Mexico is home to approximately 6,000 cenotes and I wanted to see as many of them as possible during my visit last summer. With all of the other activities we had planned, I knew it would realistically be about 5.
Well, we were able to see at least 5! I bet we actually saw more than we realize though because our tour of Sian Ka’an, taught us that some cenotes are in fact located UNDERwater and you wouldn’t know you were seeing one unless someone who knew they were there told you.
The first cenotes we encountered were in fact located underwater in the Sian Ka’an Bisphere reserve and as mentioned above, we would not have ever known we were viewing a cenote had our guide not told us that the dark spots in the water were underwater cenote’s. Manatees hang out at the cenotes in Sian Ka’an and the boat tours, which look for Manatees, will take you near as many as possible for you to have an encounter(not in the water) with them. We were taken to 3 cenote’s, and each one had manatees swimming and playing for us to meet. It was INCREDIBLE!
The second cenote we visited was Cenote Zaci and this one literally took my breath away and stopped me in my tracks when I caught my first glimpse of it. When I first caught sight of cenote Zaci, the first thing I noticed was tons of greenery and what appeared to be a thin, sheer waterfall cascading over the top lip. I was literally frozen in awe. As I regained my breath and approached to get a clearer view, I realized that it WAS a waterfall, a TRIPLE waterfall that lightly poured into the beautiful blue/green pool below, which was surrounded by lush greenery and colorful flowers. It literally looked like a scene out of a fairytale. I couldn’t believe my eyes, I had to stop for a moment to take it all in before heading down to the waters edge. There were people swimming, snorkeling, cliff jumping and just sitting around enjoying the view. One of the best parts of this spot was that it was not overrun with people. I had seen pictures during my online hunt for cenotes of cenotes that literally had so many people visiting, they were shoulder to shoulder. NOT my idea of a good time. This one had just the right mix of secluded nature and human life. I HIGHLY recommend you put this one on your list.
The next one we visited was located in the Coba Mayan ruins area. There are 3 cenotes located in this area and all are very close to each other and possible to visit within a few hours. We however, only had time to visit one because my daughter was feeling very ill(food poisoning) and we had stopped there to give her a break from the car ride from Rio Lagartos to Akumal. It was a win/win situation(so we thought), see another cenote and give our sick daughter a break from the car.
The one we ended up getting tickets to was the Tamcach-Ha, NOT the one we thought we purchased tickets to, Multum-Ha. Upon approaching the entrance I was stopped by a guy who was collecting tickets and he proceeded to tell me that they do not recommend you stay down very long because the space is small and very deep, therefore making it hard to get enough oxygen. He wasn’t lying, it was a never-ending staircase to get to the bottom. He said oftentimes people, especially children surface with headaches and vomiting if they stay down too long. Well, since my daughter was already experiencing BOTH of those symptoms, I clearly did not want to take her all the way to the bottom. We headed down just low enough to get a view of what was inside, which was about half way down. My plan was to go down about half way, look around, take some photos and then head back up so she could rest more in a safe, oxygenated environment. Well, nature had other plans . . . we finished up looking around from our half way point, watching people swim in the chilly water and bats fly around overhead I noticed that my feet were getting wet, flooded actually. This also just happened to be the same exact moment I was feeling very ready to head up because I felt we had reached our maximum time limit inside the cenote. Wellllll it started POURING rain. I mean LOTS of rain. I looked up from the staircase and the entire opening to the cenote looked like a circular waterfall letting water quickly into the sinkhole. I panicked inside but kept my composure as to not frighten my baby girl who I held in my arms. I had two options, stay down until the downpour stopped and risk causing further sickness to my already sick daughter who needed oxygen asap(by the way, she was begging me to take her all the way down to let her put her sit on the edge and put her feet in. Big fat NOPE on that request.) orrrr trek back up the wet, slippery stairway holding my 50 pound child tightly to get back to the top where critical oxygen was waiting for her. So I did what any mother would do, I “put my big girl panties on”, took a deep breathe and held on to her as tightly as I could with one hand and the hand rail with the other then proceeded to carefully but quickly made my way back to the top. Getting us both absolutely drenched as we reached the opening to exit. This day was not my favorite part of experiencing Mexico’s cenote’s, that is for sure but it made for a fun story.
It was still a spot worth visiting, not nearly as beautiful as Cenote Zaci but if you are in the area, you should definitely stop by and take a peek.
Have you been to a cenote in Mexico? Which were your favorites? I for sure plan to return one day and visit many more! 😍