When flying over the Peninsula
of Yucatán you can see circular ground patterns caused by
the hidden movement of underground rivers and lakes. The
water level rises and falls with the cycle of rain and
drought. The constant ebb and flow erodes the underground
limestone and it collapses creating steep walled caverns and
exposing the water below. Cenote or dzonot meaning "cavity
of water" is a term used by the Maya for any subterranean
chamber that contains permanent water. While some cenotes
are vertical, water-filled shafts, others are caves that
contain pools and underwater passageways in their interior.
Around these water sources the Maya villages grew since the
cenotes were the only source of water, and therefore
essential to survival. They were used as sources of drinking
water, sources of "virgin" water for religious rites, burial
and/or sacrificial sites, art galleries, places of refuge,
and mines for clay or minerals.
A cenote is a sinkhole in the
limestone bed, accessing an underwater river. These cenotes
were very important to the Mayans as their main source of
water and had great religious significance. Here you will
see a deep almost circular hole with steep sides and murky
green water beneath.
is famous for its underground crystalline rivers and
sinkholes, perfect for swimming after a long hot day.
Speleologists from around the world frequently visit
to study its underground caverns and cenotes. If you are the
kind of person that is in search of new experiences and
adventures you should visit some of Yucatán’s cenotes. The
most famous cenotes in and close to
This cenote is only 90 minutes
away from Mérida, close to
It is also known as “Cenote Sagrado” (Sacred Cenote) and is
one of the most important sinkholes, not only for its
natural beauty but also for its ancient Mayan history. Before you reach the Group of
the Thousand Columns, you will see a pathway heading north,
just by the Platform of Venus. This is actually the route of
an ancient sacbé, and leads to the Sacred Cenote. This is
one of the most important sinkholes, not only for its
natural beauty but also for its ancient Mayan history. There are stories of sacrificial
victims being thrown into the cenote, along with offerings
of treasure. In 1901 an American, Edward Thompson, bought
the land around the site and proceeded to dredge the cenote.
He found jewelry, pottery, figurines and the bones of many
humans, mostly children. An international dispute arose when
he shipped the findings to the Peabody Museum at Harvard,
where some still remain (the remainder have since been
returned to the Mexicans.) The evidence, however, was
inconclusive as it was feasible that children were most
likely to fall into the cenote during play rather than as a
deliberate act of sacrifice. A stroll to the cenote is a
pleasant diversion from the ruins and makes an ideal
refreshment stop. There is a small café/shop nearby and
restrooms are available.
In the town of Holcá, on the way to
you can cool off in the fresh waters of this cenote, which
is considered an oasis for all visitors. Once you are inside
the cavern it is easy to forget the relentless heat outside.
Cuzamá village is well known for the large amount of cenotes
which exist there. At the hacienda in Cuzamá, tourists can
hire a guide with a buggy pulled by horses. The trip is
seven Km. long through the surrounding countryside and shows
numerous cenotes and stops at three of them.
One of the nicest cenotes in this area is Ik-Kil, located
six Km. from
on the old road to
KANKIRIXCHE (YELLOW FRUIT TREE):
Located ten Km. east of
this cenote has a 15 m drop to water level down a breakdown
slope that can be negotiated with a hand line. Large tree
roots penetrate down into the cave and hang in large clumps
just below the water surface. The cavern area of this cave
is one of the largest in México. Depths range from five to
nearly 50 m and it is almost circular with a diameter of
approximately 90 m. At the appropriate time of the day, a
shaft of light from the entrance penetrates the crystal
clear water of this giant submerged cavern and provides a
spectacular sight. An abundance of submerged stalactites on
the flat ceiling of the cavern provides an ideal excursion
for swimmers and cavern divers.
After a walk on a rustic stone path to the cenote a mile
away from town, the breeze and peaceful clear waters are the
best excuse to swim and freshen up.
Located on the highway to
Calcachén, this cenote is perfect for a cool dip after
visiting the mysterious cavern that surrounds it.
Just outside the community of Homun is the Sanhkar sinkhole,
one of the cenotes you must visit. To get to this
extraordinary cenote you must follow a trail that leads to a
cavern with incredible stalactite and stalagmite rock
XACA’MUCUHI (CAVE OF THE
Located 2 Km. east of the main building of
this open cenote located within the hotel grounds has a ten
m drop to water level down a breakdown slope. Inside the
cenote grow several trees which give a special touch to this
place. Water depths range from two to nearly 35 m and it is
almost circular with a diameter of approximately 20 m. An
abundance of submerged stalactites on the flat ceiling of
the cavern provides an ideal excursion for swimmers.
Also known as “Dzitnup” in honor of the closest town near
this sinkhole. This cenote enchants its visitors with the
natural light that filters from the ground above it forming
multicolor reflections on the cave’s walls. Located 4.3 miles southeast of
this cenote is underground with a hole in the ceiling. It is
probably one of the most photographed cenotes in the
Deep, refreshing, crystal clear waters await you and it is a
great cenote for swimming. There is lighting and a guide
rope to make it easier to enter. Don't forget to purchase a
picture postcard from the kids at the entrance as taking a
picture just never turns out right and you will want a
picture of this to show the family.
XLACAH AT DZIBILCHALTÚN:
The perfect place for a refreshing swim. This cenote is open
to the public until 4 PM. It tends to get a little busy on
weekends. One end of the cenote is very shallow, while the
other is over 140 feet deep and continues on into a tunnel. Xlacah cenote is the home of the
veleta fish, and its lush natural vegetation is highlighted
by the vestiges of the ancient civilizations. This sinkhole
is inside the archeological site of
only 22 kilometers from
Xtoloc is found in
Its original Mayan trails, which were once used by the
ancient civilization to gather their fresh water supply, can
be followed to reach the cenote. You must visit this
archeological site and its amazing sinkhole. Just relax and
enjoy the scenery.
has one of the most important cenotes of the state. Its
deep, serene waters are excellent for diving. Occasionally
professional divers offer an exhibition for visitors to
enjoy. There are trails surrounding the sinkhole, an open
theater where plays and shows are presented and a small zoo.
There are several restaurants nearby where typical regional
dishes are served. This is a semi-open cenote that
has a diameter of 150 feet and is 260 feet deep. It is
popular for swimming in the refreshing turquoise waters. You
will see a rare species of eyeless black fish known as "lub."
A third of the cenote is covered with stalactites and
stalagmites and there is a walkway around the entire cenote.
reservations, availability and bookings, please contact us