The Gran Cenote is located in the Riviera Maya, approximately 10 minutes from Tulum (Quintana Roo, Mexico) along the Cobá Highway (otherwise known as Hwy 109).
When you mention the word cenote many people are not sure what you are talking about. Cenotes are very common in the Yucatan with most being in the Riviera Maya area within the State of Quintana Roo.
Over 65,000,000 years ago the Yucatan Peninsula was cover by ocean. Over time the sediments formed into layers and with pressure, time and temperature it helped form material called Lime stone. During the Ice Age and once the ocean dropped, Ancient Reefs emerged and formed the largest Limestone platform in the world. The rain water continued to pass through the ground, thus creating a large system of underground tunnels and leaving an array of amazing rock formations, including Stalactites and Stalagmite formations. Once in the caves, the fresh water from the ground makes it way to the ocean where the fresh ground water mixes with the ocean salt water. These caves are some of the largest in the world and the cenotes provide access to these wonders.
- Please ensure if you are visiting the cenotes to respect the beauty and nature and ensure you have removed all chemical lotions from your body before entering.
- Please refrain from touching the Stalagmite and Stalactite formations.
Many people come to the cenotes to simply take in the refreshing waters and view the depths of the crystal clear waters. Others may be more adventures whether it be diving, swimming, snorkeling or scuba. (Always ensure to have a experienced guide for scuba activities if this is your plan).
Cenotes vary in many ways with some smaller and others extremely large. The facilities to gain access to most of these will charge a fee. Each cenote offers a different experience as no topography is the same and some offer more active adventures like repelling into the cavern, or using stairs, ziplines, rope swings or ladders. No matter which you choose, if you are in the area this is a must experience activity so whether you go through a tour operator or hail a cab, ride a bike or simply come across one by fate, ensure to check it out.
Please ensure to follow the rules provided by the host of the cenotes you visit. These are true wonders of the world and are to be enjoyed in their natural state. They have very strict conservation rules when it comes to the cenotes and nothing is to be touched or removed. Please respect the conservation.
Although we have been to a number of cenotes and had lived in the Yucatan area for almost three years, we had never been to the Gran Cenote until our most recent visit in August of 2017. As our home in Los Arboles is only 15 minutes from Tulum and whether we were going to Tulum, Playa or even Cancun, we drove past the Gran Cenote regularly. During our most recent visit we had made plans to go a few days prior but we missed it as they closed before we had finished at the Cobá Ruins.
Off early in the morning after spending some time at the Tulum beach we then headed off to the Gran Cenote. This was a great day. Once in the park they have a large enclosed changing area with restroom facilities and to ensure the protection of the cenote they have several showers for you to rinse off prior to your adventure. The park is rather large with a number of open areas and once you decide on the stairs to the landing, they have a number of items for you to rent such as life jackets, snorkel equipment, lockers, scuba equipment, ect… Make sure you bring water shoes when you go as they will protect your feet while you explore.
The staff are very courteous and friendly so please ensure to tip as they work hard to make your experience a memorable one. The facilities are very clean and well maintained and the fact that there are fish and turtles in the cenote makes it all that much more interesting.
Just remember that cenotes are a natural wonder and need your respect. ENSURE TO ABIDE BY ANY/ALL RULES AND OBEY ALL POSTED SIGNS!