Heritage of the Mayan culture the cenotes of Yucatan are deep underwater lakes where water is filtered through the rocks both from the surface (rain) and from underneath (sea). The result is this beautiful oasis of cold sweet water to cool off during the summer heat.
The entire flat and low Yucatan Peninsula is made of limestone bedrocks which allow the rainwater to filtrate the soil allowing huge deposits of water and underground rivers.
The importance of the cenotes goes back to the Mayan times, the pre-Hispanic population that inhabits this area. They used the cenotes not only as precious and unique sources of water provision but also sacred places for their religious ceremonies.
Read more about the history and geology of the Cenotes.
ANILLO DE LOS CENOTES: HOMUN AND CUZAMÀ
Situated at about 40 minutes drive from Merida, “El Anillo de Los cenotes (the cenotes’ ring) is an area that is blessed with an infinite number of cenotes and not all of them have probably been discovered yet.
Among Merida Cenotes, Homun and Cuzamà are among the most popular sites where to see the best of Yucatan Cenotes. It’s not by chance that the Anillo de los cenotes is situated right on the same imaginary line caused by the popular meteorites of Chicxulub. I will talk more in this article about the history of Yucatan cenotes.
The evidence of so many cenotes helped put the two small towns of Homun and Cuzamà on the map for those savvy travelers in search of natural beauties, as it’s where there is the major concentration of cenotes within the entire Yucatan Peninsula.
After the growth of interest among tourists from all over the world, both towns have been organizing tours for those who prefer to be guided, even though the majority of the cenotes are at an easy reach and well marked.
Of the two towns, Homun has been the one that made the best of it, thanks to the huge number of cenotes in its premises.
I have visited both Homun and Cuzamà. In this post I am talking about Homun Cenotes only.
I went twice to visit Homun at different times of the year. The first time it was too late in the afternoon and I had little time for a visit so I have checked about 4 cenotes only and I went with a guide just for the sake of trying.
The second time I was there for a couple of days by car, but my car broke down so I didn’t want to take a chance and again I went with a guide. I have seen about 10 cenotes in one day if I remember well, but I didn’t stay long and take a swim. I was there to check them all out so that I could write about it. That’s why I could see so many in one day. Here below I will tell you about all the cenotes I have seen.
CENOTES OF HOMUN
In Homun some of the cenotes are at a walking distance from the town such as the caves of Santa Rosa, the cenote Santa Rosa, San Antonio, Tzau jun cat. All the rest are in the surrounding area but you will need transportation to get there. Here is the list of what I have seen and some others that I have missed.
Some of the pictures on this blog are courtesy of my friend and amazing photographer and super expert of the area and all the Mayan region, Sandra Salvado’.
She has a beautiful and very detailed blog on the Mayan region, El Camino màs corto I’t in Spanish, but I am sure google translator will help you if you don’t master the language and you will find so much more information than here on the Yucatan Peninsula, Chiapas, Guatemala, and Belize, any places originated or influenced by the Mayan culture.
I really suggest that you should check it out.
Here the cenotes for you:
It means “hidden cenote” in the Mayan language (or so I was told) – it’s about 7 mt deep and you can find beautiful giant stalactites and stalagmites formations beside rock paintings. It’s easily accessible, as two metal stairs are conveniently placed for the descent and ascent, respectively. You can find rustic changing rooms and bathrooms before entering the cenote.
Cenote Tzau Jun Cat
Meaning “sounds of mud”, it’s 8 mt ( about 24ft) deep. This one is the oldest, one of the first to be discovered and it’s a public one as opposed to the others which belong to private owners.
It costs 20 pesos only. It’s located right outside town on the way to Cuzamà. It’s at walking distance from the town center.
Situate on the same unpaved road of Cenote Balmin, it’s smaller and probably less impactful but it’s still worth a visit. The descent is comfortable on metal stairs.
Cenote San Antonio
This is not one of my favorites, because they had to build a concrete platform to access to it. The entrance and platform is very small. You cannot jump because the deep water is far from the platform.
Here they also have cabañas with hammocks or where you can set up your tent for 80/100 pesos
On another side of the main road, you will find another group of cenotes, two of which are quite remarkable.
This other beautiful example of the cenote is relatively smaller but certainly worth a visit. They also have cabañas where you can stay and of course changing rooms and toilets.
On the same road to Bal Mil, they are quite similar in structure. You have stairs to ascent and descent, very easy to access and a wooden platform. Canunchen is a little smaller inside. Both have changing rooms and bathrooms in the outside area.
I can’t believe I had them right beside the hotel where I was staying and I didn’t go, despite I knew. Mysterious games our minds play every now and then. I hope to go back someday.
They are popular for healing mud that you can wear on your skin. Not sure how healing it is but it’s sure fun. Once you get there they explain how it works. You will walk into the caves in a subterranean river until you will bump into a cenote of crystal clear waters. I am sure it must have been a beauty. Maybe if you are a little claustrophobic consider asking how long the walk last.
The meaning is 3 fox. It’s the one on the main picture of this post. As you can see it’s very narrow and deep with wooden made stairs and a wooden platform from where you could jump.
It’s 9 mt deep in the center. I really love it as it’s more natural without any cement platforms which are helpful to facilitate the access but they take away the charm of such a natural work of art.
Yaxchabaltun means green “mazorca” on stone – TUN meaning stone in Mayan ( So I was told)
This is close to Homun town, on the same unpaved road that takes you to 3 Ochos and another. Man-made stairs will take you to a concrete platform from which you can comfortably step down from the stairs or jump in the cenote. The cenote is 15 mt deep. Suitable for family and kids.
HOW TO GET TO HOMUN
If you are traveling by bus you will find regular buses from the bus terminal station in Merida and the “combi” – minivans- leaving from the same road just outside the terminal. They are very frequent so you don’t have to worry about availability. Busses to Homun leave also from Valladolid and from Pistè (close to Chichen- iza) .
If you are driving your car on the road to or from Merida, you need to follow the indication to Acanchè. Cuzamà is about 5 km after Acanchè and Homun is the following town.
HOW TO VISIT THE CENOTES OF HOMUN
Whether you arrive on your own vehicle or by bus, you will find local taxi-bike with a small chart that offers tours and will take you all around the area. Or better said, they will find you.
If you have your own vehicle you have 2 choices go at your own pace by car or leave your car parked and ask one of the guides to take you. Either way is good. If you go on your own you won’t get lost. The cenotes are all well marked and you cannot miss them. The majority are located all along one small unpaved and narrow path in the jungle you can see them one after the other along the road. The entrance is approximately 30 pesos each ( at the time I have visited) – 1,50$.
If you decide to go with one of the tour guides, it’s still a good choice because they know their way around very well and they would tell you stories about the discovery of these cenotes, besides you will help the local economy.
Normally the tour lasts from 9 or 10 until 5 , you set the time as it’s a private tour. It costs around 300/400 pesos ( about 15USD) and you have the guide all to yourself. A tip is always appreciated if you are happy with the service.
WHAT TO BRING
Make sure you have your swimsuit, a towel and a repellent (better if ecological), sunscreen that you should wear only after swimming in the cenote.
If you want to bring your mask in some cenotes it will turn out useful. Dress light but I would recommend comfortable closed shoes to protect you from insects.
They are not dangerous but certainly annoying.
As in every natural place I always like to recommend to follow some commonsense rules in order to preserve the environment which I am sure you know already but a gentle reminder is never in excess.
- don’t wear any sunscreen or repellent before bathing in the cenotes
- don’t leave anything that doesn’t belong to the place
- don’t hang on to stalactites or stalagmites or trees roots
- don’t do anything that can damage the environment
WHERE TO STAY IN HOMUN
In town, there is one modest but very decent hotel called Santa Maria, which is actually close to the beautiful Santa Maria Caves.
For sure there are other small hotels in town, which you won’t see on a booking pages since are small family owned properties and they cannot afford to stay on the most popular site.
You can just show up and ask for availability.
If you wish to have a luxury experience, among the luxury haciendas scattered around Yucatan, the closest to the cenotes is the stunning Sac chic, in Acanchè, just 5 km from Homun. I have visited the hotel during my stay in the area, and I was totally blown away. Here you can check my review and how to book it.