Cenotes of the Riviera Maya

The Mayans were a civilization surrounded by mystery.  This is demonstrated by the cenotes that can be visited in the Mexican Caribbean.  These water wells are the most precious jewels of the Yucatan Peninsula.  A magical adventure that you should not miss on your next vacation to Cancun, Tulum or the Riviera Maya.  But what is a cenote exactly?

 A cenote is a deep underground chamber of fresh water that is fed by the filtration of rain, as well as by the currents of the rivers that originate in the deepest heart of Mother Earth.  For the Mayans, these beautiful places had a mystical meaning, since it was one of their communication channels with the underworld (Xibalbá).

 The word “cenote” means “cavern of water”  Here the Mayans celebrated rituals and human sacrifices with which they honored the gods.  In fact, human remains have been extracted from its depths, as well as different objects from time.

 Most impressive cenotes in the Riviera Maya:

1- Ik-Kil

 This is one of the best-known cenotes in the Mexican Caribbean.  It is 20 meters high and 40 meters deep.  The Ik-Kil cenote is semi-open and tube-shaped.  It is located very close to the archaeological zone of Chichén Itzá.  To get to this ancient Mayan city from Cancún or Mérida you can do it easily by bus or by renting a private vehicle.  From the Cancun Bus Terminal the trip takes about 3 and a half hours.  While if you choose to rent a car, the time is reduced by one hour, as long as the traffic is good.

Ik kil cenote
Mar. (2015). Los 10 cenotes más impresionantes de Playa del Carmen. https://rivieramaya.mx/cenotes-riviera-maya
chac mool cenote
Cenote Chac Mool. Foto de Pierre Lobel. CC.

2-Chac Mool

 We are in front of one of the cenotes where sweet and salty waters converge at the same time.  This causes what is known as halocline.  A phenomenon in which layers of different salinities draw perfectly delimited columns.  Take away spectacle!  The Chac Mool cenote is located in Puerto Aventuras.  A private residential town in the municipality of Solidaridad (Mexico).  You can get to this place from the Cancun airport (78 km) or from Playa del Carmen (24 km).


 This is, perhaps, one of the cenotes with the best communications.  Xkekén is located just 3 km from the Mexican city of Valladolid and is accessed through the highway that connects it with Mérida.  This cenote has a fairly narrow opening that opens onto a monumental covered grotto.  The feeling that you are going to experience in this Mayan cave is incredible.  Don’t worry about access, because they are equipped with railings and ropes that will allow you to hold on at all times.  Once there, you just have to let the charm of its intense turquoise blue waters and rock formations hypnotize you.

xkeken cenote
Mar. (2015). Los 10 cenotes más impresionantes de Playa del Carmen. https://rivieramaya.mx/cenotes-riviera-maya
cenote sagrado
Cenote Sagrado. Foto de Erik Cleves. CC.

4-Sacred Cenote

 This is a beautiful open-air cenote just 5 km from the archaeological zone of Chichén Iztá.  Its cut walls 15 meters high and 60 meters in diameter are connected to the Kukulcán pyramid through a path of approximately 300 meters.  One of the sacred sacrifices that were performed here was that of throwing virgins to please the god of rain.  In fact, skeletal remains of young women dressed in elaborate clothing have been extracted from its depths.  In the sacred cenote you can connect with your past in a unique environment full of magic.


 The majesty of this cenote has given it the name of the famous Indian monument, Taj Mahal.  But what many do not know is that this place is actually made up of 4 interconnected cenotes.  Its location is 25 km from Playa del Carmen (Quintana Roo).  If you like diving and have the spirit of an explorer, here you can discover all the fullness of this cenote, overcoming the 5 meter deep wall that separates its grandiose cavities.

taj mahal cenote
Cenote Tajma hál. Fotografía de MironCaro. Lic. Creative Commons.
gran cenote
Gran Cenote. Foto de Eugene Kaspersky. CC.

6-Great Cenote

 Just 4 km from Tulum you can find this beautiful crescent-shaped cenote.  If you are traveling with your family, the Gran Cenote is highly recommended, as it has shallow areas.  Its facilities are also very complete.  It has a large parking lot, as well as diving equipment rental.  To get to this impressive place from Tulum, you just have to take Highway 109 towards Cobá.  You can do it by taxi or by hiring an organized excursion.  The experience is worth it.  The Gran Cenote will envelop you, both with its open-air sections and its underground tunnels.


 Also known as the Garden of Eden cenote due to the impressive vegetation that surrounds it.  This natural pool is 15 meters deep.  Here its crystalline waters will allow you to see the species of its particular ecosystem.  Like, for example, its friendly turtles and various fish.  To get to Ponderosa (Playa del Carmen) you just have to take a bus to Tulum or a taxi to which you must indicate that you want to go to the Cenote Jardín del Edén.

ponderosa cenote
Mar. (2015). Los 10 cenotes más impresionantes de Playa del Carmen. https://rivieramaya.mx/cenotes-riviera-maya

Our own Private Cenote!

At Alma Maya Resort, located only 25 minutes from Puerto Morelos Beach, we are glad to have our own private Cenote called “Cenote Amor Infinito (infinite love)” where you can enjoy it and take a deep refreshing swim during the day or night and get energized by this magical refreshing waters that the underground has to offer. Feel completely full of energy and alive!!! Come check it out at www.almamayaresort.com

Where you will live a pleasant and unforgettable experience in our Cenote, which will bring you many benefits for your physical body, since your skin will be rejuvenated, and spiritually with phenomenal energy and vitality.