Cancun is a conveniently located near Mayan ruins, quaint seaside towns, and ferry docks where you can get transportation to nearby islands. Due to it’s great location, you can take some fun and interesting road trips from Cancun. Some of the most popular places to visit on road trips from Cancun are the small towns of Puerto Morelos (roughly 30 minutes south of Cancun) and Playa del Carmen (about an hour south of Cancun), and the Mayan ruins of Tulum, Coba, and Chichen Itza. One of the most interesting and unique road trips you can take in the area is to travel along the Ruta de los Cenotes (Cenotes Route).
Ruta de los Cenotes is a road with many cenotes (sink holes where you can go for a swim) just off the road. The road begins in Puerto Morelos and ends in the town of Tulum. Along the route, you will encounter open cenotes (just a big hole exposed to sunlight) and covered cenotes (more like a cave filled with water). Some of the cenotes are maintained, while others are simply untouched in the jungle. Most of the maintained cenotes have stairs or ladders leading into the water and some have ropes that you can swing from and then jump into the water. And some of the cenotes are actually connected to other cenotes. The world’s largest underwater river is located in the Yucatan Peninsula so it makes sense that some cenotes would be connected.
Kin-Ha Cenote (pictured above) is one of the many cenotes along the Cenote Route. It is a covered cenote and there is a zip-line inside, that allows you to ride out over the water and then let go. (Think of it as a fancier version of a rope swing over the water.) For less-adventurous cenote visitors, Kin-Ha Cenote also has a ladder that you can can climb down to enter the water.
MapChick’s famous (well, famous to frequent Cancun travelers, that is) Can-Do Maps show the Ruta del Los Cenotes on the main Riviera Maya map. If you are not familiar with these maps, you should know that they are more than a simple map with street names and highway numbers. Their maps list area attractions, hotels, restaurants, and they also give extra information or reviews on various establishments. The map which shows the Ruta de Los Cenotes tells you where the cenotes are located along the route and, in most cases, the map lists admission fees and gives a brief description of each cenote listed. There are at least 20 cenotes shown on the map. Mayan ruins and other points of interest are also shown on the map.
The road is not paved in all sections so taking a rental car in those areas is not advised. There are plenty of cenotes to visit along the paved portion of the route, however, so it’s doubtful that you’ll even need to venture onto the unpaved roads.