Beat the Heat at a Cenote
When spring and summer arrive, you can expect sunny days and high humidity in the Mayan Riviera! Even the ocean warms up and a swim in the salty waves isn’t as refreshing as in the cooler months. A sticky hot day is the perfect time to explore some of the delightful freshwater cenotes in the area!
Formed by underwater rivers and collapsed caves in the limestone shelf, cenotes are stunningly beautiful and each one is unique. There are thousands of them in the Yucatan Peninsula, but only a small percentage are yet developed and accessible for tourists. Several spectacular cenotes are concentrated around Puerto Morelos, Playa del Carmen and Tulum.
One of the most popular cenotes is the well-named Jardin de Eden (Garden of Eden). It is absolutely beautiful! Eden (also known as Ponderosa to scuba divers), is a fairly large, open cenote of varying shades of crystal blue. Jump into the inviting water from the 18-foot cliff! There are also stairs leading down to wooden decks for easy access to snorkelling. Located on the highway about 15 minutes south of Playa del Carmen by car, Eden is well-developed and maintained. There are palapas and tables, walking paths, and bathrooms and a large parking lot at the entrance.
Nearby is Cristallino, another popular cenote for families. There is a cave to swim through that opens up to the large swimming area with a 12-foot ledge to jump from. Rent a tube and float through the mangroves to a more secluded spot. Dangle your feet in the water and let the little fish give you a free pedicure! Cenote Azul (Blue Cenote) and Dos Ojos (Two Eyes) are also accessible from the federal highway, south of Playa del Carmen.
For an all-day adventure, be sure to check out Casa Cenote or Grand Cenote. Both are near the town of Tulum (about a 50-minute drive south of Playa del Carmen). Casa Cenote is a huge cenote park and offers tubes and kayaks for rent. You can explore to your heart’s content! After a refreshing, fun swim, you can cross the road to the beach and enjoy a meal on the beautiful bay.
The Grand Cenote is a spectacular network of caves and open swimming channels. If you don’t have your own snorkel gear, be sure to rent some at the Grand. The underwater stalagmites and pillars are incredible!
Like blue jewels in the jungle, cenotes not only provide a refreshing oasis from the heat but are vital to the health of the mangroves and coral reef. Don’t miss seeing a cenote while you’re in the Yucatan!