Talc-white beaches, reefs teeming with life, ruined temples in misty rainforests – the Riviera Maya offers a family or romantic beach holiday with a dash of Indian Jones adventure.
Travel bucket list idea:
Cenote Dos Ojos [swimming, snorkelling & scuba diving]
Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico|
These twin cenotes are spectacular: marking the entrance to one of the longest underground rivers in the world – filled with water as clear as ocean air, passing through submerged caverns covered with spectacular cave formations and teeming with strange cave fish, crustaceans and bats. The cenotes are a premium cave-diving location and were used as locations for The Cave movie and the BBC’s Planet Earth documentary.
You don’t need to be a cave diver to visit. Some of the most beautiful caverns are accessible to snorkellers. PADI open water divers can go further and designated cave divers can explore the deeper caverns. Any diving requires advanced booking.
Getting there & doing it
Dos Ojos is 22km north of Tulum on Highway 307. The turn-off is well signposted. If you don’t have a car, it’s a 30-minute/1.5-mile walk from the main road to get there, so take a taxi – and agree a price for them to wait for you. Parking is free. There are lockers, changing rooms and toilets on site.
Scuba diving trips need to be organised in advance with a designated tour operator. Expect to pay around £150 for a single tank dive. PADI certificates essential; open water minimum. You can also take a guided tour of the two eyes and the Bat Cave (about £25).
When to do it
The cenote is open all year round, seven days a week for swimming, snorkelling and diving.
The weather in the Mayan Riviera is generally good all year round, and the water is always warm enough for swimming. The rainy season from May through October sees the fewest visitors to Mayan Riviera – and fewer crowds at the cenotes. The dry season – November through April – gets busy. If you can, avoid peak season in December to January, when it gets oppressively crowded, especially around Christmas and New Year.
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