Cenotes in Tulum: Dive into the Ultimate Traveler’s Experience
From the popular Gran Cenote, with its mix of caves, caverns and open cenotes, to Cenote Dos Ojos, a magnet for divers, to Cenote Zacil-Ha and Cenote Carwash, there are many wonderful Cenotes in Tulum waiting to be discovered.
With idyllic white sand beaches, trendy restaurants and easy access to impressive Mayan ruins and crystal clear cenotes, Tulum has become a must-visit destination along the Riviera Maya.
Having visited, and loved, so many incredible cenotes by Tulum, we wanted to share our favorites, which is why we invite you to continue reading our guide to the 15 best cenotes in Tulum Mexico.
Best Cenotes in Tulum Quintana Roo
What are Cenotes?
Cenotes are water-filled sinkholes that form naturally in limestone rocks when an underground cave collapses and exposes the water. There are thousands of cenotes in the Yucatan Peninsula, and the Tulum region is home to some of the most visited and unique ones.
The water in cenotes tends to cool because it comes from underground. This makes it an ideal place to take a refreshing dip and cool off from the hot Mexican sun. In Mayan times, many cenotes were used for sacrifices, and objects such as gold, pottery and even human and animal remains have been found at the bottom of some of them.
The cenotes of Tulum are a mixture of open, semi-open and subway sinkholes:
- Open Cenotes: these are caves that have completely collapsed inward and are open to the outside. They’re our top picks since you get to swim under the open blue sky, the water’s always at a nice temperature, and there’s often plenty of spots to chill out around the water. Our favourites of this type around Tulum are Cenote Carwash and Cenote Zacil Ha.
- Semi-open cenotes: These cenotes are mostly subway, but have small openings in the roof that allow light and fresh air in. These cenotes can be especially beautiful when the rays of light illuminate the crystalline water below. Our favorite near Tulum are Cenote Ik Kil, which you can visit on a day trip to Chichén Itzá, and Cenote Samula, one of the cenotes near Valladolid.
- Subway cenotes: These cenotes are completely underground in a cave system and have no natural light to illuminate the cenote water. Cenote Choo-Ha, around the ruins of Coba, and Cenote Xkeken, near Valladolid, are beautiful subway cenotes in the Yucatan Peninsula.
Top 15 Best Cenotes Near Tulum
These are the best cenotes near Tulum Mexico – we think they are an important part of any travel plan to Tulum or Yucatan!
1- Gran Cenote Tulum
Best for: snorkeling, scuba diving, swimming.
The popular Gran Cenote is a crystalline water cenote located just outside of Tulum. It is a series of caves, caverns and an open-air cenote connected by wooden walkways and surrounded by lush vegetation. This Cenote attracts swimmers, divers and snorkelers. It is popular with both Tulum residents and those stopping to explore the ruins of Cobá.
The Gran Cenote is an open-air, river-shaped cenote surrounded by two dive sites, and turtles can often be seen swimming in its waters.
How to get there: The Cenote is easily accessible with a rental car. From Tulum, take a cab or Colectivo to Coba and tell the driver where you want to get off.
Entrance fee: Entrance to the Cenote costs U$ 9.
2 – Cenote Zacil-Ha
Best for: families, a cenote with a pool.
Next to the abovementioned Cenote Carwash, thsi cenote is a small and beautiful open-air cenote with crystalline water. We visited many cenotes and Zacil-Ha was the most like a normal pool, but incredibly beautiful! There are plenty of opportunities to jump off the edge and even zip line and drop into the cenote from above. Other features include hammocks and regular pools to relax in.
How to get there: this cenote is easily accessible with a rental car. From Tulum, take a cab or Colectivo to Coba and tell the driver where you want to get off.
Entrance fee: U$ 5.
3 – Car Wash Cenote Tulum
Best for: swimming, snorkeling, those looking for a quiet and easy access cenote experience.
The open-air Cenote Ak Tun Ha is also known as the Car Wash Cenote because that’s what it was used for: washing cars! The large swimming area is located next to the parking lot, making it easily accessible.
In the underwater world of the rock formations swim fish and turtles and occasionally a small alligator. Subway vegetation leads to the cave section. The Carwash cenote is up to 15 meters deep, and divers can often be seen emerging from its waters.
How to get to Cenote Carwash? Cenote Carwash is easily accessible with a rental car. From Tulum, take a cab or Colectivo to Coba and tell the driver where you want to get off.
Cost of the ticket to Cenote Carwash: tickets cost U$ 3.
4 – Cenote Sac Actun, Cenote El Pit and Cenote Nicte-Ha
Best for: spending the day
The name Sac Actun comes from the Mayan word for White Cave. It was initially called “Pet Cemetery” because of the large number of animal fossils found there.
It is part of the longest submerged cave system in the world, with 350 kilometers; there are still unexplored areas, so it could be even longer.
This system has 248 cenotes that function as entrances, not all of which are visible to the public. Sac Actún connects with the Dos Ojos cenote.
One of the most surprising features of Sac Actún are the numerous archaeological findings, some dating from Pleistocene times to the ancient Maya.
How to get to Sac Actun: Cenote is located west of Tulum, so if you are traveling from Cancun, on Federal Highway 307 from Cancun to Tulum it is 118.2 kilometers, approximately one hour and forty minutes drive.
If you go from Playa del Carmen at 53.7 kilometers, it will take you about 54 minutes.
Entrance fee: U$ 35.
5 – Dos Ojos Cenote
Best for: Diving, swimming, snorkeling.
This 30-minute drive from Tulum takes you to an underwater wonder. It’s known as Dos Ojos Cenote, a name that comes from the unique pair of sinkholes linked by an underground passage, resembling a set of eyes. This feature forms a mesmerizing subterranean cave.
The allure of these caves isn’t just in their natural beauty. They’re a hotspot for snorkeling enthusiasts, drawing crowds eager to explore their depths. Divers, in particular, find themselves captivated by the intricate cave system beneath the surface.
Getting there is part of the adventure. Renting a car is your best bet for a hassle-free journey. If you’re coming from Tulum, hop on a Colectivo heading north on highway 307 towards Playa del Carmen. You’ll be dropped off at the entrance to the park, but remember, it’s a bit of a trek – a 30-minute walk on a dirt path before you reach this hidden gem.
Check prices, because it’s a good deal. For U$ 23, you get access not just to Dos Ojos Cenote but also to others in the park, like Sac Actun and Nicte Ha. These spots are equally stunning and definitely worth your time. If you’re just visiting Cenote Dos Ojos, the ticket is slightly cheaper at U$ 18. A small price for an unforgettable experience.
6 – Casa Cenote
Best for: swimming, kayaking or stand-up paddle boarding.
Casa Cenote, is one of the most beautiful cenotes in Tulum. The crystal clear, turquoise waters are surrounded by lush trees and mangroves, which can be combined with a visit to the nearby beach.
Tourists can swim, kayak or paddle board in the cenote and, with a depth of only 20 feet, it is suitable for families. Snorkeling is very popular at this Cenote and it also attracts divers with its underwater cave system leading directly to the ocean.
How to get there: this Cenote is easily accessible by rental car, local bus (if you don’t mind going off road) or cab. From the highway, from where the colectivo departs, you have to walk about 20 minutes on a dirt road surrounded by jungle.
Entrance fee: Entrance costs U$ 7.
7 – Calavera Cenote
Best for: swimming, jumping and diving.
Cenote Calavera is unique in Tulum. Its name translates as “Cenote of the Skull”, in reference to the three chasms, similar to two eyes and a mouth, that open over the cenote. There is a 4-meter drop into the water: use the ladder at the edge of the cenote or, if you prefer, you can jump off the edge and dive directly into the water.
Despite its proximity to Tulum, this Cenote remains relatively quiet and is one of Tulum’s hidden gems.
How to get there: It is easy to get to this Cenote with a rental car. From Tulum, take a cab or Colectivo to Coba and tell the driver where you want to get off.
Entrance fee: costs U$ 10 and U$ 10 extra if you want to use your GoPro camera.
8 – Cenote Azul
Best for: families, outdoor swimming, water relaxation and fun jumps.
The large, open-air Cenote Azul, with its shallow waters and fun cliff jumps, is located north of Tulum.
The main cenote is divided into two swimming areas, separated by a wooden walkway. The shallow part of the cenote, where younger children can splash around in the clear water, is very popular with families.
The deeper pool is overlooked by a cliff, great for a fun jump into the cenote. Snorkeling is also popular on this side. This is one of the most beautiful Cenotes in Tulum.
Best tip about cenotes near Tulum: this Cenote is easily accessible, so it is very crowded. It is recommended to go early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid the crowds.
How to get to Cenote Azul: is easily accessible with a rental car, a local colectivo or a quick cab.
Entrance fee: U$ 6 per person.
9 – Cenote Cristalino
Best for: families and swimming
Cenote Cristalino is located very close to the aforementioned Blue Cenote and is definitely worth a stop.
It is an open air cenote where you can find some of the most beautiful crystal clear waters in Mexico.
How to get the: Cenote is easily accessible with a rental car, a local Colectivo or a quick cab ride. It can easily be combined with a visit to nearby Blue Cenote and Cenote Jardin del Eden.
Entrance fee: U$ 8 per person.
Where to stay in Tulum?
When you plan to visit the best Tulum Cenotes Tulum, you are going to need an accommodation where to stay and spend your days in this wonderful region, that’s why we have taken the trouble to elaborate a complete guide with the best hotels in Tulum, so you don’t leave anything left to chance and your trip will be a unique and pleasant experience.
Below you will find the best hotel deals in Tulum, take a look!
10 – Cristal and Escondido Cenotes in Tulum
Best for: A pleasant tour through the cenotes
Located south of the town of Tulum, Cenote Cristal and Cenote Escondido are small open cenotes, surrounded by lush vegetation. The cenotes are located on both sides of the road and are connected by an underwater tunnel. The ticket includes entrance to both cenotes. Cristal Cenote, with its wooden jumping platforms, is our favorite.
How to get there: The cenotes are easily accessible with a rental car and a quick bike ride from town.
Entrance fee to both cenotes: U$6 per person.
11 – Cenote Jardin Del Eden
Best for: swimming, jumping and snorkeling
This Cenote is one of the most popular and beautiful cenotes near Tulum and Playa del Carmen.
Upon entering the cenote, also known as Cenote Ponderosa, you immediately understand why it has been called the Garden of Eden. The large outdoor pool is surrounded by lush vegetation and looks just like the Garden of Eden.
In addition to swimming in its transparent waters, the Garden of Eden Cenote is an ideal place to jump on the rocks and snorkel. Its cave system is very popular among divers.
How to get there: the cenote is easily accessible with a rental car, a local Colectivo or a quick cab.
Entrance fee: costs U$ 6 per person.
Cenotes in Tulum to visit on a day tour
A majority of tourists who visit Tulum want to explore at least one of the ancient Mayan ruins found throughout the Yucatan Peninsula. We wanted to include these incredible cenotes, which can easily be incorporated into a tour to some of the Yucatan’s most iconic ruins: Chichen Itza, Coba and Ek Balam.
12 – Ik Kil Cenote
Best for: good swimmers, see the beautiful waterfalls of vines unique to a few cenotes in Yucatan.
Visiting Chichen Itza, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is one of the most popular excursions in Tulum. The nearby Cenote Ik Kil is one of the most emblematic of the Yucatan Peninsula.
The captivating Cenote Ik Kil presents a breathtaking sight where nature’s artistry is on full display. Here, the cave’s roof has given way, allowing tree roots to cascade into the crystal-clear waters below, creating a scene that feels almost otherworldly. Imagine bathing in these serene waters, looking up to see the open sky above – it’s an experience that borders on the surreal. We highly recommend adding this stunning cenote to your itinerary; it’s a visit that promises to be as memorable as it is enchanting.
It is easily accessible from Tulum and even if you don’t have your own transportation, most tours include a stop at Cenote Ik Kil.
How to get to Cenote Ik Kil: Cenote Ik Kil is easily accessible by rental car. You can also take the special ADO bus from Tulum to Chicen Itza, with a travel time of about 2 hours and 30 minutes. Probably the easiest way (besides renting a car) to visit Cenote Ik Kil is as part of a trip to Chichen Itza. There are many tours that include Cenote Ik Kil as part of a day trip.
Entrance fee to Cenote Ik Kil: Entrance to Cenote Ik Kil costs U$5 per person.
13 – Cenote Suytun, the Instagram Cenote in Valladolid
Best for: discovering the rays of light falling into the cenote’s cave, for Instagram lovers.
The spectacular Cenote Suytun became famous on Instagram a few years ago. The Suytun cenote is famous for the beautiful beams of light that shine through the cenote’s ceiling to the circular platform below. This cenote lives up to expectations: it is as beautiful in person as it is in photos. The visit can easily be combined with an excursion to the ruins of Coba and only adds an hour to the round trip from Tulum.
Tourists can also swim in Cenote Suytun, but many stop only to take a few souvenir photos. Swimmers are required to wear a life jacket.
Tip for the cenotes Tulum: For most of the cenotes near Tulum, we recommend arriving early or late to avoid the crowds. However, the bright rays at Cenote Suytun make it best to go in the late morning or afternoon. This is when the rays of light strike most directly on the circular platform, making for a magical experience. Afternoons at Cenote Suytun can be crowded with tour buses.
How to get to Cenote Suytun: Cenote Suytun is easily accessible with a rental car. You can also take the ADO bus to Valladolid and, from there, take the local Colectivo or a quick cab to the ruins. There are also many tours that include Cenote Suytun as part of a one-day excursion to Chichen Itza.
Entrance fees to Cenote Suytun: U$ 7 per person.
14 – Xcanche Cenote in Ek Balam
Best for: a refreshing swim after visiting the ruins of Ek Balam, adrenaline junkies who want to enjoy the jumps and zip lines, independent travelers as many group tours do not allow sightseeing.
Ek Balam is a popular excursion for many visitors to Mexico who want to experience the lesser known Mayan ruins. A beautiful cenote, Ek Balam Cenote Xcanche, is located in the ruins and is accessible near the entrance to the Ek Balam archaeological zone.
Cenote Xcanche is an incredible open cenote with a waterfall that flows into the cenote. In addition to swimming, zip lining and bungee jumping are also popular in this tranquil cenote. Xcanche is the perfect place to relax and refresh after a busy morning exploring the ruins of Ek Balam, and we highly recommend taking the time to visit this cenote.
Tip for cenote Tulum: Entrance to the cenote is before you check out the entrances to Ek Balam, so you can visit the ruins and the cenote independently.
How to get to Cenote Xcanche: Cenote Xcanche is located about 2 km from the entrance to the ruins of Ek Balam. You can go on foot, by bicycle or take a cab with your bicycle. After visiting the ruins of Ek Balam, we took a bicycle cab. From Playa del Carmen, Ek Balam is easily accessible by rental car or bus to Valladolid, and the rest of the way is by colectivo or cab.
Entrance fee to Cenote Xcanche: costs U$5 . The bicitaxi ride, including entrance fee, cost us a total of U$10.
15 – Cenotes Coba
Many visitors to Tulum take a one-day excursion to the incredible Mayan ruins of Coba, and near the entrance to the Coba ruins are 3 wonderful cenotes: Cenotes Choo-Ha, Tamcach-Ha and Multum-Ha are a series of small cenotes, perfect for a refreshing dip after exploring the incredible jungle ruins.
Cenote Choo-Ha, Tamcach-Ha and Multum-Ha are subway cenotes: two of them are caves, while Multum-Ha has a small opening in the roof.
Cenote Choo-Ha, with its crystal clear waters and interesting rock formations, was our favorite, and its shallow waters make it perfect for a family visit.
Cenote Tamcach-Ha, about a hundred meters away, is equally beautiful, and the jumping platforms add an element of fun to the swim.
Cenote Multum-Ha requires a little more effort to reach, as it is a few kilometers away, but its deep waters and the rays of light coming through a small hole in the roof are amazing.
Tip for Cenotes Tulum: Coba’s cenotes aren’t too crowded with tourists, so it’s super quiet. We had two to ourselves on our visit, which was amazing.
How to get to the Coba Cenotes: It is easiest to get to these cenotes with a rental car from Tulum as part of a day trip to the Coba ruins. Some visits to the Coba ruins include some of the cenotes, but not all of them. For this reason, it is recommended to rent a car in Cancun.
Cost of the Coba Cenotes ticket: A ticket covering all three cenotes costs U$7.
Cenotes Tulum Prices
- Gran Cenote: 180 MXN (9.33 USD)
- Cenote Carwash: 50 MXN (2.59 USD)
- Cenote Azul: 100 MXN (5.19 USD)
- Cenote Cristal + Cenote Escondido: 120 MXN (6.22 USD)
- Cenote Dos Ojos: 350 MXN (18.15 USD)
- Cenote Zacil-Ha: 70 MXN (3.63 USD)
- Cenote Calavera: 100 MXN (5.19 USD)
- Cenote Tak Be Ha: 200 MXN (10.37 USD)
- Laguna Kaan Luum: 50 MXN (2.59 USD)
- Cenote Angelita: 150 MXN (7.78 USD)
- Casa Cenote: 120 MXN (6.22 USD)
- Cenote Encantado: 50 MXN (2.59 USD)
Map of Cenotes in Tulum
Visiting the Cenotes near Tulum is an experience that offers a unique combination of natural beauty, adventure, and tranquillity. These natural sinkholes, filled with crystal clear waters and surrounded by lush vegetation, provide a magical setting for swimming, diving, or simply relaxing in a peaceful environment.
As someone who has personally explored these hidden gems, I can wholeheartedly recommend the cenotes as a must-visit destination in Tulum. Whether you’re an adventure seeker looking to explore underwater caves or want to bask in the serene ambience, the cenotes offer something for everyone.
The interconnected system of these underground rivers presents an opportunity to understand the cenotes’ geological wonders and cultural significance. Coupled with the warm hospitality of the local guides and the stunning natural scenery, it’s a journey that enriches the mind and the soul.
In conclusion, take the chance to explore the Cenotes in Tulum on your next trip. The memories and connections you’ll make with this extraordinary place will surely last a lifetime. Please bring your family and friends, or come alone; the cenotes are waiting to share their secrets and beauty.