Tulum has secret healing powers. I am certain of it. Between the stunning beaches, ocean to table cuisine and the slow pace that almost feels like it’s going backwards, it’s pretty much heaven on earth. And to top it all off, hidden in the depths of the tropical jungles, lots of secret underwater worlds are waiting to be explored.
What are Cenotes?
Cenotes are naturally occurring sinkholes and underwater caves that resemble something more like out of a made up utopian novel. Sacred places where Mayans communicated with the gods, they would set up villages around the spiritual wells.
The mineral rich water meticulously filters through the limestone leaving the water crystal clear. Some are best for diving, and others are better for being the best mermaid possible. Either way, my best tip is to get there early. You will likely have the whole place to yourself.
So here is the lowdown on four of the best near Tulum.
This is a must if you make the trek out to see Chichen Itza. I would see pictures of this place online and never thought I would ever see it with my own two eyes. At 26 meters (85 ft.) below the surface, Ik Kil is basically one big hole in the ground. Float on your back and take in this wonder or dip your head under one of the natural mini waterfalls created by the vines. This is a great cenote for those who like to just float and take in their surroundings. Just be aware you will be sharing the space with lots of little black catfish. And while it sounds obvious, don’t forget your towel; I did.
Price: 70 pesos
Meaning ‘Two Eyes’ in Spanish, Dos Ojos is actually a flooded cave and is arguably one of the most popular in the area. Just 20 minutes from Tulum, it’s great for those that are eager to scuba dive or snorkel to explore all the cave systems. Those not a huge fan of dark water cavities I would suggest staying in the Cenote entry and practice your best mermaid pose. You can rent a snorkel before heading down to the opening where the water is incredibly clear and blue.
Price: 100 pesos
Nic Te Ha
Often overlooked for its neighboring Cenote Dos Ojos, Nic Te Ha is very easy to miss. Very unique in its appearance, beautiful lily pads take up residence across the dabbled sunlit water. This is the place to be if you just want to float around and pretend you are in FernGully, which is exactly what I did. Bonus points if get to share the space with hummingbirds.
Price: 100 pesos
Only 10 minutes from Tulum Beach by taxi, Gran Cenote is a good option for those who don’t want to miss out on any sun tanning time. Here you can dive, snorkel and swim and will be joined by fish, turtles and even bats while exploring. Similar to Dos Ojos, this Cenote has a closer proximity to the Tulum Ruins and perfect to pair with for a day trip.
Price: 110 pesos
The Mayans sure knew how to set up civilization. Between the beautiful beaches and Cenotes, these guys were winning.