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Cenote Calavera Tulum, exploring the Temple of Doom

Cenote Calavera in Tulum is one of the best cenotes in Riviera Maya and one of the most underrated attractions in the area.

Calavera means skull, and if you look at the cenote from above, you will see a large hole and, just a little over it,  two smaller holes that look like eyes.

Due to its interesting appearance, the cenote was named Calavera (“Skull”).

Another name for this cenote is The Temple of Doom cenote, after its underground cave system.

What is important to know is that Calavera Cenote is connected with the Sac Actun cave system, the longest cave system with rivers in the world.

Because this cenote is so close to the ocean, it is normal for saltwater to flow in.

However, the fresh water and the salt water do not mix, but they coexist in layers.

The cenote is also filled in with rainwater and water flowing through underground rivers.

This stunning cenote is not yet as famous as other cenotes in Tulum, so make sure you don’t miss it while it is still untamed.

Thanks to Instagram, more and more people discover this idyllic place with wooden steps and a swing leading into the crystal clear water.

But there are many other reasons to visit cenote Calavera and discover the beauty of this cenote.

In this article, I will tell you everything you need to know about the Temple of Doom cenote and how to visit it to maximize your time spent here. 

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Where is Cenote Calavera Tulum

Cenote Calavera is located on the main highway in the same direction as Coba and Gran Cenote.

It is located a 10 minutes drive from the center of Tulum town.

Because of its convenient location, you can rent a bike or walk to the cenote.

The bike ride lasts about 30 minutes, while the walk lasts about one hour.

You will see a big sign on the right-hand side of the road poining CENOTE, you simply cannot miss it.

And here you are, at the entrance of this magnificent cenote.

Calavera cenote inside view
Calavera cenote inside view

How to get to Calavera Cenote

Getting to this cenote is quite easy. You can choose to go by taxi, car, bike or scooter.

By taxi

You can get a taxi from Tulum downtown to Calavera Cenote; one way costs around 100 pesos.

The main downside of this option is that are not always taxis at the entrance of the cenote, so you might end up walking back to Tulum from the cenote.

If you are lucky, you might wait to catch a taxi that is coming back from Gran Cenote or Coba, but it depends.

So, if you are open to taking this risk, a taxi is a good option.

Rent a car

Tulum area is packed with many beautiful attractions, so renting a car and exploring the area is a good idea.

Driving in this part of Mexico is safe, and the quality of the roads is good.

A car gives you the freedom and mobility to explore all the attractions you like without depending on fixed schedules.

Get the best price for your car rental today

Rent a bike or scooter

If you are looking for a cheaper transportation option, then consider renting a scooter or a bike.

The price of renting a scooter for a day is around 30 USD per day, while a bike costs 10 USD per day.

By Collectivo

Collectivo is a shared taxi, and you jump into it if there are free places and can hop out when you reach your destination.

So you can take a collectivo going to Coba and hop off earlier when you reach the cenote.

The cost for a collectivo should not be higher than 25 pesos.

The cenote is located on the right side of the road that goes to Coba. You will see two signs, one saying Temple of Doom and another one CENOTE. 

You simply cannot miss it.

Fee and opening hours for Cenote Calavera Tulum Mexico

Cenote Calavera is open between 9 am – 5 pm from Monday to Sunday

Cenote Calavera entrance fee: 250 MXN

If you plan to enter with professional camera gear, you must pay another 200 pesos.

Scuba diving in this cenote costs around 2000 pesos, but you should book a tour at a dive shop in Tulum town.

Cenote Calavera Tulum
Cenote Calavera Tulum

Arriving at the cenote

Once you arrive at the entrance, you should pay the entrance fee from the small ticket office located right before passing a white gate.

The cenote is located in the backyard of a local, just 2 minute walk from the place where you parked your car/bike.

What to expect at Cenote Calavera Tulum Mexico

Don’t worry; you won’t find human remains at Calavera Cenote!

There are three holes to get to the underground cave, one bigger and two smaller.

There is a wooden ladder and rope swing on the big hole to get into the pool, or you can simply jump from the cliffs.

The water is deep enough so that you can jump.

If you arrive early enough, you might have this beautiful cenote just for yourself, so make sure you don’t forget your GoPro home.

It is a good place to jump from the cliffs and enjoy the refreshing waters of an underground cave.

Around the cenote are a few wooden tables and benches where you can leave your belongings or rest after swimming in the cenote.

If you plan to stay longer, pack some snacks and drinks as there are no shops around.

You will be asked to shower and rinse any lotion or sunscreen before jumping into the cenote to protect the environment.

Facilities at Calavera cenote

Don’t expect to fancy things at this cenote! It is located in the backyard of a local.

Among the facilities you will find here are:

  • a small resting area with tables and benches
  • Some basic restrooms
  • Sometimes treats and drinks are sold by the people who run the cenote
Diving at Calavera Tulum
Diving at Calavera Tulum

You won’t find here:

  • Restaurants and bars
  • shops

Bring with you water, a quick dry travel towel, waterproof shoes, and anything else you might need for a few hours at this cenote.

Best time to visit the Temple of Doom Cenote

The complex is open all year round, every day.

If you want to avoid the crowds and have the cenote for yourself, then go early in the morning, at opening time, or in the last two or three hours.

Most of the visitors arrive here at 10 in the morning, with the peak time at 1 pm.

What you can do at Calavera Tulum

Before entering the cenote, you will be asked to shower off any lotion, sunscreens or bug repellents.

This is to protect the fragile ecosystem of this cenote.

After that, you are free to explore this magnificent complex.

You can:

  • Swim
  • Snorkel
  • Cliff- jump
  • Dive
  • Relax

Swimming into this cenote is a unique experience, and the cenote is larger than it looks. The circumference of the underground cenote is 160 meters.

Snorkeling is not the best here as most of the cenote is underground and the color of the water is darker. But if you go in the right time of the day, you might snorkel here.

Self-diving in this cenote is prohibited. If you really want to dive here, you must have a PADI open-water certification and be part of a tour with a dive instructor.

Cliff jumping is one of the main attractions of the complex, and generally, people rush to jump from the cliff into the cenote. The water is deep enough for a safe jump! Keep your arms and legs tucked in when you jump!

If you want to relax after soaking into the cenote, there are a few hammocks and benches where you can relax.

Jumping into Calavera cenote
Jumping into Calavera cenote

What to bring to the Calavera Cenote Tulum

What not to bring

  • Expensive items and valuables as there are no lockers
  • Sunscreen and any other lotion as these are not permitted

Where to stay in Tulum

There are plenty of options where you can spend your nights in Tulum, from cheap hotels to beachside resorts and luxury hotels.

Most of the accommodations in Tulum can be found in 3 main areas: Tulum North Beach, Tulum South Beach, and The Main Town.

Here are my favorite options in the area, suitable for every budget.

Luxury: The Beach Tulum

The Beach Tulum is one of the best adults-only resorts in South Tulum, located right on the beach.

It features an outdoor pool, an onsite restaurant, a beach club, and a fancy spa.

The rooms are luxurious, with minimalist decor, free Wifi, air-conditioning, and a seating area.

The Beach Tulum
The Beach Tulum

Medium: Playa Esperanza Hotel

Located on Tulum North Beach, Playa Esperanza Hotel is an eco-sensitive resort with unique cabins made from natural materials.

The natural interiors with large and comfy beds are perfect for your holiday.

Most of the rooms have ocean views, and you can spend the day at the beach bar, where the drinks menu is very interesting.

Playa Esperanza Tulum
Playa Esperanza Tulum

Budget: Che Tulum Hostel and Bar

If you are looking for a cheap place to stay where to make new friends and party till late, then Che Tulum Hostel & Bar is the right place for you.

The bedrooms are spacious and feature private bathrooms, new beds and mattresses, and air conditioning.

Che Tulum Hostel
Che Tulum Hostel

Other things to do near Cenote Calavera

Here are some ideas for things you can do during your holiday in Tulum:

  • Visit other cenotes near Tulum
  • Spend some quality time at Tulum Beach, have lunch at one of the beach restaurants and cafes
  • Explore Tulum ruins, and if you have some extra time go to Chichen Itza, one of the 7 Wonders of the World
  • Observe wildlife in their natural environment on a day trip to the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve

Cenote Calavera in Tulum Mexico FAQ

Is Cenote Calavera free?

Cenote Calavera is not free. There is an entrance fee of 250 pesos or 12 USD.

Why is it called the Temple of Doom or Skull Cenote?

Calavera is called Skull cenote because that is what calavera means in spanish.

About the name Temple of Doom, nobody knows for sure where did this name come from.

How deep is Cenote Calavera?

The maximum depth is about 16 meters (52 feet), but directly below the cliff jumping is around 7 meters (25 feet).

Can I bring GoPro to the Skull Cenote?

Yes, you can bring it, and we strongly advise you to do so as you will catch some memorable footage. All the attractions around Tulum and Playa del Carmen are stunning and worth being filmed.

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.