Best cenotes near Tulum

30 Best Cenotes Near Tulum To Visit in 2022

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Famous for its wide sandy beaches, nearby Mayan Ruins and great restaurants, Tulum is one of the most popular destinations in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. While many travelers come here for a tropical getaway, no visit to this part of Mexico is complete without dipping your toes in one of cenotes near Tulum.

What is a cenote?

A cenote (pronounced seh-no-te) is a sinkhole filled with fresh groundwater that is formed when the bedrock collapsed exposing the groundwater underneath. 

There are over 6,000 cenotes in Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula – the majority of them are either too hard or impossible to access. But there are many cenotes where you can swim, snorkel and even dive. Tulum boasts a high number of cenotes that can be accessed by bicycle or a quick car drive. 

Best cenotes near Tulum: a complete overview

Xel-Ha is one of the the best cenotes near Tulum located inside an amusement park.

1. Cenote Xel-Ha 

Price: Entrance to Xel Ha is quite pricey (starting from US$90 for adults and $45 for children) as you must pay for entrance to the entire amusement park to see the cenotes.

Hours: 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m.

How to get there: The easiest way to get from Tulum to Xel-Ha is by taking a bus which costs about 120 Pesos. Another option is to get a taxi which is about 200 Pesos one way.

Located just 20 minutes north of Tulum, Xel Ha Park is home to two magical cenotes. A winding path guides visitors through the beautiful Mayan jungle to two of the most pristine, open cenotes in Tulum, Paradise and Adventure.

Check the best cenote tours from Tulum

These cenotes are protected meaning swimming is not allowed, but that just makes the experience even more magical! Plus, there is a giant lagoon full of colorful fish for you to explore. 

Xel-Ha is one of the best water parks near Tulum with everything from unlimited snorkeling to jet boats and zip-lines to accompany your visit to the beautiful cenotes on the south side of the lagoon.

There are unlimited food and drinks too!

Best tours packages of Xel-Ha

This all-inclusive tour of Xel-Ha is one of the most popular options for visiting Xel-Ha cenotes and transport to and from Tulum is included. You can also reach Xel Ha Park by organizing a private transfer from your Tulum accommodation

Contributed by Yulia from Miss Tourist 

Cenote Casa is one of the most beautiful Tulum cenotes

2. Cenote Casa (Cenote Manati)

Price: 150 Pesos. Lockers were available for 50 pesos. Snorkel gear and life vests can be rented for extra pay.

Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

How to get there: Also known as Cenote Manati, Casa Cenote is one of the easiest cenotes to reach from Tulum, only 11 kilometers away. If you don’t have a car, you can catch a collectivo that will stop near the highway. Then, it’s a 20-minute walk to reach Casa Cenote. 

Only scuba divers will be able to visit the cave at Casa Cenote. But the cave is not what makes Casa Cenote special. 

It’s a popular place for swimming and snorkelling near Tulum. As it is an open cenote, the water is not as cold as in the caves. Also, there’s a lot of light coming through and the clarity of the water is incredible. If you like snorkeling, there’s a lot to see in the mangrove roots on the banks of the cenote.

You can also go to the beach when visiting Casa Cenote. From there, you can swim to the exit of the cenote. There’s a restaurant near the beach where you can relax and enjoy the sea view. 

Can you go to cenotes in Tulum without tour?

You can visit most cenotes near Tulum without a guide. In fact, only a handful of cenotes in the area require a guide, and they are typically used for diving. Visit early morning or late afternoon to avoid the crowds.

Contributed by Eloise from MyFavouriteEscapes.com 

Cenote Cristal is one of the best cenotes in Yucatan for swimming located near Tulum.

3. Cenote Cristal 

Price: 70 Pesos (120 pesos for access to Cenote Cristal and the neighboring Cenote Escondido)

Hours: 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

How to get there: Cenote Cristal sits along Highway 307 south of Tulum and requires just a 5-minute drive. You can get a taxi in Tulum, but the easiest way to get here is by renting a car. 

Cenote Cristal is perfect if you want to get off the beaten track in Tulum. The great thing about visiting this cenote is that 120 Pesos also gives you access to the neighboring Cenote Escondido, so you get two cenotes for the price of one.

Cenote Cristal is suitable for swimming and there is a ledge from which you can jump into the water that stands at about 3-4 meters high. There is also a rope you can use to pull yourself back to the edge.

Pros: Another great thing is that if you are traveling to this cenote by car, there is free parking right outside the cenote. Tulum is safe for all types of travelers so in the case that you want to use public transport, you can get one of the many colectivos from Tulum pueblo to drop you off.

Cons: None! This is one of the closest cenotes to Tulum that is still relatively under radar.

Contributed by Daniel from Layer Culture 

Cenote Escondido is one of the best Tulum cenotes.

4. Cenote Escondido 

Price: 70 Pesos (120 pesos for access to Cenote Cristal and the neighboring Cenote Escondido)

Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

How to get there: Cenote Escondido is located along Highway 307 south of Tulum and requires a 5-minute ride.  

Cenote Escondido sits across the road from Cenote Cristal, but few travelers know about this jewel. This open cenote lives up to its name thanks to clear waters and the surrounding jungles (Escondido means hidden in Spanish), as you feel away from everything here. 

This cenote has three platforms from where you can get in the water and a 12-foot jumping platform for more adventurous visitors. It is popular with snorkelers and divers, as there’s really good visibility here thanks to clear turquoise waters.

You can reach Cenote Escondido by a quick bicycle ride from downtown Tulum.

This is a big cenote and it never feels crowded because there’s enough space for everyone. 

Pros: On top of beautiful scenery, this cenote also offers great amenities. It has showers, bathrooms, changing rooms, and wooden tables and chairs where you can have a picnic after taking a swim. Also, you can rent a life vest, since this is a deep cenote, up to 20 meters. 

Cons: When you visit Cenote Escondido, it’s tough to think of any cons. It’s beautiful, less discovered, and yet, so close to Tulum.

Laguna Kaan Luum is one of the best mini day trips from Tulum.

5. Laguna Kaan Luum

Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

How to get there: Laguna Ka’an Luum sits about 15 minutes south of Tulum along Highway 307, the main travel corridor in Mexico’s Rivera Maya. 

If you are traveling to Laguna Ka’an Luum from Tulum, the entrance to the lagoon is on the left side right off the Highway 307. Since there’s no clear sign marking it, you should put directions in your GPS, so your don’t miss the entrance to Ka’an Luum.

Laguna Ka’an Luum features shallow emerald green edges frame the dark inner part (the actual cenote) creating a stunning natural phenomenon. 

Swimming is only allowed in the shallow area of the lagoon, while the inner, darker portion is used for diving. Keep in mind that sunscreen is prohibited at Laguna Kaan Luum, so it’s better to visit it during early hours, when the sun is not too strong. 

Book a tour of Laguna Ka’an Luum 

Laguna Ka’an Luum makes for a perfect getaway from Tulum, if you are looking for a half-day trip where you can enjoy nature and recharge the batteries before heading back to the beach.

If you don’t have a car, and don’t feel like riding your bike to Laguna Ka’an Luum from Tulum, you can also book a guided tour that includes access to the lagoon, and fun activities like kayaking and paddle boarding. 

How to visit Laguna Kaan Luum near Tulum

Laguna Ka’an Luum entrance fees 

To enter Laguna Ka’an Luum, you have to pay an entrance fee in cash. Since the lagoon has been getting more popular in recent years, prices have increased. As of 2021, a regular entrance ticket to Laguna Ka’an Luum costs 300 Pesos and has to be paid in cash. 

There also could be additional charges, depending on what you would like to do at Laguna Ka’an Luum.

Here’s a quick breakdown of Laguna Ka’an Luum prices:

  • Cooler – 50 Pesos 
  • Drone – 150 Pesos – When you start flying your drone, you will be approached by staff at the lagoon who will ask for your permit. It’s easier to buy it at the entrance.

Read my complete guide to learn more about Laguna Ka’an Luum.

Cenote Corazon is one of the most popular Tulum cenotes for drone photography.

6. Cenote Corazón Del Paraíso 

Price: 150 Pesos 

Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

How to get there: This cenote is located along the highway to Bacalar past the entrance to Cenote Escondido on the left hand side, if you are coming from Tulum. Once you get to cenote, you will pass through the gate and will go to cenote via dirt road.

Cenote Corazón Del Paraíso is one of the most popular cenotes for drone photography thanks to its heart shape. 

Cenote Corazon is one of the best Tulum cenotes for swimming and snorkeling

If you are also coming here to take a drone shot, arrive early, before other visitors show up. Interestingly enough, the shape of this cenote is created by the wooden platform in the upper part. 

Cenote Corazon is also popular for diving, and you can also book a diving tour ahead of your visit with one of the diving centers in Tulum. But if you are not a certified diver, you can rent a snorkeling gear on site for 60 Pesos, and life jackets for 30 Pesos.

7. Cenote Calavera 

Price: 250 pesos (additional payment is required if you have a professional camera and want to take photos)

Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. 

How to get there: Located 2 miles from downtown Tulum along the highway to Coba, this cenote is easy to reach by bicycle if you don’t have a. car.

One of the most picturesque cenotes near Tulum is Cenote Calavera.

Cenote Calavera is one the most mysterious Tulum cenotes. Also known as the “Temple of Doom,”several small and large openings in the earth form a skull shape when viewed from above.

 Adventurous travelers particularly love this cenote, because you can jump through the small and tight-fitting eye-holes into the blackness below! Cenote Calavera also offers options for scuba diving. Self-diving is not allowed though due to tight caverns; a certified dive instructor must be present for a tour. 

Cenote Calavera is one of the most popular Tulum Cenotes.

Pros: This cenote is less busy than nearby Gran Cenote. If you want to visit both, stop in Gran Cenote first thing in the morning and then heading to Cenote Calavera before continuing your tour of cenotes near Tulum. 

Cons: Although this cenote used to be less discovered, now it’s become a lot busier, so it’s better to visit early afternoon. If you want to take photos, consider coming in the afternoon when the light is better, but be prepared to wait (especially on weekends), as there might be other people doing the same thing. 

 Contributed by Monica from This Rare Earth 

Gran Cenote is one of the busiest Tulum Cenotes that is best visited early morning.

8. Gran Cenote 

Price: 500 Pesos 

Hours: 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

How to get there: Gran Cenote is the closest cenote to Tulum along Highway to Coba. You can reach this cenote by bicycle or quick taxi ride from Tulum.

Gran Cenote is comprised of several sections that are connected by wooden board walks. This cenote is popular for swimming, snorkeling, and photography, as many visitors come here to admire the crystal clear waters and lush vegetation.

It’s also possible to see turtles and bats in many areas of this cenote.

Gran Cenote is one of the best snorkeling cenotes near Tulum.

Pros: Gran Cenote is easy to access and you don’t need a car rental. You can just rent a bicycle and take a quick ride from Downtown Tulum along the highway toward Coba. Be sure to watch out for traffic though, as cars drive very fast here. 

Cons: This is the most popular Tulum cenotes, thanks to its proximity to the town, and it can get very busy. Visit early morning for best experience. 

Car Wash is one of the best diving Tulum cenotes that boasts a gorgeous underground garden.

9. Cenote Car Wash 

Cost: 50 Pesos

Hours: 9 a.m.- 5 p.m.

How to get there: Cenote Car Wash is about 5.5 miles from Downtown Tulum past the entrance to Cenote Calavera. This is one of those cenotes near Tulum which makes sense to rent a car, since it’s a bit further away but you can catch a taxi for about 150 pesos one way.

Cenote Car Wash got its name because people used to wash their cars nearby and this cenote was used as a landmark to help find the place.

Most Tulum cenotes require a cash fee at the entrance.

This open cenote looks more like a big lake than lime-stone caverns that you see around Yucatan. Most people come to Cenote Car Wash to see its impressive underwater garden that can be seen while snorkeling or scuba diving.

Unlike other closed or semi-closed Tulum cenotes, Cenote Car Wash gets plenty of sunlight which creates the right conditions for various plants to grow right underwater! 

Pros: Cenote Car Wash sees fewer people than Gran Cenote or Cenote Calavera. If you come during the low season, you might be the only person here.

Cons: Car Wash has limited facilities and doesn’t offer any gear rentals on site. And just like with many other cenotes near Tulum, diving here requires a special certification, which you can obtain in one of the diving schools in Mexico’s Rivera Maya. 

Cenote Zacil Ha is one of the most popular cenotes in Yucatan thanks to its easy access.

10. Cenote Zacil Ha 

Cost: 80 Pesos 

Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

How to get there: Cenote Zacil Ha is located along Highway to Coba and takes less than 10 minutes by car from Tulum.

One of the most popular cenotes with local families thanks its shallow clear waters, cenote Zacil Ha is a close neighbor of Cenote Car Wash. This open cenote has a zip line and a diving platform, and somewhat resembles a big swimming pool.

Although it can be a bit crowded at times, this is a gorgeous cenote worth a visit. It also offers the most amenities of any other cenotes near Tulum, as you can find lounge chairs, restaurants, a gift shop, and even cabanas available for rent.

Pros: This is one of the cheapest Tulum cenotes.

Cons: Cenote Zacil Ha can get crowded, especially on weekends, as many local families come here to spend time here and have a picnic. If you consider visiting, come early before it gets busy. 

Cenote Yaxchen is one of the best hidden gems near Tulum

11. Cenote Yaxchen

Price: 100 Pesos 

Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

How to get there: Take a bike ride to Zona Hotelera in Tulum to avoid traffic and get around quickly. 

Cenote Yaxchen is one of the best kept secrets of Tulum.

This privately owned cenote is located within Hotel Yaxchen and can be be visited for free if you are staying at the hotel, but you can also visit for only 50 Pesos.

Yaxchen looks like a small lake surrounded by the dense jungle. The cenote is pretty big, and you can kayak, paddle board and even dive here.

The deepest point of the cenote is about 13 meters, and you can see just how clear it is when you stand on one of the wooden decks around the lake. 

Although Yaxchen sits at the end of Zona Hotelera, surprisingly few people know about it, which makes it one of the best cenotes near Tulum if you are looking to escape the crowds.

Cenote Dos Ojos is one of the most beautiful Tulum cenotes that is popular for diving and snorkeling.

12. Cenote Dos Ojos 

Price: 350 Pesos

Hours: 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

How to get there: Cenote Dos Ojos is about 15 minutes north of Tulum along Highway 307. You can catch a colectivo or get a taxi from Tulum to the entrance of the cenote. 

Cenote Dos Ojos (Two Eyes in Spanish) is one of the most beautiful Tulum cenotes that is popular for diving and snorkeling. It’s actually two sinkholes that are connected by a 400-meter long underwater passage. 

The blue color of the cenote that is exposed to the light is crystal clear combined with stalagmites and stalactites making for an amazing snorkeling experience. 

Best tours of Cenote Dos Ojos from Tulum

PRO TIP: Cenote Dos Ojos is located within the Cenote Dos Ojos Park from where you can also access cenote El Pit, Cenote Nicte Ha, Cenote Jaguar as well as a couple of other cenotes. Combine them in one trip which should take about 2-3 hours.

Pros: You can rent equipment for snorkeling and a life vest and also get a locker for your belongings. There are also bathrooms and changing rooms on site. 

Cons: This is a popular cenote with hundreds of travelers coming here every day. Cenote Dos Ojos is often visited as part of diving tours, and it can get a bit busy here, especially on weekends. 

13. Cenote Sac Actun (Pet Cemetery Cenote)

Price: 450 Pesos

Hours: 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

How to get there: To reach the entrance to Cenote Sac Actun follow the road to Cenote Dos Ojos before you see the signs directing you to Cenote Sac Actun.

This cenote got its name because of the big number of animal bones that have been found here over the years. The most popular theory is that Mayan people made numerous sacrifices here as offerings to gods. 

Although this is a cool cenote to look at, it’s better explored on a diving trip. If you don’t have the special certification required to dive in cenotes, you can also snorkel here which will allow you to see all the stalactites and stalagmites in addition to the natural sunlight piercing through the stunning turquoise waters – a truly remarkable natural sight! 

If you want to take photos, visit this cenote in the morning until noon when the light is better. 

Cons: Visiting Cenote Sac Actun is only possible with a guide.

Pros: A relatively steep price and the fact that you can only visit this cenote with a guide keep a lot of people at bay, which means this cenote sees few visitors. This cenote also has some interesting history, which your guide will share with you, so it’s not just snorkeling and diving that you can do here. 

Cenote El Pit is one of the most popular diving cenotes near Tulum.

14. Cenote El Pit

Hours: 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

How to get there: Cenote El Pit is located in Dos Ojos Natural Park, 22km north of Tulum and about 54km south of Playa del Carmen. Diving here is a unique experience. You reach the dive site from Tulum by driving and taking little wooden steps down to the water.

Diving in the cenotes near Tulum is high on the bucket list of many scuba divers. A hole with a diameter of only 10 metres opens up into the deepest cenote in the State of Quintana Roo (110m). Rain water filters through the jungle floor to fill cenotes with crystal clear water.

The Pit is an advanced dive site with excellent visibility, sometimes exceeding 40 metres. Diving here is known for the bright beams of sunlight that penetrate the mouth of the cave, which explains why so many people come here to dive.

If you are going to dive here, try to take an underwater camera, there are some fantastic photo opportunities.

Contributed by Campbell and Alya of Stingy Nomads

Best cenotes near Tulum

15. Cenote Taak Bi Ha 

Price: 350 Pesos (a tour of the cenote with a local guide that includes a visit to a spectacular cave costs 400 Pesos)

Hours: 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

How to get three: To find cenote Taak Bi Ha, you have to follow the entrance to Cenote Dos Ojos, but instead of stopping at Cenote Dos Ojos, continue driving further along the road before you see the entrance. 

Although this is not a paved road, it’s well maintained and safe to drive on. If you are taking a colectivo from Tulum, you will have to ask to drop you off along the highway, and then either walk or catch a ride to cenote. 

Cenote Taak Bi Ha is one of the most beautiful cenotes near Tulum that sees hundreds visitors every day.

Located completely underground, this cenote is a cave with spectacular stalagmites, stalactites, and roots hangings from the ceiling amid the turquoise water.

One of the most stunning cenotes, Cenote Taak Bi Ha is a natural wonder that everyone should visit while staying in Tulum.

Cons: This is a remote cenote which means it takes time and effort to access. Make sure to bring water, snacks and other things you might need because the facilities are limited here. 

Pros: This is one of the most beautiful cenotes near Tulum that is well worth your time and money! While most people go to Dos Ojos, cenote Taak Bi Ha is still relatively “undiscovered” and hasn’t yet been affected my mass tourism. 

Cenote Nikte Ha is one of the least visited cenotes near Tulum.

16. Cenote Nicte Ha 

Cost: 100 Pesos

Hours: 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

How to get there: Cenote Nicte Ha is just 20 minutes north of Tulum along Highway 307. You can catch a colectivo or get a taxi from Tulum to this cenote. 

Cenote Nicte Ha looks like a pool with clear water than typical cenotes that you find around Tulum. The surface of the cenote covered with gorgeous Lillies, which makes for a beautiful sight.

Renting a car is the best option if you want to visit some of the best Tulum cenotes.

If you want to visit Cenote Nicte Ha, combine your trip with a stop at Cenote Dos Ojos. Since Dos Ojos is located along the same highway and is more popular than Nicte Ha, so you can stop there first and later head to Nicte Ha. 

Pros: Cenote Nicte Ha feels like a true oasis in the middle of a busy travel corridor. Not many people know about this cenote, which means it makes for a perfect escape.

Cons: The facilities at Cenote Nicte Ha are limited (there are only bathrooms) and there are no lockers on site. If you want to do snorkeling, bring your gear. Since this is a small cenote with a few people, you can just put your belongings on a boardwalk above the cenote. 

Best cenotes near Tulum

17. Cenote Jaguar

Price: 250 Pesos

Hours: 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

How to get there: Cenote Jaguar sits along the same road that leads to neighboring Cenote Nicte Ha. There are also signs along the road that guide you to the entrance of the cenote.

Located in the middle of the jungle, Cenote Jaguar is one of the least visited cenotes in the Dos Ojos Natural Park. Cenote Jaguar is an open cenote with a jumping platform that reaches 30 feet deep. If you come here early, you could have this spectacular cenote to yourself. There’s also a zip line for extra payment.

Pros: Spectacular scenery and very few visitors. One of the best hidden gems near Tulum.

Cons: Limited amenities on site. Make sure to bring some snacks and water if you want to stay here for a little bit.

18. Cenote Isla Alamos

Price: 100 Pesos

Hours: 8 a.m.-6 p.m.

How to get there: The best way to get to the cenote is by rental car. You must get on the Carretera Federal Tulum – Cobá and follow the direction to Cobá. Since there is no road sign on where to turn, you need to follow the direction for Valamna and Rancho India Bianca and continue to drive for another kilometer. 

Cenote Isla Álamos is one of the lesser-known Tulum cenotes, mainly because there is no sign on the road and it’s barely on the map.

Normally cenotes don’t have an island but this cenote is shaped like one, with a sandbank in the middle. All around there is an incredible display of Alamos trees.

Different from all the most popular and touristy cenotes, Cenote Isla Alamos doesn’t have any facilities like bathrooms or restaurants.

Cenote Isla Alamos is great for diving, snorkeling or just chilling in the fresh waters and it’s suitable for kids as well since there are shallow areas as well. 

Contributed by Isabella from Mexico Cenotes And Ruins

Best Tulum cenotes near Valladolid 

Many people who come to Tulum also take a trip to Valladolid, a colonial town with stunning pastel architecture that has been designated as UNESCO World Heritage Site. Designated pueblo magic, Valladolid boasts historic buildings, phenomenal Mayan Ruins, and some of the best cenotes in Yucatan. 

If you decide to travel from Tulum to Valladolid, I suggest spending at least a couple of days in Valladolid because there’s too much to do here! 

19. Cenote Suytun 

Price: 120 Pesos

Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

How to get there: Cenote Suytun is located on Highway Carretera 180 about 75 minutes from Tulum.

Cenote Suytun is one of the most famous cenotes near Tulum, although it’s a bit of a distance away.

There is a hole above the cenote so a small beam of light gets in, and a circular platform in the center, which makes Cenote Suytun ideal for photos. It is known as one the most Instagrammable cenotes in Mexico. As with most great photo spots, if you want photos without people in them, you’ll need to arrive by the opening time.

Best tours of Cenote Suytun

This cenote isn’t very big, but it is very popular, so it will fill up quickly.

Cenote Suytun is located about 45 minutes by car from Chichen Itza Mayan ruins, and many combine these two popular places for a day trip. There are also other beautiful cenotes near Cenote Suytun, like Cenote Zaci and Cenote San Lorenzo Oxman.

Contributed by Shelley from Travel Mexico Solo

A visit to Cenote Ik Kil is best combined with a stop at Chichen Itza, one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

20. Cenote Ik-Kil 

Price: 150 Pesos

Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

How to get there: Cenote Ik Kil is on Highway Carretera 180 in the Yucatan Peninsula, only about 10 minutes from Chichen Itza Ruins.

Cenote Ik Kil is one of the most beautiful cenotes in all of Mexico. Located just under two hours by car from Tulum, it’s a bit of a trek, but completely worth it! Besides being one of the best cenotes near Tulum, it’s also one of the best cenotes near Mérida and Valladolid, Mexico.

So what makes Cenote Ik Kil so special?

Two things: Its overall look, and the fact that it’s right next to Chichen Itza Mayan Ruins.

Cenote Ik Kil is what’s known as a semi-open cenote, with tall walls surrounding the water, and the top completely open. There are long vines that hang down from the opening, giving it a beautiful tropical jungle vibe.

Cenote Ik Kil is located near one of the most famous landmarks in the Yucatan Peninsula — Chichen Itza. These ancient Mayan ruins are one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, and a must-see for most Yucatan travelers.

Many tours combine Cenote Ik Kil and Chichen Itza into one trip, but you can also do it on your own. To do so, you can of course drive your rental car, or take the bus from Tulum to Chichen Itza, then a taxi to Cenote Ik Kil.

Since it’s so popular with large tour companies, Cenote Ik Kil can get very crowded. To avoid the crowds, arrive right when they open at 9 am, and preferably on a weekday instead of the weekend.

Best Mayan Ruins in Mexico

The best way to visit both is to see Chichen Itza first, and end your adventure with a refreshing swim in Cenote Ik Kil. There is even a restaurant at Cenote Ik Kil, so you eat a nice meal, stroll the grounds, then swim in the cenote at the end of the day when most people have left.

Life jackets are required for all swimmers, and the staff will give you one after you enter the facility. There are also lockers on-site, as you can’t bring anything into the cenote’s main area.

Contributed by Shelley from Travel To Merida

Cenote Xcanche is one of the best cenotes near Tulum that can be visited on a day trip.

21. Cenote Xcanche at Ek Balam 

Price: A basic ticket to Cenote Xcanche costs 70 Pesos, while a ticket covering transportation to the cenote as well as activities like zipping and rappelling could be up to 400 Pesos.

Hours: 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

How to get there: To get to Cenote Xcanche, you have to first arrive at the entrance of Ek Balam ruins. From the entrance to the ruins, you can either walk or rent a bicycle as the entrance to cenote Xcanche is just a short distance away.

Cenote Xcanche can be visited on the same trip to Ek Balam Mayan ruins.

Also known as Cenote Ek Balam, Cenote Xcanche is a big open-water sinkhole that is best combined with the Ek Balam Archaeological area (Both sites can be visited separately). Although this cenote is just 1 km away from the ruins, many travelers still miss out on this gem. 

To get into the water, you will need to make your way down a steep wooden staircase that leads to a boardwalk above the cenote. In addition to swimming, visitors also can zipline for a separate fee.

Best tours of Ek Balam and Cenote Xcanche

This popular tour includes a stop at Ek Balam ruins as well as Cenote Xcanche

Pros: There are very few people at cenote Xcanche. If you visit Ek Balam early morning, there’s a chance you could have this cenote to yourself. 

Cons: The facilities on site are minimal. Besides the changing rooms and bathrooms, there’s not much. Bring water, snacks and other essentials. 

22. Cenote Oxman 

Price: 150 Pesos. You can also pay 200 Pesos, which includes the entrance to cenote and also gives you a $50 voucher for a restaurant.

How to get there: Cenote Oxman is one of the best cenotes near Valladolid, located just 15 minutes outside of town. 

Cenote Oxman is a natural sinkhole that has become particularly famous on Instagram thanks to hanging roots and a rope that is often used as a swing to jump in the water from the wooden platform.

The cenote is located within Hacienda San Lorenzo Oxman Hotel, and, if you decide to spend the night here, you will have access to cenote as well as hotel’s amenities such as an outdoor swimming pool, a restaurant, and other places.

Cenote Oxman used to be one of the best hidden gems in Yucatán, but since the word got out, there’s now a steady stream of visitors. For best experience, visit this cenote early morning, before it gets busy.

Hacienda San Lorenzo and the cenote is open from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm every day.

23. Cenote Zaci

Price: 30 Pesos

Hours: 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

How to get there: The best part of cenote Zaci is its location. You can walk here from downtown Valladolid. It’s located between Calle 36, Calle 37, and Calle 39. 

Cenote Zaci is a huge semi-open cenote right in the center of town. Visiting here is a great idea if you want to take heat from the heat of Valladolid. While half of this cenote is covered by the cave, another part is open, so there’s plenty of light coming in. 

The walls of Cenote Zaci are covered in beautiful plants and the cenote is pretty big, so it never feels too crowded. If you feel adventurous, you can also jump in from one of the ledges along the walkway leading into the cenote.

The cenote has a restaurant, bathrooms, changing rooms, and lockers, where you can leave your belongings. You can also rent a life vest for a small fee since this cenote reaches 30 meters of depth. 

Pros: This is a relatively cheap cenote. Other cenotes have increased their entrance prices and also started charging fees for using cameras, but Cenote Zaci is still very affordable. 

Cons: This is a great cenote for swimming and cooling off, but there’s no scuba diving or snorkeling here since the water here is murky due to the presence of the algae. 

24. Cenote Xkeken and Cenote Samula 

Price: 80 Pesos for one Cenote or 125 Pesos for both cenotes

Hours: 9 a.m.-6 p.m. 

How to get there: Cenote Samula is outside of Valladolid in a town of Dzitnup. It’s 7 kilometers south of Valladolid along Highway 180.

Cenote Samula is a beautiful cave cenote inside an adventure park that also has Cenote Xkeken. This Cenote had a nice swimming area, and boasts gorgeous water illuminated by sunlight that shines through an opening in the cave roof. Life jacket rentals are available from a vendor while walking to the cenote.

Pros: This is one of the most beautiful cenotes near Valladolid thanks to the light entering the cenote through the opening in the ceiling

Cons: It’s a popular cenote and can be busy during the day. Come early for better experience.

Best Tulum cenotes near Playa Del Carmen

Best Tulum cenotes near Playa Del Carmen

Located just a 40-minute drive from Tulum, Playa Del Carmen also boasts several beautiful cenotes that you can visit on a day trip from Tulum.

Playa del Carmen is home to some of the most popular cenotes in the Yucatan Peninsula.

25. Cenote Jardin Del Eden 

Price: 200 Pesos 

Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

How to get there: Cenote Jardin Del Eden sits along Highway 307 approximately halfway between Tulum and Playa Del Carmen. This cenote is located just a few minutes past the town Puerto Aventuras and as you get closer, you will see several signs along the highway, directing you to the cenote.

The easiest way to visit this cenote is by renting a car in Playa Del Carmen, but you can also take a colectivo toward Tulum and ask to drop you off near the entrance to cenote.

The most popular cenote near Playa Del Carmen, Jardin Del Eden is a clear favorite among locals and tourists who come here to cool off on hot sunny days. Surrounded by lush tropical vegetation, this open cenote is great for snorkeling and scuba diving.

Playa del Carmen is home to some of the best cenotes in Yucatan

Cliff jumping is another popular activity in this cenote. The cenote has a 12-feet tall cliff that can be used to jump in the water, but if you are not up for it, you can also get in the water from one of the wooden decks. 

Also called Cenote Eden and Cenote Ponderosa, this is a large cenote that looks like a medium-sized lake. Since this is a deep cenote, it’s more suited for good swimmers. You can rent a life jacket on site. 

Pros: The cenote has great facilities that include snorkel gear/life vest rentals, bathrooms, changing rooms, and several palapas where you can grab a chair and a table to relax after the swim and have a quick snack.

Cons: This is a popular cenote and can get a bit busy, so make sure to come here early. 

PRO TIP: Combine Cenote Jardin Del Eden with two other cenotes, Cenote Azul and Cenote Cristalino for a nice getaway from Playa Del Carmen. 

Cenote Azul is one of the best cenotes near Playa Del Carmen

26. Cenote Azul 

Price: 120 Pesos

Hours: 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.

How to get there: You can get to Cenote Azul from Playa Del Carmen by colectivo, taxi, or rental car. It’s about 20 minutes south of Playa Del Carmen near the town Puerto Aventuras. The cenote is across the street from Barcelo resorts.

Cenote Azul is a large open cenote that boasts turquoise waters that create a stunning natural sight when the sun rays illuminate its incredibly clear waters. 

Renting a car is the best option for visiting multiple cenotes in the Tulum area.

Located close to Cenote Cristalino, Cenote Azul is split into two large pools that are separated by the wooden boardwalk. The shallow area is more popular with families and the deeper area has a little diving cliff about 15 feet high. The deep side of this cenote is great for snorkeling and you can rent gear on site.

Cons: Cenote Azul is one of the most popular cenotes in Mexico’s Rivera Maya, and it gets very busy. Similar to other Tulum cenotes, plan to visit early morning or late in the afternoon to avoid the crowds. Still, this is a pretty big cenote and you will not have trouble finding enough space to relax. 

Pros: Cenote Azul is one elf the most photogenic cenotes in the area. Bring your camera when you come here because the scenery here is fantastic!

Cenote Cristalino is one of the most popular cenotes near Playa del Carmen.

27. Cenote Cristalino 

Price: 150 Pesos

Hours: 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

How to get there: Since Cenote Cristalino is near Cenote El Jardin Del Eden and Cenote Azul, you can use the same way to get here, as for the two other cenotes. 

The last cenote in the trio of cenotes near Playa Del Carmen, Cenote Cristalino is just a few minutes away from Cenote Azul. This cenote looks like a beautiful natural pool with portions covered by the overhanging rock formation. 

Since this cenote doesn’t get as much sunshine, the water here is cooler, which makes for a perfect retreat from the hot and humid Playa Del Carmen. It’s also more shallow than other cenotes near Playa Del Carmen with an average depth of about 4-6 meters, which means it’s not suitable for diving. 

Pros: Plenty of amenities just like in Cenote Jardin Del Eden.

Cons: This is a smaller cenote, and can gets busy, especially on weekends. If you want to have it to yourself, consider visiting it on a weekday rather than on a weekend. 

Coba boasts some of the best underground cenotes in the Yucatan Peninsula.

Tulum cenotes near Coba

Coba is a pueblo about 40 minutes from Tulum that is famous for the namesake archeological area. The area is also home to a trio of less famous cenotes that make a great stop after exploring the archaeological area. Just like other cenotes in Yucatan, Coba cenotes accept only cash. 

Coba is home to some of the best Mayan ruins in Yucatan.

How to get from Tulum to Coba

The best and easiest way to get to Coba cenotes is to rent a car at the Cancun International Airport. The drive from Tulum to Coba via Highway 109 takes about 45 minutes. 

The highway from Tulum to Coba is safe and well maintained, and traffic is typically light, which is why I recommend renting a car for your trip. This way you will also be able to stop for lunch visit cenotes and make a stop at Coba ruins at your own pace. 

Colectivo

Another option is to take a colectivo from Tulum to Coba ruins, but you will have to catch a taxi or get another van when you arrive in Coba because a colectivo doesn’t take you straight to cenotes. Colectivos from Tulum to Coba depart from the intersection of Avenida Tulum and Calle Osiris Norte and typically cost no more than 50 Pesos one way.  

Bus

You can also take a Mayab bus to Coba from the main bus station in Tulum. There are multiple buses per day and just like collectives, they drop you off at the ruins, and not at cenotes. Ticket costs 50 Pesos one way and has to be paid in cash. 

Taxi

Taking a taxi from Tulum to Coba is pricey. Expect to pay no less than 500 Pesos for a one-way trip and possibly even more, especially if you are traveling during the high season. 

Best tours of Coba ruins

Coba cenotes price

All three Coba cenotes cost 100 Pesos which means you have to pay 300 Pesos in cash if you want to visit all three of them. 

Coba cenotes hours

9 a.m.-6 p.m. for all Coba cenotes.

Coba is home to spectacular Mayan ruins and wonderful underground cenotes.

28. Cenote Tamcach-Ha

A closed underground cenote, Tamcach-Ha is the coolest of all Coba cenotes with two diving platforms (5 and 10 meters each) from where you can jump into the crystal-clear water. 

To get inside cenote Tamcach-Ha, you have to make your way down a steep ladder, and once you are there, you will see impressive stalactites hanging from the ceiling. This is a deeper cenote that has a round shape and is popular for snorkeling and swimming and you can also spot many bats here.

Coba has some of the best underground cenotes near Tulum.

29. Cenote Choo-Ha

Cenote Choo-Ha is a shallow cenote with impressive stalagmites that is great for taking photos and relaxing. You will not find deep water or cool diving platforms here, but it boasts nice clear water that is good for snorkeling.
PRO TIP: All Coba cenotes are underground, which means there’s no natural light here. If you want to take photos, you will need to have the right settings in your camera.

Coba is home to some of the best swimming and snorkeling cenotes in Yucatan.

30. Cenote Multun-Ha

Cenote Multun-Ha is the most popular of all cenotes near Coba because it offers a big area for swimming and incredible crystal clear water that allows you to see the bottom. This is a busy cenote, so my advice is to start your tour of cenotes with a stop at Multun-Ha before it gets busy. 

To get inside the cenote, you can either jump or get in from the ladder in the water.

Best time to visit Coba cenotes: 

Although Coba cenotes see fewer visitors than some of the most popular cenotes near Tulum it still can get busy here. Come either early morning, or late in the afternoon after you visit Coba ruins.

GOOD TO KNOW: Since Coba is between Tulum and Valladolid, spend a night here before continuing your road trip around Yucatan. Coba is a small town, but it has a couple of hotels.

Open cenotes near Tulum

Open cenotes look more like big lakes than dark caverns filled with fresh underground water. Open cenotes have plenty of sunshine are generally warmer to swim in and often have open decks where you can sit down and relax after taking a swim. Some of the most popular open cenotes are Cenote Car Wash and Cenote Escondido.

Semi-open cenotes near Tulum 

Semi-open cenotes are underground but have an opening where you can see the light. These cenotes are particularly popular for photography because the light creates a gorgeous sight by illuminating the clear blue water in these cenotes during certain hours of the day. Some of the most popular semi-open cenotes are Cenote Dos Ojos, and Cenote Ik Kil.

Underground cenotes near Tulum 

Closed cenotes are completely underground and have no natural light. These cenotes tend to be darker and much cooler than open cenotes, because they get little sunshine. If you want to visit underground Tulum cenotes, stop at one of Coba cenotes that can be accessed via a ladder leading into the cavern. 

Cenotes Tulum: FAQ

What makes cenotes special?

The ancient Mayans who lived in this part of Mexico believed that cenotes were the entrance to the underworld and there’s evidence that sacrifices have taken place in many cenotes around Yucatan. 

Which is the best Tulum cenote?

Cenote Dos Ojos is one of the best cenotes in Tulum where you can swim, snorkel, dive and take amazing photos! Other beautiful cenotes are Cenote Cristalino, Gran Cenote and Cenote Calavera.

Are the cenotes in Tulum safe to swim?

Yes, cenotes in Tulum are perfectly safe to swim, because they are closed off caves with no currents or undertows. Some of them are much deeper than others, so if you are not a good swimmer, rent a lifejacket on site.

Are there free cenotes in Tulum?

There are no free cenotes in Tulum, but you can still find a few that charge very low fees like Cenote Car Wash, Cenote Cristalino and Cenote Escondido.

Are there crocodiles in Tulum cenotes?

Although many cenotes have wildlife like turtles and fish, only a few of them have crocodiles. Open cenotes like Cenote Casa or Cenote Car Wash might have crocodiles, but they are harmless and usually mind their own business.

How to visit the best Tulum cenotes?

There are a couple of Tulum cenotes such as Gran Cenote and Cenote Calavera that you can visit by a quick bike ride from downtown Tulum. But most cenotes require a car drive, and if you want to avoid paying for a taxi every time you want to visit cenote, I suggest renting a car.

👉 Discover Cars is one of the best companies for renting a car in Mexico that offers a great inventory with tons of vehicles.

PRO TIP: Check this article to avoid mistakes while renting a car in Mexico.

Things to know before visiting cenotes near Tulum

  • Pay in Cash – Most cenotes accept ONLY cash. If you want to rent snorkeling gear, a life vest, or get a snack, you also have to pay in cash.
  • You have to rinse yourself off before entering the cenote – This is the main rule because cenotes are filled with fresh groundwater that can be easily contaminated by chemicals in your sunscreen, body lotion, or perfume. Most cenotes have showers on site, and you will be asked to use them before entering a cenote.
  • There’s marine life – Cenotes are home to an array of flora and fauna which you can see while diving and snorkeling. For example, Cenote Car Wash is known for its stunning underwater garden and Gran Cenote has many turtles and fish. 
  • Not all cenotes are the same – While some cenotes are open and look more likes lakes, others are closed or semi-closed and can be accessed via stairs leading down the caverns. 
  • Visit early morning for better experience – Some Tulum cenotes are more popular than others, and can get crowded. Consider visiting early morning, especially if you want to visit Gran Cenote, Cenote Calavera or Cenote Zacil Ha – some of the most popular cenotes.
Best hotels in Tulum

Where to stay in Tulum

Tulum is a perfect place to stay if you are looking to visit cenotes in the area and has many options for accommodations for any budget. From budget-friendly hostels in downtown Tulum to luxurious resorts with private beaches, here are a couple of ideas for your stay in Tulum.

Budget Hotels in Tulum

Despite its reputation, Tulum is not all about expensive resorts. The town has plenty of affordable options such as Mango Tulum Hotel just outside of the city center that boasts a garden and pool; or Teetotum Hotel that offers free bikes and free breakfast.

Mid-Range Hotels in Tulum

Tulum has dozens of hotels catering to travelers who are willing to spend a bit more money. 

For example, Hotel Cabanas isn’t crazy expensive, but it offers a secluded location with some of the rooms facing the gorgeous white-sand beach. Diamante K is a moderately priced hotel that has beach-front bungalows; and Holistika is one of the most beautiful hotels in Tulum that has private and shared rooms and offers a quiet setting away from downtown and tons of activities.

Luxury Hotels in Tulum

Suenos Tulum is an extremely photogenic hotel along the beach. It boasts artsy Mayan-themed decor and a gorgeous outdoor setting with hammocks and cozy decks. 

And if you want a more secluded spot, choose Hotel Bardo, one of the most beautiful hotels in Tulum that will blow you away with its amazing design! Another gorgeous eco-setting is Nomade Tulum that has incredible tree houses and cabins in the jungle. 

Tulum cenotes: Final thoughts

Touring cenotes near Tulum is one of the best things to do in the Yucatan Peninsula. These stunning natural pools filled with fresh groundwater provide an excellent retreat from the hot and humid weather in the region, with gorgeous scenery and a quiet atmosphere.

If you want to see some of the most spectacular Tulum cenotes and beyond, rent a car and setting aside at least a day for your adventure, spending on how many cenotes you want to visit. 

Visiting cenote is just one of many activities in the Yucatan Peninsula. If you need more ideas for your trip, take a look at my guide to some of the best things to do in Yucatan! 

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