Homún: a hidden cenote wonderland somewhere in the Yucatán

Homun

I can’t really speak much higher of this place as it was one of the highlights of the Yucatán turned onto us by another traveler we’d met at Hostal La Ermita a few days before. Located just an hour or so out of Merida, it can be reached through bus, colectivo or taxi. You can collect a colectivo at Calle 67 at Calle 50 for about 30 pesos each way.

We left Mérida with all of our equipment as it was our last day planned on staying in town. The only odd thing as far as we could find was that planning to travel south after our visit in Homun didn’t have any direct colectivos so we were told we’d have to return to Mérida to catch another colectivo to head south. Homún was south of Mérida so just a little bit of backtracking.

Heading towards Homún we had no travel plans but had heard of ample cenotes or sinkholes filled with water that were well known to the Yucatán Arriving into the dusty streets of a small town square were a sort of tuk-tuk. Motorcycles with the tire detached replaced by a two-wheeled covered cart just large enough for us and our two backpacks. Initially looking for hostals online we decided to ask one of the the drivers, Marcos who ended up becoming our in-the-know for our time in Homún.

Where we stayed

Again with our tent we inquired on camping areas to our guide Marcos who had a friend who had a cenote tour, Garutas y Cenote La Candeleria with an open field in the SE corner of the town. I believe we gave the owner 60 pesos or just under $4 for the space with access to there showers.

The tour

Marcos told us there were around twenty-five cenotes we could visit with an entrance fee to each one from 20-30 pesos a pop, just over a dollar. On top of that his fee was 150 pesos per day for private “chauffeur” service or a bout $8. Twenty-five cenotes seemed a bit much and our plans were spend our arrival day and following sight-seeing before heading on towards Valladolid.

We were blessed with perfect weather our entire time here. After setting up the tent we hopped back in the cart with Marcos awaiting. We’d decided on seeing fourteen cenotes split over the two days. Riding town bumpy two-rut roads into the woods surrounding Homún was exciting in itself but reaching each cenote was a different experience in itself. The town self regulates the cenotes as they hold deep spiritual meaning to the Maya. No chemical sunscreens are allowed to be worn entering as well as no smoking, basically respect the special areas. Some of the cenotes were small underground lakes with rivers connecting deep tunnels for miles while others were just a bit of water, enough to jump in with little space around.

I definitely can’t forget the rope swings in some. Another had a couple jumping platforms one from 5 meters up the next 9 meters. One more we visited the following day was 13 meters high in which you’d jump from an overhanging log into narrow deep pool. One of the last that we visited was enough water to dip into and that was about it. The other part was you needed to rappel about 15 meters down by rope in the complete darkness besides our guides flashlight. Nearly all of the previous cenotes had been about empty but this one included the only obnoxious tourists we’d came across in the last while and the first of “my people” (USA) for that being too. Way too drunk for their own good and sloppily flinging rocks as they climbed above us. Luckily all went well in the end.

The water in all of the cenotes was as fresh as could be, many times cool yet refreshing and so clear you could see your toes as if they were right before you. Exploring here was a bit off of the path we’d seen for visiting cenotes as we couldn’t find a ton of info besides word-of-mouth on the area while other popular cenotes were a bit more south in the Yucatán and Quintana-Roo.

Where to eat in Homún

Restaurant Santa Cruz

There were plenty of little markets throughout the town but during the two days of staying here Marcos brought us to a very special restaurant which honestly was so delicious that I don’t believe I will ever forget it. The first night here after cenote-seeing we came in just in time for fresh cochinita pibil. Pork slow-roasted while wrapped in banana leaves. Placed in a box marinated in anatto seed and orange its buried underground to fully seal the heat and flavors until totally tender. To complete the deal next to the restaurant were three women traditionally dressed hand-pressing and cooking tortillas to order. The following day we had eggs scrambled with vegetables and seasoning with the same tortillas but absolutely insane.

One last thing

From the time we set up our tent to touring the area we could hear bees buzzing all over. It so happens there are quite a few bees that live here and make lots of honey. They did sell a bit of fresh bottled honey at a few of the cenotes but Marcos had a friend we swung by before departing who sold us a liter of some of the best honey I’ve ever had for about $5.

At the end we ended up spending just under 400 pesos (~$20) with a gratuity to Marcos and for all of his help plus about $30 for both of us in entrance fees . You could most likely do this for less if needed be but I do believe you needed a tour guide for some of the cenotes and for locations, some being deep in the woods would just be easier hiring someone.