The most spectacular sinkholes in Cancún and the Riviera Maya
A vacation of your dreams in the paradise that is Cancún and the Riviera Maya means bathing in azure waters, white sands, and incredible resorts with unequaled gastronomy and entertainment. The Mexican Caribbean, however, is an incredible place to discover Mayan ruins, enjoy adventures in nature, and visit sinkholes that are so spectacular that they seem like they’re from the movies. Discover the best sinkholes in Cancún and the Riviera Maya. These natural water pools were considered sacred by the Mayans and today, they never cease to amaze.
Chac Mool is one of the most well-known sinkholes in the Riviera Maya due to its excellent visibility and its spectacular caverns. Just 25 minutes south of Playa del Carmen, this sinkhole is also known as the “Jaguar’s Claw.” It offers a variety of scenery to discover: areas for snorkeling, caves, narrow paths, and open areas.
One of the most notable spaces is the “Air Dome,” a chamber filled with stalactites.
If you want to visit a sinkhole in the Riviera Maya without going too far from the Senator Rivera Cancún Spa Resort, Chilam Balam is a great choice. It belongs to what is known as the “sinkhole route” in Puerto Morelos. This sinkhole stands out because of its natural platform in the center, where you can see how the roots of the tree wind down into the water.
What’s more, Chilam Balam is located in the Mayan jungle, where you can go on a thrilling excursion on a four-wheeler.
If a visit to the archeological area of Chichén Itzá is in your plans during your vacation in Cancún, adding the Cenote Sagrado to your route is a great idea.
Connected to the famous Kukulcán temple by a nearly 1,000-foot path, this sinkhole is 200 feet in diameter and has sheer walls that go 50 feet deep. It’s been documented that the Mayans used it for ritual sacrifices to appease the rain god.
If you are an experienced diver, Tajma-ha is undoubtedly one of the sinkholes in the Riviera Maya that you cannot miss. Tajma-ha actually comprises four interconnected sinkholes. They can only really be visited after passing a wall that is 16 feet deep. It also has a very dense halocline, or the transition from fresh to salt water, so the change in salinity in the water in its interior is easily seen.
As you may be able to tell by its name, it was called Tajma-ha because its majesty is comparable to the famous Indian monument, the Taj Mahal.
The Gran Cenote, located in Tulum, is composed of two circular sinkholes that are connected by a cave, which forms a tunnel between them.
It extends along 198 feet underground, which makes it the longest subterranean river in Mexico. This length means that it has spaces that are accessible for beginners as well as very deep areas for certified cave divers.
The Suytun sinkhole is one of the farthest from Cancún or the Riviera Maya, but it’s worth the trouble to visit it, especially if your plans include getting to know the city of Valladolid.
This sinkhole is completely closed and only has one skylight where natural light filters in, which makes the turquoise waters stand out even more. From its central stone walkway, you can take fantastic photographs and go in for a calm swim in the sinkhole. The maximum depth of Suytun is 16 feet, so diving is not allowed.
Ik Kil is one of the most spectacular, majestic sinkholes you can visit. It’s very close to Chichén Itzá, so it’s a good idea to include it on your visit if you want to discover this archeological area.
Open to the sky, its main features are that it’s completely covered in vegetation along its 88 feet in depth and it has natural overlooks where you can observe the sinkhole without having to get in. If you want, you can go for a swim in it.
If you are looking for sinkholes in Cancún, Río Secreto, or secret river, is one that offers the most complete experience. In this nature reserve, the objective is to make people aware of the Earth’s geological history while leaving the smallest environmental impact.
Suitable for families, a visit to this underground river can also include other activities such as rappelling or bike rides through the jungle.
Siete Bocas is another sinkhole on the sinkhole route, which starts from Puerto Morelos. It’s very close to the Senator Riviera Cancún Spa Resort.
Its main peculiarity is what gives this sinkhole its name: siete bocas, which means seven ‘mouths,’ or sinkhole openings. These openings also serve as natural air vents. In the interior, some galleries are connected, allowing you to swim from one to another. Don’t miss out on the chance to gaze at the stalactites in these natural tunnels and see how to the tree roots dip down into the sinkhole to get water.
The Cenote Azul, or Blue Sinkhole, is a sinkhole in Cancún that is suitable for all ages. You can swim in all its sections and chambers. Children will be able to stand on the bottom in some, but you need to be a seasoned diver to visit others.
Don’t hesitate to visit some of these sinkholes during your stay in the Riviera Maya. Pick your favorite and be prepared to be awed!