Located at only 3 km south of Tulum on the way to Bacalar, Cenote Cristal and Cenote Escondido make a great day trip from Tulum and in this post, I am going to tell you all about them, how to get here what to do, entre fees and practical tips.
Tulum town is not what you would call “pretty” but it offers a lot of great restaurants and coffee shops, trendy places, and boutique hotels, besides a special vibe that attracts thousands of visitors and expatriates every month.
Downtown Tulum is close to some of the best attractions in Tulum, besides, staying in downtown Tulum is much cheaper than paying for a hotel on Tulum beach and therefore very convenient.
Among all the incredible cenotes around Tulum, Cenote Cristal and Escondido are the closest and you can reach them even by bike if you rent one.
You pay only one entrance fee at Cenote Cristal for the two cenotes and then you have access to the cenote Escondido, just across the road.
In this post, I am going to describe both of them separately although I would recommend visiting both once you get there.
What is a cenote
Before moving forward with the description of cenote Cristal and cenote Escondido, I would love to share a few words on what are the cenotes.
Very popular in the Yucatan peninsula where you can find more than 6000 cenotes scattered around, they are sinkholes of limestone rocks where the roof has collapsed forming a hole filled with waters coming from underground rivers and the sea.
The limestone rock is especially suitable for filtering the water coming from the sea and the rain and that is one of the reasons why the water you see in the cenote is so crystal clear, especially the one in the cave cenotes.
There are in fact 3 kinds of cenotes.
The cave cenotes are completely underground and covered.
The open cenotes look like lakes
The semi-open cenotes are half covered by the limestone rock and half-open.
Cenote Cristal and Cenote Escondido are completely open cenotes just like the majority of the cenotes on the Riviera Maya in the state of Quintana Roo.
If you go further inside the Yucatan peninsula, close to Valladolid and Merida you will have more chances to find cave cenotes, which are absolutely beautiful and worth checking out.
Cave divers love to explore cenotes and there are many that are suitable for diving, such as the Pit, Cenote Angelita, and Car wash.
How to visit Cenote Cristal
Cenote Cristal is the first you will see on your right arriving from Tulum and the first you should visit. There you will see the ticket office where you can pay your entrance fee either for both or one only. But I would recommend visiting both of them since you are already there and they are both worth checking.
Things to do in Cenote Cristal
The Cenote Cristal is an open cenote surrounded by lush vegetation and with a few platforms from where to jump and enjoy the freshwater or where to sunbathe after swimming.
Snorkeling in its pristine water is also a great option and it’s pretty safe as well.
Divers also love to do scuba diving in Cenote cristal but remember that you will need to book with a Dive center in order to do that.
Facilities available at Cenote Cristal
At cenote cristal, you can find bathrooms (ecological), life jacket rental, snorkel equipment (although I recommend you should bring yours) – also benches where to sit relax, and admire the bucolic surroundings.
How to visit Cenote Escondido
Cenote Escondido is another beautiful cenote, also an open one and surrounded by tropical plants.
Escondido means hidden in Spanish. It is in fact quite hidden in the tropical jungle. Once you get to Cenote Cristal they will tell you how to get there.
Cenote Escondido has a different shape, long and narrow than Cenote Cristal but it is still enjoyable and worth visiting. I actually found it more interesting.
Things to do in Cenote Escondido
Cenote Escondido is perfect for those who love adventure. In fact, there are cords from where you can hang and jump in the water.
You can also swim through the vegetation and sit on the benches on the lookout if you prefer to watch the more adventurous jumping off the cliff.
It’s also recommended to snorkel and dive (with a dive buddy)
Facilities available at Cenote Escondido
All the facilities are located in the Cenote Cristal just across the road.
At Cenote Escondido, you will find benches and tables to sit and relax while watching the more adventurous jumping in the water.
Other things to do near Cenotes Cristal & Escondido
Cenotes Cristal and Escondido are in a strategic location south of Tulum since besides being close to town, there are also nearby attractions that are worth checking out for a full-day adventure.
Consider that visiting cenotes cristal and Escondido will take about 2 hours if you enjoy the water. Then you can set off for a continuous adventure. Here is a list of the things you can do around Cenotes Cristal and Escondido
Visit Cenote Corazon – another spectacular open-air cenote shaped like a heart ( Corazon in Spanish)
Visit Cenote Angelita – but it’s only worth if you dive and you must book with a dive center
Visit the spectacular Laguna Kaan Luum at only 5 km from Cenotes Cristal and cenote Escondido.
What to pack for Cenotes Cristal and Escondido?
Te Enjoy Cenote Cristal and Cenote Escondido, you should pack light and bring the essentials, such as:
- swimsuits and a change
- gopro and camera
- case to protect your phone in the water
- snorkel gear
More cenotes to visit nearby close to Downtown Tulum area
There are so many cenotes around Tulum and when you visit cenote cristal make sure you plan ahead of time and check out others.
The closest ones are Cenote Corazon and Cenote Angelita, but if you drive all the way to the other side of Tulum pueblo towards Coba you will find many more cenotes near Tulum that you can enjoy. But be aware that one day is not enough to see them all, not even two or three.
What hours are Cenote Cristal and Cenote Escondido open?
Both cenotes open from 9 to 5:00 p.m.
How to get to Cenote Cristal & Cenote Escondido?
As I mentioned before Cenote Cristal and Cenote Escondido are located near Tulum, so you have many transportation choices.
You can get the collectivo that is going towards Felipe Carrillo Puerto or you can rent a bike.
My favorite way of transportation is renting my own car of course, because it gives me the freedom to go whenever I want to go and at my pace.
I would recommend avoiding Taxis in Tulum but that’s my personal choice.
What is the entrance price of these cenotes?
The entry fee for both Cenote Cristal and Cenote Escondido is 150 MXN per person for each cenote.(100 if you are resident or Mexican)
50 MXN if you want to fly your drone.
Is it safe to swim in cenotes?
Cenotes are relatively safe to swim in, but if you are not a good swimmer you are recommended to use the life jacket and avoid doing any shenanigans.
Also, you are supposed to shower and avoid using any lotions before entering.
If you love jumping from platforms please follow the safety rules and check out the premises before jumping.