The best cenote for you in Yucatan
You must visit Yucatan cenotes. Discover the best cenotes in Merida and the best blue cenotes in Riviera Maya. There are over 8,000 in the region. And each cenote is unique… * Remember you can request your free interactive cenotes map of Yucatan and Riviera Maya.
Have you felt the sunlight coming in through the small cave dome-entrance or felt the water waves at your every move?
How can you visit the best one for you?
Short answer is it depends. Mostly on your availability and which activities you enjoy; and linked to the latter if you prefer a more natural or with more infrastructure place.
The perfect mix: Yucatan musts and cenotes
When you come to Merida you should stay at least for a week to get a full picture of its culture, events and main landmarks (you can read an introductory guide here).
Remember you can visit natural reserves, main Mayan ruins and towns while also enjoying beautiful cenotes in the area.
The beauty of having so many cenotes in Yucatan is you can easily find the best match for your interests and be original when visiting cenotes, while also enjoying popular attractions, or hidden-gems. Firstly, make sure you understand what is a cenote (read its facts here) so you can fully appreciate them.
The following cenotes recommendations are based on accessible cenotes (several off-the-beaten path), and / or services considering life vests, food service, guides, tips to enjoy, etc. Please feel free to contact us if you have any question or comment.
Living the cenotes with unique activities
I recommend you 6 perfect ways for that:
1. Visiting the farther away
For all of you who are very active or have a restricted itinerary, your best option is to check-off as many places in your bucket-list as possible every single day.
When in Merida the best 3 options are enjoying in a single day the places farther away:
Valladolid, the most important colonial-touristic town in Yucatan, with a convent and a handful of cave-cenotes, additional to one semi-open right at the city center… On the way, also enjoy Ek-Balam, the 2nd most visited Mayan ruins in the state
2. Emerald coast and beach day
The Yucatecan coast has several mangrove areas; making it a unique place to let yourself be surrounded by nature, birds, water, and water-springs!
Cenotes near the coast are mostly open; with its exceptions, as near Río Lagartos.
Merida’s nearest beach is Progreso port; which is especially crowded when cruises arrive and on weekends. Luckily, this state has over 300 kilometers of coast offering these views… enjoy it while also kayaking, biking, practicing yoga or bird-watching.
Take control of your path and discover mangrove canals by kayaking
Bike through coastal towns before crossing mangrove canals to discover a crystal-clear water-spring… enjoy delicious seafood at a full of palm-trees beach
Relax and capture the essence of each place by concentrating on a yoga practice… you may even enjoy a Mayan ceremony to finish your day
Visit ruins with an open-cenote (Dzibilchaltun), a lake preferred by flamingos and enjoy a meal at the beach
3. Mayan ruins
There over 2,600 Mayan vestiges in the peninsula. Mix culture and nature (and let your adventurous spirit flow):
Visit the magical Mayan site Mayapan, similar to Chichen Itza, and bike (optionally) to a cenote whose view will leave you speechless!... It’s a 3 in 1 as at the end you will eat at an hacienda
Or also visit Mayapan ruins while enjoying the newest snorkeling cenotes-hacienda Mucuyche park: float in a canal traversing the hacienda to connect its 2 cenotes
Bike to Mayan ruins with an open-cenote
Keeping up with your cultural-natural mix, you can also learn from the Sisal era in the Yucatan…
Enter an hacienda-museum and enjoy 2 cenotes: open and a cave-cenote; active persons can choose to hike or bike part of the trails leading to the cenotes
Visit 3 haciendas and 2 blue cenotes, a great mix of restored and unrestored haciendas with beautiful cenotes
Experience the working hacienda Sotuta de Peon with a cenote and restaurant within
5. Popular activities
Enjoy a cooking lesson at a Mayan community with a beautiful cenote
Take it easy, and explore a private nature reserve with a 100% eco-cenote: practice yoga or meditation, take a cooking lesson or an artisanal cacao workshop
Go extreme, go caving... finish your day at a cave-cenote
Find all cenotes options with biking
6. Cenotes all day long
Watching and swimming in cenotes is fun when you have a full day just to dive in and fill your eyes with its formations, clear waters, fish, and tree roots.
For these times, benefit from the cenotes ring and spare a day to discover cenotes. The best recommendation is to visit the places with the most cenotes open to public:
Remember you can also experience snorkeling and scuba diving at open cenotes or caves within cenotes. You could also benefit from being totally immersed in nature and enjoy clear skies and the sounds of the night and sunrise by camping at cenotes!
Visit cenotes whenever you are in Merida!!
If you have a couple of hours or a month... or if this is your 1st time visiting or your 10th… or you want peacefulness or activeness... be sure you’ll live a unique experience.
What to bring and special care
Swimming suit and towel… remember to rinse off prior to getting into the water
Bring ecological insect repellent and sunscreen (which you should rinse off)
Take care, keep your distance and leave as-is the nature and any vestiges in the area
Take all your trash back with you