« We're back | Main | Croco Cun Zoo »

Cenote Cristalino - Riviera Maya

Summary: The best place in the Riviera to get a pedicure.

The Cenote Cristalino is a mom-and-pop operation and one of the best secrets in the Riviera Maya. It's hard to believe that a place like this can exist amidst the jungle of cement and fake-jungle that makes up what has come to be called the "Riviera Maya" (and which was simply the "Quintana Roo coast" once upon a time). The place is quite simple, there is a cleared area by the highway where you can park your car (don't expect an actual parking lot, though), a room with a cement patio where you buy your tickets (MN$4 for adults, MN$2 for kids) from a member of the family, and a somewhat rough but mercifully short path to the cenote.

The cenote itself is a large pool with water up to the ground, there is a cave on one side, a smaller pool on the other and a 15ft tall wall on the opposite side from the entrance. Kids and would-be-kids delight in jumping in from up there. The water is definitely cool at first, though it becomes impossibly comfortable within a couple of minutes. It's crystal clear, allowing you to see several feet down. Unfortunately there is not that much to see - most of the rocks and floor are covered by soft algae. A few gorgeous blue catfish swim around, but you won't find this a rewarding snorkeling experience.

What makes the cenote cristalino so great are the thousands of other little fish that swim in the cenote waters. These long-lost cousins of the spa-popular garra rufa LOVE to eat dead skin, and chomp it off your feet, ankles, lets and even elbows if they can get to it. The results can be amazing, I could barely recognize my feet after a couple of hours at the cenote. I still need a pedicure, but now I won't be too embarrassed to go to the salon.

It's also a pretty nice sensation to experience. The fish are very gentle, so much so that you may not feel them at all on your most callused skin, and can be even ticklish. Just putting your feet in the waters and waiting for them to do their job, can be a very relaxing experience.

If you want to go, here is some advise: try to go early in the morning or later in the afternoon, and not on weekends, as it gets crowded with locals. If you do come in the less hot hours of the day, bring mosquito repellent (just don't apply it to those parts that you want nibbled). The cenote is great for a dip and some water fun as well, it can get deep, so a life vest is recommended for little children and those that aren't strong swimmers.

There are no facilities at the cenote, though you can buy snacks and drinks on site.

The cenote is located right next to the cenote El Edén and the Cenote Azul, north of Xpu-Ha. If driving south, start paying attention to the sign for the turnoff for the Kantunchi eco-park, the cenotes are almost right after it. There is no road sign per se for the cenotes.

This was probably one of my favorite experiences of the whole trip and it's highly recommended.

BTW, salons in the US have started to offer this procedure. Alas, expect to pay US$45.

Sign for Cenote Cristalino

Fish eating dry skin

Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)


This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on July 22, 2009 12:58 AM.

The previous post in this blog was We're back .

The next post in this blog is Croco Cun Zoo.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

Powered by
Movable Type 3.34