Ruta de los Cenotes are Jewels in the Jungle
If you are an explorer and adventurer at heart, you can’t miss out on enjoying at least one cenote experience. You may be asking, “What is a cenote?” That is a very good question, and the answer is one of Mexico’s best-kept secrets!
The Yucatan peninsula was at one time entirely under water. Now, below the limestone shelf, underground rivers flow throughout the region. Cenotes are sinkholes through the limestone, leading to flooded caves and beautifully blue freshwater pools. They are absolutely magical, stirring the imagination. You can almost picture the ancient Maya hustling through the jungle, taking advantage of the crystal clear fresh water and the fish that thrive there. Nowadays, locals and visitors alike love the fact the water is cool–sometimes even bordering on cold–providing refreshing relief from the hot, humid summers.
There are four types of cenotes and all of them have a unique beauty.
Jug or pit cenotes are open to the sky, like a big swimming hole. These are very fun for swimming and snorkeling.
Cylinder cenotes have strictly vertical walls, with dramatic shafts of sunlight beaming in and sometimes with vines and tree roots extending down.
Basin cenotes have shallow water basins and usually the most stunning crystalline, aqua-colored water.
Cave cenotes are enclosed, often with impressive stalactites and underwater stalagmites and pillars.
Cenotes provide a lot of fun options to spend your time while you’re visiting the Yucatan! The jungle settings provide lush, natural environments to just soak, relax and enjoy the exotic bird calls. Or perhaps you want to do some cave or cavern diving [requires certification]. Some cenotes have diving platforms or zip-lines as well. So, depending on your level of sense of adventure, the options are there for you and your family to choose from.
Ruta de Cenotes
One of the best areas for experiencing cenotes in the Riviera Maya is a strip in Puerto Morelos, where cenotes dot the jungle on either side of the road for several kilometers.
If you are staying at a resort or hotel, they can make travel arrangements for you. But if you have rented a car or have other transportation arrangements, the Ruta de Cenote is very easy to find. From either Cancun or Playa del Carmen, take Federal Highway 307 to Puerto Morelos. [It’s about a 30 minute drive from either city.] On the west side of the highway you will see a very detailed map showing the location and km markings of the various cenotes.
Most resorts and hotels provide tour packages for this area where you can choose from one or several cenotes to visit in a day. Here are a list of just a few that you might be interested in adding to your vacation plans. All are located at different points on the Cenote Route near Puerto Morelos.