful cave dives seems endless, a less touristy but equally beautiful dive is the Cenote Pet Cemetery, part of the Nohoch Nachich cave system. Pet Cemetery is located through the same jungle as Dos Ojos, but is about a 15-20 minute drive further which is said to be an additional part of the adventure! The unique name came from the cave diving explorers who first noticed the various animal skeletons throughout the Cenote, some are still visible while diving, making it extra unique! This dive is perfect for more experienced divers because it is exceptionally shallow.
Even if you don’t find the time to dive, we recommend checking out some of the Cenotes that the Yucatan has to offer. They are some of the best in the world and a completely natural phenomenon!