The Yucatán Peninsula has literally hundreds of cenotes that are fed by subterranean rivers, these natural pools are incredible beautiful, and theres something mysterious and enchanted about the light and colours they have.
The Cenotes of Chunkamán were the first ones we visited, and we couldn’t really ask for anything more beautiful and peaceful. From Mérida to the small village of Chunkamán is an hour trip by bus.
Where the bus stops there are a couple of tuk-tuks waiting, they charge 10 pesos to go to the cenotes area to locals, but they will ask more to tourists. You have two options, negotiate the price, or walk (+-3km). We chose the last options, because the day wasn’t to hot and we love to walk.
The admission fee is 400 pesos ($22) for 1 to 4 people (non-negotiable) and believe me, we tried :). We arrived very early in the morning (around 8) and the place was absolutely empty. We were the first visitors that day, so we had the canotes just for ourselves. It was amazing to explore and swim with no one else there, BUT…. to reach the cenotes your only option is going by horse-drawn railcart, along an old railway track. This is an huge negative point about this place, the poor horses look rough, and very thin, they don’t give them any water during the journey, some have visible injuries, diseases and open bleeding wounds 🙁 it’s truly a shame and I rather much prefer to go to a place that doesn’t use or mistreat animals.
Unfortunately I didn’t know that before hand, otherwise I would go to a different one, and there are plenty to choose from, you don’t really need to finance any business that have abusive behaviour towards animals.
And again don’t get me wrong the cenotes are amazing, but please don’t make the same mistake as we did and just choose a different one, until they change their ways, and again there are literally hundreds of cenotes throughout Yucatan, all different but equally beautiful in their very unique manner.
The path to the cenotes is surrounded by dense vegetation and had thousands of colourful butterflies flying around. The 3 cenotes are the Cenote Bolonchojol, Cenote Chelentún, and Cenote Chacsinicché.
The first stop was at the smallest but very picturesque Cenote, the Bolonchojol. To go in, you enter through a very small hole in the ground, once inside you discover an amazing cave with a small area with crystalline and refreshingly cool water.
The other two cenotes are bigger and have ropes-like roots descending with the light. The Cenote Chelentún has a long wooden ladder to a a concrete platform. The water is deep blue and has a fantastic light, this was my favourite one.
The last one, the Cenote Chacsinicché has a mirador with a 15 metre drop down into the water.
To accesses this one theres metal steps. This was by far my least first wasn’t empty and because this is the more accessible one, some people don’t end up going to the others. And unfortunately there was lots of jumping going on, shouting and screaming.. as a teacher I get that all year round..and I like peace and quiet 🙂
The visit takes around 3 hours, and you will get 30 minutes to swim at each of the cenotes.
photography – all rights reserved – Ana Rocha