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The cenotes are one of the great attractions of the Yucatan Peninsula. What are the cenotes exactly? Let's discover how these natural wonders form, they fall in love.

If you are going to travel around this part of the world, the cenotes are one of the reasons that will captivate you on your trip to the Peninsula. Let's see what are the cenotes, how they formed, the types and how important they are in the ecosystem and in the Mayan culture.

We also recommend the best cenotes to explore by areas.

what are the cenotes
Photo courtesy of Juanma Cano

Where does the water go when it falls in the Yucatan Peninsula?

To understand what are the cenotes we must know that the soil of the Yucatan Peninsula is limestone, something fundamental in its formation. The Maya call this land saskab, White land.

The characteristics of karst soil causes the rainwater to seep through this "porous" stone. For millions of years rainwater has been collected by the very bowels of this earth, in its water table, in the form of underground rivers.

what are the cenotes

This constant water filtering Through the rocks, he has been building a world under our feet, decorated with fantastic formations of stalactites, stalagmites, columns ... natural galleries that were formed with the generosity of time and the force of water.

In the last glacier era suffered by the Planet, some galleries were partially flooded as the sea level rose. They were forming underground rivers, elaborating kilometric paths under the artistic baton of the water flowing through the guts of the Yucatan Peninsula.

what are the cenotes


La cenote word born of pronouncing the Yucatec word maya ts'ono'ot o dzonot (cave with water). When we talk about cenotes, we refer to the holes with water that are exposed by the collapse of the roof that covered them. They are holes that allow us to see the water.

Yucatan Peninsula Cenotes


The cenotes we can catalog according to its form. Since the floor of the vault that creates the opening to the groundwater collapses, the following formation process follows.

1. Vaulted cavern, whose roof has not fallen; 2. Later period, in which half of the vault has collapsed; 3. Most of the roof has fallen, leaving a small part still; 4. Cenote typical of vertical walls; 5. Later stage in which the walls are being worn; 6. Topographically the oldest cenote or watery in the form of a cauldron with a spring in the background.

Different subsoil formations:

The water level of the Yucatan Peninsula varies, which gives rise to different formations in the form of dry caves, caverns or cenotes. In this wonderful Peninsula we have a festival of cavities, the underground world is going to catch you.

Graph from the western side of the Peninsula to the Caribbean coast, from the different cenotes and caverns formations, water level relationships, underground connections, etc. Font

Types of cenotes:

The types of opening of the cenotes catalog them in three types: open sky (vertical walls), half-open (shape of pitcher) and in grotto or closed (cave form) And a room that includes the so-called ancient cenotes or watery. Many of these are already dry, collecting water only in the rainy season.

what are the cenotes

We are going to see them in images types of cenotes to have it clearer.

Yokdzonot Cenote
Open sky (vertical walls)
What are cenotes, how are they formed? We recommend the best cenotes to explore. 1
Closed (crock type)
Cenote Zací, Valladolid, Yucatán

In other parts of the world, which also exist these karstic formations, they are known by other names. In this part of the world as we have seen, the word remained dzonot of the Yucatec Maya. Are sinkholes flooded with water, here known as cenotes.

Thousands of cenotes have been counted in the Yucatan Peninsula. I assure you that with this wide menu you will find pure delicacies to choose from on your trip. Several of them are enabled for the visitor can bathe and enjoy in these crystal clear waters are the so-called tourist cenotes.

In case you want deepen the formation of cenotes in the Yucatan Peninsula I link you the blog of Emiliano Monroy-Ríos A professional who speaks with judgment on the subject and where you can learn more about these treasures. Nothing like letting you be advised by good professionals and their sources. Thanks for your corrections Emiliano 🙂

What are cenotes, how are they formed? We recommend the best cenotes to explore. 2


The cenotes are concentrated in the states of Quintana Roo and Yucatán. The most visited are those of the Caribbean coast, state of Quintana Roo, for its proximity to Riviera Maya and Cancun.

We grouped the cenotes by areas To make it easier for you to meet them and have a good location map.


The cenotes they were and are a fundamental part in the daily and spiritual life of the Maya, the original inhabitants of these lands. They were the main supply of fresh water, apart from being an essential part in their rituals and cosmogony. There is a very close relationship between the cenotes and the Mayan world that we expand on in this article.

What are cenotes, how are they formed? We recommend the best cenotes to explore. 3

Do not miss these sweet treasures of the Yucatan Peninsula, I tell you as an absolute crush on them. If you practice diving it will be a unique experience in your life, the best thing I have done in my life has been to dive cenotes. Enjoy these wonders of nature.

What are cenotes, how are they formed? We recommend the best cenotes to explore. 4

What are cenotes? Cenotes?

WHAT TO BRING? Light and light clothing, hat, insect repellent, sunscreen (use it after bathing), closed and comfortable shoes to protect you from insect bites, some water always goes well The swimsuit and a towel or pareo to dry after the bath . It is a good option to wear a diving mask to better appreciate the place.
THE LAW OF THE GOOD CENOTERO:To avoid contaminating the delicate water of the cenotes, do not use body creams, or protectors, or repellents before entering them. Do not hang from the roots of the trees or touch the stalactites or do any other idiocy that damages the place.
SCHEDULES OF THE CENOTES: the times are usually from 8-9 to 17-18 hours.

Good way,

What are cenotes, how are they formed? We recommend the best cenotes to explore. 5
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