15 Incredible Cenotes Near Merida That You Have To See!

Best Cenotes Near Merida

Splashing into cool, turquoise-colored cenotes was one of the highlights of our trip to the Yucatan Peninsula. And as luck would have it, the cenotes near Merida are among the most stunning in the entire region! These natural wonders are unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. And even though the Yucatan is packed with these incredible sinkholes, the cenotes in Merida and its surrounding areas are simply extraordinary.

Ready to learn more about the best cenotes near Merida? Then keep reading this ultimate guide of 15 epic cenotes! We share everything from our favorites to tips for making the most of your experience. We even include a map of the cenotes so you can explore them with ease. All these Merida cenotes are 100% swimmable and ready for you to dive right in!

Bonus points for them being an awesome way to cool down from the intense Yucatan heat!

Estimated reading time: 31 minutes

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15 awesome cenotes near Merida Mexico

What To Know Before Visiting The Best Cenotes Near Merida

What Is A Cenote?

Cenotes are natural sinkholes formed when the limestone bedrock collapses, exposing the groundwater underneath. These sinkholes are found throughout the Yucatan Peninsula and they hold religious significance to the indigenous Mayan community. The Mayans believe that cenotes are the gateways to the underworld. We think their link to indigenous culture makes them all the more magical!

Today, the Yucatan’s cenotes are popular tourist attractions. The clear, refreshing waters and one-of-a-kind beauty attract countless visitors each year. And we totally understand why. The only place that rivals the cenote’s shimmering pools of turquoise water is the Bacalar lagoon.

What Are The Main Types Of Cenotes?

Cenotes come in all shapes and sizes. And even though we love them all, the experience is very different depending on the type of cenote we’re talking about. That’s why we wrote this post – so you can pick the best cenote for you!

Open cenote:

  • These cenotes occur when the bedrock has entirely collapsed into the groundwater, exposing the cenote to the outside elements. Open cenotes are usually great for swimming and have warmer water.
Open cenote in the Yucatan Peninsula
Open cenote in Bacalar’s 7-color lagoon. (Image source: Canva)

Semi-open cenote:

  • Semi-open cenotes are perhaps the most iconic. Imagine a small circular opening letting in a ray of sunlight to the crystal-clear water below. Are you imagining it? Good! That’s a semi-open cenote.
Cenote Ik Kil semi-open cenote
Cenote Ik Kil (near Chichen Itza) – the most famous semi-open cenote in the Yucatan.

Cave cenote:

  • As the name implies, these are pools of fresh groundwater found inside caves. Cave cenotes are the least mature because the bedrock hasn’t fully collapsed into the groundwater.
Cave cenote (Image source: Canva)

Map Of The Best Cenotes Near Merida

Tips For Visiting Cenotes In The Yucatan Peninsula

We jumped into about a dozen cenotes in the Yucatan during our travels. Here are the essential tips that we pulled together to help make sure you have the best experience possible when enjoying the cenotes near Merida:

9 Things To Know About Visiting Cenotes In The Yucatan:
  1. Bring a swimsuit. That should go without saying, but don’t be that person.
  2. Cenotes have fragile ecosystems, so it’s essential to take care of them. It is not permitted to enter the water with sunscreen, creams or lotions on you.
  3. Showers are available at many cenotes, but not all. Remember not to put on sunscreen or other creams/lotions, as you may not be able to wash them off before jumping in!
  4. Be sure to follow the posted rules and regulations to ensure your safety and that of those around you.
  5. Cenotes can get crowded, especially during peak tourist season. Aim to arrive early in the morning to avoid major crowds.
  6. Dry bags are great for storing your phone, wallet and other valuables. This is especially true for the less developed cenotes where there may not be dry areas to stash your belongings.
  7. Water shoes or sturdy sandals can be super useful when exploring cenotes. The terrain can be uneven and slippery.
  8. Bring plenty of water and snacks, as there are often no food or drink vendors at the cenotes.
  9. Finally, be respectful. Remember that the cenotes continue to be sacred places for the local communities.

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Guide To Visiting The Homun Cenotes Near Merida

As far as we are concerned, the best cenotes near Merida are found in Homun. And located only about an hour from the center of Merida, Homun is not much farther from town than other popular cenotes.

The area surrounding Homun has over 300 known cenotes! Which has given this sleepy little town the fitting nickname – ‘The Ring of Cenotes.’

What To Expect In Homun?

Homun, Mexico is a dusty town in the middle of the Yucatan Peninsula. If you have visited more famous cenotes in the Yucatan, like Ik Kil near Valladolid, or the cenotes near Tulum, then Homun will probably feel like a different world.

Some cenotes in Homun are somewhat commercial, but the vast majority have more rustic facilities and are visited by much fewer people. We were the only ones swimming in the crystal clear waters for several of the cenotes we visited. Try to get that experience anywhere around the Peninsula’s Riviera Maya!

And even though the town of Homun is remote, the concentration of epic cenotes in such a small area is unlike anything you can find in the Yucatan.

Can’t Wait To See Epic Merida Cenotes? Click Play!

How To Get From Merida To Homun?

Getting around the different cenotes in Homun is a challenge if you don’t have your own transportation. That said, if you opt for going the more adventurous route and using public transport to get to Homun, you will run into plenty of moto-taxis happy to take you around the area.

Does making the trip to Merida’s cenotes sound a bit complicated? Join these highly rated tours to take the stress out of your trip!

Getting From Merida To Homun By Car:

Getting from Merida to the cenotes in Homun with your own car is simple. The one-hour drive through the heart of the Yucatan Peninsula is a breeze. Once outside Merida, you will be riding free, with few other cars on the road.

Quick pro tip – trust Google Maps and keep driving past the touts trying to sell you moto-taxi tours from other villages. They try to get you when you are miles away from Homun, which means you would spend too much time getting to and from Homun instead of exploring the cenotes! They are pretty aggressive trying to get your attention, but just keep on rolling.

WOTW Tip: most cenotes can be found on Google Maps, and parking is available outside the facilities.

Getting From Merida To Homun By Bus:

It is possible to take a bus from Merida to the center of Homun. The bus departs from Merida’s Noreste (Northeast) bus station. Make sure to wait until you are in the center of Homun before stepping off.

If you do decide to take the bus, then you will almost certainly want to hire a moto-taxi to take you around the Homun cenotes. Conveniently, you can learn all about the moto-taxis in the next section!

Should You Hire A Moto Taxi To Visit The Homun Cenotes?

Moto-taxi around the Homun Cenotes

We visited Homun with a rental car, so we weren’t sure if hiring a moto-taxi to explore the area would be worth it. But it totally was!

We had so much fun racing from one cenote to another with the warm Yucatan air drying us off. Our guide was also super friendly and he taught us a bunch about the cenotes and local culture.

Hiring a moto-taxi costs about 250 Pesos ($12.50 US) for 3 – 4 hours of action-packed cenote adventures (entrance fees are not included). The local guides can tailor your experience based on what you want to see. So whether you want to see the most popular cenotes in Homun, or more obscure ones that most people don’t visit, you will be in good hands!

WOTW Tip #1: our guide didn’t speak English. This wasn’t a problem for us, but it would obviously be challenging for people who don’t speak Spanish. So even though you’ll have a great time crisscrossing from one cenote to another on the moto-taxi, you wouldn’t learn as much about the town’s Mayan culture and the history of these famous sinkholes.

WOTW Tip #2: hiring a moto-taxi is a fun way to support the local economy. We totally encourage it! We found our guide here.

8 Of The Best Homun Cenotes To Visit

This is a review of the 6 cenotes we visited, in addition to two highly-rated ones we missed. The ratings given here are based on our personal experiences and preferences.

Visiting the Homun cenotes is easily one of the best things to do in Merida – so enjoy!

1. Cenote Canunchen

Best cenotes near Merida Canunchen
  • Cenote type: semi-open cenote.
  • Entrance fee: 50 MXP ($2.50 US).
  • WOTW rating: 5/5

Cenote Canunchen may have been my favorite of all the Homun cenotes we visited. That’s why I am putting Canunchen number one on our list of best cenotes near Merida. The cenote is massive, with several openings at the surface where beams of sunlight enter to beautifully illuminate parts of the pool below.

But wait, there’s more. There are several platforms to jump from and a rope swing. And one of the platforms is like 25 feet high! Talk about an adrenaline rush!!!

We were pretty lucky that Cenote Canunchen was relatively empty during our visit. It is one of the more popular cenotes in Homun, but we showed up after most people had left. If you are touring the area with a moto-taxi, ask them to try and time your visit when it is less busy (if that’s what you prefer).

  • Location: for some reason Cenote Canunchen doesn’t appear on Google Maps. Which is strange because it is one of the more developed ones that we visited in Homun. You can spot the entrance on the road to Cenote Balmil.

2. Cenote Yaxbacaltun

Cenotes Near Merida Yaxbacaltun
  • Cenote type: semi-open.
  • Entrance fee: 50 MXP ($2.50 US).
  • WOTW rating: 5/5

Yaxbacaltun was the very first Homun cenote that we visited. And it was a dream! We arrived pretty early and could experience the crystal clear waters and sounds of the cenote all to ourselves. With its wobbly stairs and limited amenities, Yaxbacaltun feels wilder than many other places we visited.

The rickety stairs take you down about 100 feet to a central platform. And even though it is technically a semi-open cenote, most of the pool is exposed to the sky above. The water is warm(ish), and the sunlight shines through the clear water. Once below, you will be surrounded by the sound of chirping sparrows (and probably bats).

Note that Cenote Yaxbacaltun doesn’t really have many amenities (there are bathrooms), but it does have a pretty cool rope swing! I must have done my best Tarzan impression at least a dozen times. Cenotes are great at making you feel like you are a kid again!

3. Cenote Tres Oches (Three Foxes)

  • Cenote type: 1 semi-open, and 2 cave cenotes (but only one of the cave cenotes is sort of worth entering).
  • Entrance fee: 50 MXP ($2.50 US).
  • WOTW rating: 5/5

This family-owned group of sinkholes are hands-down some of the best cenotes near Merida. Actually, let me clarify that statement. While there are technically three cenotes on the property – hence the name three foxes – only one of them is really worth visiting. But it’s a good one!

The one worth visiting, which we’ll call Fox 1, is somewhat on the smaller side. But it has a jumping platform about 20 feet above the calm turquoise water perfect for anyone who wants to get the blood pumping. It’s great to watch people stand at the edge and muster up the courage to take the plunge.

Fox 2 is a beautiful but small cave cenote with an awkward entrance into a tiny pool. And Fox 3 is a damp and uninviting cave cenote that is best left alone.

WOTW Tip: Cenote Tres Oches is very close to Cenote Yaxbacaltun (#2). Consider visiting these two spots consecutively if you want to hit several different cenotes in Homun.

4. Cenote San Antonio

San Antonio Homun Cenote
  • Cenote type: cave cenote.
  • Entrance fee: 50 MXP ($2.50 US).
  • WOTW rating: 5/5

We think you should add at least one cave to your list of cenotes to visit in the Yucatan. Most cave cenotes don’t resemble the picture-perfect images of the cenotes you’ve probably seen all over the internet. But they are unique and amazing in their own way.

Our favorite in Homun was Cenote San Antonio. Descending down the wooden staircase reveals a pool of calm and clear water that extends for about 30 yards into the cave. Nothing grows inside the cave besides stalagmites and stalactites. And the low ceiling makes the space very echoey. This all gives Cenote San Antonio a serene and mysterious aura when nobody is around, and all you can hear is the water splashing against the cave walls.

Even though it is possible to explore the cave with a kayak, these cave cenotes are generally less adventurous. You typically won’t find many rope swings or platforms for jumping. Also, the kayaking didn’t look too epic. Just saying…

WOTW Tip there is a restaurant on the property serving traditional Yucatan foods (not in the cave). We didn’t eat here, but keep this in mind if you are getting hungry.

5. Cenote Bal-Mil

Cenotes near Merida Bal-Mil
  • Cenote type: cave cenote.
  • Entrance fee: 50 MXP ($2.50 US).
  • WOTW Rating: 4/5

I can’t think of other cenotes near Merida with fascinating histories like Cenote Bal-Mil. The original entrance to this cenote was a small gap hidden next to the base of a tree. When Spanish conquistadores invaded the Yucatan Peninsula, the local Mayan communities hid inside the cave and lived there for extended periods!

Today the hole to climb down into Cenote Bal-Mil is much larger, but traces of the past remain! We learned that the deeper parts of the pool still contain artifacts from the Mayans that used this cave to escape being captured and enslaved by Spanish conquistadores.

Ah, but you are still wondering about the actual cenote. Well, let me tell you. The cave is massive and not at all claustrophobic. Stunning stalagmites and stalactites fill the space to give Bal-Mil all the cave vibes you could ask for. The cool water wraps around in a semi-circle giving visitors plenty of room to float around and explore this beautiful natural wonder.

WOTW Tip: wearing a lifejacket is required at Cenote Bal-Mil (and strictly enforced). That makes Cenote Bal-Mil less ideal for swimming freely.

6. Cenote Pool Uinic

Image source: Canva
  • Cenote type: semi-open cenote.
  • Entrance fee: 50 MXP ($2.50 US).

Pool Uinic is easily one of the most unique cenotes near Merida. It also happens to be one of the lesser-known cenotes in Homun! But what makes Pool Uinic so special? I’m glad you asked.

The collapsed limestone doesn’t reveal the water below. Instead, the area exposed to the sky is solid ground, and trees emerge from the hole to create a magical natural wonder. So despite being a semi-open cenote, the emerald and turquoise water is actually found in the cavernous part of the sinkhole. It’s a pretty cool sight to behold!

A large portion of the swimming area is quite shallow, which makes Cenote Pool Uinic great for families with kids!

WOTW Tip: note that wearing a lifejacket is required at Cenote Pool Uinic.

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Homun cenotes near Merida

7. The Santa Barbara Cenotes

  • Cenote type: there are 3 cenotes at Santa Barbara: semi-open, open-sky, and closed (cave).
  • Entrance fee: 250 MXP ($12.50 US).

The Santa Barbara cenotes are perhaps the most well-known and most visited cenotes in Homun. The property is definitely more developed than the humble family-owned cenotes around the area. But Santa Barbara might be the best for anyone looking for a one-stop shop to explore several types of cenotes in a less rustic environment.

There are three main Santa Barbara cenotes: Grand Cenote, Little Cenote, and Angelita Cenote. All three are stunning and offer unique experiences. Though, the overall experience is generally more commercial and family-friendly.

There are lifeguards, lifejackets are required, and there are no platforms for jumping. While you could definitely argue that these are all good things, these factors do make the Santa Barbara cenotes less adventurous.

WOTW Tip: to get from one cenote to the other you can choose to rent a bike (for an additional fee).

8. Cenote Unpee Tunbeen Kiin Tiia Te’ech

Cave cenote in Homun
  • Cenote type: cave cenotes.
  • Entrance fee: 50 MXP ($X US).

Besides for having a really cool name, Cenote Unpee Tunbeen Kiin Tiia Te’ech is also one of the most obscure cenotes near Merida. You can be sure that very few other people in the world have plunged into the dark water inside this cave cenote.

You can jump to minute 9:25 in our Homun cenotes video to check out what Cenote Unpee Tunbeen Kiin Tiia Te’ech was like

Be prepared to get down on your hands and knees to reach the small, dark, and somewhat ominous pool. The water is much darker than in other cenotes, and I have to say that it was a bit freaky wondering what could be lurking in the depths below. Hopefully nothing more than some Mayan remains!

  • Location: you will have to ask the moto-taxi driver to come here. It doesn’t show up on Google Maps.

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The Best Cuzama Cenotes Worth Exploring

Right next to Homun is the little village of Cuzama. Like its neighbor, Cuzama is also part of the ring of cenotes, and you could spend an entire day exploring the endless number of beautiful sinkholes.

You can also find moto-taxis to take you around the cenotes in Cuzama.

9. Cenote Bolochohool

Image source: Canva
  • Cenote type: cave cenote.
  • Entrance fee: 50 MXP ($2.50 US).

Its deep blue color sets Cenote Bolochohool apart from many others on this list. As you enter this enormous cavern you will discover the azure water being illuminated by a small opening in the surface. When the sun is high you can witness the perfect beam of light entering the cenote to create a beautiful act of nature.

Note that Cenote Bolochohool is a long walk from the parking lot.

10. Cenote Chunkuy

  • Cenote type: cave cenote.
  • Entrance fee: 60 MXP ($3.00 US).

Chunkuy is one of the most popular of the Cuzama cenotes. The crystal clear waters are very inviting, and there are plenty of shallow areas where you can just relax or splash around with any little ones in your family. While it might not be the most epic cave cenote on the list, it is a good option for anyone who prefers a shallow pool to splash around in.

11. Cenote Mani-Chan & Cenote Catalina

Merida Cenotes
Image source: Canva
  • Cenote type: cave & semi-open cenote.
  • Entrance fee: 100 MXP ($5.00 US); includes entrance to two cenotes.

That’s right people, we have some two-for-one action happening at number 11 on this list of Merida Cenotes. The first – Mani-Chan – is another beautiful cave cenote to check out while visiting the ring of cenotes. The pool is on the smaller side, but what it lacks in size it definitely makes up for with its translucent blue water.

Cenote Catalina is larger and generally better for swimming and hanging around. This is also because the water is much warmer than in Mani-Chan. Both of these cenotes together are perfect for anyone looking for less-discovered cenotes that are very well maintained and managed by a caring family.

Other Cenotes Near Merida To Visit

Don’t worry if the remote cenotes in Cuzama and Homun are not really what you are looking for. There are plenty of other cenotes near Merida that are easier to reach and more developed. Here are the best cenotes not located around the famous ‘ring of cenotes.’

12. Cenote Hacienda Mucuyche

Merida Hacienda Cenote
Image source: Canva
  • Cenote type: open-sky & cave.
  • Entrance fee: 590 MXP for adults ($30 US), 350 MXP for children ($17.50 US)

Cenote Hacienda Mucuyche is more than a cenoteit’s a freaking experience. If you don’t believe me, then you must not have read the entrance fee for this popular Merida cenote!

Cenote Hacienda Mucuyche is located on the property of a beautiful 18th-century plantation. The entry includes a tour of the beautifully manicured property and access to not one but two very impressive cenotes. And guess what else? You can swim from one cenote to the other. Pretty cool!

Cenote Hacienda Mucuyche can only be visited by booking in advance. Check out this guided tour that includes transportation from Merida, or head to their website if you already have your own transport and prefer to book direct.

The experience here will be MUCH different than at most of the family-run cenotes in Homun or Cuzama. Cenote Hacienda is very commercial. A pool and excellent restaurant also cater to the cruise-ship excursions that come here. But hey, while it might not be the most adventurous spot on this list of Yucatan cenotes, it is a stress-free option if you want to spend the day in a comfortable place with delicious food.

12. Cenote Yaal Utzil

  • Cenote type: semi-open.
  • Entrance fee: 50 MXP ($2.50 US).

If you’re looking for a truly magical cenote experience, head to Yaal Utzil. This hidden gem is located a one hour drive outside of Merida and is surrounded by lush jungle. The cenote itself is stunning, with crystal clear water and gorgeous rock formations. 

Yaal Utzil is on the larger side, giving lucky visitors plently of space to swim around. There is also a platform where you can cannonball your way into the the crystal clear water. This Merida cenote is truly underrated – it has everything you could want from a cenote minus the crowds.

Cenote Yaal Utzil and Cenote Kankirixche (below), are both pretty remote. Check out this highly-rated guided tour that explores the cenotes around the town of Pixya – where these two beauties can be found.

14. Cenote Kankirixche

Merida cenote Kankirixche
Image source: Canva
  • Cenote type: semi-open.
  • Entrance fee: 150 MXP ($7.50 US).

Located a one-hour drive from Merida is the beautiful Cenote Kankirixche. After entering the small opening at the surface, you will be greeted by a gorgeous cave filled with deep blue water. The pool is one of the larger ones on this list, giving visitors ample space to swim around and enjoy the beautiful cave formations.

This popular scuba diving cenote (yes you can scuba dive in cenotes) is a great spot for enjoying a large cenote without too many crowds and two platforms for jumping. It is the perfect balance of off-the-beaten-path appeal, a picture-perfect semi-open cenote, and opportunities to get the adrenaline pumping.

15. Cenote San Ignacio

Other cenotes near Merida
Image source: Canva
  • Cenote type: cave cenote.
  • Entrance fee: 170 MXP ($8.50 US) for standard daytime entrance; 319 MXP for a nighttime cenote swim ($16 US).

Cenote San Ignacio is a cenote that comes with plenty of bells and whistles. It’s perfect for anyone who wouldn’t really appreciate the rustic charm of most cenotes in Cuzama or Homun. This cave cenote is beautifully lit, and the relatively shallow pool is completely translucent. There is also a shallow end where you can easily sit back and relax in the refreshing waters.

After exploring the cenote, you can grab a delicious lunch of traditional Yucatecan food, hang out by the swimming pool or relax in the property’s many hammocks.

Final Thoughts: Is Visiting The Cenotes Near Merida Worth It?

We loved visiting the cenotes in Merida! That was probably obvious enough from reading this post.

These beautiful natural wonders are one-of-a-kind. And no visit to Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula is complete without enjoying the refreshing waters in one of its incredible cenotes.

Thanks for reading!


Have any questions about the best cenotes near Merida? Reach out in the comments or DM us on Instagram! (PS: Instagram is the best way to have questions answered in real time).

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