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Travel bucket list idea:

Last updated: 26 June, 2023
Expert travel writer: Alex Robinson

With vertical walls dropping from thick jungle to a deep green pool, and cascades of dripping vines and roots, this atmospheric cenote is set in a 30m-high sinkhole, 60m wide and 40m deep, is an Instagram spectacular.

It’s also very close to Chichen Itza, making it a great stop before or after a visit there – but it does mean it gets crowded. Few of the hordes of swimmers realise that it was once used as a site of human sacrifice by Maya priests. Archaeologists have found grisly remains – alongside jewellery 50m down on the cenote floor.

The water is deep-green, clean and fresh, and inhabited by tiny black catfish. It’s not for divers, but swimming (for all ages) is a buzz, and it’s worth taking your snorkel too.

Logistics

Price from: £13
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 6+
When: All year around

Getting there & doing it

The cenote lies at km 122 on the Merida to Puerto Juárez highway (180) about 1 km from Chichén Itza. Entrance price includes life jackets, a snack and drink. There is a tiny Mayan ruin, tourist stalls, a restaurant and changing rooms on site.

When to do it

The cenote is all year round, seven days a week. Arrive as close to the opening time as possible or after 4pm to avoid crowds, which are heaviest mid-morning to mid-afternoon.

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.

Destination guides

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Destination guides including or relevant to this experience

Mayan Riviera

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.