Have you ever thought about taking a private cenotes tour? Just imagine it, being in the middle of a jungle, exploring a hidden cave and suddenly discovering a huge lagoon deep inside.

The Yucatan Peninsula is undoubtedly a smart choice to enjoy this unique aquatic experience, since there are thousands of cenotes open to the public in which you can swim and snorkel as much as you want.

What exactly is a cenote?

Cenotes are natural sinkholes which emerge when the roof of an underground cavern collapses on itself, exposing groundwater which is usually very clear, cool and fresh.

Usually, these wonders of nature are connected with navigable underground rivers, while others have some access to natural light, making them really eye-catching.

Cenotes not only possess a mysterious beauty. In Mayan times, these huge bodies of water were considered sacred places in which the Mexican ancestors celebrated several rituals.

Why explore the secrets of Mexican cenotes?

Taking a private cenotes tour has become very popular with tourists and, because of that, some of the most famous cenotes tend to be very crowded.

Despite that, there are many cenotes all over the Yucatan Peninsula, and also many of them are hidden away, so you can still enjoy an authentic private snorkeling experience by booking a private cenotes tour.

So now prepare yourself to discover the three different kinds of cenotes you’ll be able to explore during your next trip to the Riviera Maya.

Three types of cenotes, three different adventures

Here in Mexico, you can find three types of cenotes: the open-air ones, the semi open cenotes and the underground cenotes.

This classification lets us know the age of each cenote: the older the cenotes are, the more exposed they will be, while the younger ones will still conserve an intact dome. Each of these types has its own aquatic ecosystem.

1. Open Cenotes: enjoying the sunlight

As the name suggests, open-air cenotes are caverns which are fully exposed to sunlight, because they’d already collapse on themselves.

These cenotes are ideal places to relax, since you can swim under the blue skies, feeling the pleasant temperature of the water, or just lie down around the lagoon enjoying the wild jungle landscape.

That’s why they are more suitable for young families, children and non-swimmers. However, you can also have an adventure in an open-air cenote, as its openness offers you several chances to cliff jumping into the water.

As you’ve probably supposed, there are thousands of these natural sinkholes you can explore in Mexico with a private cenotes tour. Near Playa del Carmen, for example, is one the best known: the Cenote Azul.

However, there are other options too, like the Yalku Lagoon, a beautiful site we recommend you to visit before other tourists, so that you’ll dive into waters less stirred and much clearer.

2. Semi open cenotes: a play of lights

The semi-open cenotes are mostly underground caves with openings in the roof that appear when some parts at the top of the dome collapse. Here you can find different kinds of rock formations and many fish species.

Thanks to these accesses, these semi-open caverns get filled with large amounts of light, the arrangement of which varies according to the size and the number of holes in the ceiling.

As a result, you’ll be able to enjoy a visually attractive scenery while swimming and snorkeling into the crystalline waters of these cenotes, which are also quite deep. Here you can also practice your cliff jumping.

The most popular semi-open cenotes are those which are close to the ruins of Chichen Itza. However, there are other less crowded alternatives, like the Zaci Cenote or the Oxman Cenote.

Don’t forget to bring with you a waterproof action camera when visiting these places during a private cenotes tour, so that you can catch the best pics of the beautiful display of lights that happens on the walls and the water.

3. Underground cenotes: exploring the unknown

If you’re the kind of tourist who has a thirst for adventure, exploring an underground cenote is definitely something you don’t want to miss.

As the name suggests, these cenotes are located within a cave system which is completely under the ground, which means there isn’t any natural light illuminating the water inside.

Just getting to these dark caverns is quite an adventure, as they are usually located in the heart of the jungle. Once you arrive, you’ll be discovering the secrets hidden within.

The floor, ceiling and walls often feature impressive rock formations called stalagmites and stalactites, which are home to bats that you will see flying during your private cenotes tour.

Once inside, you can dive into the water and snorkel through a system of slow-moving underground rivers, which are connected to the cenote. Of course, you’ll need a special waterproof flashlight for this adventure.

The best thing is that the underground cenotes tend to be slightly less touristy, so you can enjoy a private expedition just for you and tour travel partners. Two good options are Cenote Dos Ojos, in Tulum, and Cenote Choo-Ha, in Coba.

Are you ready for an unusual aquatic experience with a private cenotes tour?

As you can see, the Yucatan Peninsula hides such natural wonders where you can enjoy an alternative aquatic adventure without visiting the always crowded beaches of the Caribbean Sea.

However, Mexican cenotes are becoming increasingly popular too, so your best chance to enjoy an authentic VIP experience is booking a private cenotes tour

Our local experts have visited over 300 cenotes to find the best and lesser-known ones, so you won’t have to worry about queuing. 

Also, we’ll provide you with the most accurate snorkeling equipment so your exploration will be absolutely guaranteed. So don’t hesitate while you’re picking your next private cenotes tour and get ready for this unusual adventure.