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The 7 Best Cenotes In Mexico For Diving And Snorkeling

Knowing the best cenotes in Mexico is valuable information when you are going to visit the Yucatan peninsula. Enjoying your vacation in the Yucatan Peninsula and not seeing a cenote, is like going to Paris and not including the Eiffel Tower in your itinerary: Absolutely Impossible. Obviously, you will want to know about a unique natural phenomenon in the world like this one, won’t you? Here are the BEST cenotes in Cancún, Playa Del Carmen, and Tulum.

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Best Cenotes In Mexico - entrando - mejores cenotes de mexico

1. What Is a Cenote?

Essentially, Cenotes are sinkholes or caves that form complex underground waterways. Over time, Mexican sedimentary limestone rock has allowed rainwater to fill them.

These watercourses have traversed the Yucatan Peninsula for millennia and dissolving the porous limestone formed impressive caves and flooded caverns.

In other words, by visiting them, you can swim, dive or practice snorkeling in fascinating spaces that originated in the Pleistocene.


2. Types of Cenotes in Mexico

Rain or underground currents pierce the calcareous terrain of the Yucatan until the Mexico caves’ domes disappear or collapse.

So, we can find three types of cenotes: open sky, semi-open, and caves.

Erosion is what tells us the age of cenotes in the Yucatan.

The oldest are those completely open, and the youngest ones, are those that still conserve their dome intact.

3. Mexican Cenotes FAQ


     3.1. How To Visit Cenotes in Mexico

There are thousands of cenotes in Mexico, the most beautiful ones are the Yucatan caves, but they are not easy to reach. Usually, Cenotes are in the middle of the jungle although close to the Mexican towns of Cancún, Playa del Carmen, and Tulum. So, there are basically two ways to get to a cenote

– Renting a car. This could be a good idea if you want to visit remote cenotes

– Booking a cenote tour. There are different options to visit a Mexican cenote. Some selections mix ancient Mayan remains with visiting one of these Mexican caves. But, if you are an avid diver or snorkeler, cenote diving tours are the best choice.


    3.2. How Is the Visibility in The Mexican Cenotes

The visibility in the Yucatan cenotes sometimes reaches 100 meters / 330 feet of distance. It only worsens when divers don’t properly control buoyancy or fin kicking.

In addition, inside the Mexico caves, there is a unique visual effect only scuba divers can enjoy. We are talking about a halocline.

In the Yucatan peninsula, the whole system of cenotes has underground rivers that empty into the sea. At this moment, fresh water meets with salty water. Since both have different densities, they don´t mix, but stay in separate layers.

Between the layer of freshwater and saltwater, a halocline occurs. It is something like when water and oil come together. You can see clearly where one layer finishes and another starts. When scuba divers pass the line, they have a blurred vision effect for a meter / 3 feet feeling like Alice going through the looking glass.


     3.3. Are There Animals in The Yucatan Cenotes?

Inside a Mexican cenote, there is not much light nor organic sediment. It prevents photosynthesis. For this reason, there is no abundant flora. As animals feed basically on plants, there are few animals inside the Mexico caves.

However, there is a difference between the Cancun cenotes close to the coasts and the more isolated Tulum cenotes. The former, have a few tiny marine invaders such as mojarras, guppies, sardines, moils, and catfish.


     3.4. What Is the Water Temperature in The Cenotes from Cancun to Tulum?

The water temperature in the cenotes in Cancun to Valladolid or Tulum is around 77°-78° Fahrenheit or 25°-26° Celsius and remains constant year-round, cooling very minimally during the winter months.

In other words, we don’t need any special wetsuit thickness for temperature control if you go to practice snorkeling.

However, our expert in cave diving, Victor Cordoba, uses 5-7mm wetsuits for technical diving in the cenotes of Mexico. This is recommended for recreational diving also.


     3.5. Things To Bring to Mexican Cenotes

Underwater Camera, you will not want to leave any memory without a shoot.

Gear: snorkeling and diving. Do not forget booties or water shoes.

Day-Trip Necessities: biodegradable Sunscreen, quick-dry Towel, sun hat, sunglasses, a large bottle of water, waterproof dry bag for the devices, and cash.

Best Cenotes In Mexico - Shatia - mejores cenotes de mexico

4. 7 Best Cenotes in Mexico for Diving and Snorkeling

4.1. Best Yucatan Cenotes for Snorkeling and Cenote Diving


La Ponderosa also known as Jardín del Edén, is only 3 km / 1.8 miles from Puerto Aventuras and about 25 km / 15.53 miles south of Playa del Carmen. This cenote has a enormous totally open mouth of access 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 to dive with blind fish, turtles, or freshwater morays.

Best Cenotes In Mexico - Ponderosa - mejores cenotes de mexico


Fifteen minutes north from Tulum by car we find the 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 a cavern, or dive into its depths and practice cave diving. By the way, if you do not know the difference between these two types of diving, we recommend the article. “Everything You Need to Know About Cave Diving in Mexico

Best Cenotes In Mexico - Dos Ojos Cenote - mejores cenotes de mexico


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 which 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 for 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, its 10 m / 33 ft depth is enough to leave you speechless from an unforgettable diving experience.

And if that is not enough to convince 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.

4.2. Best Yucatan Cenotes in Mexico for Recreational 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. We are talking about The Chac Mool Cenote, whose name for the native Mayans means “Great Red Jaguar”.

It has three entrances. From any of them, you will have access to three incredible diving routes, and in all of them, an impressive experience will be waiting for you. There you will enjoy a stunning range of blues. They are the result of the sun’s rays reflected in its waters and on its 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!!!

Best Mexican Cenotes - Chac Mool - mejores cuevas de mexico


If observing the phenomenon caused by the river fresh water and the salty sea water coming together is what you want: the halocline effect, one of the best cenotes in Mexico to achieve this is the Taj maha. 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 a wonderland.

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. 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. In addition, for lovers of cave diving, there is still 40 m / 131.23 ft. depth.

Best Mexican Cenotes - Taj Maha - mejores cuevas de mexico

4.3. Best Caves 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 microorganisms from organic sediments.

Cenote Angelita


Located in the depths of the Mayan jungle, El Pit is one of the best cenotes in Mexico for cave diving because it is one of the deepest. With its 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. Similarly, to the Angelita cenote, in El Pit we can find a gaseous cloud. At 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.

Best Cenotes In Mexico - El Pit - mejores cenotes de mexico

Now you know the best cenotes in Mexico for diving and snorkeling, tell us, which one do you want to visit first?

5. Best Cenotes in Mexico Map

cenotes Dressel

6. Book the Best Mexican Cenotes Tours for Divers and Snorkelers

RIVIERA MAYA Snorkeling Excursion
Cenotes & Akumal Snorkeling

Riviera Maya Snorkeling Excursion


Every day except Mondays


– Minibus transport from your hotel.

– Sandwich for lunch with water and soft drinks are all included.

– Professional snorkel guide, mask, snorkel, fins and snorkel vest.

– 2 snorkeling sessions, one in Akumal Bay, another in the Chikin-Ha cenote

CENOTE Diving Excursion
Two impressive Yucatan Cenotes

Cenote Diving Excursion


Every day upon request.


– Transportation to and from any hotel and the Cenotes.

– Entrance fee for 2 different Cenotes.

– Snack and soft drinks.

– 2 Cenote dives with all the extra equipment needed and a professional cavern dive guide.

NOTE: These 2 dives are purchased separately or taken from a package