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Looking for a cenote only visited by locals? The semi-open Cenote Tankach-Ha near the Coba Ruins is for all–families and kids. I mean…it has a diving platform!

After having wandered Coba Ruins for a few hours, Pat and I were hot and looking for a quick place to cool off. Right around the corner from the Coba Ruins are 3 unique and beautiful cenotes. Before Yucatan Peninsula was a piece of land, millions of years ago it used to be a gigantic underwater reef. Cenotes are a tourist attraction that everyone wants to experience. The beauty of the cenotes is that there are so many, it’ll never feel overcrowded…if you know which ones to go to. Before we dive into the local Cenote Tankach-Ha (yes, 100% pun intended), you should definitely take a moment to familiarize yourself with everything there is to know about cenotes here.

We arrived at the semi-open Cenote Tankach-Ha and paid the small $5 fee at the entrance. When we got out of the car we were kindly asked to use the outdoor showers and remove all chemical sunscreens and insect repellants before entering in order to preserve the cenote and the natural life. And then the journey began…


Leave as many of your belongings in the car as possible. There is basically no place to put them once you’re down in the cenote and you risk getting everything wet. Go down with your flipflops, or watershoes, or no shoes at all, towel, phone – and that’s about it.

We follow some steps down into a small hole in the ground. All of a sudden the cave gets dark and temperature drops. We’ve officially stepped inside the cave and you could literally feel it and see it. We walk down a spiraling wooden staircase to reach the bottom. Along the way we stop to admire the stalagmites and stalactites jutting out from the ceiling and the ground below. It kind of creeped me out…of course, my mind immediately turned negative and thought about one of these breaking off and falling into the water, but that’s never happened before.

The wooden staircase had 2 diving platforms, one at the top, which was about 26 feet (8 meters) high and the second farther below, which was about 16 feet (5 meters) high. I peered over the edge of the tallest one and looked down at the clear turquoise, dark blue, and aquamarine water below. It looked so pure, clean and enticing. We scuttered down to the bottom of the 20-foot deep Cenote Tankach-Ha so we could take a closer look at it.


Cenote Bar on Tulum Beach Road: Bula Tulum

The minute I dip my toe in the water, I shudder. The water is obviously freezing because it’s rain water. The hottest the cenote water ever gets is around 74F. Pat and I place our belongings in a small corner of the cave untouched by water and hope that our belongings don’t roll into the water. Like I said, there isn’t a place to put your belongings so everyone tries to push them up into the corners of the cave. We’re the only tourists at Cenote Tankach-Ha, so I know I chose the right one. Everyone around us is a local speaking Spanish just having an amazing time–kids, families and couples.

We go out into Cenote Tankach-Ha for a swim. The water feels amazing and is a breath of fresh air from the salty Caribbean Sea of Tulum Beach. Something about diving into fresh rain water feels like I’m being reborn. It just feels good for the spirit and mind. Although, if you read everything there is to know about cenotes…you might feel otherwise given cenotes’ past!

Of course…we couldn’t leave without trying out the diving platforms. Pat and I both tried out the 5 meter one (16 feet). And while it doesn’t look high, trust me, once you’re up there, it’s high. I got down a lot more uncoordinated and ungracefully then Patrick did. I was so freaked out when I jumped, I didn’t pencil when I dove and the impact of the water slapping my hands hurt like hell! You can see my reaction in the above video. We watched a younger girl jump from the 8 meter platform…bravo, but not happening. I could barely handle the 5 meter one!

After 30 minutes we made our way back up the staircase and let that slither of warm sunshine touch our faces again. Ahhh, warmth! We hopped in our rental car and drove back to Tulum. Cenote Tankach-Ha definitely was one of the coolest cenotes in the area, mainly because it was a semi-open cenote with a diving platform. And because it was so out of the way, it was only frequented by locals. There are so many cenotes to choose from you can’t go wrong. If you have time, try and experience all 4 different types: semi-open, open-aired, closed and deep open.

>> Next: 15 Restaurants in Tulum & Unique Foods to Try

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