Travel News

The Best Cenotes in the Riviera Maya

Gran Cenote Tulum Mexico a Woman swimming underwater

There’s no denying that the Riviera Maya, spanning from the popular beaches of Cancun down to Playa Del Carmen and all the way to the gorgeous white sands of Tulum, includes some of the best sand and ocean views in continental North America.

What you may not realize is the Riviera Maya and Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula itself also contain dense jungles and some of the best cenotes you’ll find anywhere in the world.

What’s a cenote?

Since limestone bedrock can be found all across the Mayan Riviera, over the years many of these areas of porous rock have formed into underground rivers. These freshwater underground rivers usually form caverns of crystal clear water as the limestone filters and purifies the water naturally.

Eventually, many of these caverns have collapsed and have opened themselves up to the sky, ready to be explored. These limestone sinkholes are called cenotes and there are literally thousands of them found across this Mexico region, with new ones still being found today in the Riviera Maya.

What this means for you, is that no matter where you go in the Mayan Riviera, you’ll likely find one of these inviting cenotes to spend your day. Whether you’re there just to swim, jump off the surrounding cliffs or even there to go snorkelling and scuba diving in, cenotes offer a great way to explore the Riviera Maya’s hidden world away from the beach.

Coming from the Mayan word “dzonot” or “tsonot,” which essentially translates to “well” in English, cenotes (pronounced “say-no-tays”) also hold a historical value to the region. The ancient Mayans realized that these large wells could supply enough freshwater to sustain entire villages and even larger ancient cities like Chichen Itza relied on cenotes to survive.

Some of these pools were considered sacred and everything from gold to jade to gorgeous mother of pearl jewelry have been found over the years including the bones from ancient sacrifices the Mayans did to procure a bountiful season. While the sacred pools remain closed and have been preserved, the rest of the Riviera Maya’s cenotes are open for visitors.

women wearing hats in front of cenote in the Mayan Riviera

Types of Cenotes in Riviera Maya

There are essentially four types of cenotes found in Riviera Maya. This includes open air cenotes, semi-open cenotes, cave or semi-closed cenotes and underground cenotes.

Open air cenotes tend to resemble small ponds or lakes with the vast majority of the water easily accessible. Though they can often have steep sides, they’re fairly…

Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at The Barefoot Nomad…