CENOTES OF HOMUN, MEXICO
There are thousands of cenotes in the Yucatán and if you scratch the surface you can find some that are a lot less crowded. Chances are you’re reading this post because, like us, that’s what you’re in search of. Well, don’t worry we’ve got you covered! Some of our favorite cenotes in the Yucatán are 50km away from Mérida in a traditional dusty village by the name of Homún. Scattered all around this pueblo pequeño are hundreds of cenotes in what has come to be known as anillo de los cenotes (the ring of cenotes).
Because it’s quite a bit farther from Cancun and Tulum, it’s remained off of most tourist itineraries. As a result, the cenotes of Homún feel more rustic and maintain more of their natural appearance. Out of the many cenotes in the vicinity, only 15-20 of them are open to the public. Some are owned by local farmers, while others are more commercialized and set up to attract tour groups. Plus, they tend to be a whole lot cheaper with the average entrance fee costing 30 pesos ($1.50).
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CENOTES OF HOMUN
This is a jug type cenote. It has a circular opening on top that lets in a beautiful beam of light and makes the water below it shimmer. There are some nice rays in the morning. Two sets of steep stairs lead you down to a wooden platform. There’s a small jump and a rope swing that’s fun to mess around on.
This is a newly discovered cenote in Homún. We arrived around 9am and had the place to ourselves for an hour. There are decent bathroom and shower facilities on the grounds. You can even stay the night here if you want. This one feels more commercial and seems to be one of the more popular ones in the area.
Located on a dirt road to left off of Calle 19/YUC 10 going East out of town. Look for the signs.
This cenote also has two sets of steep stairs making it easy enough to enter and exit. There is a large tree nicknamed “The Alamo” at the entrance. The most characteristic part of this cave is its huge stalactites and stalagmites.
This one retains more of its original form underground, there are no manmade platforms, just dirt. It also appears to have a river inside of it but it’s only an illusion based on the shape of the pool. When we arrived there was a family playing drums and participating in a traditional Mayan ceremony to honor the spirits of the underworld, this gave our experience a spiritual vibe.
Accessed via the same dirt road along the way to Canunchen.
Cenote Hool Kosom
This one isn’t quite as big as the two mentioned before, but it’s still a cool one. What makes this cenote different is its smooth white limestone ceiling with a small hole in the top that creates a light beam that perfectly illuminates a shallow area of rocks below. Swim out to that spot and snap a pic for an otherworldly shot. The cenote is easy to access by stairs a short distance from the parking lot. There is a wood platform and a step ladder to help you get in.
Accessed via the same dirt road as Canunchen and Bal Mil.
Cenote Los Tres Oches
Los Tres Oches translates to the three foxes because there are three cenotes. None of them are very big, but for what they lack in size, they make up for in adventure. The first is a narrow open cenote with wooden stairs leading you down to a small pool surrounded by rock walls.
The second one requires a lot more effort and bravery. This one is accessed via a tiny hole in the ground with a rope inside of it leading down at least 6m (20 ft) underground. It’s so surreal jumping into the dark pool below and admittedly it’s kinda freaky. That one isn’t for the faint of heart or claustrophobic.
The third cenote is crystal clear but it’s tight and confined. You’re swimming between giant boulders. You can jump in or climb down the small wooden ladder, it’s up to you. There’s a young guy there that will show you how to access all three of the cenotes. They’re on his family’s property and because of him, we enjoyed this one more than we expected. This one doesn’t feel commercialized at all.
Located off of Calle 8, just follow the signs.
Santa Maria Cave & Cenote
This isn’t your average cenote, it also includes a subterranean river inside of a cave! This means you’ll have to be more adventurous to get to it, but it’s all part of the fun.
You begin by walking through a gate behind the Santa Maria Hotel and then walking down some damp muddy stairs that lead underground. You’ll then reach a point where you have to wade in ankle-deep water and some mud through a narrow rock corridor. At the end of this passage, you’ll arrive at a stunning cenote that you just might have to yourself.
There is electricity inside the cave, but it’s still pretty dark inside. The rock formations are beautiful and the water is transparent. I’m obsessed with caves, so I was thrilled about the cenote cave combo, but if you’re afraid to get a little dirty in the dark this one may not be for you.
Located behind Hotel Santa Maria on Calle 28.
In search of more cenotes? Read about: Ruta de los Cenotes
OTHER CENOTES IN THE HOMUN AREA
Tza Ujun Kat
A popular public cenote located in front of the village cemetery. It is a closed cenote with a hole at the top where sunlight comes in. The spacious interior contains stalactites and stalagmites, and emerald green water. It has a maximum depth of 8m (26 ft), but it also has shallow areas making it more ideal for kids or families.
Located off of Calle 30 B.
This cenote is located on the same dirt road that leads to Tres Oches. This one is quite large and open, so it’s very well lit. The sun seems to hit it nicely so that the water glistens and the vegetation growing on the walls looks extra green. You can either jump in or if you’re not feeling up to that, take the metal staircase down to the platform.
Located off of Calle 8.
This subterranean cenote is illuminated with purple lights as there isn’t any natural light available. That’s either really cool or not, depending on your cenote preferences. No need to bring a snorkel mask as you probably won’t see much here. The waters maximum depth is only 5m (16 ft). They offer eco-style cabañas for lodging and a restaurant serving all the Yucatecan favorites.
Located on Calle 30A, right in town.
This is one of the more popular cenotes of Homún for tour groups, most likely because it offers three cenotes. The first is Cascabel, an underground cenote, the second is Chaksikin which is semi-open, and the last is Xoch, which looks super picturesque, as it is an open cenote and has a large tree growing on the edge with roots dangling down to the water below.
The entrance is 150 pesos ($7) and allows you access to all three swimming holes. You can travel between cenotes either by horse-drawn carriages or by bicycle. There is also a restaurant on-site and if you want lunch for the day you can opt to pay 220 pesos ($11).
Located on the street after Tza Ujun Kat heading towards Cuzamà, look for a sign.
The cenotes of Cuzamà
Cuzamà is a town located a 7-minute drive (3.3 km) from Homún. Your option here is to take a rustic ride through the jungle on a railway cart pulled by a horse. Three different underground cenotes are waiting for you to dive in! You’ll see people flagging you down from the side of the road shortly after entering the town. It will cost you 400 pesos ($20) for three cenotes.
WHAT TO BRING
- Towel & dry clothes (many of the cenotes have changing rooms)
- Sunscreen (please don’t apply any until after you’re done swimming)
- Pack a cooler with drinks and snacks, not all of the cenotes offer food
- Snorkel mask
- Underwater flashlight
KEEP IN MIND
- To reiterate, don’t apply sunscreen, sprays, or lotions before entering the pools. Don’t pollute them for everyone!
- Please don’t touch the stalactites and stalagmites, they’re alive and we should keep it that way!
- Don’t swallow the water. You might get sick. There is no chlorine in these pools!
- All cenotes are open every day of the year, from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm.
- Each cenote has an admission fee, but most are really cheap, usually around 30 pesos ($1.50) per person.
Renting a car is by far the best way to reach Homún, and it’s easily found with GPS. We use a combination of the maps.me app and google maps to help navigate.
Buses leaving Merida for Homún can be found at Terminal Norestre on Calle 67, between Calle 50 and 52. They depart at the following times: 7:45, 9:15, 10:45, 12:30 and 14:30. It will take about an hour and a half and should cost around 22 pesos ($1.25).
Colectivos (shared taxis) leaving Merida for Homún can be found across the street from the bus station mentioned above. Combis leave when they’re full. It should be faster than the bus and costs around 24 pesos ($1).
If you have a car, all of the cenotes of Homún can be reached easily. You can find most of them using GPS or maps.me and there will be plenty of signs pointing out the direction along the main road. Drive along Calle 19 out of Homún in the direction of Huhi until you see signs on the left side.
If you’re coming by bus or colectivo, or just want to support the local economy and get a guide, there are several guys on mototaxis that can drive you around the cenotes for about 250-300 pesos ($15) for the day. You can’t miss them once you arrive in Homún, they all hang out near the main plaza and chances are they’ll find you.
WHERE TO STAY
Since we arrived late in the day to Homún we decided to stay a night. In case you do the same or just want more time to explore the cenotes of the area, here are a few options and ideas:
Located just outside Homún town, this is your chance to sleep under the stars in a luxury tent. The grounds include a pool and hot tub, an on-site restaurant, and bikes for rent.
Mid-range: Hotel Santa Maria
We stayed here and it was good enough for us! The rooms are spacious and clean and it’s located right in town. The restaurant has a great selection of Yucatecan dishes, we highly recommend their cochinita pibil salbutes! The Santa Maria caves are basically in its backyard, and the pool is a great place to relax after your visit.
Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be any way to book this place online, so you’ll just have to show up!
Luxury: Hotel Hacienda Ticum
There aren’t any luxury options in Homún itself, but there are several haciendas outside of town. You can find Hotel Hacienda Ticum 26km southeast of Homún in a town called Tixkokob. This place looks like a true gem in the jungle, with a crystal clear pool and lush green garden.
Exploring the cenotes of Homún is the perfect activity for people looking for something different. This place is no-frills and laid back, which is exactly our travel style. Every cenote may differ in its shape or character, but somehow they all remain beautiful and mysterious. Easily one of the most unique and interesting things to do in the Yucatán, we recommend picking a couple of them and spending a day or two swimming in what locals refer to as agua dulce (sweet water).
We hope this post helps you find the best cenotes near Merida! If you’re in the Riviera Maya area and can’t make it all this way, fear not, we have a post about the best cenotes near Cancun too!
Have you ever been to a cenote? Which is your favorite?