They say if you drink from a cenote in Mexico it means you’ll end up living there. I was guzzling them down!

Imagine the moon

10 incredible cenotes to visit when travelling Mexico. Now take the moon and mix it with a bag of Stranger Things, a smidgen of Waterworld and a whole load of Mad Max and you have yourself a Cenote. I find them mesmerising, I am easily pleased and simple minded but I find I always end up whispering in them. They have this feeling of sacredness like I have to be careful of everything I touch. I mean they were sacred to the Mayans, many a sacrifice has been found in numerous ones dotted around Mexico. But to us common folk they truly are a marvel.

I spent 5 months living in Mexico

My nomad route took me through Holbox, Merida, Valladolid, Tulum and Bacalar, the great Yucatan journey I call it and basically some of the main places to see in the Yucatan. At each location myself and @themoonontheotherside would go hunting for some wicked cenotes. We loved the chase of finding them, the photography you can achieve with them and the feeling of escape you have when relaxing in them. And so to the point – here’s my top 10 incredible cenotes to visit when travelling Mexico. I highly recommend you check them out if you’re ever holidaying, travelling or backpacking Mexico.

1. Chan Suytun Cenote, Valladolid

8 incredible cenotes to visit when travelling Mexico

Easily one of the best Cenotes and probably the most famous for its Instagram reputation or tour guide advertising. See what I mean by Stranger Things?

8 incredible cenotes to visit when travelling Mexico

No matter where you stand in this place you’re in awe. You can hear every drip of water or tiny squeak from a bat. Even a cheeky little echo fart if you’re sneaky (blame it on the bats).

How to get thereJump in a collectivo from the centre of town that’s heading to Tikuch. Takes about 20mins to arrive.
Best time to goYou want to be aiming for around 11am to midday just as the sun’s at it’s peak. So the light comes through the centre hole. It’s a popular stop for tourist buses but just by your time if one pulls up when you arrive. They only go in for about 20 min then you’ll have the pace to yourself in between yappy Americans.
CostHere’s the clever part. The place isn’t that nice to swim in, trust me it’s purely photogenic. Explain to them at the ticket office you just want to look and not swim. Explain you’ll only be 5 mins. Doesn’t take much longer to capture the snap. They’ll let you off with paying the full 200 pesos per person. We got it down to 70 each.
How to capture the photoStand on the entrance stairs that lead down to the water, central to the main walkway and snap away. There’s also a nice shoot you can do standing directly at the central spot walkway looking straight on (2 pictures under the main one). If there’s two of you and you want the couple shot. It’s got to be a photoshop job. One person takes the shot, the other sits. then switch round being careful not to move the camera.

2. Cuzama Cenote, Cuzama

Travel to a beautiful little town called Merida and close by you’ll find Cuzama with three amazing cenotes. The cherry on top for these three cenotes is the tour down to them. For 300 pesos you’re pulled along an old rail track by horse and cart to visit each one. They’re quite the distance apart but the horse makes light work of it. Reminded me a lot of an old wooden rollercoaster ride at Blackpool, probably safer too.

How to get thereFrom Merida head to the main local bus station and outside it you’ll find collectivos that will take you to Cuzama. I’d aim to get there for 8am, they leave every couple of hours and back.
Best time to goThe three cenotes are not a massive busy tourist trap like many. They’re in the middle of no-where so you can kind of rock up at any time.
Cost300 pesos per person for the full horse back ride cart tour to all three cenotes.
How to capture the photoThere was only two of us here so one of us would shoot the other and then merge them in the edit. Set-up a tri-pod up and find your sweet spot. One person poses while the other presses the ‘snap’ button. Then switch it up. We always chat about what would look good positional wise first. We figured one (of course not me) the other looking up. We snap a few different positions for each of us and merge the best in the edit.

3. Ik-Kil Cenote, Valladolid

8 incredible cenotes to visit when travelling Mexico

The beauty of this cenote for me wasn’t looking down into it, but looking up from it. The vines are crazy cool and catch it late afternoon and you’ll have great lighting to illuminate the green.

How to get thereI’d advise heading off very early to explore the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza and grabbing a taxi along to this after you’ve finished as it’s close by. We stayed in Valladolid for a few days so headed out from there via the local bus station. There’s collectivos running to and from Chichen Itza all day.
Best time to goThis is a busy busy cenote. Probably the busiest one for coach loads of people. The earlier you get there the better.
Costapprox 300 pesos entry
How to capture the photoRunning bomb into the water from the platform with GoPro TIGHLY in hand. Swim to the center, hold the GoPro flat above your head and snap away.

4. Chelentun Cenote, Cuzama

8 incredible cenotes to visit when travelling Mexico

This one is a true beauty! Not only is it very quiet so you’ll most likely have the place to yourself, it’s also crystal clear with perfect lighting.

How to get therePart of the three cenotes you’ll experience on the Cuzama tour. From Merida head to the main local bus station and outside it you’ll find collectivos that will take you to Cuzama. I’d aim to get there for 8am, they leave every couple of hours and back.
Best time to goThe three cenotes are not a massive busy tourist trap like many. They’re in the middle of no-where so you can kind of rock up at any time.
Cost300 pesos per person for the full horse back ride cart tour to all three cenotes
How to capture the photoThere was only two of us here so one of us would shoot the other and then merge them in the edit. Set-up a tri-pod up and find your sweet spot. One person poses while the other presses the ‘snap’ button. Then switch it up. We always chat about what would look good positional wise first.

5. Gran Cenote, Tulum

8 incredible cenotes to visit when travelling Mexico

Well known and busy but still a beauty with vast open spaces to chill and swim in. There’s a wicked green area in the middle where everyone kicks back and chills before venturing into the Cenote waters.

How to get thereTaxi from Tulum town center will cost you about 100 pesos
Best time to goGrab yourself a lovely hip breakfast from the Arts Cafe in Tulum and then head onto this after late morning. Catch the rays all day chilling with some Yerba Mate, as alcohol isn’t allowed, and you’ll be laughing.
CostApprox 200 pesos entry for the day
How to capture the photoThere’s plenty of angles and opportunities here. Spoilt for choice, but I do love the aqua blue pop of the water against bright swim wear. There was a group of us here and two of the girls (pictured) happened to have the perfect red contrast.

6. Oxman Cenote Hacienda San Lorenzo, Valladolid

10 incredible cenotes to visit when travelling Mexico
Lonely or just spot on?

There’s a restaurant near by with epic cheeseburgers. We ventured here whilst staying in Valladolid and it didn’t disappoint. The old hacienda surrounding the cenote is a beauty of a building in itself. Great Pina Coladas are on offer accompanied by a cracker of a pool and of course the burger scenes.

How to get thereIt’s 4 km from the town. Flag a taxi and they’ll take you there for around 100 pesos.
Best time to goAfternoon as it’s less touristy.
Cost100 pesos + cab fare
How to capture the photoOne person sitting on the less vine / reed busy side. The other person on the vine / reed busy side snapping through them. You can also snap some nice shots from the viewing platform above looking down.

7. Dos Ojos Cenote, Tulum

8 incredible cenotes to visit when travelling Mexico

The ‘two eyes’ cenote. The grounds of this place are huge with little water spot features and break out areas everywhere.

8 incredible cenotes to visit when travelling Mexico

The main two cenotes offer ample room to flouder around with the second (see below) surrounding an awesome little forest space.

How to get thereIt’s a little out of Tulum town, approx 20-min. I’d advise hiring a car for the day as they’re super cheap in Mexico. Head to Dos Ojos in the morning and cenote Kaan Luum (number 10 below) in the afternoon. Cracking day out!
Best time to goEarly morning or late arvo when the sun isn’t peaking and causing over exposure in photos.
CostApprox 200 pesos entry
How to capture the photoThere’s so many opportunities. Go wild in the cenotes and jungle areas but also keep your eyes peeled for the hidden caves, that’s where we snapped the below two shots.

8. Sac Actun Cenote, Tulum

8 incredible cenotes to visit when travelling Mexico

For feeling like we were on the set of Alien – this was the spot. A group of us spent the day with a car exploring the centoes around Dos Ojos (number 7). This one in particular blew us all away, let alone for it’s look but also for the incredible snorkelling scenes.

How to get thereIt’s a little out of Tulum town approx 20-min. I’d advise hiring a car for the day as they’re super cheap in Mexico. Head to Dos Ojos in the morning and cenote Kaan Luum (number 10 below) in the afternoon. Cracking day out!
Best time to goEarly morning or late arvo when the sun isn’t peaking and causing over exposure in photos.
Cost200 pesos approx
How to capture the photoAny angle in here is unique. Only problem is the lighting’s a bit lacking so high grainy ISO is the best you can achieve as you can see form the pic. Still an un-wordly effect though.

9. Cuzama Cenote, Cuzama

8 incredible cenotes to visit when travelling Mexico

There’s a tiny hole that lets a pin prick of light through in this unique cenote which allows some awesome lighting possibilities with photography.

How to get therePart of the three cenotes you’ll experience on the Cuzama tour. From Merida head to the main local bus station and outside it you’ll find collectivos that will take you to Cuzama. I’d aim to get there for 8am, they leave every couple of hours and back.
Best time to goThe three cenotes are not a massive busy tourist trap like many. They’re in the middle of no-where so you can kind of rock up at any time.
Cost300 pesos per person for the full horse back ride cart tour to all three cenotes
How to capture the photoI’m always a big fan of catching lighting from a side source with the person looking towards it. Kind of gets that nice soft glow on the face.

10. Kaan Luum Cenote, Tulum

8 incredible cenotes to visit when travelling Mexico

This is a bit of a mix between a lagoon and a cenote. The cenote sits bang in the middle but it overflowed years ago and created a huge lagoon that’s simply beautiful to chill at. In the three months of living in Tulum this was one of our favourite places.

How to get thereJump in a cab / collectivo heading out of Tulum town and ask them to drop you off a Kaan Luum Lagoon. You can probably get it for around 100 pesos.
Best time to goLate morning after you’ve inhaled a cracking hip breakfast from the Tulum town center.
Cost50 pesos
How to capture the photoWhen the sun is low either early morning or late arvo as it gives the water an amazing blue glow.


Know any more?

If you’ve visited any let me know in the comments. I enjoyed many a TRX session on the beaches of Tulum and Merida, early morning with the cool breeze before the tourists awakened. I’ve put a lot of the functional fitness workouts I did up here on the TRX YouTube channel if you’re after working up a sweat whilst traveling. And specific TRX workout plans here.

Have you been to any of the places mentioned? What would your 10 incredible cenotes to visit when travelling Mexico be? Let me know in the comments


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Travel with Fitness Blogger permanently backpacking the world. TRX/bands/bodyweight expert | Travel & home workouts. Sharing EPIC destinations, functional fitness & nutrition tips.

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