Cenote Choo Ha, Coba: Ultimate Guide (2020)

by | Feb 18, 2020 | Mexico, Yucatan

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Cenote Choo Ha is one of a series of three cenotes located close to the ancient Mayan ruins at Coba. Together with Cenote Tamcach Ha and Cenote Multum Ha, Cenote Choo Ha is a small underground cenote. With its crystal clear waters and interesting rock formations, Cenote Choo Ha is the perfect spot for a refreshing swim after exploring the incredible jungle ruins.

Having visited Cenote Choo Ha at the beginning of 2020, these are our tips and guide to visiting Cenote Choo Ha to help your plan your own visit.

Cenote Choo Ha Coba

Cenote Choo Ha

 

Cenote Choo Ha

Just a few kilometers from the Coba ruins, Cenote Choo Ha is a small underground cave cenote filled with stalactites and stalagmites. In fact, its name translates as the ‘water that drips’ in reference to the water dripping from its rock formations. The cenote has shallow waters and, at times, is almost empty from crowds, making it a perfect stop for families with younger kids.

Cenote Choo Ha Coba

Cenote Choo Ha

 

What are Cenotes?

A cenote, pronounced seh-NO-tay, are water-filled sinkholes that naturally occur in limestone rock when an underground cave collapses in on itself and exposes the groundwater underneath. There are thousands of cenotes dotted around the Yucatan Peninsula and many of the cenotes are extremely popular with locals and tourists alike.

The water in the cenotes tends to be cool as the water comes from underground so they are great for a refreshing swim to cool off from the hot Mexican sunshine.

Playa del Carmen cenotes

Cenote Ik Kil near Chichen Itza

The cenotes near on the Yucatan Peninsula are a mix of open, semi-open or underground:

  • Open cenotes: these are caves which have completely collapsed in on themselves and are exposed to the sky. These are our favourite as you can swim under the blue skies, the water is a pleasant temperature and there are usually lots of areas to relax by the water. Cenote Carwash is open air. Our other favorite open cenotes are Cenote Azul in Playa Del Carmen, Cenote Zacil-Ha in nearby Tulum and Cenote Oxman near Valladolid.

Playa del Carmen cenotes

Cenote Zachil Ha

 

  • Semi-open cenotes: these cenotes are mostly underground but have small openings in the ceiling where light and fresh air come in.  These cenotes can be particularly beautiful as the light beams illuminate the crystal clear water below. Our favorite semi-open cenotes are Cenote Ik Kil which can be visited as part of a day trip to Chichen Itza, the Instagram famous Cenote Suytan, a cenote near Valladolid and the nearby Cenote Samula.

Cenote Suytun

Cenote Suytun

 

  • Underground cenotes: these cenotes are completely underground in a cave system and have no natural light to illuminate the cenote water. The three cenotes near the Coba ruins (Multum-Ha, Tamcach-Ha and Choo-Ha) are amazing underground cenotes you can easily visit from Playa Del Carmen on a longer stay.

 

 

Visiting Cenote Choo Ha

Cenote Car Wash is located 6km west of Coba and shares an entrance with its neighbor, Cenote Tamcach Ha. There is a ticket booth just off the main road and, after picking up tickets, the cenotes are located a short distance down a dirt track. You will arrive at Choo Ha first with the entrance to cenote Tamcach Ha located further down the road.

Cenote Choo Ha Coba

There are basic changing rooms and showers and, as with all cenotes, a shower is required before swimming in the cenote waters.

Cenote Choo Ha is located deep underground and a wooden stair case leads down into the cave. It can be slippery if it is wet so do be careful.

Cenote Choo Ha Coba

Wooden stairs lead down into Cenote Choo Ha

The stairs continue down into the cave, leading to the cenote waters.

Cenote Choo Ha Coba

The stairs in Cenote Choo Ha

 

Swimming in Cenote Choo Ha

We visited Cenote Choo Ha straight after our early morning weekday visit to the Coba ruins. The cenote was completely empty and it was a surreal experience swimming in the silent and serene cave. It was so peaceful!

The waters are shallow and completely clear that you won’t need to stick your head underwater or use a snorkel to see the floor of the cave! Given the underground location, it’s no surprise that the water is refreshing cool!

Cenote Choo Ha Coba

Cenote Choo Ha

 

Most of the cenote waters are shallow although one side has a deeper part which is better for swimming.

Cenote Choo Ha tip: make sure to bring swimming shoes to Cenote Choo Ha. The cenote waters are shallow and there are lots of rocks to navigate.

 

What to bring when visiting Cenote Choo Ha

Visiting a cenote is a little different to visiting a regular swimming pool and these are some things which we highly recommend taking with you when visiting Cenote Choo Ha.

Cash

Many cenotes, especially the smaller cenotes like Car Wash, don’t accept credit cards. If you need to rent a life jacket or buy any snacks or drinks you’re likely going to need cash. Generally speaking, we found it easier to have pesos with us.

Some of the larger cenotes may take credit card for entry, however once inside the cenote area cash is usually the only option.

Towels

Some of the larger cenotes offer towel rental however it’s much easier and cheaper to pack your own. A hotel towel might be an option but we found it easier using our large microfiber towels. Microfiber towels are fantastic as they pack small and dry super quick, making them great for the cenotes where you will be hopping back in a car after your swim. We take ours one every trip and we always end up using them – check prices on Amazon!

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Snorkle/goggles

You can snorkel in most of the cenotes in the Yucatan peninsula and, while you can rent them in some cenotes, having your own is invaluable. It’s also a much cheaper option if you visiting a few cenotes. The crystal clear waters of the cenotes make for incredible snorkelling – check prices now!

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Swim shoes

Swim shoes are great as they give you more grip on the wooden walk-ways around the cenotes. They also help a lot for the shallower entrances at some cenotes (like in Cenote Choo Ha) where you have to walk on submerged rocks. Make sure to throw them in your bag before you visit the Yucatan! – check prices now!

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Sunscreen

While you cannot wear sunscreen or mosquito spray in the cenotes while swimming, you’ll likely spend some time chilling in the sun after your swim

 

Waterproof Camera

An action camera such as a GoPro or an Osmo Action are great for snapping photos and video. We loved having our Osmo Action Waterproof camera with us when visiting the cenotes. It allowed us to take some really fun video and photos while swimming in the cenotes – check prices now!

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Tips for Visiting Cenote Choo Ha

Below are our tips to help you make the most of your time at Cenote Choo Ha:

 

1 | How to get to Cenote Choo Ha

Cenote Choo Ha is located 6 kilometers west of Coba and most visitors combine Cenote Choo Ha with a visit to the Coba ruins.

Rental Car

A rental car is the easiest way to get to all of the cenotes in Mexico. While it is relatively easy to visit Coba by tour (you can even combine a tour to Coba with Chichen Itza and the incredible Cenote Ik Kil – check prices here), Cenote Choo Ha is only really accessible by visiting independently by rental car. The cenote is relatively quiet and it is generally easy to find parking. We rented a car for our time in the Yucatan and highly recommend it to our readers. Renting a car in Cancun, Mexico was very straightforward and driving was easy. The Yucatan roads are of good quality, the drivers are nice and the traffic is relatively light – check prices now!

Check prices now on RentalCars.com

 

Coba Cenote

Exploring Coba

 

Colectivo (local taxi-buses)

You can catch one of the colectivo’s from Tulum that are going towards Coba. There are lots of minibuses each day and it’s the cheapest option to get from Tulum to Coba. From Coba, it’s a short cab ride to Cenote Choo Ha and it’s neighbor, Cenote Tankach Ha.

 

 

2 | Cenote Choo Ha Cost

Tickets to Cenote Choo Ha cost $100 pesos per person.

We recommend having cash (preferably Mexican pesos) with you when visiting all the cenotes in Mexico and Cenote Choo Ha is no exception. Credit cards were not accepted at the ticket booth at Cenote Choo Ha.

Cenote Choo Ha Coba

The ticket booth at the entrance to Cenote Choo Ha

 

 

3 | Cenote Choo Ha Opening Hours

Opening hours: Cenote Choo Ha is open from 8 am to 6 pm.

Cenote Choo Ha Coba

 

4 | How long to spend at Cenote Choo Ha

We spent around 90 minutes enjoying Cenote Choo Ha. The facilities at Cenote Choo Ha are limited to swimming so this was more than enough time to enjoy the cenote.

 

 

5 | Best time to visit Cenote Choo Ha

Cenote Choo Ha is relatively quiet meaning it is good to visit at any time of the day.

 

 

6 | What’s not allowed in Cenote Choo Ha

Visiting the cenotes is a little different from visiting a regular swimming pool so there are some different rules to follow when visiting. Cenote Choo Ha rules were as follows:

  • Showers – You are required to take a shower, with soap, before you swim
  • Alcohol – alcohol is generally forbidden at cenotes where it is not sold.
  • Sunscreen / Mosquito repellent: You are not allowed to wear sunscreen or mosquito repellent before you enter the water at the cenote. This is to preserve the quality of the water for everyone.
 
Coba Cenote

The three Coba cenotes have similar rules

 

 

7 | Diving and Jumping

Cenote Choo Ha is a shallow cenote and there are no opportunities to jump or dive.

Cenote Choo Ha Coba

The shallow waters at Cenote Choo Ha aren’t suitable for jumping

 

 

 

Facilities at Cenote Choo Ha

Cenote Choo Ha has basic facilities:

8 | Changing rooms and lockers

There are lockers and changing rooms available.

9 | Life Jackets

Life jackets are available at the entrance to the cenote before descending the stairs into the cave.

 

10 | Parking

There is ample car parking at the entrance to Cenote Choo Ha.

 

11 | Food and drinks

There were no food or drink options at Cenote Choo Ha.

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