Cenote Zapote is one of the most interesting cenotes in Mexico. It is part of the Cenote Zapote Eco-Park in Puerto Morelos. There are plenty of activities and attractions within the eco-park but the cenote is notably the biggest attraction there is. It is best known for the geological structures that you can encounter with some stalactite formations shaped like an elephant.
Cenote Zapote is a special note because it is located within an eco-park. There are plenty of things to see or do in the park but the cenote remains as the primary reason why tourists come to visit this site.
The cenote is best known for the geological formations found beneath the waters of the cenote. These stalactite formations developed for more than 11,000 years since the time that the cenote was submerged.
The cenote was named after the Sapote, which are the trees that grow nearby. This evergreen tree is native to Southern Mexico.
They can grow up to 70 feet tall. The tree is cultivated for its soft fruits that are edible but are also known for their medicinal qualities (particularly the oil from the fruit).
Cenote Zapote can be accessed through Ruta de los Cenotes. This is an old road that connects Puerto Morelos to Valladolid. There are three cenotes in the area: Zapote, Kin Ha, and Hol Box. Of these three, Zapote and Holbox are the most popular cenotes in the area.
In particular, these cenotes are frequented by avid divers who want to see the beauty that is lurking underwater.
Cenote Zapote is a sinkhole cenote that boasts of an hourglass profile. The sinkhole is surrounded by walls of massive and impressive formations. As for the water, the cenote has a depth of up to 28 meters.
It is known as the world’s weirdest dive site because the surface is nothing quite like what you will find underwater. The notable Hell’s Bells is the most popular rock formation you will encounter.
The opening of the sinkhole from above is nothing like the size and depth of the Cenote Zapote. Once you dive, it opens up into a massive underwater cavern.
You must make your way through an entrance shaft before making your way into a spectacular room that is located underneath the rocks. Once you reach 35 to 42 meters, you will encounter a thick layer of hydrogen sulphide.
- Opening hours: 8 AM to 5 PM
- Entrance fee: 100 pesos
- Good for Scuba diving: Yes, great
- Good for swimming: Yes
- Facilities: Yes
- Car parking: Yes
Cenote Zapote is a massive sinkhole that features topography similar to a sand clock. The surface of the cenote measures at a diameter of 30 meters. The surface is also filled with plenty of water lilies. For this reason, a lot of tourists who come to Cenote Zapote do so for photography.
As you go beneath the surface of the water, you will notice that the area becomes narrow. At some point, the area is only 20 meters wide. When you overcome this point, however, the area becomes wide again. This area is where you can find the famed bells rock formations known as Hell’s Bells.
Due to the variety of formations and the unexpected changes in the diving conditions at Cenote Zapote, this area is only open for expert divers or those with advanced certifications. In fact, a cavern diver certification is required. The diving site is very demanding with plenty of areas with limited lighting – plus the fact that there is a halocline.
To access the cenote, you must go down a flight of wooden stairs. Once you reach the end of the stairs, there is a small platform you can use to access the water. The maximum depth of the cenote is at 63 meters. The halocline can be spotted at a depth of 30 meters.
The cenote is open daily and there are some facilities available, although they are restricted to the basic ones (such as toilets and changing rooms). You can access the cenote within a short walk from the entrance and parking area.
HOW TO GET THERE
To get to Cenote Zapote, you need to drive through Ruta de los Cenotes. This is the same road you take to get from Puerto Morelos to Valladolid.
You must get off the Cancun-Tulum Highway 307 and travel south. Once you see the sign to Ruta de los Cenotes, follow that direction and drive for 19 kilometers. Turn left to a gravel road and stay on that road for 6 more kilometers until you see the Zapote Eco-Park signpost.
WHERE TO STAY
If you are planning a visit to Cenote Zapote, you can look for accommodations in Playa del Carmen. At approximately 20 kilometer from Playa del Carmen, you can easily take a day trip to Cenote Zapote and other attractions in the area.
There are also several types of accommodation to choose from in Playa del Carmen, making it a great tourist hub for those who want to visit this cenote.
Get the unique opportunity to snorkel in the second largest reef system in the world. Puerto Morelos is home to some of the most beautiful coral formations and marine system in the world. When you book this tour, you will get the chance to snorkel and swim at the cenotes in the area, too. You can cap off your adventure with a delectable lunch at the Puerto Morelos Fish Market.
Experience this once-in-a-lifetime adventure when you take this tour at Cenote Zapote. Accompanied by a tour guide, you will go on a horseback adventure in Puerto Morelos.
The highlight of the tour is the visit to the fascinating cenotes in the area, which could include Cenote Zapote. You can take a dip in the cenotes and also explore the trees that inspired the name for the cenote.