Cenotes are natural swimming holes formed by the collapse of porous limestone bedrock resulting in a subterranean world of groundwater pools. The name cenote means ‘sacred well’, and Mayans settled villages around these spiritual wells believing that they were a portal to speak with the gods.
Most cave cenotes have fresh water that has been filtered, making them so clear and pure that you can see straight through to small fish frolicking in the plant life many meters below. Open-air cenotes also have pristine, clear water, where swimmers share the wow moment of paddling in the fresh turqoise water, with small fish zipping below you. Underwater photographers will be thrilled with the clear waters, which allow for aquatic-playground shots in high-definition clarity.
All three of the Coba cenotes are underground caves with water. The entrance to each cenote is 55 pesos (About $5 US). Here is a brief description of the three so you can select which one you wish to visit.
Choo-Ha is the closest cenote to the Coba Ruins and good for just looking if you are not interested in swimming and it’s easier to visit if you have young children. This cenote has shallow water and a lot of stalagmites.
Tamcach-Ha is the second cenote you come to. As you enter the small opening in the ground you descend down a wooden spiral staircase. What makes this cenote special is the two platforms you can jump off. One is 5 meters high and one is 10 meters high! (jump at your own risk) The cenote has a large pool of water to swim in and an easy shallow area where you can enter the water. This is the most popular cenote.
Multun-Ha is a little farther then the others. It is the best cenote if you wish to snorkel and it has the clearest water.
What to bring to Cenotes
Bring swimwear, sunscreen, water, sandals/flip flops and a towel, and leave valuables at home.
Also visit the Coba Ruins, the only accessible Mayan ruins in Mexico
A day at Coba Cenotes can last a few hours. While visiting the Cenotes, take another hour and visit the Coba Ruins, the largest Mayan ruin in Mexico. Add up to 2.5 hours if you walk the site, 1.5 hours if you take advantage of the Coba bicycle rentals or an hour if you opt for the Mayan limo, a chauffeured tricycle where you just sit and take in the sights. Both bicycle options are inexpensive and super fun!
The Coba ruins has the tallest temple pyramid on the Yucatan Peninsula, the Nohoch Mul pyramid, which is 135 feet high, 120 steps. The most famous Chichen Itza is a bit smaller with 91 steps leading up to the top of the Kulkulkan Pyramid, but tourists are no longer allowed to climb it. The entire Coba site spreads over more than 30 square miles or 80 square kilometers with many yet-t0-be uncovered buildings.
Getting to Coba
Cobá is about a 90-minute easy drive from our condo/hotels, and Playa del Carmen. You can rent a car and drive, go with a tour group, or hire a driver for the day and go at your own speed (about $100). Our guests at El Taj Ocean, Magia Beachside, Porto Playa, Maya Villa, and El Taj Beach can make arrangements through our concierge! Let me know if you need help and please post your pictures and comments below if you visit Coba. Let the world know what an awesome place it is!