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Christmas Day: A Day Trip to the Cuzama Cenotes

Chelentun Cenote

Last year Adam and I enjoyed a white Christmas trekking the Himalayas. We reached the peak of our hike on Christmas Day and celebrated with a packed lunch of curry and a banana.

For our Christmas Day adventure this year, we decided to visit the 3 Cuzama Cenotes. In true form, we traded our traditional English Christmas roast dinner for a packed lunch of tacos and a celebratory ice cream to finish the day.

How to Choose the Cenote Tour that’s Right for You

There are 3 cenote tours in and around Cuzama to choose from so it can get a little confusing.

In choosing the tour for you, I’d recommend Googling the names of each cenote and seeing which ones appeal to you the most. Having researched each tour beforehand, I really didn’t feel that there were many differences in them apart from the aesthetics of each cenote.

TIP: If you’re looking for a novel experience, both Cuzama Cenotes and X’Tohil Cenotes take you by horse and cart that’s pulled on a tram line.

What are the names of the cenotes?
What is the distance from Merida?

49 km / 1hr15 mins by car

How much does it cost?

$400 pesos per horse & truck. The trucks seat up to 4 people and takes you to each cenote. This includes the entrance fees to the cenotes.

What are the opening hours?

365 days of the year including Christmas Day and New Year’s Day: 8am – 5pm. 

Note the last truck is at about 3/3.30pm so there is enough natural light to enter the cenotes.

What are the names of the cenotes?
What is the distance from Merida?

44km / 1hr5mins by car *just before you reach Cuzama

How much does it cost?

$350 pesos per horse & truck. The trucks seat up to 4 people and takes you to each cenote. This includes the entrance fees to the cenotes.

What are the opening hours?

365 days of the year including Christmas Day and New Year’s Day: 8am – 5pm.

 

What are the names of the cenotes?
What is the distance from Merida?

59.5 km / approx 1 hr 7 mins by car

How much does it cost?

$20 pesos per cenote. Motortaxis will take you to 3 cenotes and act as your tour guide for between $200 pesos – $300 pesos depending on the number of people (max 4)

What are the opening hours?

365 days of the year including Christmas Day and New Year’s Day: 10am – 5pm.

Why we chose the Cuzama Cenotes

We chose Cuzama Cenotes because they were deep in the forest and felt the least touristy.

When you arrive at the starting point of the tour, there are toilets which cost $5 pesos to use, a small stall selling drinks and snacks and a lady cooking up chicken tacos, but that’s literally it.

It took us about 20 mins by horse to reach the first cenote and once you’re in the forest there are no amenities closeby. This made it feel more untouched and authentic which is what we wanted.

In comparison, the Homun Cenotes are located in the village of Homun. For example, the Santa Rosa Cenote is next to a football pitch and Tza Ujun Kat Cenote is in front of the village cementary. It’s entirely up to you which setting you prefer.

Chacsinicche Cenote

  • This was the most “open” of all the cenotes allowing beautiful natural light to illuminate the blue and turquoise water. We were able peacefully float amongst the small fish.
  • To enter, metal stairs lead down to a ledge where you can leave your belongings and then there are further steps down. 

Bolonchojol Cenote

  • This was my favourite cenote of the three.
  • The darkness blankets you as you descend down the staircase except for an exquisite shard of light coming through the small opening above igniting the pool of water below.
  • There are some moments in life which you experience and know you’ll remember this time, place and feeling forever. This was one of those. 

Chelentun Cenote

  • Chelentun cenote was unique in that you climb down and then walk through a cave for quite some time before you hit the cenote’s waters. 
  • There’s no natural light once you’ve taken the initial descent by ladder but the tour operators have installed a few spot lights so you can see your way through.

How to get to Cuzama Cenotes from Merida

There are two bus options to get to the town of Cuzama:

2nd Class Bus
  • From Noreste Terminal (Calle 67 between Calle 50 and 52) 
  • 2nd Class means there are no on-board toilets and stop anywhere on demand.
  • Takes approx 1hr30
  • Leaves at: 7:45, 9:15, 10:45, 12:30 and 14:30.
Colectivo
  • These are smaller buses like mini vans and a quicker option than the 2nd class buss. It took us about 1hr to reach Cuzama and cost $30 pesos each.
  • Colectivos are a popular mode of transport all over Mexico. There’s no timetable. They leave when they’re full and stop where ever you ask them.
  • Get them from the same street as the Noreste Terminal (Calle 67)

Both the bus and the colectivo will drop you at the main square in Cuzama.

If taking a colectivo, be clear to the driver that you want dropping off in the Main Square of Cuzama. It’s common that they drop you off at X’Tohil Cenotes which is before you reach Cuzama.

I was battling travel sickness so wasn’t really paying attention to where we were when our driver dropped us off so made the mistake of getting off at the X’Tohil Cenotes. Luckily there was a motortaxi at the entrance who agreed to take us to the Cuzama Cenotes instead.

Once at Cuzama Main Square:
  • Take a motortaxi to the Cuzama cenotes. This takes about 10-15 mins and costs around $15 pesos. 

Returning from Cuzama to Merida

  • The Colectivo collection point is on the Main Square of Cuzama.
  • Last bus is 7pm.
  • We waited about 20 mins for one to turn up so be prepared for this. Cuzama is a bit of a run down village so I wouldn’t say it’s worth getting a hotel and making a night of it.

A motortaxi is a motorbike with the front of the bike attached to a 2 seater cart. It’s a common mode of transport in small villages in Mexico.

Tips and Useful Information

Take cash for the entrance fee and also small change for the toilets ($5 pesos)

Take a GoPro. The water is so clear it’s perfect for taking some underwater snaps

Pack a towel. I have a microfibre towel that’s light, compact and fast drying.

Use a biodegradable/natural sunscreen. For the same reasons as the mosquito repellent, the chemicals are harmful to the flora and fauna in the cenotes.

Pack a change of clothes. There’s nothing I hate more than sitting in a damp bikini!

There are dry areas where you can leave your belongings once you descend into each cenote but be mindful when packing because some of the ladders are quite narrow. I used a dry bag and packed camera, towel, phone, snacks, water, sunscreen, cash, change of clothes.

Please take some carrots for the horses. They deserve a treat and there’s no where to buy them anything once there.

Pack yourself snacks. The whole tour is about 3.5 hours deep in the forest with no shops or amenities.

Try to resist using mosquito repellent. I didn’t find it necessary. If you must use it, make sure you buy a natural repellent that doesn’t contain deet as this is harmful to the fish and cenotes. It leaves a nasty film across the top of the water.

Life jackets are offered to you at the beginning of the tour and are included in the fee.

If there’s a few people in front of you when you’re queuing at the entrance, hold back for 15 mins or so. This’ll mean your always 15 mins behind them so likely you’ll have the cenotes all to yourself for a time.

The only bummer about the Cuzama Cenotes is that the tour operator only allows you 30 mins at each cenote which I personally didn’t feel was enough time to relax, enjoy it and take a few snaps. Nevertheless, it was a brilliant day out!

— Packing Guide —

TODIVEFOR String Tie Briefs Yellow

TODIVEFOR String Tie Briefs

TODIVEFOR Triangle Bikini Top Yellow

TODIVEFOR Triangle Bikini Top

Whole Foods Mixed Nuts 1 Kg

Whole Foods Mixed Nuts

GoPro HERO7 Waterproof Camera

GoPro HERO7 Waterproof Camera

Dry Bag Dumbbell

Dry Bag Dumbbell “DryBell” Waterproof Bag

Raw Elements Eco Form Sunscreen, SPF 30 Plus

Raw Elements Eco Form Sunscreen, SPF 30 Plus

Fit-Flip Microfibre Towel

Fit-Flip Microfibre Towel + Bag 12 Colours

Incognito All Natural Deet Free Anti Mosquito Insect Repellent Spray

Incognito All Natural Anti Mosquito Repellent

PINTEREST-CUZAMA CENOTES

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2 comments

  1. Thanks Robby! Since writing this post, i’ve been to many more cenotes in Mexico and still rate the Cuzama Cenotes as the best ones. Hope you get a chance to go there 🙂

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