One of the main reasons I wanted to visit Tulum was to visit the quaint town and of course exploring the best cenotes in Tulum! The Yucatan Peninsula is known to have the longest underground river and cave system in the world with over 6000 cenotes. If you know where to look, you’ll discover the most surreal sinkholes in the world!
So what exactly is a cenote? Cenotes are sinkholes that have formed from collapsed limestone bedrock which exposed ground water underneath. The water is typically warm with natural fresh clear water and colorful marine life. These water pools are usually fully open or closed with a small opening. Many scuba divers explore the underground caves daily.
After some research and reading The Bold Brunette’s experience, I booked my tour with Adventure Tour Center. They also have amazing reviews on TripAdvisor! They offered a tour to 3 of the best cenotes in Tulum: Casa Cenote, Gran Cenote and Cenote Calavera.
Things to know before your tour
- Tour is roughly 4 hours
- Do not use any lotions or creams (this can poison the marine life)
- Swimsuit (obviously)
- Towel and a change of clothes
- Waterproof camera but not necessary (tour guide will have a camera to capture your experience)
- Snorkel equipment is provided
- Do not necessarily need to know how to swim
When my boyfriend and I arrived at Adventure Tour Center we were greeted by the owner Jeff who did a great job in explaining our exciting day and introducing us to our guides. Our tour had a total of 12 people which provided us a very fun intimate experience!
During our drive to our first cenote, our guide gave us a quick history lesson of the cenotes. I had no idea that cenotes are a “sacred well”; also known as the “Well of Sacrifice”.
Cenotes have been developed throughout the years as a public swimming attraction. There are restrooms, lockers and changing rooms. Most also has a small entrance fee for scuba divers and anyone like me who was only going to be snorkeling and free diving.
Our first stop was Gran Cenote which is one of the most popular cenotes in Tulum. I jumped in immediately into the clear water and saw a few sea turtles right away! Our guide helped us explore Gran Cenote where we swam with colorful fishes and saw flying bats. They even had flash lights to help guide us through the caves.
Our second stop was Cenote Calavera, also known as Temple of Doom. The name comes from the three holes in the ground that appears to look like a “skull”. The biggest hole of the cenote provided us an opportunity to cliff jump.
Casa Cenote was suppose to be first on our tour. Our guides explained that this cenote is connected to the sea, given the heavy rain we received the water was not clear due to the sand and it would not have been the best experience for us. We were hoping to visit this last but we decided to skip it and our guides took our group to lunch for the best tacos ever!
I had such an amazing experience visiting all three cenotes! If you also have time during your stay in Tulum, I recommend making a visit to Cenote Dos Ojos which is also one of the top three best cenotes in Tulum. I cannot wait to go back to the Yucatan and experience other cenotes! Thank you Adventure Tour Center for helping me explore the best cenotes in Tulum!
Book Now: Adventure Tour Center