Updated: Jun 17
Jaclyn and I came to mexico on a Tuesday. We left NYC late ... Jaclyn got sick on the first day in Tulum sleeps for 20 hours... but the next day she wakes up well enough to go out. Its a sunny morning i am drinking coffee and we head out on the way to the ruins. We get there and no shit its raining... not raining pouring. Jaclyns first day out of bed and its pouring. we take shelter from the rain on the beach in the water... we meet some people from kansas and wait out the strom. we quickly take a few photos and leave after the storm. We want to swim with the dolphins we got free from the car rental. We get there its starting to rain but we go anyway.. we pull up the free dolphin ride actaully u have to pay 70 to get into the park before you can ride the dolphins busted. WE goto some underwater cave to swim and escape the rain before heading back to the hotel.
This is arguably the biggest cultural pull Tulum offers and it’s clear to see why year on year tourists continue to flock to these superbly located Mayan ruins. Perched high on a cliff with sweeping vistas of the jewel toned ocean below, you come for the culture but stay for the view at Tulum’s ruins. Does the view look familiar? That’s because it’s become one of the most emblematic images of Mexico in recent years, even serving as the cover for a Lonely Planet guidebook. Top tip: arrive early and beat the hordes of tour buses.
I had no idea until arriving in Mexico that there are roughly 1 billion cenotes to choose from. Well not really, but there are so many cenotes scattered just about everywhere that you could spend weeks only going cenote hunting. Each has a unique selling point as well – some are best for diving, others are deep in caves, and they vary in color as well. So how do you pick and choose? I asked a few of my friends who are familiar with the area to make recommendations before I went and ended up visiting five different cenotes:
Suytun is quite a drive away from Tulum but out of all of the cenotes I visited, this one was the dreamiest-looking. The platform is partially submerged under the water and walking out to it to be illuminated by a hole in the ceiling feels like you’re walking on nature’s cat walk.
I woke up at 6 AM to get to the cenote right when it opened so that I could get photos without anybody in them. I’m still not clear on whether it opens at 8 or 9 AM. They opened the gate for us at 8:20 and we were the first ones there. I think with even one or two other people in the shot it wouldn’t be nearly as special. Also, if you want to swim in the cenote you are required to wear a life jacket, which takes it off of the swimming list for me! Can’t stand wearing those orange abominations.
There are dozens of other cenotes in the vicinity of Tulum, and if you expand to the entire Yucatán peninsula, surely there are hundreds. However if you only have time to visit the ones I’ve mentioned here you will see a nice variety. Other honorable mentions include Jadin de Eden, Sac Atun, and Casa Cenote.