Being a sustainable development at Casa de las Olas we are great supporters of sustainable tourism. What we love about the Tulum area is the amount of sustainable tourism activities that guests can participate in. One of our favorites is Cenote Dos Ojos. Cenotes are the number one sustainable tourism activities on the coast and are unique to this area, not only in Mexico but also the world.
Why cenotes are sustainable tourism
Cenotes are naturally made fresh water pools that are part of over 790 kms of cave systems that are throughout the area. The cenotes are the opening where the cave comes to the surface. The cave systems here in the Riviera Maya are fulled with limestone formations making the cave system one of the most decorated in the world. The caves are also completely submersed in water to the formations stay protected from outside elements but are also not continuing to form due to being submersed in water. The formations only form when the limestone is exposed to air. Once submersed they cease to form making the limestone formations even more precious.
Cenotes are part of sustainable tourism for many reasons.
1. They are a natural part of the landscape and are a part of the environment.
2. Land owners are local residents, they are not government owned so paying the entrance fee to these natural wonders supports local residents and in most cases local Mayan families
3. Cenotes are a large part of why the jungle on the Mayan Rivera exists. Plant root systems use cenotes for fresh water. The jungle could only exist with the help and eco-partnership of the cenotes.
4. Cenotes and the cave systems continue to be a large part of the local culture. Mayans build their communities around cenotes. Mayans also used the cave systems hundreds of years ago to hide from invaders, and travel through the dense jungle.
5. Cave divers travel from all over the world to explore the caves making this area of Mexico a hub for cave and scuba divers. It has helped to shape the culture of the area since the 1980’s.
6. Fresh water is extracted from the cenotes for residential use. Cenote are the only supply of fresh water.
Cenote Dos Ojos system map for snorkelers
We are advocates of the use of local guides, but some snorkelers want to experience cenotes on their own. It is part of the adventure and thrill of a new country. Local guides are very knowledgable in the history of cenotes, the best places to snorkel, the best way to maneuver the centoes and for novice snorkelers, you will get a snorkeling lesson and assistance.
The drive to Dos Ojos is about 5 km on the federal Highway to the center of Tulum. Pay your fee per person at the entrance and be ready for a long drive into the parking area. The road is rough, the jungle dense but fun. We do not recommend taking a collective and walking to the cenote. Too hot, the jungle is too dense and it will take about an hour or so to walk in.
Once you are in the parking area of the cenotes, there are two areas to snorkel. As per the map, it is best to do one and then the other moving between the two cenotes on land. Divers move between the two areas underwater , the passages are too long for a snorkeler or free diver.
As sustainable tourism goes, we don’t think you can get that much closer to sustainability than a cenote. It fits all the parameters of sustainable tourism, environmental, economic, human and cultural. Check it out and have some fun!! It is one of the coolest experiences you will have.