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Cenote Tours Near Cancun Will Be Strictly Regulated Heading Into 2023

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If you plan on booking a cenote tour during your next trip to Cancun, the experience may be a little different the next time around.

It was announced by local news this week that tourist officials in Quintana Roo will regulate all of the local tours of the “Ruta de los Cenotes” for travelers. How will these new regulations affect your vacation in the Riviera Maya? We’ve got all the latest information below

Cenote Azul in the jungle aerial view. People swim in clear water in a cenote that is in the jungle. Top view.

The cenote route, or “ruta de los Cenotes”, located near Puerto Morelos is about 25 miles from Cancun. This major attraction draws hundreds of thousands of tourists to the Riviera Maya every year, and it’s arguably one of the top places to visit near Cancun.

While travelers can visit these natural wonders on their own by renting a car or hopping on colectivos and curating their own day trip, many tourists opt for a booked tour from Cancun and spend a half day visiting some of the cenotes along the route. 

The lake in the cave, cenotes in Mexico

Many Cenote Tours Currently Unregulated – Officials State Tourist Safety As Main Concern For Increased Regulations

However, the reality is that many of these cenote tours aren’t regulated by the state or any authority. During this week’s announcement, tourist authorities of Quintana Roo established that the purpose of the new regulations will be to further assure the safety of the tourists who visit these cenotes.

The plan is to make sure that any local businesses offering cenote tours do so in accordance with the local laws currently in place. 

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Half underwater shot in a cenote (Cenote Ponderosa, Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Yucatan, Mexico)

The director of Tourism of Puerto Morelos, Miguel Cámara Ruíz, noted during the update that at least 40% of tourists who travel to Puerto Morelos arrive with plans to visit the popular cenote route. Given this significant number that makes up a big part of Puerto Morelos as an international tourist destination, it is essential that the tours are guided by local laws and operate under the permission of Civil Protection.

“The purpose is to give certainty especially since many lack operating licenses, and do not have the consent of Civil Protection, which is why work is now being done to achieve their regularization,” Ruíz stated.

tourists hanging out at Cenote Cristalino in the Mexican Caribbean during the day.

Local Authorities Working On List Of Tour Operators For Popular Cenote Route

As it stands, there are less than 10 local businesses that are officially registered to operate tours of the Ruta de los Cenotes in Puerto Morelos. However, approximately 16 businesses are known to be holding tours for visitors in the area. These new regulations mean that officials plan to eventually have a database of all of the tour agencies for the cenote route, so that they know who they are and where they’re located. This database is something they are currently working on, according to director Ruiz.

cenote near cancun

“The work is carried out by the City Council, since we see it as important that all activities are safe for those who visit the place that covers 35 kilometers,” he noted.

The plan is to have the list of cenote tour operators in Puerto Morelos ready over the next few months so that further safety measures for tourists can be put in place.

First time visiting a cenote? Here’s the Cancun Sun’s ultimate guide to exploring top cenotes near Cancun.

cenote in Tulum area

“We hope that in the next three months we will be able to increase the number of companies that join in order to benefit Puerto Morelos,” Ruiz added.

According to the report, Puerto Morelos municipal officials of Tourism, Urban Development, Treasury and Civil Protection are approaching the local businesses in the city and providing them with more information on the new program and how it will benefit the tour operators as well as the travelers who visit these cenotes every day.

Puerto Morelos Fishing Dock

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