Cenotes Tulum might not be as popular as the white sandy beaches of Tulum, but definitely worth paying a visit.
Most people associate Tulum with white beaches, Mayan ruins, great restaurants, and a great atmosphere.
But there are also crystal clear cenotes located close to the city.
In the area around Tulum, you can easily find caverns and cave cenotes as well as open-air cenotes and cenotes perfect for diving and swimming.
These cenotes contain water and were an important water source for the Mayan people.
Today they are perfect for diving, swimming, and snorkeling, being fantastic places to cook off and relax.
What are cenotes
But first, let’s understand what exactly constitutes a cenote.
Pronounced seh-no-tay, a cenote is a natural sinkhole filled with water, formed when an underground cave collapses and reveals the hidden aquifer below.
Many cenotes scattered across the Yucatan Peninsula are filled with fresh, refreshing water from subterranean rivers.
These enchanting locations provide the perfect haven for swimming and cooling off on scorching Mexican summer days.
Centuries ago, during the Mayan era, these Tulum cenotes held great significance, serving as sites for both human and animal sacrifices.
Archaeological explorations have uncovered ancient artifacts, including pottery, gold, and remnants of animals and humans, resting at the cenote bottoms.
Types of cenotes
Now, let’s delve into the different types of cenotes you can find within the Yucatan Peninsula:
- Open Cenotes: These caves have fully collapsed, exposing the cenotes to the open sky. They offer a unique opportunity to swim and enjoy the open-air surroundings. Among the most popular open cenotes are Cenote Zacil-Ha and Cenote Azul.
- Semi-Open Cenotes: These cenotes are partially underground but feature small openings that allow light and fresh air to permeate the caves. The vibrant hues of the water and the breathtaking play of light create a truly mesmerizing ambiance. A favorite semi-open cenote worth visiting is Cenote Suytun.
- Underground Cenotes: As the name suggests, these cenotes are entirely located underground, devoid of natural light. Exploring these underground wonders promises an extraordinary adventure.
Getting to cenotes en Tulum
Having gained a better understanding of what cenotes are and the diverse types they come in, let’s now embark on discovering the absolute best cenotes Tulum has to offer. To fully enjoy these cenotes, renting a car provides the freedom and flexibility to move seamlessly from one cenote to another, allowing you to soak up the experience at your own pace.
Get the best price for your car rental today
Are you ready to embark on an unforgettable journey through Tulum’s remarkable cenotes? Let the exploration begin!
17 best cenotes in Tulum you have to explore
1. Cenote Il Kil at Chicen Itza
Entrance fee: USD 9 per person
Cenote Ik Kil, one of the most remarkable cenotes in the Yucatan Peninsula, holds immense popularity, particularly for those exploring the Chichen Itza Mayan ruins.
Many combined tours include a stop at this cenote due to its convenient location and natural beauty.
A recommended option is the Tulum: Chichen Itza, Ik Kil Cenote, and Valladolid Day Trip, which combines historical exploration, a refreshing dip, and a city tour.
On this guided tour, you’ll delve into ancient Maya ruins, uncover the secrets of Mayan cooking through a live gastronomic demonstration, enjoy a delectable lunch, unwind and cool off at Cenote Ik Kil, and conclude the tour with a visit to the charming town of Valladolid.
Cenote Ik Kil is a mere 10-minute drive from the Mayan ruins.
With a collapsed roof adorned with cascading tree roots, it offers a visually stunning spectacle. To avoid crowds, plan your visit early in the morning or late in the afternoon.
On-site facilities include changing rooms, showers, restrooms, lockers, a restaurant, a bar, life jackets, and a gift shop.
2. Cenote Azul
Cenote Azul is a stunning cenote complex that boasts several interconnected pools of vibrant blue water.
This natural wonder is perfect for swimming, snorkeling, or simply basking in the sun on the surrounding limestone rocks.
The tranquil atmosphere and picturesque setting of Cenote Azul make it a popular choice for visitors seeking a relaxing and visually captivating experience.
Check our article on Cenote Azul for all the details you need to know about planing a fantastic day trip to this beautiful cenote.
3. Gran Cenote
Entrance fee: USD 25 per person; Nationals: USD 6 per person (snorkeling equipment included)
Gran Cenote, a mesmerizing semi-open cenote Tulum, stands out with its captivating interplay of light and shadow.
This enchanting location offers opportunities for swimming, snorkeling, and even diving. Immerse yourself in the crystal-clear water and witness the vibrant coral and fish gracefully gliding beneath you.
For the adventurous souls, guided tours are available to explore the mesmerizing tunnels and caves that lie beneath the surface.
Photographers and nature enthusiasts consider this cenote a favorite spot in Tulum, where tranquility and beauty unite, presenting perfect moments for capturing unforgettable photographs.
At the entrance, convenient facilities such as lockers, restrooms, showers, and a souvenir shop await visitors.
4. Cenote Manati
Cenote Manati got his name from the manatees in the area who used to visit this cenote.
Here you will find 7 cenotes connected by a single channel consisting in underground caves and mangroves.
At the end of the channel you will find the sea.
You can dive in this cenote with a total depth of 164 feet, or rent a kayak and explore the area.
It is one of the best places where you can see the forests of Riviera Maya from the water and above it.
5. Cenote Dos Ojos
Entrance fee: USD 17 per person
Embark on an extraordinary diving adventure at Dos Ojos Cenote, globally renowned as one of the premier cave diving destinations.
Comprised of two cenotes, the Blue Eye (ojo azul) and the Black Eye (ojo negro), connected by a picturesque boardwalk, Dos Ojos offers a captivating experience.
The Blue Eye is an open cenote, boasting stunning blue waters, while the Black Eye is a dark underground cave accessible exclusively with a guide.
For the best experience, plan your visit approximately 1 to 2 hours after opening or 1 to 2 hours before closing, when the crowds are thinner, enabling you to immerse yourself in the serene beauty of the surroundings fully.
Dos Ojos caters to diverse visitors, from families with children to seasoned divers, ensuring there’s something for everyone.
As part of the expansive Sac Actun System, the largest underwater cave system worldwide spanning around 350 kilometers, Dos Ojos captivates with its clear blue water and an abundance of fish swimming amidst underwater rocks and tree roots.
On-site facilities include lockers, restrooms, showers, two restaurants, snorkeling gear, and, on selected days, massage therapists’ availability.
6. Cenote Angelita
Cenote Angelita offers a surreal and mystical experience like no other.
One of the most interesting cenotes en Tulum, Cenote Angelita, is unique because it features a submerged “river” of hydrogen sulfide beneath a layer of freshwater.
As you descend, you’ll witness a captivating sight—a dense cloud of sulfur hovering above the underwater river.
Dive into the depths of Cenote Angelita and feel like you’re exploring another world.
7. Cenote Carwash
Once used as an actual car wash by locals, a place where locals wash their cars, Cenote Carwash has transformed into a stunning cenote worth exploring.
Dive into the vibrant blue waters and enjoy the serenity of this natural wonder.
Admire the underwater rock formations, swim alongside fish, and embrace the tranquility that surrounds you.
Cenote Carwash is an ideal spot for snorkeling, swimming, and simply soaking up the beauty of nature.
8. Cenote Jardin del Eden
Entrance fee: USD 10 for adults; USD 5 for children Nestled amidst the jungle
Cenote Jardin Del Eden, also known as the Garden of Eden Cenote, showcases a natural rock wall that encircles its open-air expanse.
Located in close proximity to Cenote Cristalino and Cenote Azul, this cenote presents an idyllic setting for swimming and snorkeling, transforming into a paradise on sunny summer days.
Refresh yourself in the invigorating water while captivated by the breathtaking view surrounding you.
Abundant vegetation and various animals enhance this hidden gem’s enchanting atmosphere.
Wooden platforms and ladders allow visitors to plunge into the cenote from different heights, while divers are particularly drawn to its impressive cave bottom.
Feel free to bring your own lunch and enjoy it at the shaded tables or savor delicious burritos, choripan, and tacos from the snack bar.
Cenote Jardin Del Eden proudly claims its place as the most popular cenote in Playa del Carmen.
Where to stay in Tulum
Hostel Che Tulum
If you are looking for a cheap hostel with a fantastic social vibe, then go for Hostel Che Tulum.
Here you will find a wonderful pool and the hotel has a good central location.
You can choose to sleep in a dorm bed with air-conditioning and breakfast included for prices starting from 35 USD.
Aruma Boutigue Hotel
Conveniently located close to the city center, where you can find most of the shops and restaurants, Aruma Boutique Hotel is one of my favorite hotels in Tulum.
I liked the breakfast a lot, especially the espresso coffee and the staff, who was very friendly.
On-site, you will find a rooftop pool and a bar where you can relax and enjoy the Mexican sun.
Hotel Blanco Tulum
If you are looking for something fancy but don’t want to break the bank, consider booking your stay at Hotel Blanco.
For about 100 USD per night, you can get a deluxe double room with a balcony and air conditioning.
The location of the hotel is right in the center of the city, close to restaurants and bars.
How about soaking in a private cenote?
If this idea makes you go crazy, you must book a room at Kan Tulum.
Here you will find a private cenote, and the hotel is built around it.
The design of the hotel and the rooms are unique and make you feel that you are staying in a jungle treehouse.
Each room is spacious and comes with a terrace from where you can see the sunset and a seating area.
You are close to everything from here, including shops, restaurants, beaches and nightlife.
9. Cenote El Pit
Entrance fee: USD 24 per person
Cenote El Pit is Quintana Roo State’s deepest cenote, reaching a maximum depth of 120 meters.
This cenote is exclusively reserved for scuba divers, with swimming and snorkeling prohibited. Nestled amidst the jungle, a small opening grants access to the magnificent cave.
Exploring Cenote El Pit requires a PADI certification.
Experienced divers hail this cenote as the most exquisite scuba diving location in all of Mexico.
Facilities are limited, with only a wooden staircase leading down into the cave.
10. Cenote Sac Actun
Entrance fee: USD 38 per person (includes guide, life jacket, and snorkeling equipment)
Cenote Sac Actun forms part of the largest underwater cave system in the world and is situated near Cenote Dos Ojos.
This cenote is often referred to as the “Pet Cemetery” due to the abundance of animal fossils discovered within its depths.
Snorkeling is highly popular in Sac Actun, providing an exceptional opportunity to admire the stunning caverns.
To explore the cave system, it is advisable to book a guide and wear a wetsuit as the water can be cold.
Please note that the cenote may not be suitable for individuals suffering from claustrophobia.
11. Cenote Coba (Suytun)
Entrance fee: USD 6 per person
The Coba Cenotes, situated near the Yucatan’s remarkable Mayan ruins of Coba, consists of three beautiful cenotes: Cenote Choo-Ha, Tamcach-Ha, and Multum-Ha.
These small cenotes near Tulum offer a refreshing swimming experience, perfect for cooling off after exploring the ruins.
Cenote Choo-Ha and Tamcach-Ha are underground cenotes, while Multum-Ha is a semi-open cenote with a small opening in the roof.
The most convenient and cost-effective way to visit these cenotes and the Coba ruins is by renting a car.
12. Cenote Zacil-Ha
Entrance fee: USD 5 per person
Located near the Car Wash Cenote, Cenote Zaci is renowned as one of the finest open cenotes for swimming.
Situated in the heart of Valladolid, just three blocks from the town’s historical center, it attracts numerous visitors, particularly during weekends and the summer season.
Ample jumping points and zip-lines offer opportunities for adventure enthusiasts, while the calm waters and excellent swimming conditions make it popular among families and couples.
Lizards and bats can be spotted within the cenote, while the water teems with vibrant fish. On-site facilities include a small restaurant, restrooms, showers, two swimming pools, shaded palapas, and sun chairs.
13. Cenote Xcanche at Ek Balam
Entrance fee: USD 4 per person, with an additional USD 4 per person for the taxi bike
For those seeking a lesser-known Mayan ruin and cenote experience, Cenote Xcanche is the perfect choice.
Located in the same village and positioned near the entrance of the Ek Balam archaeological site, this cenote allows independent exploration alongside the ruins.
With a beautiful waterfall cascading into its depths, visitors can jump into the cenote using a swing or zip-line for an extra adrenaline rush or enjoy a tranquil day of swimming.
Cenote Xcanche serves as an ideal spot to cool off after exploring the nearby archaeological site.
A short walk from the entrance gate leads to the cenote, or guests can opt for a bike taxi if desired.
Best cenote tours from Tulum
From Tulum: 3 Cenotes Adventure with Lunch is a 6 hours tour with a snorkel in Casa Cenote, a relaxing swim in Taak Bi Ha Cenote and an interesting exploration of an underground cenote.
You will be picked up from your hotel in Tulum quite early in the morning and head directly to Casa Cenote, to avoid the crowds.
After a snorkeling tour in this place, you will head to Taak Bi Ha Cenote and then had a picnic lunch in the jungle.
You will then head to the third cenote, which is an underground private cenote.
Tulum: Casa Tortuga Cenote Natural Park Guided Tour & Lunch is another interesting tour that is worth booking.
The tour last for about 7 hours, and you will visit two open-air cenotes, a semi-open one, and a cave.
On this guided tour you will discover the mysteries of the old caves and the secrets of the Mayan jungle.
After visiting all these 4 cenotes you will have 2 hours of free time when you can pick an open cenote where you want to swim and relax.
Bike tour from Tulum
Tulum: Cenote Trail Bike Tour is quite a unique tour that combines biking with visiting.
You will start your day with a 4 km bike ride along quiet trails from Tulum. You will park your car at the beginning of a trail that leads to a cenote.
Once you reach the cenote, you can practice your cliff jump and relax in a huge open cenote. Here you can swim, snorkel and try the zipline above.
You will get to a complex system of cenotes that are linked to each other by underground rivers and caves.
In this tour, you also have lunch included, featuring delicious local dishes cooked by the local community living there.
From Tulum: Four-Cenote Adventure is a 6 hours tour that allows you to visit 4 cenotes located in the middle of the jungle, close to Tulum.
You will enjoy swimming, zip-lines, canoeing, and jungle walking to a Mayan village where you will have a delicious lunch.
You will explore Naval Cenote, Large Cenote Naval, Cenote Azul and Piranas Cenote.
In the Mayan village, you will eat a typical lunch with Poc Chuc, Chicken Pibil, rice, salad, beans, guacamole, handmade tortillas, and fruits for dessert.
14. Cenote Cristalino
Entrance fee: USD 7 per person
Cenote Cristalino, located near Cenote Azul and Cenote Jardin del Eden, is a must-visit cenote near Tulum.
True to its name, the water in Cristalino Cenote is exceptionally clear, offering a captivating underwater experience.
This open-air cenote features a 3-meter dive platform and a cave for divers to explore. Additionally, there are separate cenote pools where visitors can relax and cool off.
Facilities near the cenote include seating areas and ample space to bask in the sun.
15. Casa Cenote
Entrance fee: USD 9 per person
Casa Cenote is a unique cenotes Tulum Mexico, characterized by its crystal-clear waters hidden within lush vegetation and green mangroves.
It is conveniently located close to a beach, offering visitors the chance to swim, paddleboard, or kayak in its six-meter-deep expanse.
This family-friendly destination invites everyone to snorkel and marvel at the abundant marine life in its waters.
Casa Cenote is also a favorite among divers, drawn by the underwater cave system that connects directly to the ocean.
16. Cenote Escondido and cenote Cristal
As its name suggests, Cenote Escondido, or the “Hidden Cenote,” is tucked away in the jungle, offering a secluded and serene escape.
This cenote’s beauty lies in its untouched surroundings and crystal-clear waters.
Take a refreshing swim or snorkel in the pristine waters and relish the tranquility of nature. Cenote Escondido is a true hidden gem waiting to be discovered.
17. Cenote Calavera
Entrance fee: USD 15 per person, with an additional USD 12 for videos/photos
Cenote Calavera, also known as the “Skull Cenote,” is a captivating cenote near Tulum.
Its name is derived from the three holes resembling a mouth and two eyes, giving it a distinct appearance.
With a 4-meter drop from the shore to the water, visitors can either descend via a ladder or take a leap from the shore.
All three holes have ample water depth, ensuring safe jumps from the edges.
While Cenote Calavera is relatively smaller in size, its unique features and convenient location near Tulum attract crowds during peak times.
To fully enjoy the experience, arriving early in the morning is recommended.
The area provides limited facilities, including chairs and restrooms, but lacks showers and restaurants. It’s advisable to come prepared with any necessities for a few hours stay.
For a detailed article about how to spend a day at Cenote Calavera check our article on Cenote Calavera Tulum.
What to bring when visiting the Tulum cenotes
A cenote is a little different than a traditional swimming pool, so we highly recommend you take the following things when visiting a cenote.
Most of the cenotes require cash, not a card, for the entrance fee. Even if you can pay with a card for the entrance fee, for sure you will need cash if you want to buy a drink, something to eat or rent a life jacket.
Not all the cenotes offer towels to rent, so we recommend you bring your own towel. For sure it is cheaper and more convenient than renting one.
Microfibre towels are the best as they pack small and dry very quickly.
You will need swim shoes for more grip when walking around the cenote and even when swimming.
Small fish in the cenotes come to eat dead skin from your feet, so a swimming shoe is always welcomed.
We always go for GoPro when speaking about waterproof cameras. It is small, takes great videos, and has high water resistance.
Logistical tips and tricks for your trip
Book your accommodation
We always use Booking.com 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
Travel insurance will always protect you against unexpected events and cost like illness, COVID, 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.