Mexico's incredible town of Tulum boasts a beautiful setting right on the Caribbean coastline, and it provides the perfect vacation destination for those looking for exquisite white-sand beaches and amazing Mayan ruins. Tulum is also home to some of the best cenotes and underwater cave systems in the entire world, and you don't need to be an expert diver to enjoy most of them. Guided tours are available to ensure your safety while you explore these natural wonders, and those staying with us here at Exceptional Stays can count on us to arrange your tours with the area's most trusted companies. These are just a few of the cenotes and cave systems that you won't want to miss.
An incredible flooded cave system just north of Tulum, Dos Ojos, which means two eyes, offers over 50 miles of explorable underwater caves, and that makes it one of the longest underwater cave systems on the planet. It also boasts the deepest cave passage in the area with a depth of nearly 400 feet in a spot that is known as the Cenote Pit, and there are as many as 28 other gorgeous cenotes that allow entrance into this cave system that's been an extremely popular snorkeling and cavern diving location for locals and visitors since 1986. The water temperature remains at a comfortable 77 degrees all year long, and the water is clear with good visibility to see the many fish and shrimp. You'll also want to surface to see the famous bat cave. Guided tours are available, and most tour companies take visitors to the safer cenotes that are no deeper than 33 feet. Snorkeling is offered for the entire family, and experienced divers may request a more challenging experience.
With some 216 miles of both underwater and dry exploration available, Sac Actun holds the title as the longest underwater cave system in Mexico and the second largest in the entire world. Don't be put off by the locals calling it the pet cemetery because this simply refers to the abundance of animal fossils found here, and many amazing Paleolithic remains have been discovered that include a mastodon and a human skull and other human bones from very early inhabitants. Sac Actun's deepest depth is at over 330 feet, but there are plenty of more shallow areas for snorkeling and diving as well. This area is considered a place of great Mayan spirituality, and it's only accessible via a wooden ladder down a rock wall into the river. It's definitely worth the climb though, and you'll enjoy the beauty as you discover the hidden waterfalls, immense stalactites and stalagmites and large cat fish and other underwater life.
A lovely cenote that is perfect for families to enjoy, Gran Cenote is easy to enter and exit with a short walk on sturdy steps. The water is clear, and there's a swimming area of more than 1,500 square feet with a shallow end and a deep end and a cave and a cavern as well. A wooden walkway surrounds the cenote so that you can sit and watch the children play or sunbathe, and there's plenty of room for a family picnic. You may snorkel or just look beneath the water to see stalactites, stalagmites and columns, and diving is also allowed at depths of no more than 33 feet. Be sure to check the local weather conditions for the best time to enjoy this cenote.
Parque De Cenotes Yax-Muul
This may be among the most beautiful and least crowded cenotes in the entire Tulum area. Each visitor is invited to observe a traditional Mayan ceremony before having a swim in the huge underground cave system. Nice wide steps take you in and out of the cenote, and you'll have plenty of time to explore the cave and see the many natural rock formations and resident bats. Most tours connected with this cenote experience start with a cool Jeep ride through the jungle, and you'll be able to enjoy some excellent jungle walking trails before or after your swim.
Temple of Doom (Cenote Calavera)
For the experienced diver only, this cenote requires a long walk across rough terrain and a difficult entrance as well. Its name means skull, and this refers to the three openings on the cave roof that look just like two eye sockets and a mouth. The cave is home to fruit bats and other interesting forms of wildlife that enjoy roosting on the ceiling until they're startled into flight. A strong diving light is necessary, and you may dive down to depths of some 53 feet. Expect to see white cavern walls, massive rock formations, fossils and countless hidden nooks and crannies to explore.