I’m wearing the Freestyle Swimsuit c/o Summersalt Swim, and Robin is wearing past season Lilly Pulitzer swim trunks.
All photos taken with my GoPro Hero6 Black waterproof camera! You can shop the equipment I used below:
Location: Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico
Cost: $10 USD/Person (plus optional rentals)
Re-Entry Permitted: No
Activities: Swimming, Snorkeling, Diving
Water Depth: Roughly 1-10 fee in cenote pools, 30 ft in cave, plus significantly deeper off to the sides for scuba divers.
Handcap Accessible: No
Outside Food & Drink Allowed: Yes
Family Friendly: Yes
Amenities: Parking, Showers, Changing Rooms, Picnic Tables, Hammocks, Lockers, etc.
Equipment Needed: Snorkeling Equipment (can be rented on site), Waterproof Camera, Towel, Swimsuits
Lifeguards on Duty: No
Recommend Visit Duration: At least an hour
One of the things we were most excited about doing in the Yucatán Peninsula was going snorkeling in a cenote, which is essentially a sunken swimming holes. When we were trying to decide which one of the many, many cenotes to visit, we had a difficult time finding information about what to pack, what to expect, and what there was to do at each cenote, which is why I want to share things you should know before visiting. We ended up visiting Gran Cenote, which was the cenote everyone we asked recommended for swimming, snorkeling, and diving in the area, and we had such a great time! I highly recommend adding a cenote visit to your itinerary when visiting this area, the experience was very unique and exciting. We spent about 3 hours here right when it first opened, and I was glad we arrived early, because it got really busy as we were leaving.
It costs $10USD per person to enter Gran Cenote for the day, and once you pay and enter, you’re not able to exit and re-enter, so be sure you have everything you need with you (swimsuit, towel, snorkel & goggles, sunscreen, snack, water, etc.). They do rent out snorkels, lifejackets, and flippers, but we brought our own snorkels which we purchased from Amazon, which ended up being cheaper, plus we were able to keep them. I didn’t see how they cleaned the snorkels between people, and I’m too germaphobic to trust that they do a good job, which was the main reason we bought and brought our own. There are stores that sell them in the area, but they were very expensive (like $50-100 USD expensive), so if this is something you want to in the Tulum, it’s best to just bring your own from home. You can also rent a locker for the duration of your stay to secure valuables and things that can’t go with you in the water for $5 USD. This cenote has bathrooms, showers, and changing rooms located above the swimming area, as well as picnic tables, hammocks, and grassy areas, making it a perfect spot for a picnic in between swimming. Gran Cenote does not sell food, so if you want to bring a picnic, you will have to bring your own food and drinks.
Gran Cenote is two sinkholes connected by a cave, so you can enter on one side, swim through the cave and exit on the other, or swim between the two sides, which is what we did. There are lots of fish and turtles in this cenote, and they’re not afraid of people, so they will just swim right on by you, which is such a cool experience. We spent awhile swimming in a little school of bigger fish who would occasionally bump into us, which is something I’ll always remember from this trip. The cave is also home to hundreds of bats, and we could see them flying around and hanging on the roof of the cave, but they never went near the people and kept to themselves. These bats can’t hurt you, and they’re nothing to worry about (they’re actually really cute), but one woman began shrieking and freaking out when she was swimming through the cave and noticed the bats, and she had to be helped out of the water by the people she was with and an employee. If you don’t like bats, don’t swim through the cave. I recommend showering off after swimming in the cenote after being near wild animals.
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