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The Best Cenotes in Mexico: What is a Cenote?
Knowing the best cenotes in Mexico is valuable information when you are going to visit the Yucatan peninsula. Enjoying your vacations in the Mayan Riviera and not visiting a cenote, is like going to Paris and not visiting the Eiffel Tower: Absolutely Impossible. Obviously, you will want to visit a unique natural phenomenon in the world like this, won’t you?
Do you know that this territory has no rivers on its surface? Luckily, the ancient Mayans had the cenotes to stock up on water. In fact, cenotes are exactly that: complex underground waterways that have traversed the terrain over the years and formed impressive caves and flooded caverns. Visiting them, you can swim, dive or practice snorkel in fascinating spaces originated in the Pleistocene.
We can find three types of cenotes: open sky, semi-open and caves. Erosion is what tells us which cenotes are the oldest, being those completely open, and the youngest ones, those that still conserve their dome intact. In fact, rain or underground currents pierce the calcareous terrain of the Riviera Maya until the domes disappear or collapse.
If you want to know more about the outstanding cenotes, we invite you to read the article “Cenotes In The Riviera Maya”. But if you want to know which are the best cenotes in Mexico to dive and practice snorkel, Keep reading.
The Best Cenotes In Mexico For Snorkeling And Recreational Diving
La Ponderosa or Jardín del Edén, is only 3 km / 1.8 miles from Puerto Aventuras and about 25 km / 15.53 miles in the south of Playa del Carmen. This cenote has a huge totally open entrance that will make you fall in love, if you want to snorkel or simply swim in its fresh and crystalline waters. This place looks like a natural lagoon more than a pond; besides, it is surrounded by vegetation. If you wanted to dive in it, you could do it just with an Open Water certification because it has 15 meters / 49.21 feet depth. Other Ponderosa attractions are the dive buddies you will find in it. Yes, this is one of the best cenotes in Mexico if you want to dive with blind fish, turtles or freshwater morays. By the way, you can get your Open Water Certification with us.
Fifteen minutes north from Tulum by car we find Cenote Dos Ojos. Although it was discovered in the 80s, its endless corridors are still being explored today. In fact, last year it was discovered that it is part of the longest cenote cave systems in the world, and that it is connected to the Sac Actum system. In total, 347 km / 215.62 mi that make Dos Ojos one of the best Cenotes in Mexico to practice your preferred sport variety. Maybe, that is the reason why it is one of the tourists’ favorite cenotes. There, you can snorkel under its open eye to the sky, dive in cavern or dive into its depths and practice cave diving. By the way, if you still do not know the difference between these two types of diving, we recommend you the article. “Everything You Need To Know About Cave Diving In Mexico”
EL GRAN CENOTE
On the road to Coba, about 10 minutes from Tulum is the Gran Cenote. It is also part of the Sac Actum system and deserves a visit without a doubt. It has two accesses, one of them is a small beach with sandy soil and that is preferred by those who practice snorkeling, but if you are a diver, you will opt for the platform that offers greater depth and that is ideal to a giant stride. Both entries are connected by a tunnel, but there is much to discover there. Its stalactites, stalagmites and columns make the Gran Cenote one of the best cenotes in Mexico, a witness to the geological evolution of the place. Besides, it’s 10 m / 33 ft depth is enough to leave you speechless from an unforgettable diving experience. And if that is not enough for convincing you that this cenote is worth a visit, you should know it also offers a large example of the native fauna, such as the freshwater turtles that inhabit the small central island or the bat community in the dome.
The Best Cenotes In Mexico For Cavern Diving
Just after the Puerto Aventuras bridge and only 20 minutes by car from Playa del Carmen is one of the best cenotes in Mexico to practice any type of scuba. The Chac Mool Cenote, whose name for the native Mayans means “Great Red Jaguar” has three entrances. From any of them you will access three incredible diving routes and an impressive experience will be waiting for you in all of them. You will enjoy an impressive range of blues there, offered by the rebound of the sun’s rays on its waters and walls. In addition, you will have the opportunity to see hundreds of stalactites and columns. The maximum depth is 13 m / 40 ft but at 10 m / 32.80 ft, you will encounter a very precious halocline: Guaranteed!!! All these characteristics, made this spot one of the best cenotes in Mexico to enjoy scuba diving.
If observing the phenomenon caused by the river fresh water and the sea salty coming together is what you want, one of the best cenotes in Mexico to achieve this is the Tajmaha. Located next to Xpuha, just 5 km / 3.10 miles from Puerto Aventuras, this cenote is in the middle of the jungle. Among so much vegetation, you will be surprised to find its small entrance, which is nothing more than the gateway to wonder land. Besides the halocline, this cenote is also famous for its stalactites, stalagmites and fossils. Here, it does not matter where you look, there is always something amazing to see. The entrance bifurcates in two. The line on the right, longer, allows you to descend up to 14 m/ 46 ft. deep. The line on the left takes you to the cavern of the bats. But for lovers of cave diving, there is still 40 m / 131.23 ft. depth.
The Best Cenotes In Mexico For Technical Diving Lovers
Despite the fact the Angelita cenote is also in Tulum, to get to the entrance you will have to walk about 45 minutes through the jungle and descend a great height before finding the cenote’s eye. This unevenness continues inside the water because it is an extremely deep cenote: 55 m / 180 ft. At around 30 m / 98.42 ft deep you will find an about 3 m / 9.84 ft thick hydrogen-sulfur cloud produced by microorganism from organic sediments. Undoubtedly, Angelita is one of the best cenotes in Mexico for technical diving lovers.
Located in the depths of the Mayan jungle, El Pit is more than 120 m / 394 ft depth. Its appeal includes two haloclines at 12m / 39ft and 15m / 49ft, crystal clear waters and breathtaking light effects. In El Pit we can find a gaseous cloud. Approximately 30 meters / 98.42 feet depth, the organic material decomposition creates a hydrogen sulfide curtain from which the branches of trees emerge ghostly. Of course, diving El Pit is a privilege reserved for advanced divers with excellent buoyancy control.
Now you know which are the best cenotes in Mexico for diving and snorkeling, tell us, which one do you want to visit first?