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Cenotes to Explore in the Riviera Maya and Beyond

With over 700 kms of explored caverns in the Riviera Maya, no wonder there are so many caverns to discover.

The unique landscape of the Yucatan Peninsula has made it the place to see this underground river system as an explorer, a snorkeler, or even a scuba diver. But where does one begin? Which cenote is best? If I am to experience a cenote on my vacation which one should I see?

These are questions we get all the time and our answer has remained the same for 20 years.

Every single cenote has unique features in and of themselves. Some cenotes are true caverns with an overhead environment. Some cenotes are open to the environment an feel like a giant swimming pool.

But what truly makes each cenote unique is what lies underneath the surface. This is what defines and differentiates one cenote to another. It is what lies beneath the surface that makes each and every location unique and incomparable to another.

Start With This List and Keep Discovering

This list of cenotes is by no means exhaustive, but it is a good start. We have highlighted if the cenote is best for swimming, snorkeling, or diving. Each description outlines services or lack of services at each location.

Each cenote property is privately owned and each owner decides which services they offer. They also determine the entrance fees based on their services. Some have small restaurants, some have public washrooms. Some are just a place to swim with no services at all.

All are beautiful locations that showcase the environmental diversity in the Yucatan Peninsula. Nowhere else in the world will you see cenotes and caverns like this, which is why many locations are popular dive and snorkeling sites.

Displaying 11 - 20 of 24
Cenote Azul

This is an open, fresh water cenote that is great for snorkeling and swimming. The cenote is perfect for all ages. With easy access from HWY 307 this cenote is easy to get to with public transportation. The cenote is large, the water is crystal clear, and the swimming areas are not deep. Entrance to the cenote is easy as the cenote has both stairs and a platform.

Labna cenote

Make this cavern an all day affair. The limestone formations and detailed decorations are spectacular. This is a swimming and snorkeling cenote that has lots of above water supports for your day. Restaurant, snorkel gear rental, lots of places to lounge and of course lots of caverns to explore. This is a great cavern with an immense overhead environment.

Car Wash cenote

Car Wash, also known by its Mayan name Aktun Ha, is filled with fresh water fish – Cenote Mollys – and vegetation. Entrance is easy, the cenote is good for all ages, though children and swimmers who are not as comfortable in the water should have life jackets.

Cenote Azul Bacalar

This is an all day affair and well worth the ridiculously cheap entrance fee. Cente Azul feels more like a small lake than a cenote but it is part of the cavern system. All water activities can be done here including paddle boarding, swimming, and kayaking. There is also a full-service restaurant that overlooks the cenote. The restaurant is huge and is quite popular with both visitors and locals.


This is a newly open cenote that is a full day adventure. Kayak, swim, snorkel, and eat at this full service cenote and water park.

Great fresh water cenote for swimming and snorkeling. This is a little known cenote that is used mainly by cave divers but swimmers and snorkelers are welcome.

Dos Ojos cenote

This cenote is one of the most popular ones in the area for a good reason. Dos Ojos translated means ‘Two Eyes’. This cenote is part of a large cavern system and has two open water entrances. Both areas provide a different understanding and view of the caverns from a snorkelers and divers perspective. Snorkelers will love the view both below and above the water.

Cenote swim

Super cool cenote that you can combine with a beach day. Xcacel has a lovely beach, but it also has a small fresh water cenote a few hundred meters in the jungle. Follow the sign off the Xcacel beach to locate this fun cenote. It is an open cenote that is best for swimming.

Diving in cenotes

This is another great diving cenote that a local dive center can guide you through. Light refraction, halocline, formations, and beautiful caverns make this cenote special. This is best viewed as a diver though there are great snorkeling and swimming options in this cenote. A small zipline takes you over and into the cenote to make this a fun half-day adventure.

Chac Mool Cenote

This is a cenote with brackish water, a delicate mix of salt and fresh water that highlights the water density differences in a halocline. The beautifully decorated cavern that displays some of the best underground water systems in the area. This is a cenote for divers, snorkeling is not recommended. The entrance is too small for swimmers. Divers can enter this cenote with a local dive center.