You will have seen the cenotes of Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula dotted all over Pinterest and Instagram and maybe not quite have known what they were or what they were called.
Or maybe you aren’t as clueless as I was before my trip to Tulum, however I was sure about the fact I absolutely had to go and see what it was like to snorkel in these incredible underwater caves – correct term being Cenotes.
I get pretty enthusiastic about most things, but I cannot emphasise how incredibly beautiful these fresh water pools are.
So.. snorkels at the ready it’s time to dive in!! (Or in my case edge slowly in via the steps and handrail)
It was such an incredible experience to explore this place where everything appears so calm above water level and underneath there’s thousands of fish and other wildlife milling around.
In this area of Mexico there are over 2,000 cenotes so you’ve got plenty of sites to choose from.
We visited the Chikin-Ha Cenotes on our drive from Cancun to Tulum. We pulled over at the first one we saw and thought that doing three different cenotes in one visit was a fair deal to us.
The price varies and it is always OK to barter here as they will go in at their highest price and you can negotiate (there are no prices listed on any signs). We agreed on $20 entry for two of us and an unlimited amount of time in the caves.
There are three types of Cenote here. The first was an open swimming area like a large pond.
The second was a semi-open pool where the majority of the swimming area was covered by a cave overhead. This meant it was much darker underwater, but at the same time the eerie feeling was kinda cool. We could see divers deep down swimming in-between the different caves.
The third Cenote was a completely hidden pool. Unfortunately there is no access to this pool, however the caves are wonderful to explore.
It was such an incredible experience to wander through the caves dodging all the roots forcing their way through the rocks.
We also brought our own snorkel gear so we didn’t have to hire any equipment or rely on strict time keeping that inevitably comes with being part of a guided tour.
This turned out to be the best option as we had the cenotes to ourselves for a good two hours. Soonafter we noticed a very large group of tourists bounding towards us in their fluorescent life jackets ready to join us in the little pools. We stuck to the quit while you’re ahead motto and decided that this was, quite obviously, our cue to leave.
My advice for when exploring the cenotes is:
- Don’t be too fussy with which ones you plan on visiting, unless you’ve previously researched them and are completely besotted with what you have seen online from one particular Cenote.
- Always be prepared to barter with the price, especially where no prices are listed.
- Bring your own snorkelling gear so you can go it alone and not have to rely on a guide as you’ll have restricted time in the pools.
- Invest in an underwater camera – I use a GoPro Hero 4 and it’s absolutely perfect for my travel adventures.
- Have lots of fun – but respect the animals and wildlife that live in the pools.