Many travelers think of Playa del Carmen as a place to go for sun and sand, and while they are not wrong, there is much more the area has to offer. One of those things is a huge collection of cenotes that are popular not only among locals but tourists too. Now, Playa del Carmen has announced a plan to clean up at least 300 of these cenotes for tourists to be able to enjoy.
A cenote is a natural swimming hole that develops in limestone and can be either an open cenote or a closed cenote. An open cenote is exactly what it sounds like, open to the outside air and exposed to the sky above, but it can be surrounded by towering walls that make it feel like a cave. A closed cenote is completely underground and generally will need to be accessed by going through a cave to get to it, and these cenotes may only have a minimal amount of light streaming through a small opening.
There are thousands of cenotes in Mexico, many of which can be found in the Riviera Maya region. Within just a short distance from Playa del Carmen, some of the most famous cenotes in the area can be found. Many of these are also easily accessible from Tulum and Cancun too, requiring only a short day trip to enjoy, and we’ll list a few of the most popular of those cenotes here.
Cenote Ik Kil
While it will take a bit of a drive to get to this particular cenote, it is arguably one of the most beautiful in all of the Riviera Maya, and a visit here will put you right near the famous ruins of Chichén Itzá as well. Cenote Ik Kil is an open cenote with towering walls covered in greenery and the sun shining through the opening. The entrance fee for this breathtaking cenote is only around $5, and visitors will not only have the opportunity to swim in the cenote, but the more adventurous can jump from one of two platforms into the water too.
The Casa Cenote can be reached by a much shorter drive, as it is located between Playa del Carmen and Tulum. It is a completely open-air cenote with beautiful turquoise blue waters surrounded by lush green trees. The entrance fee for the Casa Cenote is about $7.50 and will allow visitors to explore the entire cenote, which extends into the jungle, at their own pace, whether just for a quick swim, a little snorkeling, or on a paddleboard journey.
Perhaps one of the most unique cenotes in the area, and one of the most popular by far, is Cenote Azul. Located only about 20 minutes from Playa del Carmen, this open-air cenote feels like it is in the middle of the jungle due to it being surrounded by flourishing plants and trees. There are two separate swimming areas, one more shallow and one deeper, with a cliff perfect for jumping, all of which can be accessed for just a minimal $7.00 entry fee.
While hundreds of cenotes are cared for and kept up for swimming, there are hundreds more that are plagued with pollution problems and need to be cleaned. This project will address around 300 of those cenotes, utilizing volunteers to begin the cleaning. Director of the civil association involved with the plan, Gonzalo Merediz Alonso, commented that “In Playa del Carmen there is an immense activity with the theme of cenotes and caves, because there is a diving community that provides guide services, and that is why it is the importance of taking care of this type of natural resources.”
Hopefully, for the sake of both tourists and locals, can all the area’s most beautiful cenotes be cleaned and made available to the community.
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