If you haven’t been to a cenote in Mexico yet, you should give it a try! A cenote is a sinkhole which exposes the ground water. There are small cenotes, big cenotes, there are cenotes that look like lake or like lakes in a deep whole and there are cenotes in caves.
To see how many there are on the peninsula Yucatan in Mexico, hop over to google and search for ‘yucatan chicxulub crater cenotes’ in the image search. You’ll find satellite images of where the Chicxulub crater is which was created by a giant asteroid. It’s impact might be one of the causes the dinosaurs aren’t dinosauring anymore. On those satellite images you can also see hundreds if not thousands of blue or green little spots which mark the cenotes. Yes, there are that many!
The Maya have used them for their rituals and believed they were gateways to the afterlife.
Nowadays no one is getting sacrificed anymore in cenotes (at least I hope) but you can go and visit and take a swim.
We’ve been to a couple of different cenotes, the best one so far was Cenote Dos Ojos. Check out the video:
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How to get there?
Cenote Dos Ojos is located between Playa del Carmen and Tulum. It’s very easy to find. Everything along the East Coast of the Yucatan peninsula is happening around Highway 307. So from Cancun to Cenote Dos Ojos it’s 1.5 hours along that highway going South. From Playa it’s only 45 mins (going South) and from Tulum it’s 30 mins going North.
I wouldn’t say you can’t miss it since there are so many signs for cenotes, one after the other, that you might lose focus. If you’re coming from Cancun or Playa and you find yourself in Tulum, you know you’ve missed it and have to turn around.
It’s well worth looking for that particular one though.
What’s special about Cenote Dos Ojos
There are two cenotes a short walk from each other which are connected through underground tunnels in which you can also visit a cave with bats. You can snorkel into that cave with a guide or you can do a scuba diving tour.
What to bring?
- Bring your swim wear, towel, dry clothes.
- If you have a shorty or wet suite, you might as well bring that. The water isn’t terribly cold but you might want to hang out in the water for a while and observe the fish or the amazing play of the sun rays in the water. It’s not mandatory, people survive without a wet suite just fine after the first shock. But you can hangout longer if you’re warmer.
- Snorkel gear if you have. You can rent it there but if you have some already, bring it. It’s actually a good idea to bring snorkel gear on your Yucatan trip anyway.
- Snack and water. There is a restaurant there (good, not too expensive) but after hanging out in the water for a while, swimming, diving, snorkeling, exploring, you might be starving. For sure you’re going to be thirsty.
- Important: bring your GoPro if you have one.
- For people that can’t swim, bring life vests. It’s easy swimming in both cenotes, since there are no waves and you can actually simply float around with your vest. You can also rent them there.
- Optional: If you can manage to bring or rent an underwater lamp you’ll truly be happy about it in the bigger cenote. It’s very dark in the water but there are tons of fish. And they are hovering like a thick fish layer in the water. No fish above or below, just this funky layer.
We brought our GoPro HERO5 which is great for underwater filming. You can see the result in the video above. A good idea is also to have a GoPro floating grip but it’s doable without. We didn’t have ours yet and managed to not drop the cam.
You can go explore the two cenotes on your own, without a guide. That will cost 200 pesos per person over 6 years.
Or you can do the snorkeling tour with a guide which will also lead you to the bat cave. Which costs you 500 pesos per person. I personally think it’s worth it.
Third option is to do a scuba dive tour, prizes and details can be found on this page: www.cenotedosojos.com.
Good to know
It’s getting crowded in there. But the good news is that people are on vacation and they are not showing up before 10:30 or even 11. If you’re at the cenote early, you may have the cenotes for yourself.
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