Holes in the ground: The cenotes of Tulum, Mexico + video

The Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico is filled with holes. Sinkholes that is, or cenotes  (pronounced say-note-ays) in Spanish. Cenotes are collapsed limestone cave sections filled with crystal clear water, that were used by the Maya for sacrificial offerings and easy freshwater access. They’re rather popular these days for a refreshing dip to escape the heat of Mexico! While we were in Tulum, we made a beeline for the Gran Cenote. The GoPro had another outing too! See our latest video at the end of the post…

Gran Cenote Tulum

Gran Cenote Tulum

This beautiful cenote is only five minutes from Tulum Pueblo (Tulum town) so it’s the easiest and cheapest to get to. That means it’s also the busiest, but fortunately we were there on a quiet day so only about 20 others were with us – and it’s a relatively big cenote so you can get have some peace and quiet.

Gran Cenote Tulum

Gran Cenote Tulum

The entrance fee is 120 pesos, and you can also pay to hire snorkels and lifejackets if you so desire. We had stopped off at a supermarket on the way and purchased cheap swimming goggles – either a mask or googles are a must for seeing all the fish and turtles in that clear water. There are lockers available at the facility, but as it wasn’t too busy we just left our bag down by the water where it was perfectly safe.

Gran Cenote Tulum

Gran Cenote Tulum

Gran Cenote Tulum

Gran Cenote Tulum

The cenote is amazing! The crystal clear water is so cool and refreshing, the stalagmites and stalactites of the caves are phenomenal, and the wildlife just tops it off – fish, turtles, bats, and birds all call the cenote home. We spent a few hours languishing in the lovely cool water, and enjoyed swimming through the dark caves (apologies for no photos inside the caves, the GoPro doesn’t cope so well in the dark!).

Gran Cenote Tulum

Gran Cenote Tulum

Gran Cenote Tulum

Gran Cenote Tulum

One thing that would have been fun to do (and is highly recommended on TripAdvisor) is to SCUBA dive inside the cenote. You can ‘cavern dive’ with an Open Water Diver certification (which we have), but to go deeper into the caves and ‘cave dive’ you have to have additional training – which you can do while in Tulum. While we were at Gran Cenote a couple of divers were there, and it was crazy seeing them under the water.

Divers in the Gran Cenote Tulum

Divers in the Gran Cenote Tulum

At the end we bought some fish food and caused a frenzy with the cenote inhabitants – see the evidence in our GoPro video below!

It was a great way to spend the hottest part of the day while in Tulum – we highly recommend a trip to Gran Cenote!

P&S xx

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5 comments

  1. Pingback: Tulum, Mexico: tacos, hammocks, and ruinsThe Global Couple

  2. Hi,

    Thanks for sharing your trip. Cenotes sound like really interesting places to explore. I’m not much of a traveler or a swimmer, but these look like neat places to photograph too.

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