The best cenotes in Tulum that you cannot miss for the world
There are at least 11 cenotes in Tulum and surroundings that you cannot miss and they make a great half-day trip if you are staying in Tulum or nearby.
If you haven’t booked your accommodation yet and you need a guide on where to stay in Tulum, this post will help you for sure.
Did you know that Cenotes were considered sacred places by the Mayan and were used not only to get the water they needed for their sustainability but also for some of their rituals?
We still have a religious devotion for such a beautiful natural oasis, a true gift of nature.
There are about 6000 Cenotes in the Yucatan peninsula and you can find more around the famous Crater. You can read about it here.
Tulum is strategically located close to many spectacular cenotes, not to count the ones that haven’t been discovered yet.
Here I am going to give you a list of cenotes near Tulum and the nearby attractions.
Cenote Manati or Casa Cenotes
This open cenote looks like a lake, and it’s right by the road. It’s an internal unpaved road that you take from the Carretera Federal going towards the sea, follow the indication to Pavo Real Resort at about 9 km from Tulum. It’s right after the hotel on your left-hand side.
The cenote is called Manatì for the presence of these funny marine mammals whom you can now rarely see as they have been unfortunately scared away by the human proximity.
You can pay the entrance to the restaurant opposite the cenote, called Casa Cenote. There you can also find cheap accommodations.
The entrance is about 8$ (150pesos)and it includes the life jacket.
There are lockers available for 50 pesos.
The beautiful swim will take you to the sea and when you approach the salted water you will realize how the seawater is mixing up with the sweet waters, a phenomenon that if you are snorkeling or diving underwater will make your sight blurred.
What else to do in the nearby area
Right in front of the cenote, there is a pebbled beach with transparent water and the reef just at a few strokes. You can either snorkel or dive. There is a diving center right across the road where you can rent equipment or book your diving.
Where to stay
Blue Sky Hotel Right there at a few mt after the cenote there is this cute little hotel with elegant simple rooms and sweeping views.
Cenote Crystal and Cenote Escondido
These two beautiful cenotes are located right past Tulum coming from Playa del Carmen, at less than one mile from the city center. If you are staying in Tulum you can easily reach them by bicycle.
You pay the entrance at the cenote Crystal and it is good also to visit the cenote Escondido, located on the opposite side of the road.
Cenote Crystal ( on the main picture) is a huge open cenote, surrounded by thick and lush vegetation reflecting on the blue water that makes it even more beautiful. It’s 7 meters deep and you can both swim and relax or jump from a tall platform built for the courageous ones. There is also the possibility to dive.
Cenote Escondido – on the other side of the main road, is also a precious place even more uncontaminated, if you like. There are a couple of cords that allow you to play Tarzan. Or you can just swim around.
Entrance is 120 pesos (6usd) for both cenotes (200 for divers -10usd)
Opening hours: Open from 8 to 5.
How to get there:
By Car – Get on the main road (Ruta 307) from the beach road to downtown Tulum, and keep going towards Muyil, Bacalar, then you can see the signs on your right-hand side. Also, you can check the map here below where the cenote you are interested in is approximately located.
By Bike – Coming from the beach road, just past the town and keep going. You will find it on your right.
By Taxi A taxi from Tulum downtown from the beach can take you there. Ask the price first.
The Gran Cenote is one of the most popular and, no wonder why. It’s really beautiful, and more spectacular than the above-mentioned Cristalino and Escondido, just for the fact that it is a cave cenote. You will enjoy playing hide and seek to go through one cave and coming out on the other side, just like the Cenote Dos Ojos, here mentioned.
Unfortunately, it is always busy and it is rare that you really can enjoy it fully by yourself. I know that I have been quite spoiled for living there and having the chance to explore more secluded and isolated cenotes. Maybe try to go very early morning when it opens, around 8 so that you might be able to be alone and really appreciate it more.
Cenote Calavera is situated at about 10 km from the Grand Cenote, on the way to Coba. It is especially known among the divers.
The cenote is in fact very small apt for jumping and continuing the exploration underneath the surface. But there is not much space for swimming around and enjoy it.
It’s one of my least favorites and I wouldn’t recommend you should go unless you are going to dive.
Cost: 100 MXN ( 6USD)
How to get there
From Tulum, you can go by bicycle or taxi.
Cenotes in Coba
In Coba’ you have three amazing cenotes, located close to each other. I would really suggest you should visit them on a full day visit to the area. Maybe in The morning visit the splendid archaeological site of Coba and then go to the cenotes to take a deep and cool down and relax. Here I am explaining all about them in detail.
What else you can do in Coba
Visit the archaeological site of Coba – Read more here
Where to stay
There are quite a few decent options but my favorite is Coqui Coqui. right on the way to the cenotes but on the Lagoon. It’s a stunning oldish looking property – artfully decorated. Very intimate and elegant.
Although I normally I find cave cenotes more appealing, Cenote Eden is among my favorite open Cenotes. Why? for two main reasons:
- It’s huge and you can literally spend the day there. I did.
- I loved the rock formation inside of it and it makes is a spectacular subject for pictures, besides having fun snorkeling around them.
It is also surrounded by lush generous vegetation.
The only time I went there (shame on me) I even jumped from the platform after meditating on it for about an hour, while watching a 10 yr old boy doing flipping over and jumping on the water as if it was the most natural thing in the world. Oh well…
The Cenote is located at about a 40-minute drive from Tulum on the direction of Playa del Carmen.
What to see in the surrounding
If you also wish to know more about the best beaches of the Riviera Maya you can click here.
Where to Stay
There are amazing hotels in the nearby area:
For a luxury stay, I would recommend Esencia
If you wish a cozy affordable place in the Jungle Villas Tortuga by Itour
If you wish to try a Glamping experience, Serenity eco-lodge
Cenote Aktun ha (Car Wash)
An open cenote with not particularly dramatic views, as you cannot see any cave unless you dive, this cenote is in fact particularly loved by divers. There are in fact several underwater caves that you can explore if you dive. When I went to visit there were a few groups of divers and no swimmers. However, it’s quite a large natural pool of crystalline water and it was really inviting. If it was not for my camera gear I surely have jumped in. There are lockers available but I was looking forward to continuing my Cenote marathon that I had planned for the day.
Entrance fee is only 50MXN unless you dive in which case it’s 250 MXN, besides the cost of the dive itself.
The life vest is 20 MXN
Open every day from 9 am to 5 pm.
Changing room and brand new bathrooms available as well.
A spectacular open sinkhole just outside Tulum. You can even get there by bike. The name is due to the heart shape of the cenote, with a little imagination.
The water is crystal clear a pleasure to swim in it and the low temperature is exactly what you need in such hot weather.
The price is still decent 100 MXN per person.
Open from 9 to 4
There are wooden platforms on the sides where you can lay down and relax.
If you wish to find peace and tranquillity you must get there in the morning, and possibly on weekdays.
Some common-sense rules on how to visit a Cenote respecting the environment
As in every natural place, I always like to recommend following some commonsense rules in order to preserve the environment which I am sure you know already but a gentle reminder is never in excess.
- don’t wear any sunscreen or repellent before bathing in the cenotes
- don’t leave anything that doesn’t belong to the place
- don’t hang on to stalactites or stalagmites or trees roots
- don’t do anything that can damage the environment
- before jumping from a platform ask where it’s safe and deep enough to land.
If you are interested in visiting other cenotes in the area, you should check out these posts: