This week, tourists have been warned to take precautions when visiting cenotes in the Mexican-Caribbean, after E Coli bacteria were found in 6 of the most-visited spots. The cenotes with the highest rate of bacterial infection were found in Tulum, at the Cristal, Calavera and Casa Cenotes.
Cenotes have become increasingly popular this summer, as tourists seek an alternative to the sargassum-covered beaches that have plagued Cancun and Playa del Carmen.
Defined as natural ‘sinkholes’ containing perfectly clear water, cenotes are a must-see for any travellers in the region: some are perfect for snorkelling, with lots of tropical fish, whilst others simply provide visitors with a uniquely relaxing experience floating in an underground cave.
With three and a half million tourists expected to visit the region this summer, the demand for visiting a cenote is higher than ever before. Here are three of the Mexican Caribbean’s best alternative cenote locations, so that you can get a taste of traditional Mayan culture whilst staying safe.
Hidden away in a lush Mexican jungle, the Coba Cenotes offer visitors a glimpse into the traditional Mayan way of life. Located 47km away from Tulum, Coba boasts stunning ruins of Mayan temples with three distinct cenotes to explore: Cenote Tankach-Ha is the first pool visitors are able to enter through a passageway in a rock figure. Once visitors are underground, they are able to jump off wooden platforms that are 5 and 10 meters high – perfect for a refreshing dip after a long day of exploring. Visitors are also invited to explore cenotes Choo-Ha and Multum-Ha, which display impressive rock stalagmite formations.
After a dip in the stunning cenote, why not take the time to learn something about traditional Mayan culture on your visit? As the region of Coba hosted one of the most important Mayan cities in its heyday, there are still over 6000 structures and roads on-site to explore.
Visitors who wish to visit the Coba Cenotes but can’t access a rental car can even take a private tour of the Coba Ruins and Cenotes.
Address: 77793 Cancún, Q.R., México
Opening Hours: 9 am – 8 pm, Monday – Sunday
Admission Price: USD $5
A hidden gem of the Riviera Maya, the Xcacelito Cenote is an outdoor freshwater pool nestled on the banks of the Xcacelito Beach, adjacent to Xcacel’s Protected National Park. This cenote is surrounded by thick, lush mangroves, and contains freshwater fish in certain areas. For this reason, visitors are encouraged to bring snorkelling equipment or goggles.
This area is highly important to the Mexican-Caribbean ecosystem, as it is where Loggerhead and White turtles nest. Visitors who arrive between May and October have the opportunity to see turtles come out of the sea and rest along the beach.
Address: Xcacel 504, 77533 Cancún, Q.R.
Opening Hours: 10 am – 4 pm, Tuesday – Sunday.
Admission Price: USD $1
La Piscina Del Rey
Whilst this isn’t technically a cenote, La Piscina Del Rey offers its visitors a completely unique experience: this outdoor ‘pool’ was formed through a naturally circular reef formation, offering its visitors stunning panoramic views of the Caribbean sea.
The natural pool, similar to cenotes in the region, consists of crystal-clear seawater, perfect for snorkelling or paddling in its waters. Visitors are able to view multiple colourful ocean creatures in the pool, or simply relax and enjoy a spectacular sunset.
Access to the pool is exclusively given to guests staying at the Mia Reef Resort in Isla Mujeres – after all, what could be better than swimming in your own private outdoor pool?
Address: Center – Supmza. 001, 77408 Isla Mujeres, QR, Mexico.
Opening Hours: Open 24/7
Admission Price: Free
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