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How to visit the 3 Coba cenotes – an unmissable experience!

After a visit to the Coba ruins, a stop at the Coba cenotes is a necessary treat that you should give to yourself. In this post, I will tell you how to organize your trip to and visit it all.


Coba is a pretty laid-back town in the Yucatan Peninsula at one hour drive from Tulum, built around a lagoon and by the ancient Mayan ruins of Coba, which are the main reasons why hundreds of tourists flock every day to visit.

However, not all of them know that at only a 10-minute drive from the Coba Ruins there are 3 spectacular cenotes waiting to be visited and enjoyed.

They are all cave cenotes, which means that you have to climb down some stairs in order to get to the water. Some of them have platforms from where to jump into the deep sinkhole, some others have shallow water but you will enjoy the transparent color and just floating and relaxing.

But before telling you all the secrets about the Coba cenotes, let me clarify what is a cenote, for those of you who are not familiar with them?

What is a cenote?

The Cenotes of Mexico are deep natural wells or sinkholes where the rainwater infiltrates slowly through the ground, or from underground rivers. You can find them scattered around the Yucatan Peninsula. According to the latest data available, there must be around 6.000 in total.

Choo ha cenote - Coba cenotes
Cenote Choo – ha Coba

In the ancient prehispanic civilization when the Mayan populations were living in this magical area, the cenotes were a very important source of water but also ceremonial centers, and therefore sacred to the Mayans.

Read more on my guide to the cenotes of the Yucatan peninsula for more detailed information.

So, right after your historical tour in Coba here comes the well-deserved refreshing moment.

At a few minutes’ drive you can find 3 spectacular cenotes that you can visit and here below I will tell you all about them.

Coba Lagoon
Coba lagoon on the way to the cenotes

Coba cenotes map


More Cenotes in the Yucatan Peninsula

I have been traveling around the Yucatan Peninsula in search of new cenotes to discover and I continue to do it right now as I write ( I am actually waiting for the opening time to visit another one this morning :). So I have grouped the cenotes according to their area and wrote the below articles that you may be interested in, in case the Coba cenotes made you fall in love and made you want to visit more.

Cancun Cenotes: the 21 most spectacular Cenotes near Cancun

The best cenotes in Riviera Maya – an essential guide

Yucatan cenotes: Cuzama – Is it ethical to visit?

The best cenotes around Valladolid, Mexico

The 15 best cenotes in Tulum that you absolutely cannot miss

La Ruta de los Cenotes – Cancun closest cenotes to visit in a half-day trip

Best cenotes of Yucatan: the towns of Homun and Cuzamà

The most beautiful cenotes of the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico: an essential guide


Coba Lagoon
Coba Lagoon

Coba cenotes explained one by one

Cenote Tankach-Ha

The first Cenote is Tankach-Ha, it’s 20m deep.

There is a platform with 5m and 8m jumps, from which you can test your courage and hurl yourself.

There is no danger since there are no rocks behind you, and once you try you turn into a child and continue jumping.

Isn’t that what the vacation is for!? 

Let me know how high you jumped and how that feels because I didn’t take the leap (Shame on me).

Tankach-Ha entrance
Tankach-Ha entrance
Tankach-Ha

Cenote Choo Ha

Choo Ha, the second one, closer to the entrance, has a different shape and a maximum depth of only 10m; you cannot jump from here as the ceiling is quite low, but it has a beautiful shape and a blue marine color with a stalagmite and stalactite sticking out in the middle of the water.

It’s probably my favorite one.

Choo- ha cenote
Choo ha cenote
Choo ha stairs
Choo ha cenote
Choo ha cenote entrance
Choo ha cenote garden
Choo ha cenote entrance

Cenote Multun – ha

The third one is Multun – ha, a bit further up the main road.

Just follow the signs, and don’t feel lost if it seems like you never get there.

It is a white gravel road in the jungle that leads you right to the entrance.

Among the Coba’ cenotes, this one is the deepest, at 32m/90 ft., though there is no high platform to jump off, since the ceiling is quite low here, too. The entrance looks like a well, and it feels a bit scary to think you are so deep down into the earth.

There are quite a lot of stairs but once you get down there it is a magical place, the cave is huge and there is a wide platform where you can leave your dry stuff while you swim in tranquillity and soak up the magic of the place.

Swimming in those waters surrounded by rocks listening to silence is really soothing for the mind and the soul, especially if nobody else is there.

Multun ha
Cenote Multun – ha
Multuun ha cenote
Cenote Multun – ha
Multun ha entrance
Cenote Multun – ha bathrooms
Mulutun ha platform
Cenote Multum – ha platform

Coba Cenotes Opening Hours

The three cenotes of Coba’ open from 9 to 6, every day

Coba’ cenotes entry fees

100 MXN (5USD approx) per person per cenote. You pay at the entrance of the first two cenotes and you will get a ticket for each one that you need to show at the entrance of each cenote. Keep the tickets in case you want to go back on the same day.

What to bring when you visit a cenote

  • swimsuit and a beach towel
  • a mosquito repellent(ecological)
  • sunscreen that you should wear only after swimming in the cenote
  • if you want to bring your mask in some cenotes it will turn out useful.
  • dress light but I would recommend comfortable closed shoes to protect you from insects. They are not dangerous but certainly annoying.
Coba lagoon

Practical tips and rules on how to visit a cenotes

  • shower before entering in the cave in order to get rid of any lotion or chemicals that you may or may not wear, this is in order to preserve the environment.
  • keep the ticket you are given at the entrance because you need to show it to the custodian.
  • 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

Cenotes facilities

In every cenote, you will find lockers, showers, and bathrooms.

It’s compulsory to take a shower before you get in the cenote.

Also, you can rent a life jacket for 50 Pesos if you don’t feel confident swimming in the deep water.


How to get to Cobà cenotes

Getting to Cobà cenotes by car

I always suggest renting a car and driving around because you have the freedom to visit on your own terms, without having the pressure of the tight schedules that groups normally have. I love to drive around a place and find new corners to discover, for as long as I want.

If you are new to driving in Mexico, I have written a useful post with tips and interesting information that might be useful as there are a couple of things you need to know and need to be careful about.

And if you are wondering where to rent a car, you should read first my post on how to rent a car in Mexico or check out this Car Rental Site that I normally recommend.

On your way out of the Coba ruins, you should keep driving around the lagoon in the same direction you came from until you will see the signs to the Cenotes (see picture below).

Coba cenotes Sign
The road sign on the way to the Coba Cenote

It is a lovely road through the little village and into the jungle again, and in the summer you will be escorted by hundreds of yellow and white butterflies which sometimes smash into the car window.

Such a pity… After a few miles, you will see the sign for the first two Cenotes: Cenote Tankach Ha and Cenote ChooHa.

 Here is where you pay the fee for the three Coba cenotes and receive a ticket that you will need to show further on. Very organized!  

Follow the indications until you get to the cenote Tankach -Ha the farthest of the three.

There, you can secure your stuff in the car and bring just a few belongings down the cenote, where you have some space to leave them.

Remember to shower before entering and to show the custodian the ticket.

You can leave your shoes or flip-flops at the top and descend with just your bathing suit and a camera if you wish, barefoot. Watch out for the slippery stairs, go slow.

Multum Ha Cenote Entrance
Multun Ha Cenote Entrance

Getting to Coba cenotes by local bus from Tulum

First of all, you need to get to Coba’ from Tulum.

How to get from Coba to Tulum by bus

Take a second-class bus Mayab which leaves at 7:20 AM. from the ADO bus terminal. (The ticket costs MXN 50)

There are later busses as well but I suggest you should get to Coba early, both because this way you manage to visit both the Coba ruins and the Coba cenotes but also because it’s extremely hot later in the morning and the archeological site would be overcrowded with groups. The ride to Coba village takes about an hour.

Return bus to Tulum leaves Coba at 3 PM (first-class bus ADO), and Mayab leaves at 5 PM.

Very Important to know that you can check the ADO schedule online but the Mayab schedule is not published so you need to ask the ticket office at the bus station. Please always double-check the time I gave you because they might change.

Coba Road
Coba road from the Mayan site to the cenotes

How to get from Coba to Coba Cenotes

Unless you travel around Mexico by rental car, the only way how to get to Tamcach Ha, Choo Ha, and Multun Ha cenote is either by bike or by taxi as there is no public transportation.

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You can find are a couple of rental shops by the entrance to Coba Ruins, no reservation is required. (Follow the map and explanation above on how to get there by car.)

The road is safe, flat and there is no traffic at all.

Otherwise, you will find taxis by the Coba ruins and you can ask the cost and how long they can wait for you.

Make sure you agree with rates and time before boarding.

I would choose the bike though.

COSTS

Taxi 400 MXN (return trip 1 hour)

Bike 80 MXN (1 hour)

INSIDER TIP: How to have the cenotes all for you

Cenote tancach ha

As you might have noticed I don’t like it when there are too many people around screaming and spoiling the mystical ambiance of a cenote. So I have my strategy to visit a cenote alone or with few people.

First of all, you cannot be in a hurry. Whether you are driving or using public transport, I would spend one night in Coba’.

This way you can get to the cenotes early morning or late in the evening before the close, and you don’t have to share that little space with many people. 

Down below you can find my suggested hotels in Coba and here below some options on where to stay in Tulum in case you wish to continue your tulum itinerary there (highly suggested).

The last time I was there I spent two lovely nights in Coba and I went to the cenote at 9.30 in the morning. I was with a friend and we were completely alone in the three cenotes. It was magical indeed.

Coba Lagoon

Where to stay in Cobà

Top Luxury hotel in Cobà

COqui COqui COba
Coqui Coqui Coba

Coqui Coqui > 400$

An exquisite high-end property for the sophisticated traveler who is looking for elegance and tranquility. Located at the very end of the main road of Cobà right on the lagoon.

Check prices on Hotel.com – Read reviews on TripAdvisor

Mid-range price hotel in Cobà

Aldea Coba > 140 $

If you love luxury and beauty but are not particularly interested in breaking the bank. This is the hotel for you. A relatively new property (2017) boasts spacious and nicely decorated rooms in a spectacular jungle garden. Hard to beat for that price. According to previous guests, service is also impeccable. Located on the main road on your way to Coba’.

Check prices on Booking.com – Read reviews on TripAdvisor

Budget hotel option in Cobà

Hotel Itza Coba > 60 $

Itza Coba hotel pool
Hotel Itza Coba pool
Hotel Itza Coba
Hotel Itza Coba ( and my rented car parked outside )

This is where I stayed. It’s a cute property for budget travelers who love the stylish decor and a cleanroom. It was perfect. The staff is also super friendly and warm.

Check prices on Booking.com  – Read reviews on TripAdvisor


Where to eat in Coba

There is not much choice for eating in Coba but during my 3 days stay I had great food and my favorite places were:

El Cocodrillo, at a few steps from the ruin, serving great local food and delicious refreshing natural juices

El Cocodrilo Restaurant

Chile Picante – local food on a terrace from where you can enjoy a lovely sunset ( watch for the mosquitos)

Cile Picante terrace
Terrace from Chile Picante

El Encanto – cute small cafe, recently opened with great coffee and delicious homemade fresh dishes. The managers Jesus and Maria will take good care of you.

El Encanto coffe shop

Coqui Coqui – an upscale and uptight restaurant but not necessarily overpriced. Gourmet Mexican cuisine.


More pictures of Coba

Coba Lagoon
Coba lagoon
Coba Road
Choo ha cenote
Choo-ha Cenote
Nohoch Mul Temple
Coba archeological site
Coqui Coqui
Road to Coba entrance
Coba ruins aerial view Mexico
Coba ruins aerial view

For further reading


Ivan

Sunday 14th of August 2016

Ok, Mexico it's now in our place-to-visit list. We'll follow you in your fantastic adventures, thanks for your fantastic blog! :D

Isabella

Sunday 14th of August 2016

Thank you Ivan! I will be loading more and more information ! I hope they will help you to build your trip! you will love this country !

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