The Cenotes, or Pools of Mystery, as the New York Times called them in 1993, vary in size, colour, nature and depth. As the water rises and falls with annual cycles of drought and rainfall, it erodes the limestone ceiling and in some places causes it to deflate.
Hidden between green flora and beautiful fauna, cenotes are surface connections to subterranean water bodies. The water is crystal clear and the colour varies from turquoise to emerald, beautiful tree roots decorates the scene, following the path of the water source.
Yes. You guessed it. Ancient Mayas had a strong connection with cenotes. They were their source of water and also considered a gate to the underworld. Jade, copper, gold and even textiles have been found in the cenotes as they were thrown as offerings to the Gods.
There are more than 5,000 cenotes all over the Peninsula. Nevertheless, just some of them are accessible and open to the public. And just a few of them are available for the public. We picked some of the most beautiful cenotes you can find in Yucatán and we’re going to tell you how to reach these amazing places via public transport. Enjoy!
Distance from MID: 40 minutes’ drive
Cost: $170 MXN (Including bike rental and hiking)
How to get there: Take the bus at TAME bus station located on Calle 69 x 68 y 70 directly to Chocholá small-town.
Is the only Eco touristic parador where you can experience the beauty of a cenote at day and night time. Here you can also enjoy a delicious traditional meal, you can ride bikes, enjoy the pool and relax in the hammock.
Distance from MID: 1 hr 45 mins’ drive
Cost: Adults $80 MXN Children $40 MXN
How to get there: Take the bus at the Noreste Terminal for approximately $280 MXN. Or if you are already at Chichen-Itzá just take a minivan that goes on road 180.
This cenote is one of the most popular ones. This is a mandatory stop when you are going to Chichen-Itzá because it happens to be on the same route. Usually, it is very crowded but the view is worth it. We recommend getting there early to avoid the crowd.
Cuzamá: Chansinic’Ché, Bolon-Chohol y Chelentún.
Distance from MID: 55 minutes’ drive
Cost: $300 MXN (total for the three of them)
How to get there: You can take the bus for $35 MXN at the Noreste Terminal located on Calle 67 529, Centro or wait in front of the bus station for the minivan that will take you for $30 MXN.
Three amazing cenotes in just one place? Yes, please! These are located in Cuzamá, a township with a population of 4000 people approximately. To get to the cenotes you must ride the ‘truck’ (pronounced and better known as ‘troock’ by the locals). This type of transport comes from the 20th century, when they used to transport henequen with horse-drawn carts.
Distance from MID: 48 minutes’ drive
Cost: $80 MXN
How to get there: Take a minivan that can take you to Muna small-town. Then take a ‘moto-taxi’ directly to the cenote.
Imagine those pictures where you can’t tell if it’s a painting or photograph. This is one of those. The water is crystal clear during the day. It has lovely green aquatic plants in the water surface topped with a few flowers. It’s wide open and the sun lights up the whole scenario. It is perfect to meditate, swim and even campouts.
Carlota: Hacienda Mucuyché
Distance from MID: 55 minutes’ drive
Cost: Adults $400 MXN Children $200 MXN (including other cenotes + guided tour). Make sure you arrive between 9 am and 3 pm.
How to get there: You can take the minivan to Sacalum at San Juan Park and ask the driver to let you know where to get off. You can also take the bus or minivan to Muna small-town, then take a ‘moto-taxi’ that will take you directly to the Hacienda.
As soon as you arrive at Hacienda Mucuyché, you will see an astonishing old French architecture. We don’t want to spill all the tea here, but let’s just say that this cenote was named after the first woman in history who ruled Mexico. She was from Belgium and married archduke Maximiliano I in 1857. Just look at the cenote, it’s just as stunning as she was.
Distance from MID: 49 minutes’ drive
Cost: $40 MXN
How to get there: Take public transport to the small-town of Telchaquillo. Then take the minivan to Pixyah, once there you will see many guides offering to take you. (Ps. There are other two gorgeous cenotes nearby)
A hidden marvel. Even though it’s a bit complicated to get there, it is totally worth it. Not many know how to get here, this explains why it’s not very popular amongst the regular tourists. But honestly, they are missing out. Its water is crystal clear with mesmerizing green and blue shades. With a depth of 45 meters, it seems taken out from a fantasy book. Trust us on this one, you definitely can’t miss it!!
Distance from MID: 45 minutes by car and 1 ½ hrs approximately by bus.
Cost: $40 MXN
How to get there: You can take the minivan at the Lucas De Gálvez Market that takes you to Umán. Once you arrive at Umán, take another minivan to Peba a small-town where you will find the Sambula cenote.
Only a few minutes away from Umán, you will find Peba, the small community that takes care of Sambula. Barely no-one knows about this incredible cenote, so don’t be surprised if you don’t see as many tourists as you may find in others. The local families take care of this beautiful place and welcome all visitors. You can also find food options here. Sambula never disappoints.
Keep in mind that the cenotes are a protected ecosystem, and we must respect what they represent in the Mayan culture. Be mindful and wear eco-friendly products like sunscreen and bug spray. Ask before you dive in, remember that cenotes used to be sacred places and sometimes diving is forbidden.
We want to know which cenote was your favourite. Let us know in the comments.
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