- 1 Exploring the Village of Coba
- 2 Visiting the Three Cenotes
- 3 About the Cenotes
- 4 Getting There – Transportation from Coba
- 5 Cenote Choo-Ha
- 6 Cenote Tamcach-Ha
- 7 Cenote Multum-Ha
- 8 Getting Away – Transportation from the Cenotes to Tulum
- 9 Practical Details – Cenotes Tamcach-Ha, Choo-Ha & Multum-Ha
- 10 Further Reading
- 11 Planning Your Next Adventure?
- 12 Pin It!
Cenotes Tamcach-Ha, Choo-Ha and Multum-Ha are three beautiful underground cenotes located about a ten minute drive from the Mayan Ruins of Coba in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. Swimming in these gorgeous natural, freshwater sinkholes makes for a perfect side trip after exploring the nearby Mayan Ruins of Coba.
This is my guide to visiting these three cenotes, along with stories from my experiences and photos.
Exploring the Village of Coba
After exploring the Coba ruins, I wandered around the village of Coba, looking for somewhere to eat lunch.
The village was very small and consisted of only a few gravel roads stemming off from the main paved highway. It was pretty quiet as well and there weren’t many people around at the time, although there were a few stray dogs running around and lazing in the middle of the highway.
My friends and I wandered around an area along the paved highway just before the curve in the road to the ruins where there was a cluster of buildings situated around a large open area, including a few local restaurants and a pharmacy. We stepped inside one of the restaurants and although it appeared like it was open from the outside, we could not find anybody working inside and decided to left and try elsewhere. I did hear the cry of a baby that sounded like it came from behind the restaurant (Mexicans often live in small houses behind the local restaurants that they own) though on my way out. Maybe the family had slept in!
We continued the hunt for a place to eat. There were a few larger sit-down restaurants in town (like La Piramide, Xaibe, Ji-Kanal), but we wanted to eat at an inexpensive and local family-owned place that served authentic food.
After walking north along the highway a little further, we found a small restaurant called Loncheria La Mexicana that looked promising and I saw a young child who looked to be around 8 years old, holding out menus to us and waving at us to come into his restaurant. The restaurant had an open-air style with plastic tables and chairs inside the simple building. We had the entire place to ourselves and were the only ones there. The boy (who spoke Spanish-only) handed us menus. I ordered a plate of three tacos with cheese, tomatoes and avocados. The tacos tasted fresh and they were delicious! It took them awhile to be prepared, as they were homemade from scratch by the young boy’s family in the restaurant’s small adjoining kitchen.
As we were eating our meal, it suddenly became extremely windy outside and then began pouring rain. Our timing was impeccable and I was so glad that we had finished exploring the Coba ruins when we did and that we were eating in a sheltered restaurant! Thankfully, the rain stopped shortly after we had finished eating. Perfect timing!
Visiting the Three Cenotes
After the torrential downpour of rain and high winds died down and we had finished eating lunch, we hopped back into the car. I checked my map and directions and began driving to three completely underground and supposedly beautiful nearby cenotes, which were situated only 10 minutes away from Coba.
Having a car to get there was necessary, as there was no public transport available (although it may be possible to hire a taxi if you happen to see one waiting around at the ruins).
About the Cenotes
Cenotes Tamcach-Ha, Choo-Ha and Multum-Ha are a group of three beautiful and unique underground cenotes situated about a 10-minute drive from the Coba ruins and village of Coba and located deep among the thick jungle in an authentic, natural and rugged setting. Cooling off with a refreshing swim in these serene and magical cenotes makes for a perfect addition to a morning spent climbing and exploring the Coba ruins. I loved the fact that these cenotes were off the main tourist path, lesser-known and hardly mentioned in most travel guidebooks.
I visited Cenotes Tamcach-Ha, Choo-Ha and Multum-Ha during an afternoon in November 2015 with three friends whom I had met at Mama’s Home Hostel in Tulum, and who joined me on my day-long Coba road trip. We had rented a car from American Car Rental in Tulum (click here to read about my experience with renting a car in Mexico for the first time) and spent the morning exploring and climbing the ruins at Coba and then made our way to this group of three amazing cenotes for a refreshing swim.
Getting There – Transportation from Coba
After we had finished exploring the Coba Ruins, we hopped in our rental car and began driving to the three nearby cenotes.
From the Coba parking lot, I left onto the main paved road. The road curved along the edge of one of the two large lagoons in the village of Coba. After about one minute, I arrived at an intersection of a small road. At the corner, there was a blue sign with the names of the three cenotes and an arrow pointing to the left. I turned left on this small road and followed the sign.
The road passed through another small section of the Coba village, and along both sides of the street were rows of small and square white cement houses, a basketball court in a large open area, small convenience stores (called “abarrotes”), and other buildings painted in pastel colours with lots of jungle growth surrounding the buildings. There were dogs walking on the street and lazing in any shade they could find on the sidewalks. Although the street was paved, it was in poor condition and there were sections that were crumbling and cracking, which resulted in some bumps.
The road soon led out of the village, narrowed to a single lane, and became surrounded on both sides by thick and lush green jungle that crept closely up beside the road. The road was curvy and it had lots of twists through the vegetation. It was an absolutely beautiful drive and I enjoyed admiring the gorgeous natural scenery as I drove. There were no other cars around and it felt so empowering and amazing to be completely alone in such a beautiful, serene, secluded and rugged area of the Yucatan. The road straightened out and we soon arrived at a fork in the road. A sign listing the names of the three cenotes had an arrow pointing to the right, so I merged onto that road and continued driving.
This narrow highway was newly paved and the vegetation became even denser as we drove further into the jungle. Not long after turning onto that road, we approached another fork in the highway with a sign for the cenotes pointing to the left down a narrow gravel road. At the beginning of the road, there was a small ticket booth and we purchased our tickets to visit all three cenotes for 165 pesos total (55 pesos for each cenote). After paying for our admission, I continued driving down the gravel road where both Cenotes Choo-Ha and Tamcach-Ha were situated.
We parked in the small gravel parking lot and there were no other cars or people in sight. There was a very rustic-looking building with washrooms and changing room facilities. The cenote was surrounded by the dense and natural jungle and I loved the rugged terrain and secluded, off the beaten path location. Nothing had been done to modernize or develop the area.
Cenote Choo-Ha was accessed via a small opening in the ground surrounded by a low stone wall. I began walking down the narrow spiral wooden staircase underground which then became straight as the cenote opened up to a large round cavern with high rock ceilings. There were so many interesting rock formations that connected the ground with the ceiling including lots of stalactites and stalagmites everywhere.
The wooden staircase led onto a natural rocky island in the centre of the cavern and connecting to one of the rock walls, which was partially surrounded by water that was a beautiful blue colour. The water was shallow and clear and I could see the rocks at the bottom. I could even stand up in some areas. My friends and I had this entire cenote to ourselves during our afternoon visit, which was so amazing. It was so quiet, calm and serene and it felt magical to be in such a beautiful place.
I left my belongings on some dry rocks next to the staircase and went for a swim in the natural fresh water. Swimming in this cenote was such an amazing experience and the water was so refreshing after climbing and exploring the Coba ruins all morning. I enjoyed leisurely swimming while admiring the incredible rock formations around me and just relaxing.
Of all three cenotes that we visited that afternoon, Choo-Ha was definitely my favourite cenote and I found it to be the most beautiful.
From Cenote Choo-Ha, we piled back in the car and drove down a narrow and pothole filled dirt road surrounded by the jungle, that stemmed off from Choo-Ha’s parking lot to the left. We soon arrived at the small parking area for Tamcach-Ha. There were a few other cars and people there, but still not too many.
Like Cenote Choo-Ha, the entrance to Tamcach-Ha was also a small opening in the ground. I began climbing down the narrow spiral wooden steps surrounded by rock walls on both sides. They were wet and very slippery. The stairs seemed neverending but the cenote finally opened up to a massive and perfectly round cavern deep underground. I continued to climb down. There were two wooden platforms that stemmed off of the spiral staircase at 10 metres and 5 metres, where people a few other people were jumping into the deep blue water below. I chickened out and decided not to jump but enjoyed watching others plunge into the water at high speeds!
The staircase eventually led onto a cement platform, which was completely submerged flooded by the high cenote waters during my visit. There were a couple of wooden benches on the platform where I placed my belongings. Swimming in Tamcach-Ha, such a naturally beautiful place, was amazing! There was a rope strung across the cenote for holding onto and taking a break from treading water which was helpful. The cenote was very deep and the water was a deep blue colour. The rock ceiling was high (but there were no stalagmites) and the interior of the cavern was a perfectly round shaped, large circle.
We weren’t completely alone at this cenote and there were a few other people, but it was fun watching them jump from the platforms into the water and it was definitely not too crowded. The atmosphere was very relaxed and calm.
After exiting Cenote Tamcach-Ha, we stepped outside into a heavy rainstorm! We quickly jumped in the car and headed back towards the narrow and newly paved highway and made our way to the final cenote.
Upon arriving at the highway at the intersection where the ticket booth was located, I turned left and drove along the highway for only a few minutes when I saw a sign indicating that the cenote was located down a gravel road to the right. The dirt road was in terrible condition and there were huge potholes everywhere that were quickly filling up with rain and I drove very slow while trying my best to dodge them. The drive along this road felt longer, but we finally pulled in to small gravel parking lot. There were no other cars or people in sight, except for the local man sitting underneath an umbrella at the entrance to the underground sinkhole.
Multum-Ha was situated further into the jungle than the other two cenotes. It had rustic changing and washroom facilities outside in a small wooden building that looked the same as the one at the other two cenotes.
The cenote was accessed in the same way as the other two – via a wooden staircase through a small hole in the ground with a circular and low stone wall built up around it and covered with a palapa-leaf roof. The spiral staircase which led deep underground into the cenote, was long and much narrower than the other cenotes and was surrounded by stone on all sides. If you are claustrophobic, this may freak you out a little bit!
The staircase finally opened up to the large, beautiful and perfectly round cavern located deep underground, and led onto a large wooden deck-like platform with railings overlooking the dark blue cenote water (which was completely flooded at the time of my visit due to the large amounts of rain they had gotten in the Yucatan that season). There was a small hole in the rock ceiling of the cavern where a tiny bit of light shone through and where long tree roots dangled into the water from the ground above. It was still pouring rain outside and all I could hear inside the cenote was raindrops falling from the sky into the cenote water. We were completely alone at this cenote and the atmosphere was very serene and lovely.
I found a dry space on the flooded wooden deck close to the stairs to leave my belongings while I swam. Like the other two cenotes, there was a rope across the cenote water, which was great for taking a rest every once and awhile (treading water is a work-out!). I thoroughly enjoyed my time swimming there and I was in complete awe of the beauty of this place!
It was still pouring rain when we climbed back up the stairs out of the cenote to the ground level and it continued to downpour for a portion of the drive back to Tulum.
In total, we spent around 30-40 minutes at each cenote and left after 1.5 to 2 hours.
Getting Away – Transportation from the Cenotes to Tulum
I drove my rental car from the three cenotes back through the village of Coba and then onward to Tulum, on the same route as I had taken to arrive there. It was an easy and straightforward drive and I felt more comfortable driving on the way back, as I knew exactly what to expect and where the crazy “topes” (speed bumps) were located!
You can read a more detailed account of my experiences driving from Tulum to Coba and about the car rental process by clicking here, for Part One of my Coba ruins and cenote adventure!
Related Post: Exploring the Mayan Ruins of Coba
Practical Details – Cenotes Tamcach-Ha, Choo-Ha & Multum-Ha
Location – Approximately a 10-minute drive from the Coba Ruins (see my driving directions in the Getting There section).
Hours – 8 AM to 5 PM
Admission – 55 pesos for each cenote or 165 pesos for entrance to all three
Parking – Each of the cenotes has a small gravel parking lot where it is free to park.
Facilities – There are no lockers at any of the three cenotes. There are rustic changing rooms and washrooms available.
These are some articles that inspired me to visit these three stunning cenotes near Coba. Check them out as well!
Planning Your Next Adventure?
Here are some helpful links if you are currently planning your next travel adventure!
Compare prices and book your flights using Momondo. I love the user-friendly design of this website and how easy it is to filter your flights by price, duration, etc. It’s a great place to find the best flight deals!
Use Hostelworld to book a private room or dorm bed at a budget-friendly hostel and browse through listings across the globe. Use Booking.com to find a huge inventory of independent hotels, guesthouses, bed and breakfasts, hostels and chain hotels around the world and for every budget. And if you’re looking for a more authentic and unique experience of staying in a local’s home at your destination, then book your stay using Airbnb (sign-up using my link and get a discount off your first stay).
Click here to read more of my posts about Mexico’s Yucatan to help with your trip planning!
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a travel booking on any of the websites I have recommended, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. I use all of these websites for booking my own travels and would never recommend something that I don’t already love.
Have you visited any of these three cenotes near the Coba ruins? What was your experience like? What other cenotes would you recommend visiting in Mexico’s Yucatan?
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