Everybody knows that Cancun has amazing white sand beaches, sparkling, crystal clear, turquoise blue water, and luxurious all-inclusive resorts.
These are the top reasons for the Mexican Caribbean vacation destination being as popular as it is.
But there are plenty of other reasons to visit Cancun, including a number of exciting activities, and we’re going to tell you the number one activity that every Cancun visitor should try at least once.
Swimming In A Cenote
Taking a dip in one of the Mexican Caribbean’s hundreds of cenotes when visiting Cancun is an experience you will never forget.
They are a great alternative when the beaches are filled with sargassum and a fantastic way to cool off on really hot days.
You can visit cenotes on your own, or you can book tours that will take you to some of the best cenotes in the Riviera Maya region.
What Is A Cenote?
A cenote is a naturally formed limestone sinkhole that forms when the ceiling of an underground cave collapses in on itself.
Water from underground rivers and rainwater then fills these sinkholes to form a beautiful swimming hole, typically with crystal clear water that exhibits a blueish-green hue.
The temperature of the water in cenotes typically stays the same throughout the year, hovering around just under 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
@laurlaurlove2 Mexico Cenotes 💦🌿💙🔆🌀 #tulum #cancun #cenotesmexico #cenoteoxman #cenotexuxha ♬ original sound – <3
Cultural Significance Of Cenotes
Although cenotes are not a man-made phenomenon, they do have cultural significance, particularly in Mayan culture.
The word cenote comes from the Mayan word for “well,” which is “dz’onot,” and cenotes were an important water source for ancient Mayan cities.
But while they were a crucial source of water that was important to the lives of the Mayan people, they also represented a more morbid part of life, because they were also considered to be a gateway to the underworld.
@marta120804 Jumping in the Saamal cenote in Cancun having so much fun #mexico #cenote #tiktok #jumping #viral #kid ♬ Paradise – Bazzi
Different Types Of Cenotes
There are three main types of cenotes that Cancun visitors can explore, which are open cenotes, semi-open cenotes, and closed cenotes, also known as cave cenotes.
Open cenotes can be accessed from above ground and are commonly confused with lagoons.
Semi-open and closed cenotes, which are lit by sunlight coming through a hole from above, are typically accessed from underground passageways.
@_kettylopess #cancun #cancunmexico #cenotesmexico #brasileira #brasileirao ♬ sonido original – 💜 ليلى
Where To Find Cenotes
Cenotes in the Riviera Maya region are generally located more inland, some even in the middle of the jungle.
They can be found throughout the area, and a number of very popular cenotes are quite close to Cancun, some less than an hour away, in fact.
Many other popular cenotes are still only less than two hours away, so there are plenty to be explored during your Cancun vacation.
@aureliestoryy Réponse à @tkkdktykykkyyddy jumping in a cenote #traveltiktok #travelbucketlist #mexico #mexique #cancun #tulum ♬ Love You So – The King Khan & BBQ Show
Popular Cenotes Less Than Two Hours Away
The closest option near Cancun, which actually consists of multiple cenotes, is the Ruta de Los Cenotes.
This route, which begins in Puerto Morelos, is about 30 minutes from Cancun and features more than 10 different cenotes, including popular ones like Cenote Kin Ha, Cenote Siete Bocas, and Cenote Selvatica.
Some other cenotes that are within two hours from Cancun include Cenote Azul, Gran Cenote, and Cenote Sac Actun.
@darya.abbassi This CENOTE wasn’t the only amazing thing we got to do on our tour! 😎🍹☀️🌊 It included ATV, Zipline, Tequila Tasting, Private Cenote experience & unlimited food & drinks!! (Check out Viator for all tour packages & more) #cancun #mexico #tours #vacation #mustdo #travel #travellife #cenote #viatortravel #cancuntours #paradise ♬ Summer – Calvin Harris
Best Way To See Cenotes
While you can rent a car and go on your own personal cenote tour, many visitors consider a guided tour the best way to go, and tours can be found for well below $100.
Not only will transportation be provided, but a guide will know where all of the best cenotes are and can even take you to cenotes that can only be accessed with a guide.
However you decide to visit cenotes, it is something you absolutely should do at least once during your Cancun vacation.
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