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Cenote Azul, the full guide for a perfect day

Cenote Azul in Playa del Carmen is one of the most beautiful and popular cenotes in Quintana Roo State of Mexico.

It is extremely easy to reach from Playa del Carmen, Cancun, or Tulum.

Being so popular, we recommend you to plan your trip in advance to get the most out of your visit.

Some parts of the Cenote Azul are completely underground; others are partially covered, while some are exposed, looking like a lake.

You can find stalagmites and stalactites inside the cenote, and swimming around is absolutely incredible.

But before moving forward and telling you more about Cenote Azul, let me tell you what a cenote is.

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What are the Cenotes?

First of all, let me tell you how to pronounce the word Cenotes correctly: seh-no-tay.

A cenote is a sinkhole filled with water coming from an underground river that naturally occurs in limestone rock when the ceiling of an underground cave collapses and exposes the groundwater underneath.

Yucatan Peninsula has thousands of cenotes, each incredible and unique, but all extremely popular among tourists and locals.

Crystal Water on Azul Cenote
Crystal Water on Azul Cenote

Cenotes’ water is generally colder as it comes directly from the underground, so it is the perfect place to cool off on a hot day in summer.

During the Mayan era, most of the cenotes were used for sacrificial purposes, so all kinds of objects, gold, animal, and human remains were found on the bottom of the cenotes.

There are three types of cenotes:

  • open cenotes
  • Semi-open cenotes
  • Underground cenotes

The first ones are fully exposed to the sky, and visitors can swim in the open air as the water temperature is pleasant.

The semi-open cenotes are mostly underground, with small openings in the ceiling. What makes these cenotes so great is the light beams illuminate the crystal-clear water from the cave.

The underground cenotes are completely underground and have no natural light. These caves are more difficult to visit and are not for everybody.

Cenote Azul Playa del Carmen

Azul Cenote is a very popular open-air cenote close to Playa del Carmen, visited by thousands of tourists yearly.

It is a good place for swimming, perfect for families looking to have fun and chill off, jumping from the natural platforms located around the cenote.

Jungle path to Cenote Azul
Jungle path to Cenote Azul

Why visit Cenote Azul

Here are a few reasons why you cannot miss Cenote Azul, or “Blue Cenote” when exploring Mexico:

  • The color of the water is simply breathtaking
  • It is located in the middle of the forest, surrounded by greenery and fascinating underwater rock formations
  • It is kept in its natural environment with minimum of human intervention
  • The cenote is accessible by car
  • It is closely located to other 3 cenotes ( Cenote Jardin del Eden, Cenote Cristalino, Cenote Kantun Chi) right along the road from Cancun to Playa Del Carmen

How deep is Cenote Azul

Cenote Azul varies from shallow parts to depths up to 5 meters, making it the perfect swimming place for the entire family.

Cenote Azul pool Playa del Carmen
Cenote Azul pool Playa del Carmen

Where is Cenote Azul

Address: Quinta Avenida sur. Mercado Xaman-Ha Loc 15, Aviación, 77710 Playa del Carmen

This beautiful gem is located right off the main road from Cancun to Tulum, around 30 minutes drive from Tulum and 90 minutes from Cancun, in Riviera Maya.

How to get to Cenote Azul

There are three ways to get to Cenote Azul:

  • By a rented car
  • colectivo
  • Taxi
  • A tour

Car rental

Renting a car in Mexico is safe and cheap and allows you to explore the hidden gems of this fabulous country.

The cost of renting a car from Economy class is around 250 USD for a week, while the price of gas is around 2.5 USD per gallon.

Get the best price for your car rental today

To get to the cenote from Playa del Carmen, you have to drive south on 307 Highway. Once you reach Puerto Aventuras, you have only 5-minute drive to get to the cenote.

Parking at Cenote is free of charge. 

Cenote Azul Riviera Maya
Cenote Azul Riviera Maya

By Colectivo

From Playa del Carmen, take a Colectivo heading to Tulum.

Colectivo generally leaves only when they are full, so we cannot tell you how long you will have to wait.

Tell the driver that you are going to Cenote Azul, and he will drop you close to the Cenote.

The ride costs around 1.5 or 2 USD. 

By taxi

The real challenge when using a taxi is to find a driver that will give you a fair and reasonable price for your trip.

From Playa del Carmen to Cenote Azul, the taxi price should be around 15 or 20 USD.

A good idea is to arrange with your taxi driver to come in the evening to pick you up.

Take a tour

Plenty of tours are available in Playa del Carmen and especially Tulum for exploring Cenote Azul.

We took one from Tulum, From Tulum: Four-Cenote Adventure that lasted for 6 hours and included stops at Naval Cenote and Cenote Azul.

During the tour, you will enjoy a typical Mayan lunch and have a lot of time to swim, snorkel and explore these two beautiful cenotes.

From Tulum Four Cenote Adventure
From Tulum Four Cenote Adventure

Entrance fee for Cenote Azul

To swim or visit the beautiful Cenote Azul, you will have to pay around 7 USD for tourists, while kids aged 4 to 8 pay just 5 USD.

Locals have a special entrance fee in the amount of 100 pesos.

Cenote Azul opening hours

The cenote is open on a daily basis from 8.30 in the morning till 5 in the afternoon.

We recommend you go in the morning to avoid the crowds and enjoy this place more.

After lunch, the place tends to become quite crowded, and if it reaches its maximum capacity, you might not be allowed to enter.

Best time to visit Cenote Azul Bacalar

The best time to visit Cenote Azul, like any other cenote in Mexico, is in the morning, during weekdays.

In the afternoon and on weekends, the place becomes really crowded.

Shallow pool Cenote Azul Riviera Maya
Shallow pool Cenote Azul Riviera Maya

Visiting Cenote Azul

The ticket office for Cenote Azul is located close to the parking lot, near the road entrance.

Once you buy your ticket, you can head to the cenote.

To get to it, you will need to follow a stepped path surrounded by vegetation.

The path goes down to the first set of the 2 pools of this cenote. The pools are smaller and are located right near the entrance path.

These pools are quieter than the large ones, with more shade as trees surround them, being perfect for families with smaller kids.

The pool from the right of the path is deeper than the one located on the left side.

Facilities at Cenotes Azul

Among the facilities available at this cenote are showers, lockers, toilets, tables and chairs, a snack bar, and snorkeling masks.

The changing rooms are located in the back of the complex, and if you want to use them, you need to pay 5 pesos per person.

Showers and toilets are also there and can be used by visitors.

Life jackets are available at the cenote and cost 40 pesos per person. You need to leave a form of ID or 400 pesos for the deposit.

Cenote Azul Tulum
Cenote Azul Tulum

What’s not allowed in Cenote Azul

Visiting or swimming in a cenote slightly differs from exploring a lake, so you must follow different rules.

I drop below a list of the things that you are not allowed to bring or to do when visiting Cenote Azul:

  • Flippers
  • Alcohol
  • Smoking
  • Hammocks
  • Suncream
  • Mosquito repellent
  • Drone
  • Glass bottles
  • Don’t feed the fish or any animal you meet inside

Things to do at Cenote Azul

1.Azul Cenote swimming area

The cenote is split into two pools, and there is an elevated walkway that separates those two pools.

One pool is shallow and perfect for families with kids, while the other one is deeper with a low cliff jumping area.

The second one is perfect for snorkeling and swimming.

You can pass from one pool to another by swimming under the walkway that divides the two pools.

The water from the shallow pool is warmer than in the deeper pool and generally, people like to stay in the shallow pool to relax and cool off.

The maximum depth of the shallow pool is around 1.7 meters in the middle, and the bottom has a lot of large rocks.

Both pools have rocks at the entrances that might be quite slippery due to the algae that build up, so be careful when entering the pools.

You can jump from a cliff into the deeper pool, the jump is around 3.5 meters from the top to the water, and the water depth is around 5 meters.

It is a safe jump if you like to do these activities and you are a strong swimmer.

Little fish love to nibble on their feet in the water of the pools, so don’t get scared.

It is a funny sensation!

Overview Cenote Azul Tulum
Overview Cenote Azul Tulum

2. Snorkeling at El Cenote Azul

The waters of the cenote are clear, so you have very good visibility, and you can easily see the bottom of the cenote.

You will spot small fish, seagrass, and moss.

Don’t worry if you forgot your snorkeling equipment at home; you can rent one from the entrance store.

A life vest and snorkeling mask cost around 3 USD per item.

3. Cliff jumping

Around the deeper pool are some rocks from where you can jump into the water.

The cliffs are located at about 3 meters from the water, and there is a platform from which you can jump.

4. Scuba diving

This is the only cenote in the area where scuba diving is allowed.

Under the ground, there is a complex tunnel of caves that scuba divers can explore.

You will spot underwater stalagmites, stalactites, and all kinds of incredible rock formations.

The visibility is quite good; you can see at more than 150 meters.

If you plan to dive here, you need a PADI certificate and make sure you book your tour in advance to secure your seat.

5. Food/ snacks

There is a small stall at the entrance of the cenote from where you can buy drinks and light snacks.

Sleeping close to Cenote Azul

Barcelo Maya Riviera

This wonderful all inclusive resort adults-only features an outdoor swimming pool, a beautiful garden, and a fitness center.

The rooms at Barcelo Maya Riviera are spacious and clean, with a coffee machine, a minibar, a fridge, a desk, and a beautiful terrace overlooking the sea or the garden.

Barcelo Maya Riviera Cenote Azul
Barcelo Maya Riviera Cenote Azul

Hotel Esencia

Hotel Esencia is one of the best hotels in the area, with beautiful rooms and suites, 2 large swimming pools, and an a la carte restaurant.

Mexican cookery classes are available at the property, and guests can relax at the sauna and spa.

Hotel Esencia Azul cenote
Hotel Esencia Azul cenote

Is Cenote Azul Tulum safe?

Cenote Azul is perfectly safe for everybody, and it is a beautiful experience to swim into it.

Some of you might be intimidated by the large boulders from the bottom of the cenote and the underwater plant life, but the place is completely safe.

Put on a life vest and explore this magnificent and mystical world.

What to bring with you when visiting Playa del Carmen Cenote Azul


Take some cash with you if you plan to visit Cenote Azul, as you will need it when renting swimming and snorkeling equipment or when ordering something from the snack bar.

Pesos are better than dollars, as most of the venues accept US dollars at a reduced exchange rate.


You won’t find towels for rent at Cenotes Azul, so you’d better bring your own one.

We bought this towel and are really happy with it; it packs small and dry very fast.

Snorkel gear

You can rent snorkel gear at this cenote, but it is more hygienic to have your snorkeling gear.

The crystal clear water of the cenotes offers a unique snorkeling experience.

Snorkeling tour
Snorkeling tour

Swim shoes

The bottom of the cenotes and the shores are quite rocky, so to protect your feet, bring with you some swim shoes

Waterproof camera

Immortalize this wonderful experience using a waterproof camera. We prefer Go Pro, as it is one of the best waterproof camera in the world.


Why are cenotes blue?

There are a number of factors that determine the color of the water. The most important one is the depth, followed by salinity, geographical location, temperature, the color of the bottom and of course, the angle of the sun when the rays penetrate the water.

The most intense blue colors appear in crystal clear waters, where the water reaches its highest purity.

In the case of cenotes we have to add the minerals from the limestone rock, which also contribute to the turquoise color of the water.

Can you get sick from cenotes?

We don’t know any cases of people getting sick after swimming in a cenote. The water is clean and comes from the underground. Still, we advise you not to eat heavily or drink alcohol as you don’t know how your body react when jumping into cold water.

What should I wear to the cenotes?

A swimsuit is mandatory to wear when bathing in a cenote and for your comfort, put on some water shoes.

Can you drown in a cenote

In most cenotes, swimming is safe as the currents are light. But swimming is not allowed in the deepest cenotes, like Kaan Luum, as the currents might pull you down.

If you are not a good swimmer, put on a life vest.

Are there snakes in cenotes?

There are no snakes in cenotes, but there might be snakes in the jungle around the cenotes.

The chances to spot or meet one are really low as snakes, as most wild animals avoid humans.

Logistical tips and tricks for your trip

Book your accommodation
We always use as they have the best price-quality ratio and they offer a wide range of hotels, guesthouses, apartments, and villas to choose from.

You will find here all types of accommodations, from the cheapest ones to the most luxurious.

Don't forget travel insurance
We never leave home without HeyMondo Insurance or Safety Wings Insurance as they offer the best services and a good value for money.

When we go for longer trips around the world we get Globelink Insurance as it offers a good cover for an affordable price.

Travel insurance will always protect you against unexpected costs caused by medical events like illness, injury, theft, or travel cancellation.

We never go on any trip without travel insurance and there were many cases when we had to use it.

Renting a car
We like to explore a country on our own and a car gives us the mobility and freedom to do that.

We always rent our car from Discovercars as they have free cancellation 48 hours prior to starting date and a wide range of car rental companies and options to choose from all over the world.

Tours and attractions
When we are looking for some adventure or we simply want to break up the monotony and discover new places, we always use GetYourGuide.

We love it because we always find the most amazing experiences, with free cancellation and a large variety of activities and tours to choose from.

Airplane tickets and holiday packages
Expedia is our ally when searching for the best price for airplane tickets as it works as an aggregator for a huge number of airlines and we always find the best price for our flights.

Travel tip: use Expedia when you are searching for holiday packages as they have many last-minute offers and great discounts for hotels, flights, and even the whole holiday packages.