SCUBA DIVING MERIDA
Merida is a beautiful little city in the Yukatan Peninsula, and is not really known for SCUBA diving, considering it’s landlocked location. So why is it on this website? It just so happens that some of the best cenotes in Mexico are located in and around Merida, which are a SCUBA diver’s dream.
Divers flock to Mexico to explore the cenotes, whether if they are diving in them, or even just swimming. They can also enjoy the history and ancient Mayan temples and cultures that can be found here, making it even more desirable.
While most tourist head to Cancun, Playa Del Carmen or Tulum, which are more touristy cities with most of the cenotes nearby, some prefer to get away from the crowds and cruise ship hoards, and explore some cenotes that are lesser known.
It’s not all cenotes and Mayan temples and ruins in Merida however. There are so many great little places to eat, tours to take, and things to do, that a visit is a must. Cenotes are the highlight for us divers, but not the only great thing to experience here.
Cenotes in Merida
Here are just some of the amazing cenotes you can visit around Merida. Some are good for diving, where others you are only allowed to swim in. Either way, they are all worth a visit.
Located 49 kilometers south of Merida, Kankirixche has a 15 m drop to water level down a slope that can be negotiated with a handline. Large tree roots penetrate down into the cave and hang in large clumps just below the water surface. The cavern area of this cave system is one of the largest in Mexico. To read more check out our guide to cenote Kankirixche.
This is definitely one of the little known cenotes, so take a map to show the taxi driver where to take you. It is located near the little town of Cenotillo, and you might have it all to yourself. There is even a little wooden platform in the middle of the pool to hang out on.
Cenotes of Cuzama
Chelentun, Chak-zinik-che and Bolom-chojol are the three cenotes in Cuzama, and are a little hard to find. But once you do, they offer you a horse and cart tour from the entrance, to all three cenotes, which can take a few hours. These are great to see, and really uncrowded. To read more check out our guide to cenotes of cuzama.
There are 5 different cenotes you can visit near the little town of Homun; Tza Ujun Kat Cenote, Santa Rosa Cenote, Santa Maria Cave and Cenote, Yaxbakaltun Cenote and Cenote Balmil. These are far off the tourist paths, and worth a visit. To read more check out our guide to Homun Cenotes.
Offering something for everyone, this cenote is located inside the Mayan archeological site of Dzibilchaltún. You can visit a pyramid and swim – all on the same day. The waters in this cenote sit at ground level, making it easy to access for old and young alike. To read more check out our guide to cenote Xlacah.
There are too many cenotes in Merida to mention here, so if you want to see them all, as well as ones closer to other cities, check out our comprehensive guide to Cenotes in Mexico.
BEST TIME TO DIVE
There is really no bad time to visit the cenotes, as the weather is warm year-round, and the waters are not wave prone like the oceans. That said, the water is a little warmer in the summer months, if that is important to you.
HOW TO GET TO MERIDA
It is very easy to get to Mexico, and Merida, as they are such big tourist destinations. If coming by air, and most people are, you will need to fly into Cancun, which is a very short flight from most of the US.
Once you arrive in Cancun, you can either stay a couple days and explore the cenotes there, as well as the ocean dives, or just get a bus or rental car and head straight to Merida, inland and a little north on the main highway.
HIGHLIGHTS OF MERIDA
It’s not just a bunch of holes in the ground that you should visit in Merida, a old city steeped with ancient and interesting history. Here are a few above-ground attractions you might also want to check out during your visit.
- The Historic Center. Check out the pretty Plaza Grande, and take that iconic Instagram photo with the “Merida” sign, then head over to Parque de Santa Lucia to try some good street food.
- Explore the Mayan ruins of Uxmal. Most people only hear abou tthe famous Chitzen Itza ruins, but the temple complex in Uxmal might be equally spectacular, and with less people. It features a 40 meter-high Pyramid, and there are lots of buses to take you there from Merida.
- Head to the coast for some beach time. Take a 40 minute bus ride to the town of Progresso on the northern coast, and chill on a nice white beach. This is a good alternative to the ultra crowded beaches in Cancun.
- Don’t forget Celestun. Another great day trip to a nice beach spot, would be to Celestun. Put it on your list!
WHERE TO STAY
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