A sprawling swimming hole, Ponderosa Cenote (Also called Jardin Del Eden) is a good place for snorkeling or taking a swim. Known more for a great place for cave diving, we came only to snorkel. It costs around 100 pesos each for entrance fees.
The main snorkel area is large, with a few rocks creating nice places to sit in the sun partially submerged. The water is deep in general, so plan on treading water a lot if you do not bring a float (recommended). The cool water is refreshing. There is a nice platform that gives a nice view of the place and provides access to the water itself, although the daring take a high leap from the cliffs that line the opposite side (which is also a good vantage point). Be careful – the jump is high and divers and snorkelers are about.
For most, I would recommend entering the water via the platform. When you arrive head to your right where a cliff offers a birds-eye view of the large cenote. You’ll see the platform across from you. It can be reached by walking around the cenote via paths that are reasonably cleared but do feature a few rough steps. The stairs that lead down from the platform to the water stop a little short and the last step can be awkward. Take care if you walk on the submerged rocks as they can be slippery.
The water is not quite as clear here as some other cenotes, but it is still an enjoyable snorkel. The best place to see the small, colorful fish that inhabit the waters here is along the shore where they flit in and out of the grassy edges. All the rocks and stumps in the water are moss covered, making for a nice contrast with the deep, cobalt waters.
To reach Ponderosa (Jardin Del Eden) Cenote, travel south from Playa del Carmen for 25 km or north from Tulum for 41 km.
Watch for a sign off of the main highway. Just south of the turnoff for this cenote is another turnoff for Cenote Azul. You can also try public transportation at a cost of about 30 pesos. Just ask the driver to stop at the cenotes near Barcelo resort. The walk back from the stop will take about 8 minutes to Ponderosa, less than that to Cenote Azul.
You will also be able to find tour groups that will arrange for a trip to this cluster of cenotes if you wish. If you are staying at the hotels near here, including Barcelo Maya and Hotel Catalonia, then it will be within walking distance if desired (figure 15 minutes).
To learn about nearby Cenote Azul, click here.
To read about what you will experience at Cenote Ponderosa (Jardin Del Eden), click here.
To see a gallery of pictures from our visit to Cenote Ponderosa, click here.