Skip to Content

19 stunning cenotes Cancun not to miss

Besides the beautiful beaches and the Mayan ruins, cenotes Cancun are also an important attraction in the area.

Cancun is one of the most beautiful areas in Mexico where tourists from all over the world rush to explore, have fun and relax.

The turquoise waters, fantastic beaches, delicious Mexican cuisine, and spectacular attractions make those who visit this part of the world fall in love immediately. 

Lately, more and more people have discovered and explored the beautiful Mexican cenotes near Cancun during their holidays.

In this article, I tell you in a few words what a cenote is, what types of cenotes exist, and which are the best cenotes in Cancun close to Riviera Maya.

Some of the following links are affiliate links. When you buy something using the retail links in our article, we may earn a small commission at no additional cost for you. You can read our full disclosure disclaimer and privacy policy.

What are cenotes?

A cenote, pronounced seh-no-tay, is a water-filled sinkhole occurring naturally in limestone rock when an underground cave collapses and exposes the underground water.

Plenty of cenotes around the Yucatan Peninsula are filled with fresh water from the underground.

All these places are perfect for swimming and cooling off on a hot day of the Mexican summer.

Many centuries ago, during the Mayan times, these Cancun cenotes were used for human and animal sacrificial purposes.

On the bottom of the cenotes en Cancun were found pottery, gold, and animal, and human remains.

Types of cenotes

In Yucatan peninsula, you can find all three types of cenotes:

  • Open cenotes
  • Semi-open cenotes
  • Underground cenotes
Cenote Calavera Tulum
Cenote Calavera Tulum

Open cenotes in Cancun

These are caves that have completely collapsed and are now exposed to the sky. These are the perfect places to swim in the open air.

The most popular open cenotes: Cenote Zacil-Ha and Cenote Azul.

Semi-open cenote Mexico Cancun

These cenotes are partially underground but have a small opening where the light and fresh air enter the cenote.

The color of the water is amazing, and the way the light enters the cave and enlight the stalactites and stalagmites is breathtaking.

Our favorire semi-open cenote: Cenote Suytun

Underground cenotes

As the name suggest, these Cancun cenotes are located completely underground and have no natural light.

Now that we know what a cenote is and how many types of cenotes exist let’s move forward and discover the best cenotes in Cancun.

The best way to explore these cenotes is with a rented car as it gives you the freedom and mobility to move from one cenote to another and stay in a place for how long you want.

Have a unique experience by exploring the area in your own rented car

Whether you prefer day trips from your hotel or a tour around the country, car rental is the best way for creating your own experience and live your dream vacation

19 best cenotes near Cancun Mexico

1. Gran Cenote

Distance from Cancun: 2 hours

Entrance fee: 25 USD per person for tourists and 6 USD per person for nationals. In this price you have included the snorkeling equipment.

Gran Cenote is, without any doubt, one of the most beautiful and popular cenotes near Cancun. It is a semi-open cenote with a stunning contrast between shadow and light.

Here you can swim, snorkel and dive if you want.

The crystal-clear water offers good visibility; you can even spot the coral and fish swimming beneath you.

Gran cenote
Gran cenote

If you are more adventurous, you can even book a guide and explore the tunnels and caves that open under the ground.

It is a favorite place among photographers and nature lovers in Cancun.

You can enjoy the tranquility and the beauty of the area while taking some memorable photos.

At the cenote’s entrance are lockers, restrooms, showers, and a souvenir shop.

2. Cenote Jardin Del Eden

Distance from Cancun: 1h and 15 min

Entrance fee: 10 USD for adults and 5 USD for kids

This open-air cenote Cancun with a beautiful natural rock wall around it is located very close to Cenote Cristalino and Cenote Azul.

It is a very good place for swimming and snorkeling; it looks like paradise on a sunny summer day.

The water is refreshing, and the view is breathtaking.

Cenote Jardin Del Eden
Cenote Jardin Del Eden

The cenote is hidden in the jungle and surrounded by beautiful vegetation; there are many animals and colors in the area.

There are wooden platforms and ladders so you can jump into the cenote from different heights.

The place is extremely popular among divers as the bottom of the cave is quite impressive.

You can bring your lunch and eat it on the shaded tables or buy burritos, choripan, and tacos from the snack bar.

Cenote Jardin del Eden is the most popular Playa del Carmen cenote.

3. Cenote Azul

Distance from Cancun: 1h and 15 min

Entrance fee: 9 USD per person

Cenote Azul, which means the Blue Cenote, is an open-air cenote with turquoise waters and multiple pools where you can soak.

You can jump from the cliffs, swim in any of the pools, or simply enjoy nature.

The main cenote has two swimming areas, one with a deeper pool where you can jump from the cliffs and another one with shallow waters, popular among families with kids. 

Cenote Azul Riviera Maya
Cenote Azul Riviera Maya

If you get hungry, you can eat at one of the area’s several restaurants and picnic zones.

Cenote Azul is close to Playa del Carmen, just off the main highway, and the main destination for families with kids, thanks to its facilities.

For the full guide of visiting Cenote Azul check the full article on our website.

4. Cenote Siete Bocas

Distance from Cancun: 1h

Entrance fee: 25 USD per person for foreigners and 20 USD per person for nationals. In the entrance fee is included a life vest, which is mandatory.

Cenote Siete Bocas which means Seven Mouth Cenote, is one of the most beautiful underground cenotes near Cancun. 

The cenote has seven different access points which you can enter from.

Cenote Siete Bocas
Cenote Siete Bocas

Through these several openings in the ceiling, so fresh air and light come into the cenote.

This is one of the best caves for diving, with its dark and deep waters that hide interesting rocks and fish.

You can climb down through a ladder, zipline, or simply jump from the cliff.

The water is really deep, and for this reason, a life vest is mandatory.

If you want to go deeper underground, then book a guide who will accompany you to explore the underground tunnels and caves.

The cenote is surrounded by jungle, and if you have a good sense of direction, you can go for a walk in the jungle and observe the local fauna and flora.

5. Cenote Dos Ojos

Distance from Cancun: 1h 45 minutes

Entrance fee: 17 USD per person

Dos Ojos cenote, or Two Eyes cenote, is one of the world’s most popular diving places for cave divers.

There are two cenotes here: ojo azul or blue eye and ojo negro or black eye connected by a boardwalk.

Ojo Azul is an open cenote with beautiful blue water, while ojo negro is a dark underground cave accessible only with a guide.

The best time to visit this cenote is 1-2 hours after opening and 1-2 hours before closing. 

Cenote Dos Ojos
Cenote Dos Ojos

During these slots, the crowds are fewer, and you can enjoy the water and landscape more.

Dos Ojos is visited by everybody, from families with kids to experienced divers, as it offers something for everybody.

The cenote is part of Sac Actun System, which is the largest underwater cave system in the world measuring about 350 km.

The color of the water is a clear blue, and many species of fish are swimming around and hiding under the underwater rocks and tree roots.

Among the facilities from the location, I would like to mention lockers, restrooms, showers, two restaurants, snorkeling gear, and, during some days, massage therapists.

6. Cenote Suytun (Chichen Itza or Coba)

Distance from Cancun: 2 h 45 min

Entrance fee: 12 USD per person

Cenote Suytun is the perfect stop on your way to Chichen Itza or Coba when driving from Cancun.

It is located close to Valladolid, and it is the perfect place to get some stunning shots for your Instagram account.

The cenote is perfect for swimming, and when the sun is above the cenote, the cave is lit up in an incredible way.

Cenote Suytun is famous for its stone path leading to a circular platform in the middle of a large pool.

This is the place where you should be when the sun shines directly on the cenote.

Cenote Suytun
Cenote Suytun

The cenote is a fully underground cave popular for this platform, with a huge stalactite rock formation hanging from the ceiling.

The cenote is small and becomes crowded, especially on weekends.

If you want to get the perfect shot go here at 9 or 10 in the morning during weekdays before the crowds arrive.

Right near the cenote, you will find changing rooms, restrooms, showers, life jacket rental, and a restaurant.

7. Cenote Ik Kil (Chichen Itza)

Distance from Cancun: 2 h 45 min

Entrance fee: 9 USD per person

One of the best cenotes in Yucatan, Cenote Ik Kil is definitely a popular cenote, especially if you want to explore the Chichen Itza Mayan ruins.

Most of the combined cenote tours include a stop at this cenote because of its convenient location and natural beauty.

Cenote Ik Kil
Cenote Ik Kil

Cancun: Chichen Itza, Ik Kil Cenote, and Valladolid Day Trip is the best tour you can book to combine a little of history with a soaking bath and a city tour.

On a guided tour, you will step into ancient Maya ruins, and discover the secrets of Mayan cooking with a live gastronomic demonstration.

After lunch, you will relax and cool down in Cenote Ik Kil, and you will end the tour with a visit in Valladolid’s town.

Cancun Chichen Itza Ik Kil Cenote and Valladolid Day Trip guide
Cancun Chichen Itza Ik Kil Cenote and Valladolid Day Trip guide

The cenote is located just 10 minutes away from the Mayan ruins.

The roof of the cenote has collapsed, and tree roots cascade into the cenote creating a stunning scene.

If you want to avoid crowds, then you’d better go early in the morning of late in the afternoon.

Among the facilities available at the cenote, I would like to mention changing rooms, showers, restrooms, lockers, a restaurant, a bar, life jackets, and a gift shop.

8. Cenote Sac Actun

Distance from Cancun: 1 h 45 min

Entrance fee: 38 USD per person, and in the price, you have included a guide, a life jacket, and snorkeling equipment.

This cenote is part of the largest underwater cave system in the world, and it is located close to Cenote Dos Ojos.

Cenote Sac Actun
Cenote Sac Actun

The cenote is also called “Pet cemetery” due to the large number of animal fossils found on site.

Snorkeling in the Sac Actun is extremely popular and the best way to admire the beautiful caverns.

To explore the cave, book a guide and wear a wetsuit as the water is cold.

The place is not recommended for those suffering from claustrophobia.

9. Casa cenote Cancun

Distance from Cancun: 1 h 15 min

Entrance fee: 9 USD per person

Casa Cenote is a unique cenote near Cancun with crystal clear waters hidden in lush vegetation and green mangroves.

It is closely located to a beach, and visitors can swim, paddleboard, or kayak in this 6 meters deep cenote.

Casa Cenote
Casa Cenote

It is a family-friendly place where the whole family can go snorkeling and observe the abundance of marine life.

Casa Cenote is also popular among divers attracted by the underwater cave system that goes directly into the ocean.

10. Cenote La Noria

Distance from Cancun: 1 h

Entrance fee: 20 USD per person for foreigners and 15 USD per person for locals.

Cenote La Noria is another top cenote in Cancun, an underground cenote with a small opening in the ceiling that allows the light to come in to the underground river.

It is located in the beautiful town of Puerto Morelos, about one hour south of Cancun, close to Cempte Siete Bocas.

Cenote La Noria turtle
Cenote La Noria turtle

The place is not very crowded as it has yet to be very famous.

The place is perfect for snorkeling and diving, and its dark and deep waters hide impressive rock formations.

There are plenty of underwater structures that experienced divers can explore.

Several platforms and rope swings allow visitors to jump directly into the cenote.

Near the cenote you will find a small restaurant where you should try the delicious tacos or a plate of nachos.

11. Ruta de Los Cenotes

Distance from Cancun: 30 min

Entrance fee: depending on what cenote you choose to visit and the activity chosen

Here we are talking about more than 10 cenotes along a 20 km road to the fishing village of Puerto Morales.

The route is extremely close to Cancun, which makes this place the perfect destination for a day trip.

Ruta de Los cenotes
Ruta de Los cenotes

The most representative cenotes are:

  • Cenote La Noira: a cave cenote like Kin Ha with a zipline and a jumping platform
  • Cenote Selvatica: located inside Selvatica adventure park that combines a cenote swimming with zip line and ATV adventures
  • Cenote Las Mojarras: an open-air cenote with diving platform and ziplines

12. Cenote Calavera

Distance from Cancun: 2 hours

Entrance fee: 15 USD per person and an extra 12 USD for videos/ photos

Cenote Calavera is a beautiful cenote near Tulum; its name translates as the “Skull Cenote”.

Three holes in this cenote resemble a month and two eyes; this cenote got its name from here.

It has a 4-meter drop from the shore to the water, and a ladder on the edge descends directly into the water, or you can simply jump from the shore.

The water is deep enough in all three holes so that you can jump safely from the edge.

Cenote Calavera
Cenote Calavera

It is a smaller cenote and conveniently located close to Tulum.

Because of its unique appearance and location, the place might become crowded during certain times.

For this reason, we recommend you arrive early in the morning.

There aren’t many facilities in the area, just some chairs and restrooms. 

No showers and restaurants can be found at Cenote Calavera so come prepared with anything you need for a few hours here.

Check our full article about Calavera Cenote to see how to spend some quality time on this fantastic place.

13. Cenote Tajma Ha

Distance from Cancun: 1h and 15 minutes

Entrance fee: 6 USD per person, but if you want to go diving, there is an extra fee.

Cenote Tajma Ha was initially known as Cenote Taj Mahal because of its natural beauty.

Divers from all over the world rush to dive here to see the beautiful underwater formations.

Cenote Tajma Ha
Cenote Tajma Ha

The place is considered as one of the best cenotes for diving near Cancun.

Many tour operators organize tours into this cenote.

We choose to explore this cenote with a guided tour of Cancún: Cenote Diving Puerto Morelos, a 5 hours tour from Cancun that includes a stop at Tajma Ha and another at Chikin Ha cenote.

You will have the opportunity to dive in two of the most interesting cenotes from the area, hidden in the jungle and discover many new things about these places.

In order to explore these two cenotes you need to be a certified diver.

Cancun Cenote Diving Puerto Morelos guide
Cancun Cenote Diving Puerto Morelos guide

14. Cenote Yal Ku

Distance from Cancun: 1h and 30 minutes

Entrance fee: 15 USD per person plus 6 USD per person for the mandatory life jacket

The picturesque beach town of Akumal is home to some wonderful sandy beaches, an impressive coral reef full of turtles, and the beautiful Yal Ku Lagoon.

Cenote Yal Ku is an open cenote with a considerable size and shallow waters packed with an abundance of marine creatures.

It is the perfect place for families who love water and for snorkeling as here, you can see a lot of interesting and colorful fish.

Cenote Yal Ku
Cenote Yal Ku

Laguna Yal Ku refers not only to the lagoon but also to the cenote. Many people call this cenote Yal Ku Lagoon & Snorkel.

Call it whatever you want, but include this place into your travel list, as experts say that this is the best place for snorkeling in the entire Yucatan Peninsula.

It is a unique mixture of salt and fresh water, the perfect home place for turtles and fish.

For those interested in exploring this cenote we recommend a tour, From Cancun: Tulum and Cenote Half-Day Tour with Snorkeling.

This 8 hours tour includes a visit to the archeological site of Tulum, snorkeling and relaxing at Yal Ku lagoon, and a short visit to the picturesque bay of Akumal.

The tour price includes transportation, lunch, snorkeling equipment (or you can bring your own snorkeling mask for hygiene reasons), and water.

From Cancun Tulum and Cenote Half Day Tour with Snorkeling guide
From Cancun Tulum and Cenote Half Day Tour with Snorkeling guide

15. Cenote Xcanche (Ek Balam)

Distance from Cancun: 2h and 30 minutes

Entrance fee: 4 USD per person, and if you choose the taxi bike is another 4 USD per person.

If you want to explore a less well-known Mayan ruin and a cenote, consider visiting Cenote Xcanche.

The cenote is located in the same village and is closely located at the entrance of the Ek Balam archeological site.

The cenote entrance is located before the ticket checks, so you can visit the archeological site and the cenote independently.

Cenote Xcanche
Cenote Xcanche

This cenote is extremely beautiful and has a waterfall streaming into the cenote.

You can jump into the cenote using a swing or zip-line for some extra adrenaline or simply go for a quiet day of swimming.

Cenote Xcanche is perfect for cooling off after exploring the archeological site near the cenote.

From the entrance gate to the cenote, there is a short walk, and if you are tired or don’t want to walk, go for a bike taxi that can be found at the cenote’s entrance.

16. Cenote Zaci (Zacil- Ha)

Distance from Cancun: 2h 

Entrance fee: 5 USD per person

Cenote Zaci is located near the Car Wash Cenote and is one of the best open cenotes for swimming.

It is located in the middle of Valladolid, just three blocks from Valladolid’s historical center, and it attracts many visitors, especially during weekends and the summer season.

There are plenty of places where you can jump into the cenote and zip lines for those looking for extra adrenaline.

Cenote Zaci
Cenote Zaci

The place is extremely popular among families with kids and couples because of its calm waters and good swimming conditions.

You can find sunchairs, two swimming pools, and hammocks near the cenote.

Inside the cenote, you can find many small creatures like lizards and bats, and in the water, there are plenty of colorful fish.

Among the facilities from the cenote, I would like to mention a small restaurant, restrooms, showers, two beautiful swimming pools, shaded palapas and sunchairs.

17. Cenote El Pit

Distance from Cancun: 2h 

Entrance fee: 24 USD per person

Cenote El Pit is the deepest cenote in Quintana Roo State, with a maximum depth of 120 m.

This is a scuba diving cenote where swimming and snorkeling are prohibited.

It is located in the middle of the jungle and there is a small hole where you can enter the cave.

Cenote El Pit
Cenote El Pit

In order to explore this place, you need to have a PADI certificate.

However, experienced divers ranked this place as the most beautiful cenote for diving in the whole of Mexico.

There are no facilities at this cenote; you can find just a wooden staircase that goes down into this magnificent cave.

18. Coba Cenotes (Coba)

Distance from Cancun: 2h 

Entrance fee: 6 USD per person

Coba Cenotes are closely located to the Yucatan’s incredible Mayan ruins, the Coba ruins.

It consists of three beautiful cenotes located near the ruins: Cenote Choo-Ha, Tamcach-Ha, and Multum-Ha.

Pyramid near Coba Cenotes
Pyramid near Coba Cenotes

These are three small cenotes perfect for swimming and cooling of after exploring the ruins.

Cenote Choo-Ha and Tamcach-Ha are underground cenotes, while Multum-Ha is a semi-open cenote with a small hole in the roof.

The cheapest and best way to get to these cenotes and the Mayan ruins is with a rented car.

Get the best price for your car rental today

19. Cenote Cristalino

Distance from Cancun: 1h and 15 min 

Entrance fee: 7 USD per person

Cristalino Cenote is closely located near Cenote Azul and Cenote Jardin del Eden, and definitely worth a visit.

Cristalino means crystal water; as the name suggested, it has one of the clear waters of all the cenotes I have seen.

Cenote Cristalino
Cenote Cristalino

This open-air cenote comes with a dive platform of 3 meters and a cave that divers can explore.

Near the cenote there are also a few separate cenote pools where you can cool off and plenty of spaces to enjoy the sun.

Best hotels in Cancun

If you want to have the adventure of your lifetime and spend quality time with your family and friends, then Cancun is the place where you should go.

Besides many natural attractions, Cancun comes with a long list of hotels, suitable for every budget.

Here are my proposals:

1. Hyatt Zilara Cancun

Hyatt Zilara is an adults-only resort with all-inclusive options and stunning views of the Caribbean Sea.

On-site, there is a fabulous spa and endless entertainment and activities options like a fitness center, an outdoor pool, a private beach, and many dining options.

There is always something to do at Hyatt Zilara: live entertainment, cultural shows, and themed parties are just some of the things you can try.

Hyatt Zilara Cancun
Hyatt Zilara Cancun

2. Haven Riviera Cancun

Haven Riviera Cancun is another all-inclusive adults-only hotel located right on the beach.

The rooms have air conditioning, a flat-screen TV with satellite channels, a seating area, and a good-quality bathroom.

Regarding the dining options, there are plenty of restaurants on site:  an Italian, a Mediterranean, and another serving Mexican cuisine.

Haven Riviera Cancun
Haven Riviera Cancun

3. Atelier Playa Mujeres

The third on my list is also an all-inclusive resort, Atelier Playa Mujeres, that welcomes families with children and couples.

You have a private beach, an outdoor pool, a fitness center and a hot tub.

With the all-inclusive plan, you don’t have to worry about food and drinks.

Atelier Playa Mujeres
Atelier Playa Mujeres
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.