Cenotes are ancient sinkholes that exist throughout the Yucatan Peninsula. For many years, these caverns have been a major scuba diving attraction in Mexico.
The cenotes are home to approximately fifteen species of fish including mollies, catfish and tetras. Because the freshwater to saltwater ratio changes from cenote to cenote, so does the number of fish. Some cenotes are seemingly filled with small fish while others are practically void of marine life.
Much more interesting than the marine life in the cenotes are the geological formations. You’ll find stalactites, stalagmites and huge pillars in these ancient sinkholes.
The best time for cenote diving is between May and September. These months bring the best light to the caves and result in better photographs. Note that diving in the cenotes is possible year-round.
Water temperatures in the cenotes remain constant year-round and cool very minimally during the winter months. On average, temperatures are approximately 77ºF (24 to 25ºC).
Find local PADI dive shops and explore the top dive sites with our map.
Most of the accessible cenotes are located between Playa del Carmen and Tulum. If you are based on the Riviera Maya and wish to explore independently, renting a car is your best option. Otherwise, you will need to use the shared vans that ply the major roads. For the less independent traveler, many swimming and snorkeling tours are operated from tourist centers, but divers may find it most useful to sign up for a tour with a local scuba operator.