Every time someone visits Mexico, they marvel at how much there is to see and do. While pondering under the Mexican sunshine, they’re probably very hot with temperatures reaching over 90 degrees during the summer. If you’re looking for a place to cool off while exploring the Riviera Maya, look no further than Cenote Azul. 

Pronounced sey-no-tays, this web of underwater caves and rivers attract tourists and travelers worldwide. Drawn to its turquoise waters and stunning cave formations, there’s nothing like Cenote Azul. However, there are many other cenotes throughout Mexico. 

What Exactly Is A Cenote?

According to ancient Mayan culture, cenotes were mystical, underwater portals that could transport them to the underworld. The indigenous people would hold rituals in the cenotes and consider them sacred spaces.

Today, we know that cenotes are natural sinkholes that have developed over many centuries. As the limestone collapses around the hole, rainwater fills up the pool and flows through the underground caves to the river. There are three types of cenotes and many can be found throughout Mexico not far from Cenote Azul. 

  • Open cenotes – This includes caves that have fully collapsed and are exposed to the sky.
  • Semi-open cenotes – These cenotes are mostly underground with small openings for light and air to seep through. 
  • Underground cenotes – Cenotes like these are completely beneath the land surface.

Although these underground water worlds may be common in Mexico, some consider Cenote Azul to be the biggest and most beautiful. Located south of Puerto Aventuras, just twenty minutes from Playa del Carmen, this cenote with turquoise waters has fun for the whole family. From snorkeling and diving to lounging by the water taking in the view, there’s plenty to do at Cenote Azul.

cenote azul
Photo Credit: Hector Vivas

Fresh Water & Cliff Diving

Remember, cenotes are comprised of a series of underground caves. While some cenotes are completely underground, Cenote Azul has some areas that are accessible without diving gear. This open-air cenote is perfect for fun and play. 

Areas that have deeper water are great for diving, with some cliffs spanning 15 feet in height. The natural pool at Cenote Azul is also bursting with fish that can be seen through the clear water. They might even nibble on your toes if you decide to take a dip. 

Plenty To See

Cenote Azul is a family-friendly place with plenty to see and do for travelers of all ages. Winding paths take you through lush, green trees to the first pools where visitors can cool off. There are shaded areas for guests who need a break from the water and a shallow pool for children to play. 

The World Is A Playground says the shallow pool is a bit warmer however the large pool is best for diving. White limestone walls line the pools giving swimmers leverage as they walk to the water. Life jackets are always available for those who need them and light drinks and refreshments are also available for purchase. 

Cenote Azul can be accessed from Cancun, Tulum, and Playa del Carmen. Admission to the cenote is $7 USD per person. Travelers suggest visiting the natural beauty in the mornings during the weekdays to avoid large crowds. 

Before visiting the cenote, be sure to review what is and is not allowed in the park. Things like mosquito and bug repellent are not allowed to avoid water contamination and feeding the fish is banned. Do your research beforehand to get the most out of your experience while also respecting the sacred pool.

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