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Best Cenotes for Snorkeling in Cancun and Riviera Maya

When you think of snorkeling; open sea and coral reefs are what comes to your mind. But when you arrive in the Mexican Caribbean that is not the only way to enjoy a wonderful day of snorkeling. The turquoise water and the powerful sun are great for a snorkeling tour in Cancun, but also discovering underwater caves is an exciting experience.

people swimming in cenotes
 

What you will see

First of all, cenotes are natural pools, there are open, semi-open, and closed cenotes. These sinkholes are deep and you can find several shades of blue, and emerald green. Most of them are surrounded by beautiful vegetation, and some fish, you can also be able to explore stalactites and stalagmites there. To get to some cenotes you have to go many meters downstairs, which means that the walls of the cenote will be high, and the roots of the trees will fall from above, creating a beautiful view. Just check out the next image, and see what we’re talking about.

 

cenote roots

Some other cenotes are just like a tropical oasis in the middle of the Mayan Jungle. Now you understand what a cenote is, let’s get started!

 

Best Cenotes for Snorkeling in Cancun and Riviera Maya

 

Cenote Azul

cenote azul riviera maya

Besides its beauty, this cenote is located right in the heart of the Riviera Maya. Just 20 minutes away from Playa del Carmen. This natural pool offers a stunning natural environment and both shades of water; blue and emerald green. You can find some spa fish in the waters, perfect for exfoliation. There is also a small cave to explore, and many corners full of vegetation. 

The top of this cenote is that there are mini pools in the surroundings, making it the perfect tropical scenery, so you will be able to have your own private natural pool surrounded by nature. 

It costs $150 - 200 MXN foreigners and it is open from Monday to Sunday. If you don’t have snorkeling equipment, you can rent it there. There is no restaurant, you can bring your own snacks, or buy them at the entrance. 

Location

 

Cenote Taj Maha

A diving sanctuary is located in this place, if you want to have this unforgettable experience this should be the cenote. It is a semi-open cenote with unbelievable blue turquoise waters. It seems that the cenote is small, however, it's actually huge, but it can be only explored by diving. Nevertheless, there is a great snorkeling area in this cenote, enjoy an incredible day exploring a natural pool surrounded by majestic typical limestone halls and more. If you want to experience diving you can get a tour right there. This cenote is 12 meters or 40 feet deep at its bottom.

snorkeling in cenote tajma ha The entrance fee is about 300 MXN, and it is located again near Puerto Aventuras, 20 minutes away from Playa del Carmen. 

Location

 

Casa Cenote 

This place looks more like a beautiful lagoon thanks to its beautiful emerald green tone, but it is considered a cenote. Casa Cenote is home to a particular friend, Panchito is a swamp crocodile. Its diet is based on small mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fish, so humans are not its food. So you can be sure you will be back home safe and sound. 

casa cenote channels

The cenote is surrounded by mangroves and lots of vegetation, birds, and fish. The place is directly connected with the sea, you can go to explore through the channel until you reach the beach.

casa cenote snorkeling

Snorkeling in this cenote will be the perfect experience for you, you can swim in those clear waters with a depth of 6 meters. Another popular activity on this cenote is Kayaking through the channels, and it is a popular place for diving. It is common to find divers while you snorkeling in the cenote.

This cenote is located just 15 minutes away from Tulum, and it costs $150 - 200 MXN, it is open from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. There is a restaurant next to the cenote in case you want to have lunch. 

Location

 

Cenote Dos Ojos

Dos Ojos is a park located 30 minutes away from the Tulum Mayan Ruins. It is a semi-open cenote in the Riviera Maya with beautiful tones of blue on its waters. Exploring this cenote will be a unique moment on your Cancun trip. Find a true paradise in this amazing place, and relax by swimming as much as you want. It is named like that because of the two sinkholes 70 meters in diameter connected by a 400-meter long passageway. There is an excellent restaurant at the cenote where you can have a delicious meal, or you might want to bring some snacks, it is allowed. There is also a rest area where you can lay in a hammock and lounge chairs while you enjoy the natural environment. 

woman enjoying cenote dos ojos

 Open every day from 08:00  to 17:00.

Location

 

Gran Cenote

One of the top cenotes in Tulum, Gran Cenote is full of natural corners and beautiful crystal clear waters. It has caverns and open parts where the sunlight reaches, making it perfect to explore. A fun fact about this place is that you will be able to see some turtles swimming next to you, they are harmless so you don’t have to worry about them.

gran cenote tulum

There is a stunning flower on the cenote's surface, known as Nicte-Ha in Maya, Lily in our language. Gran cenote provides rest areas with palapas and hammocks, there is also a small store where you can get some food, or if you prefer you can bring your own. 

gran cenote tulum vegetation

Location

 

Cenote Ik Kil

This is one of the top cenotes in the Yucatan Peninsula, although this cenote is not located in the Riviera Maya is very close to it. Surrounded by stunning vegetation around it, beautiful roots that fall from above make it a perfect setting. It is a famous cenote especially if you visit one of the 7 wonders of the world; Chichen Itza. You will be able to do snorkeling in this cenote, but due to its depth and color there is not much visibility, however, it is still a unique experience and it totally worth it to visit. 

cenote ik kil yucatan

Location

 

Things to consider

  • The water is very cold in the cenotes, but you get used to
  • Any type of sunscreen, makeup, and creams aren’t allowed (you won’t need it, most of the cenotes are cover with vast vegetation that makes nice shadows)
  • Bring a mosquito repellent, but only if is biodegradable
  • Water shoes could be a great idea, some rocks are very slippery
  • You can bring your own snorkeling equipment
  • Bring your own snacks some cenotes don’t offer restaurant service
  • The common opening hours are from 9 am to 5 pm
  • Keep in mind that some cenotes are far from the main highway, so make sure you have the proper transportation, otherwise, you will have to walk
  • All cenotes rent life vests and snorkel in case you don’t have yours

Now you are prepared to explore as many cenotes as you want!

Thanks for reading, see you around!

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