We enjoying finding adventures on our travels, and traveling off the beaten path. So for our last trip to Mexico, we decided to be spontaneous and check out Cenotes Cuzama after checking out the city of Izamal (the “Yellow City”). We had heard about other travelers who had gone to these cenotes, which can only be reached by horse-drawn carts on tracks, so it sounded like a cool experience.
If you aren’t familiar with cenotes, they are water-filled sinkholes, known for their beautiful clear water and refreshing swimming. Since Cuzama is fairly remote, at least compared to places like Tulum, we thought we should take advantage of being in the general area, so we drove out to the cenotes.
** Disclaimer: I thought this was literally going to be a bucket list destination. However, the flies alone made it pretty much a nightmare. My kids were upset and we were getting eaten alive. I was getting bitten and the flies would take a chunk out of my leg, and then blood would drip down my leg. These are not your average flies! It was horrible and when we were done, we basically ran to the car, and the kids jumped in the car and were shrieking because some flies got in the car. I am usually able to handle this stuff and consider myself and outdoorsy person, but this was not for me! My suggestion: go when it is not buggy!
We drove from Valladolid to Izamal for a visit first, and then to Cuzama. There are many cenotes in this area, so in the nearby town, there were so many people waving brochures at us in the road.
We had no problem finding this place using Google Maps.
There is a large sign out front as well.
There is plenty of parking, in a large, open area.
We made our way over to check out the tours.
Once we parked, there was a tent where we purchased our tickets. The prices were printed on the sign, which I liked (so that we know they aren’t trying to scam us).
When we were there, none of the staff spoke English, and as you can see, the signs are also not in English.
After we paid, we got ready to go on our wagon. There were many available, and it fit four of us perfectly. There is one guide that controls the horse and cart.
I would say that it was about 15-20 minutes to the first cenote and then the same to get to the other two.
If there was another cart coming, our driver would stop the horse, and we would have to quickly get off the cart so that the driver could move our cart off the track so the other could pass.
Cenote #1: Chak-Zinik-Ché
The first cenote we arrived at was Chak-Zinik-Ché or “Home of the red ant” (according to the website). While we saw plenty of biting flies, I don’t remember seeing any ants. The horse cart ride to this cenote was probably 15 minutes.
Once we got there, there were no showers or any kind, or changing areas or bathrooms. That goes for all three cenotes. Normally, when we go to a cenote, we are instructed to rinse off in an outdoor shower, but that was not the case here. We literally went into the jungle and held up towels, so that we could take turns changing behind the towels, which isn’t the most ideal.
I would say Chak-Zinik-Ché was the most “typical” of the three cenotes at Cuzama. The sinkhole is round in shape and semi-open, with a decent size opening to let in some light.
You climb down a set of steep stairs to get down to the cenotes, and there is some natural light through an opening at the top.
At the bottom of the stairs is a cement platform. I wish there was a little bit of seating here, but it was a good place to jump into the water. The platform offered a fun place to jump off, especially for the kids.
This cenote is approximately 80 meters in area, with a depth of 30 meters.
Cenote #2: Bolom-Chojol
After we were done at the first cenote, our guide took us to Cenote Bolom-Chojol. Each cenote is not more than a minute walk from the tracks.
According to the website, this cenote name means “Nine Holes of Mouse” and refers to the nine entrances of light that reach the interior of the cenote.
To get into the cenote, there is a ladder.
Despite the photos, the cenote was fairly dark inside, with just a little bit of sun shining down.
There is a small platform. It was nice to have a spot to stand, and there was no one else at this cenote when we were there, so we had the place to ourselves.
To get to the cenote, there is a small ladder to climb down.. When you get to the bottom you will be able to enjoy the crystal blue and totally transparent water, illuminated by several beams of light from the surface, this cenote is approximately 35 meters deep and has a wooden platform of approximately 35 meters in diameter where you can enjoy a breathtaking view.
Cenote #3: Ucil
Ucil was the last cenote we visited. According to the website, the name of this cenote comes from a kind of cricket called “Chakiste or Ucil”, popular in the Yucatan.
You descend into the cave on a steep ladder.
Cenote Ucil is a completely enclosed cavern, with no light from the outside.
There is little swimming here, only about 20 meters into the cave.
There are many impressive formations of stalactites and stalagmites throughout the cave.
This was definitely a unique experience. I liked the idea of taking the horse-drawn carts, and getting to check out different types of cenotes. We have been to many cenotes, and most are open or at least semi-open, and it was neat to have to climb down an almost vertical ladder. While the closed cavern did not offer much swimming, it was a neat place to check out. I will say that the bugs definitely made the cart ride unpleasant, and even when we jumped off to let a cart pass, we would get some nasty bug bites. I would recommend doing this trip when the flies are not out, or be prepared.
Pros: unique experience riding carts to the cenotes, interesting cenotes, plenty of parking, not many tourists, staff was friendly
Cons: getting eaten alive by flies, no facilities, rides were long, no one spoke English, Cenote Ucil was very small
Check out my Tips for Visiting Cenotes
Check out my other Mexico blog posts
Visit the Cuzama Cenotes online at http://www.loscenotesdecuzama.com/ (be sure to click to translate the page to English if needed)