Along with world-famous beaches, lush jungles, and Mayan ruins, Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula is home to thousands of freshwater sinkholes known as cenotes that double as some of the most magical swimming pools on the planet. Countless cenotes dot the Riviera Maya outside of popular destinations such as Cancún and Tulum — including Cenote Minotauro, one of the most fascinating cenotes in all of Mexico.

@matadornetwork There are thousands of natural water-filled sinkholes called cenotes in Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. This one is Cenote Minotauro and it's near Playa del Carmen. It's not a very well-known one so you're likely to have plenty of space to yourself 🤩 #cenoteminotauro #cenotes #mexicotravel #snorkeling ♬ Im hot – mental health

What is a cenote, and what makes Cenote Minotauro so special?

Cenotes are natural sinkholes that are formed in limestone when the roof of an underground cavern collapses, exposing crystal clear freshwater that’s excellent for swimming. Cenote Minotauro is one of the most intricate cenotes in the Yucatán Peninsula.

The name comes from the Greek myth of the minotaur, a creature with the head of a bull and the body of a man. According to legend, the minotaur was hidden away in a labyrinth beneath the city of Knossos, which is reminiscent of the labyrinthine depths of this particular cave system. Cenote Minotauro features two swimming holes connected by an underwater tunnel. The main cenote plunges more than 60 feet at its deepest and is filled with stunning stalactites and stalagmites that have grown over time due to mineral deposits from the water.

Jumping into the larger cenote from the surrounding cliffs and swimming through its refreshing waters is an unforgettable experience, but Cenote Minotauro is especially popular with cave divers. There are two main diving areas, the cenotes and the cavers. The cenotes are open pools with sandy bottoms while the caverns are more challenging with tight spaces, dark waters, and geological features. A variety of fish swim throughout the cave system.

Getting to Cenote Minotauro, and what to know before you go

Cenote Minotauro is located between Playa del Carmen and Tulum off Highway 307 near the town of Akumal. To get there, look for the entrance near the Pemex gas station by Xpu Há Beach. The cenote is located just off the main road and is well-marked. There is a small parking area and a short path leading down to the cenote. Once there, you can buy tickets to enter the cenote for 50 pesos ($2.50) per person.