Gran Cenote is by far one of the crucial in style such points of interest close to Tulum. It has the whole lot that makes a cenote magical: crystal-clear turquoise waters, jungle vines hanging down from rocky overhangs, vibrant inexperienced vegetation encircling the opening, and neat caves to discover. It’s no shock to me that this cenote attracts so many guests. Right here is the whole lot it’s worthwhile to know earlier than visiting this enchanting place:
What Is a Cenote?
A cenote (seh-NO-teh) is a pure limestone sinkhole crammed with freshwater from underground rivers. Actually, the Yucatán Peninsula is residence to the longest underground river and cave system on this planet! Because of erosion, the ceilings of those water-filled caves collapse, and we all know these openings as cenotes.
Since cenotes are a part of an unlimited system of underground rivers, lots of them have caverns beneath the floor which might be a diver’s dream to discover. The deep, crystal-clear water makes for great swimming and snorkeling as properly. With rocky cliffs, hanging vines, and spectacular jungle views throughout, cenotes are really a treasure to go to.
There are three distinct kinds of cenotes:
- Closed: Suppose underground swimming gap. Closed cenotes have a really small opening on the high the place you’ll be able to climb down into the cavern. There can be an open-air area that doubtless has stalactites hanging from the ceiling and even some bats. Some closed cenotes are fairly primary, with only a picket deck, and a few are extra built-up, with stone platforms to sit down on and bounce in from.
- Semi-open: Semi-open cenotes are just like closed cenotes, besides they’ve a extra sizable opening on the high. They’re underground and require stairs to get into. You would possibly discover cave pockets in these, and the sunshine shining in from above is gorgeous within the morning and mid-afternoon.
- Open: An open cenote most resembles a pond or lagoon. It might need some rocky cliffs on the perimeters or rock overhangs, however a lot of the water’s floor is uncovered to gentle. Which means that open cenotes have far more flowers rising on the underside, which is neat to take a look at with some snorkeling gear.
So, which sort is Gran Cenote? It’s open, with a number of rock overhangs and inlets. It has just a few completely different sections, together with a component that feels extra like a cave.
Historic and Cultural Significance
Cenotes have been and proceed to be of giant significance to the Mayan individuals. They’re the doorway factors to the underworld, Xibalbá. For that reason, cenotes have been locations of worship and ritual for hundreds of years. Now that so lots of them have turn into vacationer hotspots, this important part of Mayan culture goes unnoticed.
Causes to Go to
Gran Cenote has a little bit of the whole lot: a cavern to swim via, an open pool to drift in, turtles to watch, and a great deal of flowers throughout it. Listed here are just a few explanation why it’s a must to go to subsequent time you’re in Tulum:
Whereas it isn’t the most well-liked diving location within the space, it’s nonetheless an excellent place to get under the floor of the water, because it has loads of caverns to discover. It’s a part of the Sac Actun system, which is the biggest underwater cave system on this planet.
A lot of the attraction of Gran Cenote lies underwater, the place you’ll discover unimaginable geology, together with a number of stalagmites. It’s a novice-level dive, which is ideal for freshmen.
Take a look at Koox Diving for extra data on the way to ebook your journey.
Gran Cenote is without doubt one of the finest spots close to Tulum for snorkeling. As quickly as you peer into the turquoise water, you’ll have the ability to see why. Within the open areas of the cenote, there are vegetation rising on the underside like an underwater backyard.
In case you go into the lined cave-like space, nonetheless, the scene slowly modifications. Because the water will get deeper, you’ll see the rocky caverns under. The partitions underneath the floor are adorned with neat geological patterns and flowers. You’ll additionally see loads of small fish and the well-known turtles swimming about.
You’ll be able to deliver your individual snorkeling gear, or you’ll be able to hire it there.
The clear water makes it an unimaginable place to take a dip, as a result of you’ll be able to see down into the depths. Even the shallow areas are an excellent place to swim, whether or not you’re an skilled swimmer or not.
Like many cenotes, this one has a rope that passes via the deeper elements of it, which is sweet to carry on to if you happen to get uninterested in swimming round. In case you don’t really feel assured about being in deep water, you can too hire a life jacket, which can will let you discover extra.
There aren’t many cenotes the place you’ll discover freshwater turtles within the numbers that you simply’ll discover them right here. Seemingly as a result of quantity of human contact they’ve every day with guests, the turtles appear very unfazed by individuals coming out and in of the water. Actually, I’ve had turtles bump straight into me whereas I used to be snorkeling! Maintain an eye fixed out for the clumsy ones, of us!
It’s essential to keep away from touching the turtles (on goal), simply as with all different wildlife. Seeing them up shut can also be an excellent reminder to go away no trash behind on the cenote — or wherever else for that matter.
When to Go to
Because of its recognition, Gran Cenote is finest to go to proper when it opens at 8am. This pure marvel attracts tons of of tourists a day, on common. Though it’s large compared to different cenotes, it nonetheless feels fairly crowded within the afternoon throughout excessive season.
An alternative choice is to cease by for a fast go to shortly earlier than it closes. The ticket sales space will cease promoting tickets round 4pm, and the cenote closes at 5pm. In case you get there round 3pm, the crowds will doubtless have dissipated, and also you’ll have loads of time to discover.
Both means, keep away from visiting Gran Cenote on a weekend when it’s much more crowded than it’s on weekday afternoons. Go for a Monday or Tuesday for the very best likelihood to have the place (largely) to your self.
Tips on how to Get There
This cenote is without doubt one of the best to get to from downtown Tulum. It’s solely about 5 kilometers (3 miles) from downtown, which implies you’ll be able to simply bike there.
In case you select to go there by bike from downtown, head north on the Carretera Tulum-Chetumal, towards the doorway to the Tulum archaeological web site. Take a left onto Freeway 109 going to Coba (there’s a Tremendous Aki grocery retailer on the nook in case you don’t see the indicators for the freeway). From there, it’s a straight shot to the doorway of Gran Cenote, the place there’s a big signal on the right-hand facet of the street.
Taking a taxi to Gran Cenote can also be straightforward and low-cost. It ought to price round 100 pesos ($5 USD) every means. You received’t have to fret about discovering a cab going again to downtown Tulum (or your resort), as a result of there are all the time just a few ready outdoors.
One other cheaper choice is to take a combi, which is a white van used for public transportation. You’ll be able to catch a Coba-bound combi on the nook of the primary freeway that goes via downtown Tulum (known as the Carretera Chetumal-Tulum) and Freeway 109. The experience solely prices 20 pesos ($1 USD) every means. On the best way again, you’ll be able to flag one down alongside the freeway.
- Price: This is without doubt one of the dearer cenotes close to Tulum. Entry is 180 pesos ($9 USD), plus 30 pesos ($1.50 USD) for a locker, 50 pesos ($2.50 USD) for a life jacket, and 80 pesos ($5 USD) for snorkeling gear.
- Sunscreen: Don’t put on sunscreen into the cenote. There are showers outdoors the place you’ll be able to rinse off any sunscreen or bug repellent, each of which have chemical substances which might be dangerous to the biome in and round cenotes.
- Etiquette: As I discussed above, cenotes have been used for hundreds of years to carry out sacred rituals and have big significance to the Mayam individuals. There are indicators on the entrance to Gran Cenote that specify what objects are prohibited (most notably, alcohol and medicines). Please persist with the principles! They’re there to guard the cenote.
- Amenities: There are bogs, altering rooms, showers, and lockers at Gran Cenote. However be certain that to deliver a towel as they don’t have them for hire.
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There you could have it! You’re now completely prepared to go to Gran Cenote and have the very best time. Benefit from the attractive surroundings, take in the solar, and splash round in one in all nature’s most magical locations.
(In case you’re staying in Tulum, take a look at our superior information to Tulum Airbnbs!)