Cenote Zacil-Ha is a beautiful, and often uncrowded Hidden Gem of the Riviera Maya and is designed with one purpose – to entertain and delight you from the moment you arrive until you reluctantly leave – usually about 3 hours later! What makes Cenote Zacil-Ha so special you might ask? Well let’s take a look into what make this place a little different from so many other similar attractions in this area.
When you ask for recommendations from locals, whether its your hotel concierge, a taxi driver or someone you know who lives in the area – where would you recommend I go? Where is there a cenote that isn’t over-crowded and touristy? 7 or 8 out of 10 will say – Cenote Zacil-Ha is the place to go. While it’s a small cenote in comparison to some others, it is in the jungle and really well taken care of.
It is not filled with tours and tourists like the big well known spots, even though this place has all the features and facilities that would normally bring them in in droves! Things like – stairs to access the water – which is always nice – I’m all for adventure but I’m not quite up to rappelling into the water and climbing a rope ladder out of it anymore.
They offer a zip line (hubby’s favourite), spots to jump in (he’s the brave one there me not so much), places to enjoy the sun and relax after you’ve had your fill of swimming (that’s more my style). And then there’s the restaurant – oh my is the food ever yummy! I tried the hamburger and french fries, guacamole and chips.
The guacamole was nice and fresh, tangy with lime juice, just the way you want it – you can tell they make it fresh! And the chips were crisp and crunchy! The burger was very nice, with crisp lettuce, and sliced tomato. The bun was fresh, and the patty wasn’t greasy – just nicely cooked and very tasty! I would have it again for sure!
The drinks were nice and frosty cold – hubby had some fruity concoction (he loves whatever comes out of a blender) he’s always the one to try the drink of the day as you may know! Me, I like my Corona or Dos Equis – whatever they are serving that is called a cerveza! I think I had a few Coronas – they were icy cold, very reasonably priced and service was excellent so why not!
The video above really shows how quiet it can be. These guys look like they are having a lot of fun! While Cenote Zacil-Ha is on the small side, the facilities and amenities really make up for the size of the cenote itself.
In the video below you can get a better sense of how busy it can get in the afternoons. It does tend to get crowded once everyone wakes up and gets on with their day.
Another great thing about Cenote Zacil-Ha is they always celebrate special events. Whether its World Cup Soccer (they had big events surrounding this – you could watch the games – they had a big buffet spread – it was incredible), or Dia de Muertos (Day of the Dead) – they do something to help locals and tourists honour and celebrate these events in style!
We are booked to go to Puerto Vallarta this year for Day of the Dead otherwise I think this is where we would be spending it!
Another thing I was really excited to see was the onsite cabanas – you can now stay right at the cenote, in these beautiful little cabanas. And the prices are incredible!
They also offer not one but two swimming pools that are included in your admission. As well as lounging areas, change rooms, washrooms, and a little shopping area. Like I said before, they really take very good care of you here.
If you are staying at a resort in Cancun or the Riviera Maya there are many options for getting here. Several tour operators run tours to the Tulum Ruins with stops here in the afternoon (note that this may be an option but it will be crowded) – still worth the visit but swimming and lounging space may be limited.
A great option would be to rent a car as parking here is free and there is lots of space available (but don’t tell everyone or there won’t be space for long lol)! Renting cars is easy in this part of Mexico. I’ll do an article on that in the near future. We’ve done it a few times, and other than scaring the crap out of a construction worker or two with my driving, we did just fine!
The other option is to take a taxi. They are efficient and depending on how many people you have it will either be a car or a van – and the cost will change based on that. We don’t take taxis very often, to be honest, preferring to either take public transportation (not an option here) or rent a car.
In this case, I might look into making an arrangement through my hotel/resort concierge for a private taxi, or go outside the gates of where I’m staying and try to negotiate a set rate. Sometimes you can work out a deal with a driver to be your host for the day. They will take you where you want to go, wait for you to do your activities, take you to multiple places, and then return you to your place of origin for one fee. This can be a great option if you negotiate with the right person.
My personal preference is always to go with a private tour. We have always had exceptional service from really great tour operators, arranging private tours in advance. Sometimes they weren’t supposed to be private tours, but ended up being that way due to scheduling or others guests canceling etc. I’ve included a link to book tours to this wonderful attraction below, including a company who can do private tours, at very reasonable rates, and who will take excellent care of you.