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How to Visit the spectacular Cenote Azul, Playa del Carmen

Planning to visit a cenote near Playa del Carmen, Cenote Azul is one of the most beautiful and one of the closest, and in this post, I will tell you all about it.

Thousands of cenotes are scattered across Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. Formerly regarded by the ancient Mayans as sacred wells they are now hotspots for tourists, adventurers, and explorers alike.

The open Cenote Azul is located on the Riviera Maya in the Yucatan Peninsula’s southernmost region, only 30 minutes south of Playa del Carmen.

Cenote Azul guy jumping head first

In fact, make sure you don’t confuse Cenote Azul near Playa del Carmen with Cenote Azul in Bacalar, which I will tell you more about in another post.

As one of the region’s well-known and most visited Mexican cenotes, visitors can enjoy the large open spaces relaxing with the calming waters and beautiful tropical vegetation.

Do I need travel insurance? Yes, you do! Whatever it is the way you love to travel, either by car, tour, or bus, always make sure you get travel insurance. I can never stress enough what a lifesaver it can be in unexpected situations. Although I hope I never need it, it gives me peace of mind to know that whatever happens I am covered. I recommend either World Nomads or Safety Wing, depending on your needs. Make sure you read carefully what’s included before making the purchase.

What are the Cenotes?

I am sure should know by now what is a cenote but for those who don’t or have never seen one yet, I would like to offer a brief overview of what they are.

Cenotes are natural sinkholes that date back hundreds of years. When limestone caves collapse, a natural pool emerges. This pool is filled with rainwater and water flowing through underground rivers connected to these sinkholes.

There are 4 types of cenotes, namely:

In Mayan culture, cenotes were considered sacred (and still are in some way). Mayans would give offerings to the gods in these locations.

Cenote Azul Panoramic

In the depths of some cenotes, Mayan artifacts can still be uncovered. Cenotes are now among the Yucatan Peninsula’s most popular tourist destinations.

FUN FACT – Although you may see these kinds of rock formations in other parts of the world, only in Mexico they are called cenotes.

It’s a Yucatan Mayan word ts’ono’ot (dzonot) which means “well with water”.

When the Spaniards came to invade Mexico they misspelled the Mayan word and created the word “Cenote”.

Cenote Azul is easily accessible by car, bus, or taxi, as it is situated on the main highway Carretera Federal that’s between Tulum and Playa del Carmen.

Read further to learn more about how you can visit the unique Cenote Azul and have a wonderful and unforgettable experience exploring this beautiful natural setting!

Cenote Azul jump

What you should know about Cenote Azul, Playa del Carmen Riviera Maya

There are many unique characteristics of Cenote Azul, with the following being what you should know:

✔️ Cenote Azul is easily accessible via public transportation as the entrance is located on the main road.

✔️ Cenote Azul looks like a lake as it’s an open-air cenote.

✔️ This area is kid-friendly due to its shallow waters and is easily accessible.

✔️ If you’re adventurous, Cenote Azul is also perfect for you! You can jump safely into 6 meters of water from a 3,5-meter high platform.

✔️ Cenote Azul was named after its crystal clear blue water. In Spanish, Azul means blue.

How To get to Cenote Azul

Cenote Azul is located about 25 minutes (30km)away from Playa del Carmen, and Tulum is only 40 km away. It’s situated near Cenote Cristalino and only a few short minutes from the magnificent Taak-Bi-Ha, a cave cenote.

Cenote Azul can be reached in a variety of ways, such as by car, bus, or taxi.

Cenote Azul walk away

Getting to Cenote Azul by car

One of the best and most convenient ways to go to the Yucatan Peninsula is to rent a car.

Without the hassle of packed buses and inconsistent schedules, you can explore the surrounding areas at your leisure.

When renting a car, we recommend you get full insurance with zero deductible for your peace of mind.

Even though traveling throughout the Yucatan Peninsula is easy, anything can happen, and you want to be prepared for the unexpected.

Discover Cars are our preferred source because its website allows you to compare multiple providers and pricing.

You have the option of choosing between their auto insurance and that provided by the rental company, or both.

Now that you know how to get a car rental, you may be wondering how to reach Cenote Azul by car. The ride is easy, and anyone who gets confused by directions will easily find their way safely!

From Playa del Carmen, take the Carretera Federal to Tulum and exit at the Cenote Azul sign. You must stop and pay an entry fee before making your way to the parking lot.

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Taking the bus to Cenote Azul

The Cenote Azul is easily accessible from Playa del Carmen and Tulum if you travel by “Colectivo” (minivans) to Cenote Azul‘s entrance. Just tell the driver where to drop you off.

Colectivos are shared vans that run between all of Yucatan’s famous tourist destinations. They are frequent, inexpensive, and convenient.

Because the cenote is near the entrance, you won’t have to walk far.

Getting to Cenote Azul by taxi

Another option is to hire a taxi. Unfortunately, rates change regularly and differ between each taxi driver. To ensure you get a taxi driver you can trust, ask your hotel’s reception for recommendations.

You must settle on a rate before the taxi arrives and arrange for the taxi driver to fetch you again later when you’re done exploring, as there aren’t any taxis available at the location.

Cenote Azul overview

Things to do in the Cenote Azul – Playa del Carmen

Cenote Azul is for the adventurous and those looking for a place to relax. Cenote Azul is a large cenote with natural or artificial platforms dividing it into smaller areas.

A lovely trail winds its way around the cenote, providing breathtaking scenery.

There are several activities for you to enjoy while exploring Cenote Azul:

Snorkel – The water in the cenote is crystal clear, making it perfect for exploring what lies beneath the rock formations, including fish of various sizes. You can either rent snorkeling equipment or bring your own.

Relax and swim – Cenote Azul is the ideal location to unwind and have a wonderful, relaxing day. You can spend your time relaxing on one of the many benches along the banks or take a dip in the refreshing, cool water.

Picnic – Food can be brought onto the premises. There is also a store for you to buy snacks and right in front of it, overlooking the cenote there is a lovely terrace with chairs and a table where you can have your meal surrounded by a thriving nature. Just remember alcohol is not permitted.

Cliff jumping – You can jump into and out of the cenote from a 3.5-meter (10.5-foot) high cliff as well as smaller ones. Diving headfirst is safe because it is only 6 meters (18 feet) deep.

Cenote Azul scenic

Take stunning photos – The area provides breathtaking views from which to shoot stunning photos. Wedding photographers are regularly seen using the backdrop for wedding pictures! Stroll around and discover your favorite viewpoint, and you will find that every photo will be breathtaking.

Fish spa – All cenotes have tiny fish that will exfoliate your feet. Simply dip your bare feet into the water and enjoy your natural fish spa! I don’t like when they capture those tiny creatures to sell spa treatments, but here they are in their natural environment so there is no harm to them.

Local wildlife spotting – While exploring this majestic cenote, you will find iguanas, and see and hear many local species of birds.

Cenote Azul Couple

Important information on Cenote Azul

Cenote Azul Facilities

As I mentioned before Cenote Azul is very well equipped with facilities that allow you to spend a day in relax, offering everything you need.

  • Toilets
  • Showers
  • Rentals of masks, snorkeling equipment, and tours
  • Coffee shop/Snack bar
  • Lockers 
  • Tables and chairs
  • Parking lot
Cenote azul bar and terrace
Cenote Azul lover's seat

Entrance fees and gear rental fees

Adult’s entrance fee: 140 MXN (7 USD)

Snorkel gear and mask rental: 70 MXN (4 USD)

Life jacket rental: 40 MXN (2 USD)

Cenote azul entrance fees

Cenote Azul Opening Hours 

The Cenote Azul is open from 8.30 AM to 5.30 PM every day of the year.

PRO TIP – if you want to avoid crowd make sure you visit early morning and you avoid Sundays

How to explore Cenote Azul while remaining environmentally conscious

Protecting the environment and helping preserve it should be the main priority of every traveler. It’s effortless protecting our planet and its many incredible wonders, and we should all participate in this endeavor.

By respecting the environment, we learn to appreciate it more.

The following are a few small ways in which you can make a difference in preserving our environment and having a positive impact on our beautiful planet:

► Keep noise levels down – basically Don’t be loud

► Bring your trash home with you if you’re not able to dispose of it in a bin

► Before entering a cenote, always shower

► Even if they are labeled “eco-friendly,” do not apply creams, protectors, or sprays on your skin because they will contaminate the water. wear them after you finish swimming

► Do not hang from or cling to trees

► Do not engage in any irresponsible behavior that may endanger the environment!

Cenote Azul Playa del Carmen

What to bring to Cenote Azul

When visiting Cenote Azul, there are a few items you should not forget to bring with you.

  • Towel to dry off
  • Biodegradable sunscreen to avoid sunburn (regular sunscreen is not permitted)
  • Change of clothes
  • Swimsuit ( I love Cupshe, the swimsuits are affordable and of great quality)
  • Water shoes (or any closed shoes) to avoid hurting your feet on the rocks and to avoid bug bites
  • When you get out of the water, use DEET-free mosquito repellent because there might be a lot of mosquitos in the area
  • There are life jackets, snorkel gear, and marks that can be rented. However, to save money and for hygienic reasons, it’s better to bring your snorkeling gear.
  • Waterproof camera or GoPro to take fun pictures in and around the water.
  • Waterproof phone case

The highlights of Cenote Azul

✅ We feel it’s one of the Riviera Maya’s most stunning open cenotes

✅ The cenote has exceptionally translucent water

✅ A lush jungle surrounds it

✅ It is relatively large, allowing you to find your own piece of serenity

✅ It is possible to jump off a cliff while remaining safe

✅ The exquisite court, which features tables and chairs overlooking the cenote, allows you to relax and enjoy your food and drink while surrounded by nature

What we don’t like about Cenote Azul

🔴 Cenote Azul can get quite crowded, particularly on weekends. If you want to avoid the crowds, skip weekends and arrive when they open in the morning.

Photographing the Cenote Azul

The Cenote Azul is beautiful to photograph no matter what time of day it is. But, if you want to bring your inner photographer out and take breathtaking images, then the early morning when nature is coming alive or afternoon, when the sun is not directly overhead, is ideal.

Although most people prefer to take photos in the morning to avoid the scorching sun, you can rely on the dense green vegetation to provide you with shade throughout the day.

This enables you to locate the ideal location for a stunning photograph.

We hope this guide helps you to plan the perfect trip to Cenote Azul!

Nearby attractions

There are several other attractions near Cenote Azul for you to enjoy, including the spectacular beaches of the Riviera Maya, Xpu-ha Beach (1.9 miles / 3.2 km), and Akumal Beach (8.6 miles / 14 km).

But also, Cenote Cristalino (0.27 miles / 450 meters), Cenote Eden (0.6 miles / 1 km), Cenote Chickin-Ha (1 mile / 1.7 km), Caleta Yal-ku (9 miles / 14.5 km), Casa Cenote.

Cenote Azul – Playa del Carmen – final thoughts

As you can see there are plenty of reasons why you should visit Cenote Azul, among which are the beauty of the cenote but also the closeness to many other Mexico natural wonders.

And that is why I recommend renting a car, even if it was just for the day so that you can be free to move around at your own pace and visit several sites on the same day.

Driving in Mexico is easier than you think, especially in the Yucatan Peninsula.

Mexico Travel Planning Guide

Do I need travel insurance to travel to Mexico?

I would do it if I were you. You never know what can happen and knowing that no matter what, you will be covered with any expenses will give you peace of mind, and make your travel worry-free. You can check out World Nomads or SafetyWing which I have used alternatively depending on my needs of the moment.

Can I drink tap water in Mexico?

No, you can’t! Maybe in some areas or in some homes where they have installed water filters but to be on the safe side, I would say, never drink tap water in Mexico. Carry a water bottle with you and fill it up where you find available potable water sources. Most of the hotels have those.

Is it safe to drive in Mexico?

The short answer is: depending on where you are. Although in general if you stick to the main roads and don’t drive at night you should probably be safe. In lesser tourist areas you should probably check the local news to stay up to date. Driving in the Yucatan Peninsula is easy everywhere, even at night, although I would still avoid it. I usually use Discover Cars because the site offers the options to compare prices among different car rentals and you can add their own full coverage.

Read more on my guide on Renting a car in Mexico.

Will my phone work in Mexico?

It will probably work, especially if you have a European or US phone, but your roaming rates may be to the stars (check with your SIM provider). Even if have an affordable international rate, you will be much better off by buying a Mexican SIM Card. It’s cheap, easy to set up, and it will keep you connected with your friends, family, and, more important, google Maps so you will never get lost!

Is it safe to travel to Mexico right now?

The short answer is, yes it is. However, there are parts of Mexico that are indeed troubled and you should avoid for now, and others that are super safe and easy to travel around. Regardless of where you are you should always use some common sense rules such as, never flaunt expensive clothing, accessories, electronics, or money and keep a low profile. Read more on my detailed guide on safety in Mexico. If you are traveling to a specific destination I have got you covered as well:

Do I need any vaccine to travel to Mexico?

No, there is no vaccine requirement (of any kind) to travel to Mexico

Do I need a visa to travel to Mexico?

If you are coming from the US or Europe you don’t need a VISA to enter Mexico. Once you get in you need to fill out a form which you need to keep with you until you leave. If you don’t have it you will pay a fine. Although the tourist visa for US and European travelers used to be 6 months long which you could easily renew by leaving the country for a couple of days and going back, nowadays they have been stricter. You may be asked how you would sustain your living and other similar questions. Sometimes they even ask you to show your credit cards. It seems odd but they can do that. If you intend to stay longer than a usual couple of weeks’ vacation time, just be honest and explain your plans. If you are not from the US, check this site to see if you need a visa