When it comes to fully appreciating the Riviera Maya, visiting a cenote is a must. Unlike some of the larger cenotes on Mexico’s Riviera Maya, the uniquely beautiful Cenote Chaak Tun is still relatively unknown and perfect for those seeking tranquility in their travels.
Cenote Chaak Tun is a low-lit, underwater cavern that has a fraction of the crowds of other cenotes and is relatively hard to find, despite being located only a few kilometers from coastal Playa del Carmen. If you’re looking for a place to yourself to dive or snorkel, this is it. With the help of a tour guide, you’ll make your way into this ancient twisting cave and experience practically untouched cenote waters, ancient rock formations and stunning Mayan history. It’s known as one of Playa del Carmen’s best-kept secrets.
Make Chaak Tun one of your destinations during your next beach vacation to Playa del Carmen—it’s an experience you won’t forget!
The Magic of Chaak Tun
Hidden in dense jungles just a few kilometers from Playa del Carmen, visitors find a truly original and inspiring underwater cavern. Chaak Tun is very hard to find—in fact, if you ask a local hotel worker or taxi driver, they might not know what you’re talking about—but local tour guides generally know the cavern’s location. This place was sacred to the ancient Maya. Chaak is the Mayan god of rain and the cave was known to them as Chaak’s Rain of Stone.
To access the cavern, visitors go through a long wooden boardwalk that crosses the Riviera Maya jungles. Upon entry, you’re met with tall, stunning stalagmite and stalactite rock formations that formed over millions of years and cool, crystal-clear water. Unlike the more touristy cenotes of the area, Chaak Tun only has few select areas with artificial lighting, lending the cave a mysterious, spooky feeling. Plus, there are no roped-off sections, so it doesn’t feel touristy.
Since you will mostly be alone other than whoever comes with your tour, it will be very quiet. How’s that for an adventure?
Explore Chaak Tun Like Indiana Jones
The first cave is filled with clear and cool turquoise water perfect for bathing. Others might use snorkeling and diving equipment for exploring the stalagmites and stalactites below—as tall as the rock formations are above water, they go on seemingly endlessly below!
Bring a flashlight if you feel like reenacting an Indiana Jones moment, there are many low-lit mini-chambers for you to explore. There’s also a replica of the Virgin of Guadalupe somewhere in the depths of the pools—divers say it’s spectacular. If you visit the second cenote, you’ll see a Mayan altar, where indigenous people once performed ceremonial sacrifices. You can enter the cool, low-lit waters here and relax while feeling like in the midst of a bygone era—without the sacrificial ceremonies, of course!
Getting to Chaak Tun & Where to Stay
Most visitors opt for a tour that includes a bus ride from their hotel to the cave because it’s so deep within the jungle, but you don’t need a reservation. The afternoon is the quietest time and once you reach the cave, the entry fee includes GoPro cameras, gear for swimming and snorkeling and even lunch. Afterward, you’ll be treated to locally made tequila, which is only made in three locations in Mexico!
Once you’re ready to sit back and reminisce about your adventure, stay at nearby Mahekal Beach Resort in Playa del Carmen for exclusive amenities and beachfront access. For dinner, Playa del Carmen has many excellent restaurants, like the authentic La Cueva del Chango.