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 Manati [snorkelling & scuba diving]
Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico
Not all cenotes are sink holes in the jungle. Manati (aka Casa Cenote) – tucked behind the long white sands of Tulum beach is the entrance to an underground river, which flows into a winding creek lined.
The cenote is named after the manatees which used to live here until tourism became overwhelming. There are plenty of fish though, including schools of large tarpon and a small Morelet’s crocodile called Panchito. And the water is glassy-clear – running from the creek into caverns fringed with a labyrinthine tangle of mangrove roots. Superb for snorkelling and novice divers.
Getting there & doing it
It lies about five miles north of Tulum village on the beach road, immediately behind the Casa Cenote hotel.
This small, rustic hotel can arrange snorkelling, diving and kayaking tours, or just rent a snorkel and go yourself. Manati Divers next to the cenote can organise dives.
The hotel has a decent beachside restaurant open to non-residents, serving decent Mexican food and icy margaritas. This northern stretch of Tulum beach is one of the nicest on the Riviera Mayan Riviera.
When to do it
The cenote is open all year round, seven days a week.
Destination guides including or relevant to this experience