These cenotes are open to the public with tourist activities, to live one of the most exciting experiences.

MÉRIDA, Yucatán – Cenotes are surface connections to subterranean water bodies. The term derives from a word —ts’onot— meaning “sacred well” and “abyss” in the Mayan language spoken in the Yucatán Peninsula and northern Belize, it was also used to refer to any location with accessible groundwater.

Yucatán is full of wonders that go beyond its great history, its delicious food, its incredible traditions and the warmth of its people, because among the jungle you can find the cenotes, which are always waiting for visitors to enter their adventure and enjoy the inexplicable sensation of their bodies floating in the cold water, in a connection with the magic of the Mayan culture.

The Yucatan peninsula is full of cenotes, fantastic pools of water that exist in few places in the world and that fortunately, abound throughout the region, These once sacred places are ideal to live great and exciting experiences, which are also a must for those who travel the land of the Mayab.

According to records from the State Secretary of Sustainable Development, there are about three thousand cenotes in Yucatan alone, but it is believed that in the entire area of the Peninsula, which also includes Campeche and Quintana Roo, there are about 10 thousand.

Currently in Yucatan there are 94 cenotes open to the public for tourism purposes, which access is controled and count with support, protection and maintenance. Like any natural treasure, it is necessary to take care of the cenotes for their preservation, so service providers are required to have certain standards of cleanliness to qualify, such as, for example, that the body is clean of toxic products,harmful to the ecosystem, a measure that invites both tourists and locals to respect, in order to fully enjoy the majesty of these magical places and at the same time, contribute to their subsistence.

Under this premise, it is very important to shower before entering a cenote, especially when sunscreen, mosquito repellent, deodorant, perfume, hair cream or body lotions have been used. It is also vital to respect the flora and fauna surrounding the site, such as iguanas, bats, raccoons, turtles, spider monkeys and manydifferent species of fish, as well as an enormous variety of plants and flowers, as each has its own place in the ecosystem.

Also, if there are stalactites or stalagmites in the body of water, it is essential to keep them as they are, in other words, without breaking them or cutting them, since once these ducts are covered, there will be no more water and therefore, neither of them will grow any more. Finally, it is enough to remember that the use of life jackets in some places is obligatory.

The following are our favorite cenotes, and an essential stop when touring the State of Yucatan.

Chelentún, Chak-Zinik Che and Bolom-chojol are ideal for snorkeling and are located in the beautiful municipality of Cuzamá.

Another cenote worth visiting is San Ignacio, located 20 minutes from Merida in the town of Chochola, which is ideal for snorkeling because it is shallow. In addition, there is an abundant aquatic fauna.

Among the most attractive, to mention a few, is the one located on the outskirts of the Calcetohk Caves, about 1.5 kilometers from the archaeological zone of Ek Balam: the Cenote Xcanché, which walls are a good challenge for those who like rappelling, and the Yokdzonot ecotourism inn, located an hour and a half from Merida and 45 minutes from Valladolid, where you can practice the same extreme sport. There is also Yabaxcaltún, located 45 minutes from the Yucatecan capital, which offers a 50-meter descent.


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The Yucatan Times