Hugo Mendoza has felt a special connection to the cenotes of the Riviera Maya since he was born. His grandparents, members of one of the founding families of Tulum, own a sprawling rancho in the heart of the Mayan jungle, and it is home to cenotes big and small.
Cenote Dos Ojos is one such swimming hole, and one of the grandest in the Riviera Maya. Enormous in scale, it has a general two-eyed shape, which lends the cenote its name. Hugo, 21, spent his weekends playing in and around Dos Ojos, starting impromptu soccer games by the cenote’s gaped opening.
Having grown up right by the cenote, Hugo’s logical next step was to work there. After a stint as a professional soccer player, Hugo decided to go back to school. Now, he attends university in the evenings and is a Dos Ojos tour guide by day.
When asked what his favorite part of his job is, Hugo replied, “It’s always new to me. Every day when I dive into the water, it’s like I’m doing it for the first time.” That, and he loves to see the delight play across the faces of his guests. “They stand on the edge of the cenote, and the feeling they have is the same as mine—we’re in complete awe together.”
Hugo can be found at Cenote Dos Ojos Monday-Saturday. Set up a tour with him through ZAMAS reception. Happy adventuring!