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.
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 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.
Coba cenotes explained one by one
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).
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
Find the best car rental deals and explore around freely, at your own pace. My favorite way to enjoy a destination!
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.
Taxi 400 MXN (return trip 1 hour)
Bike 80 MXN (1 hour)
INSIDER TIP: How to have the cenotes all for you
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.
Where to stay in Cobà
Top Luxury hotel in Cobà
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.
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’.
Budget hotel option in Cobà
Hotel Itza Coba > 60 $
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.
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
Chile Picante – local food on a terrace from where you can enjoy a lovely sunset ( watch for the mosquitos)
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.
Coqui Coqui – an upscale and uptight restaurant but not necessarily overpriced. Gourmet Mexican cuisine.
More pictures of Coba
For further reading
- All you need to know about Cenote Cristal and Escondido Tulum
- Cancun weather in May: is it a good month to travel?
- Cancun weather in April: is it a good month for traveling?
- Cancun weather in March: everything you need to know
- The ultimate 3 to 10-day Tulum itinerary for first-timers
- A day trip to Isla Mujeres Mexico – choose among 4 amazing options
- The 17 most popular Tulum Beach Clubs for every budget and style
- 27 unmissable things to do in San Pancho Nayarit Mexico
- How to get from Cancun to Isla Mujeres, Mexico – the ferry and other options
About the Author
Hello there! This is Isabella, the author of this blog, and a cat lover. I am an Italian expatriate with a Mexican permanent Residence. After 7 years of living in Cancun, I have decided to leave my job and explore my beloved Mexico and the rest of this beautiful world, starting from South America, while sharing my travel stories and offering useful travel tips about traveling as a solo female traveler and digital nomad.