What is a Cenote?

The cenotes are a natural phenomenon characteristic of the Yucatan Peninsula. The word Cenote comes from the Mayan “Tzonot” or “Ts’onot” which literally means cavern with water. In the Mayan culture, the Cenotes are the sacred entrances to Xibalba“, the place where the Mayan gods lived and sacrifices were made.

A Cenote is a deep natural pit, or sinkhole, characteristic of Mexico, resulting from the collapse of limestone bedrock that exposes groundwater underneath. There they meet groundwater, forming a more or less deep pond and the underground and interconnected rivers of the Yucatan.

From whimsical shapes and sizes, the cenotes are a good choice for swimming, snorkeling and diving in fresh or salt water, due to the water clarity. They can be found in the jungle, including mangroves, amid a town or city or even at sea.

Some cenotes are open to the sky, others are partially open and some other cenotes are completely closed. In fact, some isolated cenotes require scuba certification to get in and explore. Unique ecosystems, and colorful stalactites and stalagmites can be found while exploring them.

There are many cenotes in Tulum and along the Riviera Maya, which we will present in future posts. Now we leave you with images of some of the best cenotes in the area. Do you want to explore them?

Gran Cenote

Gran Cenote. Open to the sky cenote near Tulum Town.

Cenotes by Mexican Caribbean Kitesurf

Cenote Dos Ojos. Underground and Cavern cenote.

Cenotes by Mexican Caribbean Kitesurf

Casa Cenote. Cenote between the mangroves.

Cenotes by Mexican Caribbean Kitesurf

Cenote Zazil-ha

Cenotes by Mexican Caribbean Kitesurf

Cenote Calavera

Cenotes by Mexican Caribbean Kitesurf

Cenote Escondido. Cenote in the middle of the jungle.

Cenotes by Mexican Caribbean Kitesurf

Cenote Cristal. Cenote in the middle of the jungle.

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