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The 15 Best Cenotes Near Tulum That You Must Experience

Tulum cenotes are popular throughout the world—and rightly so; there is an endless range of amazing cenotes in, and around, Tulum. If you’re visiting Tulum, your trip would be incomplete without visiting its cenotes. So today, I’ll be telling you all about the best cenotes in Tulum, their locations, how to get there, and everything else you need to know to get the most out of Tulum’s cenotes.

Tulum is a popular Mexican destination when it comes to tourism. With its picturesque beaches, vibrant nightlife, historic landmarks, tons of luxurious hotels, beach clubs, resorts, and exotic restaurants, it attracts thousands of tourists from around the globe.

There are so many things to do in Tulum (visiting the cenotes included)—you can explore the Mayan ruins, attend all-night parties, see the many festivals that take place throughout the year, check out the exotic beach clubs, or stay in one of the quirky beach hotels and dine in the different restaurants serving local and international cuisines.

The popular activities in Tulum vary depending on what time of the year it is, and the best time to visit Tulum depends on what you’re visiting for. If you want to experience the best weather, it is at its best from December to April, but these are also the months during which the majority of tourists arrive here (and prices reach their highest).

If you’re on a budget, I recommend visiting during the off-season (June through October) when rates are at their lowest. They’re the rainiest and most humid months in Tulum, with chances of storms, and some of the restaurants, shops, and other tourism-related activities are closed during them, so keep that in mind.

What are cenotes?

Cenotes are basically underground pits or sinkholes that have been forming for thousands of years. But, once the limestone ceiling of these natural sinkholes collapses, a traditional cenote (meaning well in Spanish) is formed, which is a deep sinkhole with a pool of fresh water at its bottom.

Most of the ancient Mayans used them as places of worship, or for rituals, and that’s why they were considered sacred cenotes.

There are different kinds of cenotes and each kind is suitable for different purposes.

  • Open cenotes: Open cenotes are relatively the oldest ones and resemble natural pools. The depth of open cenotes varies, but all of them are usually connected to underground passageways, which makes them ideal for divers.
  • Cave cenotes: If you fancy exploring nature and its wonders like I do, you’ll love the cenotes falling into this category. There are small openings (still large enough, so don’t worry) leading to underground pools. These are known as cave cenotes, which can usually be accessed via manmade staircases. This unique arrangement infuses cave cenotes with a mysterious touch, making them ideal for exploring.
  • Semi-open cenotes: When you mix open cenotes with cave cenotes, you get semi-open cenotes. They offer the best of both worlds with pools of water under the open blue skies as well as partially-hidden underground pools that resemble cave cenotes.

Cenotes are almost exclusively found in the Yucatan and there is a large variety of them with over 7000 cenotes. Most of these cenotes are too small or deep underground, which makes them inaccessible for us. Luckily, there are plenty of cenotes in Mexico large enough to explore, swim in, and even enjoy lots of fun water sport activities like jumping, snorkeling, and diving.

The 15 best cenotes near Tulum

Now that you’re all caught up on the background knowledge of cenotes, and about Tulum, let’s get you filled in on the best cenotes near Tulum. I’ve been to many of them, and each one is a wonderful world of its own, so I’ll be telling you all about 15 of my favorite cenotes in Tulum. Let’s begin.

1.     Gran Cenote

Location: 5km north of town, on the road going to Coba from Tulum (Highway 109).

Entrance fee: US$ 9 (180 MXN).

Activities: Snorkeling, diving, and swimming.

Open hours: 8 am—4:45 pm daily.

One of the most popular of Tulum’s cenotes, Gran Cenote is a large cenote near Tulum with crystal clear water and a mesmerizing environment around it. It’s a semi-open cenote with caves where you can swim surrounded by natural beauty. Gran Cenote consists of caves, caverns, and two snorkeling areas. Large wooden boardwalks connect all of these to make one of the best cenote areas near Tulum.

2.     Cenote Crystal

Cenote Crystal

Location: West of the Pueblo, on Highway 307 south of Tulum. Five minutes of drive from town.

Entry fee: US$6 (120 MXN) with Cenote Escondido’s entry fee included.

Activities: Swimming, snorkeling, and diving (has a diving platform as well).

Open hours: 8 am—5 pm daily.

Cenote Crystal is one of the two open cenotes in its area, connected with the other by an underwater tunnel. Since it’s just a little distance away from town, there are plenty of facilities on this cenote while keeping its natural charm intact. You’ll find yourself surrounded by lush green nature, with lots of hangout spots, boardwalks, a jumping platform, and everything else you need to have a grand time. This round cenote is the more crowded of the two, so if you want fewer people around, Cenote Escondido is right across the street.

3.     Cenote Escondido

Location: Right on the other side of the road, opposite Cenote Crystal.

Entry fee: US$6 (120 MXN) with Cenote Crystal’s entry fee included.

Activities: Swimming, snorkeling, and diving (has a rope swing to make it more fun).

Open hours: 8 am—5 pm daily.

The second of the two cenotes in this area, Cenote Escondido, sees very few crowds. As you’d expect, it has all the natural beauty around it just like Cenote Crystal, and there are lots of fish swimming around in this long strip of water. Crowds aren’t an issue here, which means as many turns on the rope swing as you want with zero waiting!

Definitely to include in your Tulum Itinerary!

4.     Car Wash

Location: Northwest of Tulum, 10 minutes of drive on Highway 107.

Entry fee: US$3 (50 MXN) for swimmers, and US$6 (120 MXN) for divers.

Activities: Swimming, diving, and snorkeling.

Open hours: 9 am—5 pm daily.

Officially called Cenote AkTun Ha, meaning “water cave” in Spanish, Car Wash is a cave cenote almost 50 feet deep, with fish, turtles, rock formations, and an amazing underwater garden in it. It’s no surprise that this cenote is popular among divers and swimmers alike.

Don’t let the name Car Wash confuse you, locals started using it due to the fact that cab drivers often used to make their stop here and wash their cars. Now, it’s a lovely cenote with crystal clear waters, a diving platform, and beautifully serene greenery around it. It has plenty of facilities as well, like lockers, snorkeling gear, showers, and restrooms.

5.     Cenote Pit

cenote pit

Location: North of Tulum, 22km down Highway 307.

Entry fee: US$15 (300 MXN), and US$26 (500 MXN) if you buy a combined ticket with Cenote Dos Ojos.

Activities: Diving.

Open hours: 8 am—5 pm daily.

Cenote Pit is part of the four cenotes in Dos Ojos Park. As its name implies, Cenote Pit is a very deep cenote—in fact, it’s the deepest cenote in Yucatan. Many exotic aquatic species are found in this cenote and its rock formations are also very unique, so scientists frequent the place to study it. It’s almost 120 meters deep, so only professional/experienced divers are allowed here. In fact, I have never been myself but a friend who is also a diver crazy for cenote diving said that it’s one of her favorites to dive.

6.     Cenote Calavera

Cenote Calavera

Location: 5 minutes of drive from Tulum, on Highway 109.

Entry fee: US$5 (100 MXN).

Activities: Swimming and diving.

Open hours: 9 am—5 pm daily.

If Cenote Pit wasn’t your cup of tea, there’s nothing to be sad about. Cenote Calavera is another deep cenote, but you can visit it even if you aren’t an experienced diver.

Calavera means “skull” in Spanish, and the name of this place comes from the cenote’s skull-like shape. It’s a very safe cenote, with a wooden ladder descending into it.

It’s not very crowded, so all you will find here are a few other visitors, some bats flying around the caves, and friendly fish in the water (exactly the kind of cenotes I like).

cenote tulum

7.     Cenote Zacil – Ha

Location: Northwest of Tulum, 10 minutes of drive on Highway 109 (near Car Wash).

Entry fee: US$5 (100 MXN).

Activities: Swimming (features a 10 feet high zip line).

Open hours: 10 am—5:30 pm daily.

Cenote Zacil – Ha is one of the more developed cenotes near Tulum. It resembles an exotic swimming pool carved into limestone, but in reality, it’s an opening connected to many of the area’s other cenotes. The water is crystal clear and ideal for swimming. Plenty of showers, lockers, restrooms, and a restaurant serving delicious foods and drinks can be found here. There’s also a zip line and two actual swimming pools that you can use to make your day more fun.

8.     Cenote Corazon

cenote corazon tulum - a girl sitting on a platform by the edge. - Cancun Cenotes

Location: West of Tulum, 10 minutes of drive on Highway 307 (Carretera Cancun-Tulum).

Entry fee: US$7 (150 MXN)

Activities: Snorkeling, swimming (features a jumping platform), and picnic.

Open hours: 9 am—5 pm daily.

This heart-shaped cenote near Tulum is a favorite among locals. There are many accommodations available at Cenote Corazon, like sunbeds and tables, so you will find many people picnicking with their families here.

Despite the entry fee is so low (even after the additional charges for tables and sunbeds), it’s a great place if you want to avoid crowds without compromising on the fun.

9.     Laguna Kaan Luum

Location: West of Tulum, 15 minutes of drive on Highway 307 (Carretera Cancun-Tulum).

Entry fee: US$5 (100 MXN), and bringing drones costs an additional US$3 (50 MXN).

Activities: Swimming, diving, and picnic.

Open hours: 9 am—4 pm daily.

Kaan Luum is a lagoon featuring a cenote of its own. Most of the lagoon is only one and a half meters deep, which makes it perfect for amateur swimmers.

The place where its cenote begins is deeper, so it’s marked by a rope and buoys, and only scuba divers are permitted in it (the place where the water looks deep blue is a good hint of deeper level here).

Laguna Kaan Luum is popular among locals and tourists alike. The palapas and pier here make it a great picnic spot. There’s also an outhouse, a couple of swing sets, not so much space for everybody so make sure you avoid weekends, and even on weekdays go early morning if you want to find some space.

10.  Casa Cenote (Cenote Manati)

Cenote Manati

Location: North of Tulum, about 20 minutes of drive on the road to Playa del Carmen (Highway 307).

Entry fee: US$6 (120 MXN).

Activities: Snorkeling, diving, scuba lessons, kayaking, paddle boarding, and swimming.

Open hours: 8 am—5 pm daily.

There are many unique things about this cenote that I want to mention. A mangrove and lots of trees circle Casa Cenote, making it a lovely vista of natural beauty. The water is only 6 or so feet deep, so it’s a family-friendly cenote. Casa Cenote is unique in the range of activities it offers as well, people can kayak, paddleboard, swim, dive, and snorkel in its cool water. Many also come here to take scuba diving lessons.

Then there’s Casa Cenote’s system of underwater caves that are connected with the ocean nearby. You can feel a mild current in its water (which is a mixture of freshwater and saltwater). Nature truly blooms in, and around, Casa Cenote and you can find birds, butterflies, and coati in the trees nearby. In its waters, fish, crabs, and many other exotic underwater creatures make their appearance near the mangrove roots. There’s also a beach nearby that you can visit to top it all off!

11.  Cenote Eden

Eden Cenote

Location: Northeast of Tulum, 40km from the town on the way to Playa del Carmen.

Entry fee: US$10 (200 MXN).

Activities: Cliff jumping (has a diving platform on a cliff), swimming, and diving.

Open hours: 9 am—4 pm daily.

Cenote Eden, or Cenote Jardin Del Eden, is a gorgeous open cenote with sublime waters, and beautiful nature surrounding it (which is also why locals call it The Garden of Eden in Spanish).

Apart from being popular for swimming and snorkeling, Cenote Eden’s underwater cave system makes it an attraction for scuba divers as well. Another couple of spectacular cenotes are also nearby, which I’ll be covering below.

It definitely makes a great day trip from Tulum, especially if you combine the cenote visit with Xpu-ha beach or Akumal.

12.  Cenote Azul

Location: Northeast of Tulum, very close to Cenote Eden on Highway 307.

Entry fee: US$6 (120 MXN).

Activities: Cliff jumping, snorkeling, and swimming.

Open hours: 8:30 am—5 pm daily.

Cenote Azul is one of the other two cenotes near Cenote Eden. It’s quite popular, so chances are good that you might have heard of it before. If you haven’t, I’ll give you a brief introduction. This large cenote is not too deep, but it’s quite large, which means swimmers have lots of space to themselves here.

The swimming area is divided into two sections using a large boardwalk. One of these sections is a little deeper, and that’s where all the cliff jumping takes place. If you’re visiting with your family (especially kids), the other section is shallower and would be great for you.

13.  Cenote Cristalino

Location: Northeast of Tulum, near Cenote Azul and Cenote Eden, on the road to Playa del Carmen.

Entry fee: US$6 (120 MXN), mandatory life jackets included.

Activities: Diving, cliff jumping, and swimming.

Open hours: 8 am—5 pm daily.

Cristalino is the last, but not least, of the three cenotes along with Cenotes Eden and Azul. The water here is strikingly clear, which many swimmers find to be appealing. The place also offers cliff jumping and lounging chairs (you will have to pay extra to rent a chair).

Nowadays, they’ve made life jackets mandatory to enter this cenote, so bear that in mind as it can dampen the experience if you’re going there for a swim.

However, if you’re bringing your kids to a cenote, it’s the opposite and makes for one of the safest and fun cenotes for children.

There is also a short tunnel where you can swim, which is a real natural cenote experience. 🙂

14.  Cenote Dos Ojos

Cenote dos ojos

Location: Northeast of Tulum, 22km from the town on Highway 307.

Entry fee: US$18(350 MXN).

Activities: Snorkeling, swimming, and guided scuba and cave tours.

Open hours: 9 am—5 pm daily.

Cenote Dos Ojos is another one of the most popular Mexican cenotes on my list. It’s part of the five cenotes in Dos Ojos Park, only two of which are accessible without a guide.

The two eye-like sinkholes of Dos Ojos lend it the name Two Eyes in Spanish. Both of these sinkholes are connected with each other through underwater caverns and you can take snorkeling tours to visit these caverns.

Since it’s one of the most popular cenotes near Tulum, you will have to get there super early to avoid crowds. It’s a neighbor of the aforementioned Cenote Pit, so if you’ve got the time, you can purchase the combined entry ticket for both and double your cenote trip’s fun.

It shares the same entrance with cenote Taak-bi-ha of which you can read here below.

15.  Cenote Taak-bi Ha

Location: Northeast of Tulum, near Cenote Dos Ojos (a 20-minute drive from Tulum on Highway 307).

Entry fee: US$18 (350 MXN) with life jackets included, and US$20 (400 MXN) if you take a local guide with you.

Activities: Snorkeling, diving, and swimming.

Open hours: 9:30 am—5 pm daily.

Taak-bi Ha is one of my favorite cave cenotes in all of the Yucatan Peninsula. It’s such a dazzling cenote with crystal-clear blue waters and breathtaking rock formations. There is artificial lighting inside since it’s a cave cenote, but it doesn’t interfere with the overall vibe of the place.

Get a guide (since it’s only a couple of bucks extra) and bring along underwater flashlights, you will have a memorable experience.

Cenote taak-bi-ha entrance

I highly recommend giving Taak-bi Ha a try if you’re visiting Dos Ojos but don’t like the crowds there (it’s just a couple of minutes drive from there). Crowds aren’t a thing at Taak-bi Ha, even if you’re visiting on weekends; it’s truly a hidden gem (so far).

Where to stay in Tulum

Tulum is a town filled with luxurious hotels, resorts, and beach clubs, so the only thing you will have to worry about is choosing the ideal location for your stay there. If the number of lodging options seems overwhelming, I’ll list my favorite places in Tulum to help you narrow it down.

  • Nomade: If you’re looking for upscale lodgings, Nomade is where you will find them. From permanent tents to luxury rooms, suites, and villas with private gardens and pools, every option is available here. The hotel is located in a tropical forest area and offers direct beach access where you will find yoga classes and loaner bikes. The restaurant here serves international cuisine as well as health-focused vegetarian options. Read more
  • Casa Santiago: Located near the main street of Pueblo (downtown), Casa Santiago is a boutique hotel featuring neat and clean rooms at affordable prices. It’s just a little distance away from the Mayan ruins, and the area is quiet and peaceful with nature surrounding it. Read More
  • La Valise: This new addition to the luxurious lodgings of Tulum consists of rustic cabanas and terraces offering jungle views. It’s a beachfront hotel situated inside a forested area near the Caribbean Sea. The architecture of this hotel is modern, and the hotel also features direct beach access. Read More
  • Chiringuito: The white design of this hotel perfectly complements the white sand beaches it’s located beside. In a way, the atmosphere here is similar to a luxurious stay in Greece. The suites of Chiringuito Hotel have private pools overlooking the sea, and Cenote Crystal is only a kilometer away from it .Read More
  • Zamas: If you want to lodge closer to the beach, it doesn’t get any closer than Zamas Hotel. It’s a boutique hotel with lots of colorful bungalows right beside the beach. The rooms are cozy and elegant, which gives the place a tranquil and atmospheric vibe. The food is extremely delicious and doesn’t cost a fortune. Overall, the unique location, sophisticated architecture, and delightful cuisine make Zamas one of the best lodging options in Tulum. Read more

How to visit the cenotes

There are many ways you can explore Tulum and its gorgeous surroundings. If you’re visiting the cenotes in Tulum, below are my recommended options for making your way to the cenotes of your choice.

By car

The most convenient mode of transport is by rental car when it comes to visiting cenotes while you’re vacationing in Mexico, and Tulum cenotes are no exception.

The roads leading to all the cenotes near Tulum are decent and the traffic is usually nice, so driving to them is a very enjoyable experience.


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By taxi

If you don’t feel like driving to the cenotes yourself, hailing a cab will solve your problem without compromising on any of the fun of your trip.

Most of the Tulum’s cenotes are close enough and taking a taxi there will cost you less than US$10 (200 MXN).

Just make sure you hire a registered taxi and bargain the fare beforehand. Please note that in Tulum the majority of taxi drivers have acquired the bad habit to overcharge. So make sure you negotiate the price before.

By colectivo

Colectivos are a well-known way of getting around in Mexico. They’re basically a public transport system, but instead of buses, small min-vans are used to get people around.

If you’re in a touristy town (like Tulum), the colectivos there are usually comfortable and air-conditioned, and they’re also very cheap. Because of this, colectivos are your best option if you’re on a budget.

All you need to do is stand on the side of the road you’re going to take, wait for a van to show up, and wave your hand at it. If there’s space, the van will stop for you, then you just need to tell the driver your destination and he will drop you off as close as possible.

By tour

Many places and tour agencies offer tours to Tulum’s cenotes. No matter what time of the year you’re visiting, you won’t have any trouble finding a tour that includes the cenotes you want to visit. The tours usually have various types of cenotes included in the itinerary and many activities like snorkeling, and exploring is also part of them.

If you mean to visit a lot of cenotes without having to worry about how to get there, what to do there, or the common visiting practices, booking a tour will take care of all of these concerns. The tour operator will guide you through all the environmental protection details and tell you the best things to do at a cenote.

Cenote diving

A particular note is due for cenote diving. You cannot just go to a cenote and pay the entrance if you want to dive. You must book your experience through a diving center.

There are plenty of those in the main destinations. In order to dive into a cenote, you must be certified. For diving in The Pit cenote, you must be an experienced diver. The dive centers will be able to give you more information with that respect.

Is it safe to visit the cenote near Tulum?

Visiting a cenote is totally safe for you if you respect the common cenote rules which are also a way to protect the already fragile environment.

  • use the life jacket
  • don’t jump when it’s not permitted
  • don’t use sunscreen and mosquito repellent before entering the water (not even the ecological one)

Tulum is safe to travel in general, but some common sense is always a good way to keep yourself away from trouble.

What to bring to a cenote

Here is what you need to take with you when you visit a cenote:

  • bathing suit (and one to change)
  • towel
  • water shoes
  • snorkel and mask (if you have one)
  • mosquito repellent and sunscreen (to wear after you swim)
  • some cash (mexican pesos)
  • waterproof camera (gopro)

That’s it for my guide on Tulum cenotes. Now you know what cenotes are and where to find the best ones near Tulum. Even if you’re visiting somewhere other than Tulum, you can find plenty of cenotes. So make sure to download a map of Yucatan cenotes and read my other posts as well to get the best of Riviera Maya cenotes. Have fun!

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