Tankah Tres Beach & Cenote Manatee
What to Do
The main attractions are bird watching, sunbathing, snorkeling, and swimming in the warm waters of Tankah Bay. The offshore coral reef is steadily recovering from 3 major hurricanes in the early 2000’s, the most destructive of which was Wilma (October 1, 2005). Kayaks are also available to rent.
After enjoying the views of fish in the bay (we even saw one very large barracuda), you can walk across the dirt road and pay about $3 US to swim in the Casa Cenote (also known as Cenote Manatee.) This is because manatees drink fresh water to drink and have occasionally been sighted up at the front of the cenote. Wouldn’t that be exciting–to see a manatee?
While snorkeling, it is hard to decide whether to wear your mask to look at the aquatic life below or float on your back to enjoy the many beautiful birds and flowers of the mangroves above. We treaded water for quite a long time to play with a fearless green heron. It would have made a great close up photo if either of us had remembered our cameras.
There is also a small grocery and souvenir store available on-site. With private homes to rent, casitas at Casa Manatee, another restaurant and open air TV at the Casa Manatee bar, you can create the experience you desire. We joined a gathering at the bar to watch World Cup Soccer semi-finals. With an international crowd (and I use the term “crowd” loosely) of locals and tourists, both teams had equally enthusiastic fans. We always have a great time at this very quiet, mellow, and underdeveloped section of the Riviera Maya. Don’t miss it.
Tankah Tres Beach
This beach and unique cenote is located between Akumal and Tulum on Highway 307. One of the features we most appreciated here was the lack of other tourists. Our fellow swimmers were all friendly locals, and we got to practice our Spanish while they reciprocated by practicing much more sophisticated skills in English.
We highly recommend wearing foot protection in the water. The footing here is unique because rather than the soft white powder of the other Riviera Maya beaches, this sand clearly pays homage to its origin of shells and pulverized corals. Tender toes will encounter lots of sharp rocks as you enter the water, so beach shoes will be appreciated.
This isn’t one of the more common limestone cave cenotes. It is actually an open-air freshwater mangrove cenote where you can swim or snorkel quite a distance. Upstream. Against a moderate current. The fresh water dives into a cave beneath the road, and flows out into Tankah Tres Bay, emerging a ways offshore.
You can also scuba dive in the cenote which connects directly to the Caribbean Sea via the underground river cave. We were startled (in a good way) while snorkeling way up in the mangrove jungle to suddenly see divers 10 feet below us. Rent equipment from Manati Divers right on the beach if you didn’t bring your own. It’s a great and safe experience for beginning divers.
Our Travel Review
Whatever you decide to do, it will be a cooling treat! Afterward, kick back with a cerveza and cheeseburger at the open air Casa Cenote Restaurant on the beach.