Nestled amongst the concrete jungle of Playa del Carmen is a little oasis of real jungle around a wonderful cenote – Chaak Tun. Chaak was a beloved Maya deity responsible for the rain and as such was very important to the ancient Mayans. Tun means stone, so this cenote is basically named the Rain God’s cave.

If you are not into crowds, then Cenote Chaak Tun could be your favorite. Visit early in the morning or in the afternoon and you might find yourself all alone, as we were. A guide was required, although I’ve heard conflicting reports about whether this is always true. A wetsuit, life vests and snorkel

Cenote Chaak Tun snorkeling, Playa del Carmen, Mexico
With our guide in first cenote

gear is included, and the guide leads you along the way providing history and color.

Cenote Chaak Tun is in two parts, the first being the less impressive one, with a cave roof with a natural skylight in it that is reminiscent of other cenotes in the Yucatan. The jungle around is pleasant and a well maintained path leads from this first spot to the more impressive second cenote. This one is much larger, with a nice boardwalk leading into the cave lit with mood-inducing incandescent lighting that is just enough light to provide luminescence but not take away from the other-worldly atmosphere. Crystal clear aquamarine water fills a large chamber, deep enough to dive into in places. The stalactites hang about in a profusion of shapes, with many plunging deep into the water. Viewed from below with the snorkel gear and the waterproof flashlights we came prepared with, it really felt like we were exploring a lost world.

Given ample time to explore about at our whim, the guide was available to answer any questions we had. He pointed out that if we stopped swimming and just floated, we drifted toward one side of the cavern. All the water in cenotes in the Yucatan flow to the sea, and it was obvious here.

Cenote Chaak Tun snorkeling, Playa del Carmen, Mexico
In second cenote

Once we had explored to our contentment, we climbed up on dry ground in a back corner of the cave and stood amongst a cluster of stalactites and admired the view one more time, using only our flashlights for illumination. We then exited the cavern via a back passage.

Chaak Tun ended up being one of our favorite Cenotes – conveniently located and accessible. Having it to ourselves was a huge bonus. Ranking the cave-like cenotes, this would fall in right after Rio Secreto, Sac Actun and Dos Ojos (which is far cheaper and way better for divers). As I left, I wondered what the Mayans of a thousand year’s past would have thought of us swimming around in the sacred water.

To discover how to explore this wonder yourself, refer to the article here.

To see a gallery of pictures from our visit, go here.

Return to my ranked list of cenotes.


IT pro by day, avid traveler and photographer by night.

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