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cenotes and caves to explore

Portland, Oregon
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110 posts
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cenotes and caves to explore

I have read many reviews and forum posts, and there are just so many it is overwhelming!

I am planning to rent a car for a day to go see Coba, then we would like to go swim/ snorkel in 1-2 cenotes on our own. It will be me, my husband and 3 school aged kids. We have our own snorkels even flotation device for the youngest. I would like something cave-like, although we don't have waterproof flashlights. And we would like to do this on our own, since we have a car, without the added expense of a guide.

So I am leaning towards Gran cenote.

I also heard there are some nice ones near Coba, but don't know the names or what type of cenote they are.?

And maybe a stop at Azul or Cristalino cenote.

How about Manati Cenote? I understand it's more open in the mangroves... is it worth a stop?

And for a separate day:

I have also seen pictures/ websites for Santa Cruz, Sac Actun, as well as some of the small cenote eco-parks like Aktun Chen, Kantun Chi and Rio Secreto. Since it sounds like you do these with a guide, maybe best to save them for a separate day? They all sound amazing- not sure how to decide which one to choose!

Any advise or recommendations is appreciated!

Centennial
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1,155 posts
14 reviews
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1. Re: cenotes and caves to explore

These are the cave cenotes near Coba:

tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g499447-d3…

Trail, Canada
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2. Re: cenotes and caves to explore

We have enjoyed all the cenotes mentioned in the top half and none of the last ones . The top ones cost one hundred pesos or less per adult and the bottom paragraph options run into the 400 peso range .

My suggestion for your circumstances would be Dos Ojos . It is a cavern , meaning that some daylight is always present that can become a cave for scuba divers who light the bottom for you with their lights as they disappear below . It is the same cost , 100 pesos per adult , with no guide or transport or gear required as the Gran(d) but more structurally impressive . Dos Ojos is part of the Sac Actun system of which the cenote Sac Actun is also named and on the same road but a shorter dirt road drive than Cenote Sac Actun .

The when and where you are in your day may dictate the cenotes you choose . They are all interesting and refreshing .

You haven't mentioned snorkeling at Akumal in the ocean and that also is very memorable and easy for kids and almost free outside iof parking costs and any food and drink you desire .

Many , many great choices .

With all the very inexpensive options we have shunned the bigger places in favour of many different cheaper experiences .

Other places like Tulum's extensive beaches , Manatee cenote at Tankah Bay or chamicos on Soliman Bay or Yal Ku Lagoon in Akumal or La Playa beach bar at Xpu Ha Beach or Paamul with kids are all lots of fun and great days can be had snorkeling .

I don't know your starting point but here's some other stuff from the Akumal forum .

Transportation and related budget are the big things .

Simplest and cheapest .

Colectivo north to your choice of Cristalino , Azul or El Eden across from the Barcelo resort just past XPU HA . Cross the highway and then short walks in to the cenotes , Eden is a slightly longer walk . Any of these will be 80 pesos or so each . Colectivo home . Watch for them on your way to ABR . The area looks kinda tacky but the cenotes are beautifully calm . Google image search them .

Other fun near there , XPU HA beach at La Playa beach bar . The walk in is similar to ABR's driveway .

Almost free addition , go past the cenotes to PA and have some tacos at Taco Paco beside the highway . Cross under the highway to head back south for no additional cost except the wonderful food . Google image search THAT !

A little farther but not much harder

Gran(d) Cenote

Colectivo to Tulum Pueblo , eat-shop-ruin-beach as you choose before or after a 100 peso cab ride out the Coba road to the Gran Cenote . Entry is 100 pesos , each . There is nicer structure here with divers disappearing beneath you with their lights at times . You should arrange a taxi return time . There is no walk in and you might get lucky with a passing cab on leaving but I would ask for a pick up after an hour or so or longer as you prefer . There is shade and docks or rocks to hang out on as with all places mentioned .

Dos Ojos is the nicest local snorkeling experience with the best structure that we've seen but the two cenotes are two kilometers from the highway office where you pay . SOME guides MAY have transport but this MAY be sporadic . We drove ourselves and so I can't give first hand info . Simple entry fee with your own gear , guide and transport is 100 pesos . We went unguided . The bat cave which joins the two cenotes can only be done with a guide and so we missed that but enjoyed the experience enough to return with friends a different year . Divers disappearing and illuminating structure is a big bonus here as well . Some hire a cab to sit and wait , some might arrange things through a dive shop and the very brave cardio seekers might walk the similar distance as Yal Ku from ABR but with zero service , ocean breeze or water to buy and not recommended for most . The dive shop price would include a guide and the cab would not when comparing costs .

Costs rise at places like Kantun Chi and Indiana Joe's Aktun Chen adventure or whatever it's called and I think Hidden Worlds is closed for remodelling with a new name too .

Enjoy

Portland, Oregon
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110 posts
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3. Re: cenotes and caves to explore

Thank you travelinmom and juanrojo! That is great information!

Juanrojo- I was leaning away from Dos Ojos because I heard you had to have a guide.... but you are saying it is still great even if you don't to the guided part/ bat cave? Maybe I should move Dos Ojos to the top of my list? Is it ok to take a rental car down that bumpy dirt road?

Trail, Canada
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2 reviews
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4. Re: cenotes and caves to explore

Yes you can just drive the public road to the parking area . The two cenotes are fairly close and you can swim in both but not the bat cave which joins them without a guide . The bat cave is arguably the best part of the full experience but we really enjoyed the experience without it at our own pace and saved some cash .The jungle is beautiful and we just lock up valuables in the car in the manned parking lot .

The deep well cenotes by Coba really are also unique and the Gran is just before Tulum as you return from Coba , just off the highway .

Casa Cenote is a beach bar at Tankah Bay and Manatee cenote is like a stream with crystal clear water with an entry of 50 pesos .

There are great dining opportunities on Tulum's beaches or in town as you pass by .

Lots of choice for sure .

5. Re: cenotes and caves to explore

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