Yucatán secret places

Yucatán is a place that most people use as a synonym for Mexico. It is not true. If you allow yourself enough time to explore more than Yucatán peninsula, you will see the major differences between Riviera Maya and the rest of Mexico.


But because most people are heading to Yucatán as their first visit to Mexico, we have put together this list of places where you will be the only one or one of few people there. Go beyond Cancun, Playa and Tulum and explore a bit. You will thank us later! 🙂


Cenotes of Yucatán


We think that if you’re heading to Yucatán, you should really visit cenotes.

A cenote is a natural pit, or sinkhole, resulting from the collapse of limestonebedrock that exposes groundwater underneath. Especially associated with the Yucatán Peninsula of Mexico, cenotes were sometimes used by the ancient Maya for sacrificial offerings. (wikipedia)

Try to leave Riviera Maya where the cenotes are expensive and full of people. The best way how to do this is to put “cenote” into google maps and then zoom in. You will see how many of them will start coming up. Some of them don’t even have names and no reviews. With these we’d be careful, especially if your time is limited. You may end up unlucky – behind a fence, wrong location etc. Pick those that have been visited by at least couple of people and they left reviews and some photos.

And now tips from us!

Cenote Yaal-Utzil

We love area around Mérida for cenotes. They are not well known, non touristic (there are exceptions of course, like Cuzamá) and cheap. Yaal-Utzil you will find southwest from Yucatán capital. Follow the google maps, the road is fully paved and location is exact. Entrance fee is 20 peso and you can rent a lifejacket for additional fee. There are ropes above the water so you have something to grab on when you need a rest. You’ll get down via slightly flimsy stairs and be careful, they are slippery when wet. You can snorkel, dive, jump or just swim and enjoy the location. We were alone there on Thursday afternoon. There are no showers, it’s all very rustic but beautiful.


Man jumping into the deep sinkhole

man in the water after diving from a platform in cenote in Yucatán


Cenote Palomitas

Absolutely stunning cenote close to Valladolid but not so frequently visited as others close to the town. Follow google directions for this cenote and cenote Aqua dulce. They are part of one site. The site consists of facilities (showers and bathrooms, clean and modern) and a restaurant. The entrance fee is 90 peso for each of the cenotes. We didn’t have time to visit both but the local at the entrance advised us to visit Palomitas as the more beautiful one. There’s a long staircase (stone, concrete) going down into this huge cave. Once you see it, you’ll probably forget to breath. It’s huge with beautiful stalactites. There are lifejackets and floating rings you can use. Again there are ropes over the water that you can grab on if you feel tired. It’s deeeep :).



Cenote Suem

This is totally hidden place, behind a gate but we met a keeper on the way there (and a big bull) who opened the gate for us and showed us around. We weren’t so keen to swim in this one because there was a lot of debris on top of the water. It’s only dust and polen falling down from the top but it just doesn’t look very visually pleasing for swimming. We can imagine when there’s more people, all of this just disappears with the movement of the water. Nevertheless, it’s a magical place for photographers!


Flamingos of Yucatán

There are 2 major bio reserves in Yucatán where you can see these birds. Rio Celestún and Rio Lagartos. But what deters us from visiting these ones was the reality how the tours to flamingos are done. On the motor boats. So all the birds are scared and fly away. We experienced this when visiting biosphere in Tabasco hoping to see the crocodiles. All the birds flew away as soon as the boat came closer with all the noise.


Fortunately, we were told, that driving from Progreso we can see them from the road. And that’s how it was. Laguna Rosada – where the road to Xcambo is crossing it, you will find the flamingos. In the evening we saw few groups but in the morning we saw huge flocks. And nobody else was there. And the birds were able to continue doing what they were doing because we only quietly walked around with the camera. Everybody was happy!


Pink flamingos in the water and a heron in the foreground in the laguna in Yucataán


Pink lakes

You may have seen these famous pink lakes in Mexico already. They’re called Las Coloradas and are close to Lagartos. But! we’ve got another alternative. At the same spot where you can see flamingos, you can find the pink lakes too. Maybe smaller but same pink :). They are pink because when extracting salt, special kind of algae live in these waters. It’s really an interesting sight but you’ll be done taking photos within 10 minutes. Anyway, as it’s right next to the flamingos, you can get two things at once!


A woman standing in front of a pink lake


We hope we have given you some ideas where to go on your next trip to Yucatán. There are other options apart from the usual tourist route and they’re worth exploring. Let us know in comments about any other cool quiet spots!

Follow Luba Lapsanska:

Older woman, 33 years old, experienced. She stopped being a doctor and started being a traveller. She likes animals more than people because they don't lie. She also likes looking at the the world through the viewfinder of her camera.

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