The Homun cenotes are a highlight of any trip to the Mexican Yucatan. This little town is located 55.2km east of Merida, and 97.3km west of Chichen Itza respectively.
There are more than 20 cenotes in and around Homun, in what experts have referred to as anillo de los cenotes (ring of cenotes). So, if you want to spend a day hopping from one cenote to another, Homun is one of the best places to do that.
The Homun Cenotes
Cenotes are sinkholes or freshwater pools that sit inside underground caverns. They are only really found in the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico, although there are the occasional stragglers in other parts of the country.
For instance, Chucumaltik, Cenote De Miramar, and Cenote Del Jaguar near Comitan de Dominguez are the only known cenotes in Chiapas. Cenotes were created when the meteor that wiped out the dinosaurs smashed into Chicxulub, Mexico some 66 million years ago.
The word cenote is of Mayan descent. It sounds so much more beautiful, mysterious, and appealing than “sinkhole” doesn’t it?
It comes from the Ancient Mayan word “Dz’onot” meaning “cavern with water”. When the Chicxulub crater smashed into the earth, it weakened the surface of the earth and eroded the limestone. From there, cenotes were born.
The Ancient Maya would use cenotes for a range of purposes. Notably, the cenote found at Chichen Itza was used for human sacrifices and was a deeply religious place.
Fortunately, the Homun cenotes have a far less gruesome history. Farmers and agricultural workers would come here to escape the intense heat and cool down with a refreshing swim.
Locals would visit some cenotes to pray, but human sacrifices were never made in Homun. In some Homun cenotes, you can see Ancient Mayan markings and handprints on the walls.
The Homun cenotes are, without hesitation, among the best places to visit in the Yucatan. When you arrive in the town, you will see an abundance of tour guides and TukTuk/Moto Taxi drivers offering you a tour.
They charge 200 pesos ($10) for a tour of 4-5 cenotes. Even if you are driving, this is a pretty good thing to do.
Not only do you support the local people, but having a Homun resident on hand means that you have someone to ask for more information about the various cenotes you visit, what they were used for, etc. Indeed, most people in Homun are of Mayan descent.
Equally, if you don’t feel like scouring around the internet looking for the best Homun cenotes, or the list enclosed here seems overwhelming, you can simply tell your guide what sort of place you are looking for and they will find one accordingly. For instance, if you are not a strong swimmer, you can ask for them to take you to a cenote that does not have deep water.
If you prefer to explore independently without a guide, you can do that too. However, keep in mind that some cenotes are down dirt trails and gravel paths.
There are a couple of places scattered throughout the town where you can rent lifejackets for a few pesos if you like. Individual admission fees apply to all of the cenotes and most are around 40-50 pesos per person. All of these places are cash only so be sure to bring plenty of change.
15 Best Homun Cenotes
Some of the best Homun cenotes are detailed below. They are worth adding to your radar for your trip.
Of course, this list is not exhaustive. There is no such thing as a bad cenote, but some places do get crowded during the peak season (e.g. January) or at weekends.
Part of the fun of coming here is simply taking the time to check out any cenote you stumble upon and have what is inside as a surprise until you enter. The freshwater inside cenotes is home to fish, flora, fauna, and sensitive ecosystems.
You may sometimes even see little birds that live within the caves flying overhead. You should always shower before visiting cenotes and be sure not to apply sunscreen unless it is approved as being reef-safe. Other sunscreens contain chemicals that are very harmful to these ecosystems.
Cenotes can feel quite hot and humid when you first enter them because you are going into an enclosed, underground space. However, the water is always cool and refreshing and you will quickly forget about the humidity.
Cenote Cholul is one of the more off-the-beaten-path of the Homun cenotes. It is located a little way out of the town center and you will often find that you have it entirely to yourself.
Access to the cenote is made via a wooden staircase that descends underground through a circular hole in the ground. Look out for the Ancient Mayan handprints and wall paintings to your left immediately after entering.
This cenote has been used for swimming and leisure purposes for centuries. Even in the days of the Ancient Mayas, agricultural workers would come here to swim.
Cenote Cholul is essentially divided into two pools. At the foot of the stairs, there is a natural platform that gradually leads you into the water. If you are not a strong swimmer or you cannot swim at all, you can still enjoy this cenote by hanging out on the rocks and dangling your feet in the water.
You cannot take any food or drinks into the cenotes. However, this particular cenote, nestled in the heart of the Yucatan jungle is managed by a local family who sells drinks and snacks from a cooler and often barbeque meats to sell.
So, if this cenote happens to be your final stopping point of the day, you can order some Yucatecan food and have dinner with the locals. This is also one of the best Homun cenotes for amenities too – there are bathrooms right beside the entrance.
The 3 Santa Barbara Cenotes
If you ask Yucatecans what cenotes you must visit while in Homun, most will answer you with the same thing: The Santa Barbara cenotes. There are actually three cenotes here and you can opt to visit just one of them or all three.
It cost 250 pesos ($13) to visit all three cenotes. They are housed inside the remains of a grand old hacienda. For an additional 100 pesos ($5), you can add lunch.
The admission fee includes access to three cenotes, transport between them either by horse-drawn carriage or bicycle, and lifejackets. There are several showers and bathroom facilities scattered throughout the complex. They can be found both at the entrance and between cenotes 1 and 2.
Cenote Cascabel is the first cenote of the three. You enter through a little hole in the ground and it opens out into a grand, cavernous cenote with sparkling blue water.
There is no natural light inside, so spotlights have been placed throughout the cenote to illuminate the place. Cenote Chaksikín and the Pool Cocom cenotes are much smaller, yet just as worthy of your time.
These two are both semi-open and illuminated by natural light. You can visit the cenotes in whatever order you like, and go back and forth between them as you prefer. It may work out better to visit them in a random order depending on where is the busiest.
If you are here during high season or at a weekend, come early in the morning if you can. When tourists start pouring into Homun cenotes, they loose some of their je ne sais quoi.
Cenote Bal Mil
Cenote Bal Mil is situated down a dirt trail that veers off from Calle 19 in central Homun. Admission is 30 pesos per person ($1.50) and, like most Homun cenote, Bal Mil looks fairly unsuspecting from the outside.
It appears as little more than a hole in the ground. There is a large tree nicknamed “Alamo” by the entrance.
However, after descending down the narrow metal ladder, the space opens out into an impressive cavern with stalagmites and stalactites hanging from the ceiling. This is one of the most special of all of the Homun cenotes because many spiritual practices and Ancient rituals were once performed here.
Indeed, the Ancient Maya believed that cenotes were the entrance to the underworld and so, they would come to Bal Mil to pray and give thanks to their Gods. This is another spot where you will see Mayan handprints on the walls. The name “Bal Mil” means “what is hidden” in Mayan.
Cenote Hool Kosom
If you are looking for more off-the-beaten-path cenotes in Homun, add Cenote Hool Kosom to your list of places to visit. This cenote is relatively small but it is rarely if ever, occupied by more than a couple of people.
It is altogether more unique in appearance than most other cenotes too. Instead of a cavernous roof with stalagmites and stalactites, its roof is white limestone.
There is a little hole at the top that allows the light to pour through and illuminate the water below. It is one of the most photogenic cenotes. At the foot of the ladder into the cenote, there is a large wooden platform. If you can’t swim, it is just as pleasant to hang out on the platform and enjoy the natural scenery around you.
Cenote Wolpoch is one of the most unique Homun cenotes. Like cenote Bal Mil, it was used for a lot of spiritual practices and rituals.
Swimming here is almost like swimming in an underground museum. Not only are the natural formations of the cave spectacular, but here you are also amongst Mayan sculptures that were handcrafted by Ancient Yucatecan stonemasons.
At its deepest, Cenote Wolpoch is only 2.5 meters deep. The cenote is closed, illuminated by spotlights.
Cenote San Antonio
Cenote San Antonio is arguably one of the more commercial of the Homun cenotes. There is a restaurant serving traditional food adjacent to the cenote, as well as a hotel where you can opt to spend the night.
The cenote has two separate chambers that are perfect for swimming in. Each boasts crystal-clear cerulean water. The bathrooms and showers on-site are available for everyone to use, whether you opt to stay at the hotel here or not.
Cenote Chelpak is one of the least visited Homun cenotes. The cenote is small and is accessed via a very steep, narrow wooden staircase that is around 8 meters long and takes you down to the crystal-clear water.
It sits in the heart of the woodlands close to Bal Mil. There is no admission fee and there is barely any signage bar a small A4 paper that reads “Cenote Chelpak” that is taped to one of the nearby trees.
If you take the time to venture down the dirt trail towards cenote Chelpak, you will almost certainly be the only person(s) there. Consider packing a snorkel so that you can see the fish beneath the surface as you swim.
Cenote Los Tres Oches
Cenote Los Tres Oches translates to mean “the three foxes”. There are three small cenotes here, each one more beautiful than the last.
This cenote is not recommended for the claustrophobic or those who cannot swim. Getting to the first cenote is easy enough.
The first cenote is open and accessed by a (rickety) wooden ladder. Here, you can swim out in the open in the crystal clear waters.
Accessing the second and third cenotes requires a little more effort such as clambering up and down ropes and squeezing through tight holes. For that reason, it may not be for everyone.
Cenote Yaxbacaltun is a large, semi-open cenote and one of the most popular in the area. It is situated partway down a dirt trail some 500m away from Calle 8 in Homun.
You should arrive early to avoid the crowds. This is a great cenote for adventure lovers.
Cenote Yaxbacaltun is complete with a rope swing perfect for swinging across the cenote and into the water like Tarzan. The name Yaxbacaltun means “green corn on stone” – an obscure name that stems from a local legend about a corn farmer that disappeared in this area centuries ago.
A lot of Yucatecans flock to Yaxbacaltun on the 15th of July every year. It is said that on this date each year, the sun shines in a specific part of the cenote and reflects the image of a green corn plant which can only be seen by a lucky few. Those that see the plant are to receive good fortune.
You can see Toh birds flying around the roof of Yaxbacaltun. This is a cute and colorful little bird that likes to live in dark places. Their bodies are mostly turquoise, with some red, green, and yellow coloring.
Cenote Mani Chan
Cenote Mani Chan is a closed cenote housed inside a cave (gruta). Admission is 50 pesos per person ($2.54).
Here, not only can you enjoy swimming in the crystal-clear blue waters, but you can also give yourself an Ancient Mayan spa treatment using the natural clay found in the cave. This is one of only a few spots in the Yucatan where you can find this exfoliating clay.
Another nearby can be found at Rio Lagartos. Just outside the entrance to the cenote, there is a camping ground complete with shower and bathroom facilities. If you love nature and the great outdoors, what could be better than sleeping beneath the stars and then waking up to swim in a cenote?
Cenote Caliskutz Homún
The magnificent Cenote Caliskutz and its shimmering blue waters are nestled in the heart of the Mayan jungle just outside of Homun. This cenote is not signposted, which helps it to escape the attention of a lot of tourists.
To reach it, follow the signs for the nearby Cenote Maní Chan. Access to the cenote is 50 pesos per person.
You enter the cenote through a small hole and a wooden staircase that descends down towards the water. There is a small platform at the foot of the stairs which is perfect for diving off of.
The walls of the cave are white, with stalagmites hanging from the ceilings. Look out for the small black catfish that call this freshwater pool their home.
Cenote San Isidro
Cenote San Isidro is a little cave cenote located part way down a dirt trail some 60m away from Calle 6 de Homún. The cenote is relatively small compared to many of the others but just as worthy of your time.
This little closed cenote is set inside a mysterious cave. You have to exercise some caution swimming here as some of the stalagmites hang down so low that they almost touch the water.
The entrance to Cenote San Isidro is clearly marked. There is also some fun and interesting street art of Mayan calendars and Mayan figures that have been painted onto the rocks by the entrance and are great to snap a quick photo with.
Cenote Santa Rosa
You could easily dedicate an entire afternoon to hanging out at Cenote Santa Rosa. An upscale complex has developed around the complex – including a palapa restaurant where you can enjoy traditional local food, hammocks to chill out in, and luxe cabins where you can opt to spend the night.
The cenote itself is small, housed inside a natural cave, and illuminated by artificial lights. It does get quite busy so head here early in the day if you can. The food at the on-site restaurant is very good and reasonably priced so you can always stop by for lunch and then pop your head in the cenote to gauge how crowded it is.
Getting to Homun
It is easy to get to the Homun cenotes, whether you opt to do so by bus or car. Organized cenote tours can also help take some of the stress out of figuring out the logistics of how to get from A to B.
Driving to Homun
Driving in Mexico is a more pleasant experience than people realize. In the Yucatan and Quintana Roo particularly, the roads are very well maintained. From Merida, drive east on Calle 59.
Start following the signs for Merida to Valladolid or Cancun. Then, deviate when you see signs for Chetumal.
Pass through Acanceh and then continue east to Homun. It is a good idea to purchase a Mexican sim card and use a map app like Google Maps or Maps Me if you are going to be driving around the Yucatan.
Renting a car in Mexico gives you a lot more freedom and flexibility in managing your itinerary. Many reputable rental companies can be found in Merida, Cancun, Tulum, etc. You should expect to pay around $20 a day for a rental.
Taking the Bus to Homun
Lineas Unidas del Sur operates a direct bus between Merida and the Homun Cenotes. The journey takes approximately 47 minutes in each direction and tickets cost 30 pesos per person.
Do note that Huhi is the final destination on this bus route so use an offline map to check when you are approaching Homun. You will most likely see that this is where a bunch of people get off the bus anyway.
As soon as you disembark, you will be met with locals offering moto-taxi tours. If you are in Valladolid, there is no direct bus to Homun. You have to go via Merida.
Merida to Homun buses depart at the following times each day:
If you want to arrive early in the morning, it is better to spend a night in Homun and then get up early to enjoy the cenotes. The return buses from Homun to Merida depart at the following times:
Recommended Yucatan Cenote Tours
Cenote tours are great because they take a lot of stress out of your trip. You don’t have to worry about driving or navigating foreign bus networks.
Instead, someone comes and picks you up at your hotel. Lunch is often included and at the end of the day, they drop you off back at your hotel again.
A number of reputable Yucatan cenote tours are detailed below for your consideration. Do note that these are not just limited to the Homun cenotes, but all beautiful cenotes in the Yucatan state.
Homun Cenotes FAQs
Other Things to do Around Homun
There is little to see in Homun town aside from the cenotes. These are the raison d’être that most people decide to visit.
The Zocalo (central square) here is quite pretty. In particular, look out for the beautiful old convent of Parroquia San Buenaventura.
This is a gorgeous Franciscan convent that dates back to the 16th century. If you happen to stop by on a day when it is open and there is not a service going on, it is worth a quick look inside.
The tall ceilings and the vibrant frescoes make the interior every bit as spectacular as the exterior. There is little documented history about this building or the community that frequented it.
Cuzamá town is a small settlement right next to Homun. You will pass through it if you are traveling to Homun from Merida.
There are a lot of great barbeque/grill house restaurants here if you want to grab a spot of lunch. The town of Hocaba also has a very charming church (Iglesia Principal San Francisco de Asis) and zocalo.
You can purchase all manner of weird and wonderful street food snacks here too. Consider purchasing tostitos topped with elotes (corn), fresh cream, chili, and vegetables. It’s messy and questionable-looking but delicious!
Things to Know Before You Go
Most Homun cenotes do not have lockers outside them. So, you have to keep your things in a pile in a dry part of the cenote.
For this reason, don’t take any valuables to the cenotes with you and keep your expensive camera, along with your passport, etc at your hotel. Of course, if you hire a guide for the day, they will watch your things but this is still a person that you don’t know.
Mosquitos, gnats, and other bugs are a real problem in the Yucatan, especially near bodies of water. Wear closed shoes with a decent grip for venturing into the cenotes. Don’t apply any sunscreen, body lotion, moisturizer, etc before swimming in the cenotes.
A theft-proof bag is a useful thing to include in your Mexico packing list. It will come in handy for cenotes and ensures that nobody can quickly unzip your bag and take your things while you are swimming.
They are a little pricier than an average backpack, sure. But these bags come with long, multi-year warranties, have locking devices, and are both slash-proof and waterproof.
Homun Cenotes: Parting Words
Have you visited the Homun cenotes or any other cenotes in the Yucatan peninsula? What did you think?
Which ones were your favorites? Have a wonderful time traveling in Mexico! Hasta Luego!