Hola and welcome to our ultimate guide to the beautiful eco-park, Kantun Chi. When you’re visiting Mexico, you have to visit at least one underground pool, known locally as a cenote. These natural pools of water come in all shapes in sizes and are located all over the Yucatan peninsula. They’re created naturally from the collapse of limestone bedrock, exposing a warm groundwater that’s perfect to swim in.
Many cenotes are spread out across Riviera Maya, inland from the coast. Therefore, you’ll need to travel around if you want to see some of the best cenotes. If you prefer to see many cenotes in one place, and beautiful ones at that, we’d like to introduce Kantun Chi eco-park. This vast nature park has been carved out of the natural scenery and contains 5 cenotes all in one destination. It’s one of the regions top attractions, has countless 5-star Tripadvisor reviews and is a must-see for anyone staying nearby.
After spending an action packed day at Kantun Chi eco-park, we’ve assembled a complete guide to help you do the same. Continue reading for a glimpse into this idyllic natural theme park…
What is Kantun Chi?
Kantun Chi, which means ‘yellow stone mouth’ in Mayan language is also the name of the first cenote you’ll encounter when you visit the park. The eco-park was created around five nearby cenotes in the jungle, making it easy to access all locations via walking paths and cool jungle trails. Kantun Chi is primarily known for its underground pools of turquoise blue water, but also offers cave tours for those adventure seekers out there.
The eco-park is open every day and you have to pay to enter. On entry, you then have free-roam access to the park and can stay all day, exploring the jungle and bathing in the unique cenotes. They’re all very different, from underground caves, to open air pools and cenotes with waterfalls.
Where is Kantun Chi located?
Kantun Chi is located in the Yucatan Peninsula in Riviera Maya, halfway between the town of Akumal and the world famous, Xcaret park. Puerto Aventuras is the closest local town.
How to get to Kantun Chi?
Depending on where you’re staying, you may need to consider various options to get to the park. Our hotel was just a 10-minute drive away by Taxi and cost us around 400 Mexican pesos. The alternative is to catch the local Mexican bus, otherwise known as the Colectivo. It’s a much cheaper alternative to a taxi and you can catch it from all towns along the XXX highway, from Cancun to Tulum.
Point to note: taxis can be quite expensive in Mexico, even if you aren’t travelling far, so be sure to check with the front desk at your hotel for a price list beforehand.
The third option is to rent a car, which is excellent if you plan on visiting other attractions during your vacation. Free parking is available outside Kantun Chi eco-park.
What’s the best way to book tickets?
The best and safest option is to purchase your tickets to Kantun Chi eco-park on their official website, prior to arriving. There are always offers on their website if you book ahead of time, and it also guarantees your space at the park (especially during busier times of the year). View Kantun Chi packages and book tickets on their website here.
What are the different packages available at Kantun Chi?
Kantun Chi cenote parks offers 5 different packages that you can choose from, depending on how much you’re looking to do on the day:
- Package 1: visit the 4 cenotes at your own leisure (this is the package we opted for)
- Package 2: a guided tour to the 5 cenotes. Lunch is also included within this package
- Package 3: a guided underground tour of the caves and a visit to the 5 cenotes. Lunch is included with this package
How much does Kantun Chi Eco-park cost?
The cost of the tickets will vary depending on which package you opt for, as above. Here are the prices based on the current fees on their website.
- Package 1: $26.10 for adults / $13.50 for children (5-11)
- Package 2: $44.10 for adults/ $22.50 for children (5-11)
- Package 3: $71.10 for adults/ $36 for children (5-11)
*you’ll need to book a timeslot if you opt for either the 2nd or 3rd package online.
You can view the latest packages and prices on the Kantun Chi website here.
What’s the best time to visit Kantun Chi?
As with a lot of the popular attractions in Mexico, it’s always recommended to arrive as early as possible, especially if you’re looking to take in the peace and tranquillity of the cenotes. The earlier you get there, the quieter it will be, and this trick applies to almost all attractions in Riviera Maya (in our experience). We arrived at 9am and had most of the cenotes to ourselves, at least for a short while.
You can visit Kantun Chi cenote park at any time of the year, but expect a higher chance of rain when visiting in rainy season, which starts from the end of August through to mid-November. There’s a lot of jungle canopy cover so you can still enjoy the cenotes, even if it’s raining.
Upon arrival – all you need to know
As soon as you arrive at Kantun Chi Eco-park, you’ll need to head straight to reception, where they’ll explain to you how the park works. They’ll check over your documents, which includes proof of purchase, either on your phone or printed out and a form of id. They’ll then give you a wristband that’ll grant you access to the park for the entire day.
There are lockers near the main entrance that you can rent for an additional charge, plus a returnable deposit.
Life jackets are compulsory and are included in the ticket price. Once you have your wristband, you’ll be asked to head over to the life jacket wardrobe. And then you’re ready to explore the cenotes! We found check in to be quick and easy; another reason to arrive early!
Note: you’ll need to take a shower before entering the cenotes to remove any creams on your skin. Moreover, sun cream and any chemical sprays are not allowed as they can disrupt the local biodiversity. The cenotes are in a shaded area, so you’ll be out of the sun anyway. We didn’t encounter any mosquitos out there, but if you’re really concerned, you can pack a non-chemical bug spray to bring along with you.
The 5 underground pools
At Kantun Chi cenote park, there are 5 very distinct cenotes that you can visit, each offering some cool features and surrounding scenery. Note: you can only visit the fifth cenote if you choose a guided tour package.
Each of the five cenotes also have unique names given to them, based on their appearances. Our personal favourite was Uchben Ha, with its beautiful waterfall and layers of surrounding tropical scenery.
Cenote 1: Kantun Chi
The first cenote you’ll visit at the eco-park is actually the name of the park itself, Kantun Chi. Kantun Chi means, “Yellow Stone Mouth” (in the Mayan language). This underground pool is a semi-open cenote that’s quite large, so you’ll be able to go for a swim. It’s one of the deepest cenotes out of the five and has a kayak so you can head out and explore. A section of the cave is under the open, whilst the rest is deep under the surface of the rock.
Cenote 2: Saskaleen Ha
The second cenote is just a few minutes’ walk away from Kantun Chen. This stunning cenote means “Transparent Water” and is one of the biggest cenotes at the park. It’s very similar to Kantun-Chi, in the sense that it is semi-open with plenty of room to swim. It also has a kayak and a separate swimming area that’s sectioned off with buoys. The highlight of this cenote is a flowing waterfall. Lie back and relax to the sound of running water…
Cenote 3: Uchben Ha
Uchben Ha was our favourite out of all the cenotes at Kantun Chi and is where we spent the longest amount time. Uchben Ha literally translates to, “old water”. It’s incredibly relaxing and you can either take a dip in the fresh water or hop on the kayak. Near this cenote, you might even be lucky enough to see the majestic motmot bird! Right next to the cenote you have a couple of hammocks and loungers where you can relax with a view. If you’re snacks and drinks to the park, this is the perfect place to take some time out.
Cenote 4: Zacil Ha
The final cenote we visited was Zacil Ha. It’s located around a 8-10 minute walk away from Uchben Ha, where you’ll need to walk down a railway track in the heart of the jungle. Don’t worry, we didn’t find any creatures along the way! Zacil Ha means, “clear water”, and the name really speaks for itself. The water is incredibly transparent and is definitely the most unique and exciting of them all, due to its caved areas. Most of this cenote is located underneath a rock face in a dark area. Bright lights illuminate the water from below.
Cenote 5: Zihil Ha
For those doing a guided tour, the final cenote you’ll visit it Zihil Ha, which translates to, “reborn from the water”. It’s an open cenote with plenty of room to swim and even lie on a sunbed. You’ll be mesmerised by this cenote’s rich beauty and will feel like you’re in true paradise.
What else is on offer at Kantun Chi?
Aside from the amazing cenotes, part of the beauty of Kantun Chi Eco-park is simply walking around the lush tropical scenery and marvelling at the local wildlife, wooden statues and other immersive items. The eco-park has been carved out of the natural jungle and pathways guide you between the cenotes, with plenty of rest stops in between.
Take some cool photos as you sit on a wooden swing, check out the Mayan sculptures or relax on a hammock, which are spread throughout the park. Kantun Chi will immerse you into nature and it’s worth spending the whole day here in our opinion.
Kantun Chi Eco-park Facilities
- Toilets / restrooms – at the main entrance and across the park, between each cenote
- Relaxation areas – park benches, hammocks, chairs and swings
- Lol-Ha restaurant – a cool restaurant near the entrance with wooden décor and open-plan views of the jungle as you eat. You can eat here and pay for what you order, or take advantage of the included food and drink if you opt for a tour package.
- Showers and changing facilities
- Life jacket hire – included in admission and compulsory for all guests.
- Lockers – a set fee of 100 pesos is charged, plus a 100 pesos refundable deposit.
- Souvenirs and accessories such as biodegradable sun cream/bug spray is available at reception.
What to bring to Kantun Chi
As you’ll be in the water most of the time, you won’t really need to bring much to Kantun Chi Eco-park. However, there are a few essential must-have’s in our opinion. They’ll ensure you have the best experience possible!
- Clean, dry clothes – great for a quick change after bathing in the cenotes. There are showers and changing rooms at the park.
- Water shoes – these shoes are a life saver and an absolute must have. We walked around the entire park in our water shoes. They’re non-slip and really comfortable. They also have supportive soles so you won’t hurt your feet on any sharp rocks. We personally use these water shoes from Amazon.
- Snorkel – this is optional but there are some nice little fish in the cenotes should you wish to do a bit of snorkelling.
- Towel – make sure to bring a towel with you for when you’re ready to dry off.
- Go Pro / waterproof camera – what better way to capture those excellent memories than with a Go Pro. A mobile phone is good too, but just be sure to bring a waterproof pouch with you! We recommend this one.
- Food & drink – it’s a good idea to bring some water and some food to snack on whilst you’re at the park. Depending on the time of day you arrive, you could also grab some lunch at the restaurant. Plenty of snacks and drinks are available near the entrance of the park.
What to wear to Kantun Chi
As you’ll be exploring the stunning pools of water for the day, you’ll need to wear something suitable. We recommend swimsuits for women and swim shorts for men. You may want to wear a long sleeved wet-top. All you need extra is a bag for your belongings and some water shoes, as recommended above. Travel light and have fun!
Our top tips for visiting Kantun Chi Eco-park
- Be sure to arrive as early as possible. As with many of Mexico’s popular attractions, it’s always best to get there as close to opening as you can to avoid long queues. You’ll also have the cenotes to yourself – like we did!
- Buy your tickets online before arrival. It guarantees your spot at Kantun Chi, but also you’ll be able to save some money as they always have discounts. Google ‘Kantun Chi’ discount and scan deals website, or look for offers on the official Kantun Chi website.
- If there are people around when you arrive, you can skip ahead to the second or even third cenote first, if you’re looking to have the cenote to yourself. However, if you do this, and want to head back to the first cenote, it may be busier than when you first arrived. The distance between cenotes isn’t too far, so you can walk between them and visit your favourites multiple times during the day.
- We just visited the 4 cenotes without a guided tour and it gave us a lot of freedom. If you’re looking to do your own thing and want to explore at your own leisure, then we thoroughly recommend opting for the 1st package with just the 4 cenotes. The tours also have great reviews and you get to see more, just at a higher cost. Choose the option that best suits you.
- Whilst you’re at the park, be sure to take the time to relax. There are hammocks and sunbeds in each of the cenotes so you can unwind and soak up the sun.
- You can ask reception to book a taxi for you when you’ve finished exploring the park. We only had to wait a few minutes before it arrived.
Our overall thoughts on Kantun Chi
We had such a fantastic time at Kantun Chi Eco-park and we’re so thankful to have visited really early and had the cenotes all to ourselves. Cenotes are unique and special places to visit in Mexico, so without a doubt, come and visit this incredible eco park! We have nothing bad to say about our experience at Kantun Chi, which is why we rate it a 10/10. Sure, it costs significantly more than individual cenotes visits, but it has a lot to offer all in one destination. The other major benefit is the lack of crowds compared to public cenotes.
If you loved Kantun Chi Eco-park and want to explore more cool cenotes in Riviera Maya, check out the following locations:
- Cenote dos Ojos – view on map
- Gran Cenote – view on map
- Cenotes Sac Actun – view on map
- Cenote Azul – view on map
- Cenote Carwash – view on map
We hope you enjoyed our ultimate guide to Kantun Chi Eco-park and found it useful. You’ll be sure to enjoy your time here as much as we did. If you have any questions, leave a comment down below! 😊
Still researching your Riviera Maya trip? Check out our other guides:
By SusieAuthor bio:
I’m a passionate traveller that loves a sunny beach holiday, but also appreciate the cultural side to a trip and checking out undiscovered destinations. I’m the go-to Toucan Traveller for great holiday stories, cool photos and foodie recommendations.