Note: The photo above is taken at our own secret location cenote just half an hour walk from our property. If you’re looking for an authentic and natural cenote experience, rather than the typical tourist spots, join us at Camazotz Cohaven for a tour and unlimited access to this hidden gem.
The Riviera Maya stretches the north east Caribbean coast of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.
Home to many all-inclusive resorts, the Riviera Maya is bustling with cenotes (pronounced seh-NO-tay) — large pools of naturally formed water captured by the limestone that populates the peninsula.
Cenotes in Mexico’s Yucatan come in various shapes and sizes… from open cenotes that let in lots of light to illuminate the turquoise blue waters… to closed cenotes perhaps with just small huecos (holes) that allow beams of light to flood the cave floor and pool of water below.
Some people even come equipped with diving gear to explore cave diving cenotes — others settle for swinging on ropes and dive bombing into the water.
The best cenote in Yucatan? Let’s explore some top choices below.
Cenotes around the Riviera Maya
Best cenotes near Tulum
There are a number of cave cenotes in Tulum that draw quite a crowd. El Gran Cenote, Cenote Calavera, and Cenote Carwash are worth putting on your bucket list.
Best cenotes near Cancun
All-inclusive riviera Maya resorts will offer tours to popular cenotes around Yucatan… although most of those cenotes are not within the riviera Maya itself.
You’ll be taking long day trips with hours spent on a big bus shuttling you between one cenotes and the next, or between popular mayan ruin locations such as Ek Balam (just 30 minutes drive from us) or Chichen Itza (just 45 minutes drive from us).
You might just want to stay with us and cut down on all the long bus trips.
Best cenotes inside the Yucatan Peninsula
Best cenotes near Valladolid
A fun and safe cenote to explore. Above ground are good facilities including showers, a bar, swimming pool, and lockers to keep your belongings safe while you explore down below inside the cenote. Descending many steps and donning a life jacket will give you access to the open cenote.
One of our favorites for sure.
Disappointing, in a word. Although massively famous, especially on Instagram with the popular hashtag #cenotesuytan the truth is that people cue up for an hour for their 2 minutes chance to post on the concrete platform in the center of the cenote… yet no one hangs around for the view and barely anyone dares enter the murky water. It’s just not a pleasant cenote, unfortunately.
Cenotes near Ek Balam
Ek Balam is the location of an ancient mayan ruin including its own near by mayan cenote. A large open cenote with wooden walkways around the sides, and tree roots and vines reaching down from the opening above down to the clear blue water below.
Sacred Cenote, Chichen Itza
Known as the ‘sacred cenote chichen itza’, a cenote within the sacred grounds of the ancient Mayan ruins of Chicen Itza, just a half hour drive from Valladolid.
A few sacred cenote facts: alternatively known as the ‘sacrifice cenote’, historically used as a location of human sacrifice, offering bodies to the gods. Wikipedia reports “archaeological investigations have removed thousands of objects from the bottom of the cenote, including artifacts made from gold, jadeite, copal, pottery, flint, obsidian, shell, wood, rubber, and cloth, as well as human skeletons.”
Best cenotes near Merida
Progreso is the coastline area near Merida with a few cenotes worth visiting.
Why we chose Valladolid
Valladolid is right in the very centre of the Yucatan Peninsula. Easy access to the coastline including Campeche, Merida, Holbox, Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and Tulum.
Valladolid boasts access to ancient mayan ruins including Ek Balam and Chichen Itza… plus dozens of gorgeous cenotes.
Ek Balam and Chichen Itzá both represent the ruins of ancient mayan cities hinting at the scope and complexity of ancient mayan civilizations. Our property, Camazotz Finca, is named after the ancient mayan bat god.
The best Yucatan cenotes?
So what are the very best cenotes around the Riviera Maya and throughout the Yucatan peninsula?
Valladolid has the best cenotes in Mexico hands down. That’s why we chose to locate here.
Some cenotes are certainly not all they’re hyped up to be. The one case in point in our mind is Suytan Cenote.
Cenotes in Hunuki
There are also various cenotes near our property deep in the heart of the Mayan village of Hunuku. Here’s just one example of the rawness of what’s available to visit. The might of these walls creates a mesmerizing impression as you float and swim inside the cavern.
There is also an unnamed open cenote near to our property that we introduce our guests to. Here’s a few pics:
Ask us to plan a cenote tour program for your visit to Camazotz Cohaven. We can tailor a program to suit any budget.