Nature makes very few really great swimming holes. Usually the water is dirty with silt or plant life and features a bottom either too muddy or too rocky. But Cenotes often break this typical mold with regular inflows of fresh water, granting a fresh environment free of sediment and offering the clear, sparkling water we can’t resist plunging into.
Cenote Azul is a great example of this. As the name implies, the water is a rich azure color, inviting in its purity and clarity. You can look right to the bottom even in areas over ten feet deep. Small, fresh water fish dart about in good numbers, making the place feel more like an open aquarium than a lake. Clusters of black catfish school close enough to temp a child to try to grasp them, but they avoid the attempt with ease.
The water varies in depth throughout the cenote, which being quite large, affords numerous alcoves where folks congregate. Smaller children scamper about the shallower water on rock ledges, watched carefully by nearby parents. Snorkelers ply the edges of the cenote, basking over the colorful fish that generally ignore them. The deeper water allows for leaping from a mini-cliff that conveniently juts out over the deep water, permitting the energetic or adventurous to leap the fifteen feet into the clear water to the cheers of those watching.
The whole experience is reminiscent of old-time community swimming holes with a tire swing, but here the guests create a transient community that is no less meaningful as everyone enjoys each other enjoying the cenote while we share a bit of time together. The abundance of rocky ledges, some above water or just below, offer many options to wile away an hour or three. The water is refreshingly cool, granting a needed respite from the heat of the tropical sun bearing down from above. Everyone alternates between the coolness of the water and the ready warmth of the sun.
There is a second, much-less visited cenote at the same location within a short walk. Ask about that when you buy your ticket. Also, located just a bit north of the Cenote Azul turnoff is another road that leads to Cenote Eden (also called Ponderosa Cenote) which you can read about here
Located along the Mexican Riviera Maya, Cenote Azul is located about half-way between Playa del Carmen and Tulum. Spending an hour or half of a day here will provide a nice compliment to the nearby ocean and you’re sure to remember it fondly.
To find out how to take a dip in Cenote Azul yourself here.
To see a gallery of pictures from our visit to Cenote Azul, click here.