Top Cenotes in Mérida

In Play, Yucatán by Christina Silvestri

Thanks to its centralized location, Mérida is a great starting point to explore the charming colonial towns, stunning beaches and ancient ruins of Mexico’s Yucatán region.

The naturally rich area surrounding the Yucatán’s capital is home to hundreds of cenotes, or water-filled caves or sinkholes, where it’s possible to swim, dive and even snorkel in these magical subterranean pits. 

Below are some of the best cenotes near Mérida that are not to miss:

Cenote Yaal Utzil

The wide-open Cenote Yaal Utzil (sometimes alternatively spelled “Cenote Utsil”) is first approached by a steep wooden staircase that descends into the deep ground below. Once you reach the bottom, take a dive into the clear turquoise blue waters and enjoy the peaceful views with a swim.

Cenote Ik Kil

Once considered a sacred place by the ancient Maya, the Ik Kil Cenote is a mere 10 minutes away from the nearby Chichen Itza Mayan Ruins and about 2 hours from Mérida. Its close proximity to another popular tourist area makes the semi-open cenote of Ik Kil among the most popular Mexican cenotes. 

Santa Barbara Cenotes

Santa Barbara is home to three cenotes: Cenote Chaksikin, Cenote Cascabel and Cenote Xoch, all located in the small pueblo of Homun. Cenote Xoch, a semi-open cenote, is arguably one of the most Instagram-worthy cenotes to be found in Mérida for its long tree roots that majestically dangle into the cenote itself.

​​Cuzama Cenotes

Accessible only by a horse-drawn carriage, the small town of Cuzama, located about 27 miles from Mérida, is home to three remote cenotes (Cenote Chan Ucil, Cenote Chacsinicche and Cenote Bolonchojool) that can all be easily visited in a single day.

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