Americas | Bacalar | Mexico

Cenote Cocalitos Bacalar – A Guide To Visiting One Of The Best Bacalar Cenotes

Cenote Cocalitos Bacalar has this mind-blowing emerald and a little milky colour! And spending a day exploring this fantastic cenote is hands down one of the best things to do in Bacalar

Bacalar Cenote Cocalitos is located just outside the town centre, and it’s famous for its colourful water hammocks and swings as well as an incredible sanctuary of giant stromatolites. Cocalitos Bacalar, together with Cenote Azul, is one of the best Bacalar Cenotes. If you only have one day in Bacalar, make sure you visit the two cenotes.   

Cenote Cocalitos Bacalar

In this guide, you’ll find everything you need to know before visiting Cocalitos Cenote Bacalar. Let’s begin. 

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Where is Cenote Cocalitos Bacalar?

Cenote Cocalitos Bacalar

Cenote Cocalitos is located 4 km south of Bacalar town centre along road 307, connecting Bacalar with Chetumal. Other nearby cenotes in Bacalar include the dark blue-coloured Cenote Azul and Cenote Esmeralda, which is very similar to Cocalitos Bacalar. 

Bacalar Cenote Cocalitos Map

Click here to access the interactive cenote map.

Cenote Cocalitos Bacalar Map

How to Get to Cenote Cocalitos Bacalar?

lagoon Bacalar
Lagoon Bacalar.

Car Rental Bacalar

If you want to stay flexible and visit multiple places in Bacalar, the best way to get around is with a rented car. However, the car rentals in the city are very limited, and I can’t really recommend any particular Bacalar car rental shop.

If you want to create your own Yucatan itinerary and visit Bacalar independently, I recommend renting a car in a larger city such as Cancun, Tulum or Playa del Carmen. Use a trustworthy car comparison service online, such as Discover Cars, to browse the best deals for renting a car in Mexico. 

Motorbike Rental

bacalar lake

For those with motorbike riding experience, renting a scooter is an alternative way of getting to Cenote Cocalitos Bacalar. The motorbike rental shop in Bacalar that I can recommend is called Italia Probike, located just west of the main city square. The scooter rental rates range from 450 to 700 MXN per day ($23 – $35), depending on the type of motorbike. 

TIP | If you decide to get a motorbike in Bacalar, rent it out ahead of time. Surprisingly, there are not that many available scooters in town, and renting on the same day may not be possible. This happened to us, and we had to take a taxi because there were no motorbikes or cars left in town on the day of our trip. 

By Taxi

Bacalar

Another way of getting to Cocalitos Bacalar is by taking a taxi. You can request a taxi at your hotel or hail one down on the street. The standard taxi rate for a one-way ride is 100-200 MXN ($5-10).

On the way back, you can get a taxi that just dropped off people at the cenote. The taxi driver needs to return to the city centre anyway, so you can negotiate a discount on your fare! You can also ask the taxi driver that brought you to the cenote for his WhatsApp and message them when you’re ready to get back. 

By Bike

Cocalitos Bacalar, being only 4 km away from the Bacalar downtown, is an excellent destination to get to by bike! Some hotels in Bacalar offer complimentary bicycle rentals, and also various bike rental shops in the city centre have bicycles available for daily rent. Expect to pay around $10 for the day. 

Cocalitos Cenote Bacalar Quintana Roo Facts

Cenote Cocalitos Opening Hours | 10 am to 5 pm

Cenote Cocalitos Bacalar Price | 50 MXN ($2.50)

What to Expect at Balneario Cocalitos Bacalar

Stromatolites Sanctuary at Cenote Cocalitos

Cenote Cocalitos Bacalar
Stromatolites sanctuary at Cocalitos.

Besides its incredibly turquoise water, the main drawcard for Cocalitos Bacalar is its giant stromatolites! Stromatolites mean “layered rock”, and they are formations made by bacteria that, over time, bind sediment together, formating what looks like a reef. What’s interesting about stromatolites is that they come from prehistoric times and are the first organisms that produced free oxygen on Earth! These super fragile organisms can only be found in a few locations worldwide. 

It is wonderful to see that Cocalitos Cenote has a large colony of these ancient giants, which is well protected. The area they grow is secured with a robe and signs, and it is really important to only swim in the designated area and not to step on or touch the stromatolites. If you enjoy snorkelling, you can snorkel along the stromatolites colony and take a closer look at them as long as you stay in the designated swimming area.   

Swimming at Balneario Cocalitos Bacalar

Taking a refreshing dip in Cocalitos Bacalar is the most delightful experience ever! The water at the cenote is shallow and has the perfect temperature for a pleasant cenote swim. Even if you’re not a strong swimmer, you will enjoy Balneario Cocalitos!

To get inside the water, you will need to go through a little bridge that protects the stromatolites colony on the shore of the cenote. The first part of the cenote is a chest-level dip, but after a couple of meters, the water gets shallow, and there is an expansive area to explore. The colour of the water is really mind-blowing, and you will definitely not need to put any filter on your photos taken there! 

Cenote Snorkeling at Cocalitos Bacalar

Cenote Cocalitos is also the perfect place for snorkelling! The water is crystal clear with an incredible shade of turquoise, and when you go under, you’ll be able to spot fish, snails and, of course, the incredible stromatolites. 

Cenote Cocalitos Bacalar

Facilities at Cenote Cocalitos Bacalar Quintana Roo

Restaurant & Bar

The cenote features a restaurant and a bar, but it is entirely up to you if you want to eat there or not; there is no pressure. In fact, you are allowed to bring your own food. During our visit, in the afternoon, there was a large queue just to get some cold drinks, so you may want to bring enough water with you. But of course, nothing bits a cold beer or a cocktail! 

Picnic Area & Sun Loungers 

There is also a large grass area where you can stretch your towel and enjoy the view.  Near the cenote access point, a large gazebo provides shade for those wanting to avoid the midday sun. And, if you rather not lie on the ground, you can rent a pair of comfy sunloungers! 

Hammocks & swings

Cenote Cocalitos Bacalar

The colourful hammocks fixed in the shallow cenote water are the best place at Cocalitos Bacalar to relax! If you’re hoping to spend some time on those hammocks, I recommend arriving in the morning because once someone gets on it, they don’t ever want to leave! If you manage to get onto one, don’t stay there for too long, as the sun can be pretty intense!  

TIP | Use eco-conscious and biodegradable suncream to protect yourself and the stromatolites. 

There is also a swing with a colourful Cenote Cocalitos letter, which is the perfect place to take a photo. Just be careful when you bring your phone or camera to the water! Use one of those plastic sleeves to protect your phone. 

Showers & Toilets 

The cenote also provides bathrooms and showers, which you can find behind the restaurant.

Parking

The complimentary car park area is located on the other side of the road, directly opposite the cenote entrance.  

More Tips for Visiting Cenote Cocalitos Bacalar

Cenote Cocalitos Bacalar

What’s the Best Time to Visit Bacalar, Mexico?

Cocalitos Bacalar is open between 10 am and 5 pm, and the best time to visit the cenote is right after the opening hours, when you probably will have it all to yourself. 

However, I visited in the afternoon when the cenote was at its busiest and must say that I really enjoyed my time there. I am usually the kind of traveller that hates visiting tourist attractions at their peak time and normally chooses the early morning or late afternoon. But I loved the busy young vibe at Cenote Cocalitos! We sat in the shade, drinking cold Cerveza and even made friends! Cocalitos Bacalar felt like a cool place to hang out in the afternoon. 

How Much Time Do I Need for Bacalar?

Cenote Cocalitos Bacalar is an excellent place to easily spend half a day! It has plenty of space for swimming and a nice grassy area where you can stretch your towel to relax, and when you get hungry, you can eat at its restaurant. I recommend putting aside at least 2-3 hours to appreciate this incredible Bacalar cenote fully. You can also easily combine the visit to Cocalitos Cenote Bacal with Cenote Azul or Los Rapidos.   

Where to Stay in Bacalar?

best hotel in bacalar
Habitas Bacalar via Booking.com

Best Boutique Hotel Bacalar Habitas Bacalar 

Set right on the lake, 8 km from the town centre Habitas Bacalar boasts luxury bohemian-style accommodation, excellent service and epic lake views.  


hotels in bacalar mexico
Blue Palm Bacalar via Booking.com

Best Midrange HotelBlue Palm Bacalar

Blue Palm Bacalar is a mid-range adults-only hotel located a 7-minutes walk from the city’s main square. The hotel boasts modern suites with a patio or balcony and ensuite bathroom. 


cheap hotels in bacalar
Gran Jaguar Hotel via Booking.com

Best Budget PickGran Jaguar Hotel

Located a 12-minute walk to the city’s main square, Gran Jaguar Hotel features simple modern rooms with private bathrooms and breakfast. 

What to Take With You to Cenote Cocalitos Bacalar Mexico?

Cash | Bring cash with you to cover the ticket and optional lunch, drinks or snacks. Most cenotes in Mexico have remote locations, and although card machines are more common these days, there is always a possibility that the wifi connection won’t be strong enough to take your payment. 

Action camera | Swimming in the cenotes is one of the best things to do in Mexico, and you may want to record some memories while you’re having fun! And, for that, there is no better camera than a Go Pro! You can also use your phone; just make sure you use one of the waterproof sleeves if you want to bring it to the water. 

Fast-drying towel | You will also need a towel, and the best towels are the fast-drying ones made of microfibre, like the Fit-Flip Beach Towel

Flip-flops | Since you’ll be swimming and getting wet at the cenote, flip-flops are the easiest shoes to wear! And, there are no better flip-flops than a pair of Havaianas

Thermal water bottle | Stay hydrated and bring with you a thermal water bottle to keep your water cool and help reduce the use of plastic. My favourite is Chilly’s Bottle. It’s a little more pricy, but the price comes with superb quality. Our water literally stays icy cold the whole day! 

Other Awesome Bacalar Cenotes Nearby 

Cenote Azul Bacalar

Bacalar Cenotes
Bacalar Cenotes.

Located 1 km from Cenote Cocalitos, Cenote Azul is another superb Bacalar cenote to visit! It has a dark, intensely blue colour and a perfectly round shape. The water at this cenote is 90 meters deep, so swimming here is a totally unique experience! Cenote Azul also boasts a fantastic seafood restaurant, which makes it the perfect lunch spot. 

Entrance | 25 MXN

Where | Location on Google

You may also like: Cenote Azul Bacalar – A Guide To Visiting

Los Rapidos Bacalar

los rapidos bacalar

Los Rapidos or the Rapids is another beautiful place for swimming that you should visit. The Rapids are renowned for their crystal clear and turquoise water and stromatolite formation on the bottom of the river. There is an excellent restaurant on-site, and the best way to enjoy the place is to rent a kayak and explore the waters and the surrounding mangroves. 

Entrance | 300 MXN 

Kayak Rental | 350 MXN per hour

Where | Location on Google

Sac Ha Bacalar 

Sac Ha bacalar

A way less touristy alternative to visiting Los Rapidos is Balneario Sac Ha, located just over 4 km north of The Rapids. Here, you can also swim, rent a kayak, and explore the turquoise waters without crowds. It is also possible to kayak from Sac Ha to Los Rapidos, allowing you to rent a cheaper kayak at the less touristy spot and explore both places in one go. The only thing to be aware of is that sometimes the current can be really powerful, and you will need to be a strong paddler to make it to The Rapids. The way back, with the current, will be way easier. 

Entrance | 40 MXN

Kayak Rental | 100 MXN per hour

Where | Location on Google

More About Mexico Cenotes

What Are Cenotes in Mexico? | Cenote Meaning

Cenote definition / cenote translation – sinkhole 

The term “cenote” is mainly associated with the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, but cenotes can be found all over the world. Cenotes are sinkholes formed by collapsed limestone rocks that expose groundwater. Swimming in cenotes is a unique and refreshing experience. The cenote water is typically cool and clear, thanks to the water being filtered through the ground. The colour of the water varies from deep blue to bright emerald and depends on the rock type, and fauna found inside it. Cenote depth also varies, ranging anything from a few metres up to hundreds of metres in depth!

Mexican Cenotes in Mayan Culture

The name cenote is derived from the Mayan word Dz’onot, which means “cave with water”. During the Mayan civilisation, cenotes were an essential source of water. Apart from having a practical meaning, Mayan cenotes also had a spiritual significance. The Mayans believed cenotes were the gateway to the underworld (Xibalba), a place where gods met and a sacred place of worship where they had their spiritual ceremonies and left offerings.

Types of Cenotes

Gran Cenote tulum
Gran Cenote, Tulum.
Cenote Suytun Valladolid
Cenote Suytun, Valladolid.

There are hundreds and hundreds of cenotes on the Yucatan Peninsula, and you’ll be pleased to know that some of the top Yucatan cenotes are located near Bacalar, Valladolid, Tulum and Merida. There are at least four types of cenotes Mexico is renowned for: 

Underground cenotes in Mexico (cavern cenotes) | Underground cenotes are the youngest water wells entirely covered by rock mass, with only a small opening in the cave roof, letting in minimal sunlight. They are super interesting to visit, so make sure you include at least one cavern cenote during your trip around Yucatan. Cavern cenotes include Cenote Xkeken and Cenote Palomitas.  

Semi-open cenotes | Semi-open cenotes are much older than cavern cenotes. For millions of years, part of the limestone that covered the well has been eroded and collapsed inside, exposing the underground water. These cenotes let in more light and have more vegetation. If you visit them at the right time, usually around midday, you can witness a fantastic spectacle of light, when a light beam comes through an opening in the roof, illuminating the water inside the cenote, creating an extraterrestrial-like effect. The most famous semi-open cenote is Cenote Suytun.

Open cenotes | Open cenotes are the ones with the cave roof entirely collapsed and the whole water well exposed to the outside environment. These cenotes have the lushest vegetation and are great for a day out. Examples of open cenotes are Gran Cenote in Tulum and Cenote Oxman in Valladolid. 

Ancient Cenotes | Ancient cenotes are the oldest Riviera Maya cenotes that can even be 66 million years old! The ancient cenote’s roof and walls are entirely eroded, making ancient cenotes look more like lagoons. Most Bacalar cenotes such as Cenote Azul and Cenote Cocalitos are examples of ancient cenotes. 

How Are Cenotes Formed?

Millions of years ago, well before the Mayan civilisation, the Yucatan Peninsula was a giant coral reef under a vast ocean mass. In the last Ice Age, the sea levels drastically dropped, exposing the coral reef to the erosive powers of sun, wind and rainwater. 

The coral reef also provided a fertile base for the jungle to grow. The coral limestone evolved, over time, into a complex system of underground caves and passages that were subsequently flooded by rising sea levels. 

A limestone roof still covers the youngest cenotes, while the oldest cenotes have their limestone roof entirely collapsed, exposing the cenote pool to the outside environment. 

Are Cenotes Safe to Swim?

Cenote Cocalitos Bacalar

Mexican Cenotes are generally super safe to swim. The water is clean and inhabited by different fish species, and you definitely don’t have to worry about sharks, crocodiles or piranhas! There is usually a lifeguard on site and if you’re not a strong swimmer, make sure you wear a life vest. 

Are Cenotes Clean?

Cenote water is typically super clean and transparent. The water comes from the underground river system, which has been naturally filtered through the ground. 

How Deep Are Cenotes?

Cenotes in Yucatan Peninsula are anything between 8 to 60 meters deep, and the deepest cenote is the Cenote Pit, with an incredible depth of 119 meters (391 feet)!

Is Cenote Cocalitos Bacalar Worth a Visit?

Cenote Cocalitos Bacalas is totally worth a visit! The cenote area is incredible to explore on foot due to its shallow water. And the water hammocks and the picnic area make this cenote the perfect place to relax. 

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