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All about Cenotes Santa Bárbara in Mexico

Updated: April 6, 2024

Main Category: Day Trips

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Author: Tobias

Between the towns of Cuzamá and Homún, the Santa Bárbara cenotes include four amazing cenotes. Cenotes Santa Bárbara is about 45km away from Mérida. The journey by car takes about 55min from the city center of Mérida and the place is most of the time bustling. The admission fee for foreign adults is about 250MXN. Different prices may apply for residents or children.

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Address:

Cenote Santa Bárbara, Sobre, Calle 19, Homún, Yucatán, Mexiko

Website:

Category:

Trip

Phone:

+52 999 116 1512

Distance:

45km from Mérida

Travel Time:

55min from Mérida

Admission:

Mex$ 250

Price Level:

Mid-range

Since:

-

Google Rating:

average rating is 4.8 out of 5, based on 5746 votes, Ratings

Opening Hours:

• Monday: 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
• Tuesday: 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
• Wednesday: 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
• Thursday: 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
• Friday: 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
• Saturday: 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
• Sunday: 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM

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Cenotes Santa Bárbara

It is estimated that there are 7,000 to 10,000 cenotes on the Yucatán Peninsula. The Cenotes Santa Bárbara are located on a private property between the two towns of Cuzamá and Homún. They are called


  • Cascabel,

  • Chacksikín,

  • Xooch', and

  • Pool Cocoon.


In and around Cuzamá and Homún there are over 20 more cenotes that can be visited. Santa Barbara Cenote is the best developed and most visited. Unless you want to explore the smaller, less touristy cenotes, this is the best recommendation.


The very best cenotes tour


If you are interested in getting to know the two best places with six cenotes and a 17th century hacienda in a private tour (Santa Barbara and Cenotes of Hacienda Mucuyché), you should take a look at this Viator Tour. It's not really cheap, but a memory for life.


The world of cenotes


Some interesting figures about cenotes:


 
Interesting figures about cenotes
Interesting figures about cenotes
 

The site


The cenotes at Santa Barbara are located on a large property. The approximately 2km walk to the cenotes on the property can be done on foot, with a rented bicycle or with a horse cart. The path is a bit bumpy and there is also a small uphill in between.


If you have smaller children with you or want to avoid any effort in hot temperatures, I would better take the horse cart. You sit on wooden planks and are given a good shake during the ride. Unfortunately, as usual in Mexico, the animals are probably not being cared that well.


Ride with the horse-drawn cart
Ride with the horse-drawn cart

Facilities


The entire facility is fully developed and everything you need is available. There are changing rooms, toilets, bathrooms, showers and lockers in the entrance area. Free WiFi is also available in the entrance area.


You can also take a bag with you. Life jackets are mandatory and wearing them is partly supervised. Access to the Cenote Pool Cocoon is also possible via an elevator, although this is only intended for disabled people, senior citizens and pregnant women.


There are two restaurants that serve typical Yucatecan food, such as poc-chuc, queso relleno (stuffed cheese), carne yucateca (Yucatecan meat), panuchos, salbutes or sopa de lima (lime soup). For younger children there is a lovely water play park with slides.


The four cenotes


Since 2023, there have been four cenotes on the site that you can visit. After the drive (or the longer walk) to the cenotes, the first three are relatively close to each other. The last cenote is back in the starting area.


There are staff from Cenotes Santa Barbara at each of the cenotes, but there are no guided tours and - apart from the opening times - no other fixed times that you have to adhere to. You can therefore stay at the individual cenotes and on the property for as long as you like.


The first cenote (Cascabel) is completely underground and is only illuminated by artificial lights. You have plenty of space to swim, but the cenote is not as spectacular in comparison.


The large cenote is 26m long, 24m wide and has a height from the water level to the ceiling of approx. 10m. But Cenote Cascabel has no stalagmites or stalagtites.


Cenote Cascabel
Cenote Cascabel

The second cenote (Chacksikín) is only a short walk away. This one is much more impressive and has many beautiful stalactites. It is semi-open and therefore also benefits from the daylight.


There are some thick tree roots in the cenote that hang down from the ceiling and reach into the water. And there are various caves adjacent, so a dive (or snorkeling) is also interesting.


Entrance to the Chacksikin Cenote
Entrance to the Chacksikín Cenote

As with many other cenotes, you first go down a wooden staircase in the Chacksikín cenote (but it is easy to walk the stairs). If you are a bit taller (like me), you should tuck your head in when you take the first steps down.


At the end of the stairs there is a massive wooden platform with benches all around. From here you can take a look at everything or, of course, go into the water via another small wooden staircase.


By the way, taking a photo with a longer exposure time is not so easy because you can't work with a tripod. Even though the wooden platform is very solid, a long exposure is not possible due to the barely noticeable but constantly present slight vibrations of the platform.


In the Chacksikin Cenote
In the Chacksikin Cenote

The third cenote Xooch' has a large round opening to the top. Toh birds and swallows sing and circle inside the cenote and small fish swim in the clear water. Right at the opening of the cenote is a large poplar tree on the edge, its thick roots reaching right into the water.


This makes for a spectacular photo motif: with a wide-angle lens (I used 12mm full-frame) you can capture the entire cenote with the turquoise water, the rock faces, the poplar above and the blue sky behind.


If you want a perfect photo, you need to take an HDR shot to cover the wide dynamic range between the "hole in the ground" and the sky. I was able to use a tripod for the photo as there is a solid (rocky) surface.


Cenote Xoch
Cenote Xooch'

The fourth cenote (Pool Cocoon) is a very large open cenote with an elongated shape and with nice (but artificial) waterfalls. The cenote is about 15m deep, 30m wide and has a length of about 30m. Cenote Pool Cocoon was added in 2023.


As the cenote Pool Cocoon is quite large, the cenote is very suitable for swimming if you want to. There are several waterfalls (which have been artificially created) and the cenote ends in a small cave.


Cenote Pool Cocoon
Cenote Pool Cocoon

Prices


The entrance fee of 250 pesos includes a visit to all cenotes, an (obligatory) life jacket, and a ride on a bicycle or a horse-run rail cart around the site (as desired) and there is free parking. In my opinion, the costs are very reasonable for what is offered.


Water play area and restaurant
Water play area and restaurant

Optionally, for an additional 80 pesos, lunch can be booked at the associated restaurant. If you are traveling with younger children, they will certainly enjoy the water playground (the water is turned off at the end of the tours around 4:00 pm).

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Best Cenotes Santa Barbara Tours

If you would like to explore the Yucatan Peninsula and Mérida with a guided tour, there are wonderful experiences from Viator. We have selected the three best tours for you.

You save time and nerves, get all the insider tips you need from an expert tour guide and can join up with others if you wish. And it's also safer to travel in a group.

Private Tour Cenotes of Mucuyche & Santa Barbara in one day

My Top Recommendation (likely to sell out)

Private Tour Cenotes of Mucuyche & Santa Barbara in one day

Not cheap, but the two absolute top locations! Free cancellation (from US-$310)

average rating is 5 out of 5
Best Cenotes Santa Barbara Tours

Another very special experience

Tour Cenotes Santa Bárbara

A great full-day tour with three cenotes and lunch. Free cancellation (from US-$110)

average rating is 5 out of 5
Best Cenotes Santa Barbara Tours

Not either/or, but also!

Tour Cenotes Santa Barbara Acanceh Ruins and Eknakan from Merida

Combine the cenotes with the Acanceh Maya site. Free cancellation (from US-$128)

average rating is 5 out of 5
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Viator Travel Promotions

Our partner and market leader, Viator, offers a wide range of exciting Thing to do in Mérida and on the Yucatán Peninsula.

 

Take advantage of special offers, save up to 20% and enjoy maximum flexibility with free cancelations. The most popular tours are booked up quickly, so don't miss out.

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