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20 Best Cenotes in and near Tulum to Visit in 2022

Published:

by Mary Joy Salunat

A woman in a bikini floating in Cenote Cristalino, one of the cenotes near Tulum.
Photo by Adam on Adobe Stock

With just a mention of cenotes in Tulum, you can already imagine swimming in crystal clear waters among fishes and turtles and intriguing rock formations under balmy skies. Cenotes are natural sinkholes or swimming pools that occur when caves collapse and expose the groundwater, making it ideal for swimming, diving, and other water activities. More than a coastal town on the eastern side of the Yucatan Peninsula, Tulum also bewitches us with lush forests and deep water wells that remain a true pride of Quintana Roo. 

 

Stunning cenotes in and near Tulum have become popular travel destinations for locals and tourists looking for peaceful relaxation and a series of adventures. With its neighboring towns like Cancun and Playa del Carmen, expect to be amazed by the many beautiful cenotes in and surrounding Tulum, such as Cenote Cristalino, Cenote Calavera, and Cenote Dos Ojos.

Open Cenotes

Open cenotes are natural sinkholes wherein the caves have completely collapsed and have fallen into itself. Among the three types of cenotes, open cenotes are considered the oldest kind. Home to diverse faunas and floras, it is regarded as the most recognized type of cenote because of its natural beauty. The following are some of the most beautiful open cenotes in and near Tulum that you might want to consider adding to your itinerary. 

1. Cenote Azul

Tourists exploring Cenote Azul and its crystal clear turquoise waters.

Photo by Graeme Churchard on Flickr

Cenote Azul should be part of your itinerary if you’re looking for a more family-friendly cenote in Tulum. It resides between Tulum and Playa del Carmen in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo. 

 

Having a mix of both shallow and deep natural swimming pools, Cenote Azul is ideal for all members of families to enjoy. Since it is surrounded by boulders, kids can have fun dipping their feet and paddling in the shallow crystal clear turquoise waters. Meanwhile, adults who are feeling more adventurous can try out the several diving platforms that lead through the deeper natural swimming pools. Cenote Azul is also a perfect spot where you can practice snorkeling and swim along with different fish species. 

 

Cenote Azul Entrance Fee: 120 Mexican Pesos (around 7 USD) and 80 Mexican Pesos for kids ages 4 to 8 (around 4 USD). 

Opening Hours: Open daily from 8:30 AM until 5:30 PM.

2. Cenote Cristalino

Vacationers cliff jumping, floating, and swimming in Cenote Cristalino.

Photo by Matthew Fuentes on Flickr

Afterward, head straight to Cenote Cristalino, which is just located right next to Cenote Azul. If you prefer a more quiet and peaceful place to relax with less crowd, this is the perfect open-air natural swimming pool for you.

 

Cristalino translates to “crystal clear”, and Cenote Cristalino does not fail to live up to its name.  The not-so-deep crystal clear water of Cenote Cristalino makes it ideal for families to enjoy swimming and cliff jumping. Keeping the visitors’ safety the top priority. Diving is discouraged in Cenote Cristalino, given the 6-meter depth. On the bright side, this makes it easier to spot varieties of fishes even while just floating in the cenote! If you’re in Playa Del Carmen and have the luxury of time, there is no reason not to take advantage of this nearby equally majestic cenote. 

 

Cenote Cristalino Entrance Fee: 150 Mexican Pesos (around 8 USD) per person.

Opening Hours: Open daily from 8:00 AM until 5:00 PM.

3. Cenote Jardin Del Eden

Calm emerald-sapphire waters of Cenote Jardin del Eden, one of the cenotes in Tulum.

Photo by bionicgrrrl on Flickr

While you’re in the area, make sure not to skip on Cenote Jardin Del Eden near Cenote Azul and Cenote Cristalino. In English, Cenote Jardin Del Eden, also known as Cenote Ponderosa, translates to “Garden of Eden”. 

 

This cenote resonates with its name as lush green jungles and rock formations surround it. This open-air cenote is considered one of the best cenotes in Tulum and Playa Del Carmen with the most water activities to engage in. 

 

Apart from swimming, cliff jumping, and snorkeling, make sure not to miss your chance to go scuba-diving in these emerald-sapphire waters. Surely, you will have the best time in its deep cave system that reaches up to 50-feet deep. You can also float through the mangrove forest in this natural swimming pool. 

 

Cenote Jardin del Eden Entrance Fee: 200 Mexican Pesos (around 10 USD) and 100 Mexican Pesos for kids (around 5 USD).

Opening Hours: Open from Sunday through Friday from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

4. Gran Cenote

People swimming among lush green vegetation surrounding Gran Cenote.

Photo by Aquiles Carattino on Flickr

Strapped for time but want to make the most of your trip? Just 5 kilometers away from the town center is Gran Cenote. Want to explore an open-air cenote? Interested in caves and caverns? Itching for an underwater adventure? Gran Cenote offers all these making it popular among swimmers, divers, and snorkelers.

 

The extensive vegetation and rock formations surrounding Gran Cenote make it even more beautiful. Indulge in a relaxing swim among small turtles or take a deep dive to explore the underwater caves as bats flit above you. As the name suggests, Gran Cenote or Great Cenote is vast, consisting of caves and caverns connected by wooden walkways. As one of the most famous cenotes near Tulum, it can get pretty crowded, so make sure to go early for a more tranquil swim. 

 

Gran Cenote Entrance Fee: 500 Mexican Pesos (around 25 USD) per person.

Opening Hours: Open daily from 8:10 AM until 4:45 PM.

5. Casa Cenote

Lush vegetation surrounding the emerald waters of Casa Cenote, one of the cenotes near Tulum.

Photo by Falco Ermert on Flickr

A cenote where you can enjoy both freshwater and seawater is Casa Cenote located between Tulum and Playa Del Carmen. Casa Cenote is ideal for families who are up for a thrilling adventure. In the 20-meter deep crystal clear water, kids can do water-based activities like swimming, kayaking, and paddleboarding. Look forward to a spectacular snorkeling and scuba diving experience in Casa Cenote as it stretches out all the way to the warm waters of the Caribbean. 

 

Get up close and personal with marine creatures such as tropical and freshwater fishes, blue crabs, and a resident crocodile named Panchito! Although there have never been any reported crocodile attack cases in all his years in Casa Cenote, make sure to keep a safe distance from Panchito. 

 

Casa Cenote Entrance Fee: 150 Mexican Pesos (around 8 USD) per person.

Opening Hours: Open daily from 8:00 AM until 5:00 PM.

6. Cenote “Carwash” Aktun Ha

A woman dipping her toes into Cenote “Carwash” Aktun Ha, one of the cenotes in Tulum.

Photo from Cenote Aktun Ha official Facebook page

One of the cenotes in Tulum on the list is Cenote Aktun Ha. More commonly known as “Cenote Carwash”, it is called as such because it is close to the road and used to be where taxi drivers would get water to wash their cars.

 

With its crystal clear water and picturesque landscape, Cenote Carwash is undoubtedly considered one of the best cenotes in Tulum. If you’re an adrenaline junkie, apart from diving and snorkeling with fishes and freshwater turtles, make sure to go scuba diving in Cenote Carwash. It leads to a wonderful cave section and rock formations that take you 50-feet deep. 

 

In addition, Cenote Carwash also houses an underground garden. Although this area is off-limits, visitors can snorkel nearby to appreciate diverse marine flora.

 

Cenote Aktun Ha Entrance Fee: 250 Mexican Pesos (around 13 USD) per person.

Opening Hours: Open daily from 8:00 AM until 5:00 PM

7. Cenote Zacil-Ha

Tourists enjoying Cenote Zacil-Ha, a cenote that is shaped almost like a regular swimming pool.

Photo from Cenote Zacil-Ha official Facebook page

Right next to Aktun-Ha “Carwash” Cenote is Cenote Zacil-Ha, another one of the beautiful cenotes in Tulum. Among the cenotes in Tulum, the structure is most similar to that of a regular swimming pool. Although it is relatively small compared to the aforementioned cenotes, it doesn’t compromise the fun and adventures that await you. 

 

The surrounding boulders make it great for jumping and scuba diving into the cenote. A 10-feet zipline ride is available to the public for less extreme activity. The underwater cave system also makes it an interesting place for snorkeling. 

 

Cenote Zacil-Ha Entrance Fee: 80 Mexican Pesos (around 4 USD) per person.

Opening Hours: Open daily from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM.

8. Laguna Kaan Luum

Shallow and deep waters of Laguna Kaan Luum distinguished by the color of its water.

Photo by Falco Ermert on Flickr

A hidden gem filled with rustic charms and a tranquil atmosphere popular among the locals would be Laguna Kaan Luum, also called Kaan Luum Lagoon. It is located southwest of the center of Tulum in Quintana Roo. Its distinct feature, emerald waters circling dark blue waters, makes this vast water-filled sinkhole appear more like a lake than a cenote. 

 

Surrounded by abundant greens and having 5-feet emerald waters, Kaan Luum Lagoon is perfect for swimmers, snorkeling, and kayak riding. The wooden boardwalks also allow tourists to jump off the platform. For a more peaceful trip, appreciate the beautiful scenery while unwinding on the two overwater hammocks available to the public. 

 

The darker blue portion in the middle of the cenote, enchanting as it may be, is off-limits. It is marked off with a rope to keep visitors from the spot since there have been reports that the currents could pull you towards the center.

 

Kaan Luum Lagoon Entrance Fee: 200 Mexican Pesos (around 10 USD) for residents and 300 Mexican Pesos (around 15 USD) if otherwise. 

Opening Hours: Open daily from 9:00 AM until 5:00 PM.

9. Yal Ku Lagoon 

Yal Ku Lagoon, one of the cenotes near Tulum, and its crystal clear water which is a mixture of salt and freshwater.

Photo from Yal-Kú official Facebook page

Head on to Yal Ku Lagoon for more aquatic encounters, also known as Cenote Akumal. This park resides at the heart of Riviera Maya, a region in the town of Cancun. Yal Ku Lagoon directly leads you to the ocean, creating a brackish mixture of salt and freshwater that allows freshwater and tropical fish to strive. 

 

Consisting of both shallow and deep waters, young swimmers can explore the shallow cenote freely to their heart’s content. For adults, they can enjoy the waters of Yal Ku Lagoon that reach up to 15-feet deep. They can also participate in snorkeling and swimming with colorful fishes such as angelfish, parrotfish, and more. You might even encounter a sea turtle or a manta ray if you’re lucky!

 

Yal Ku Lagoon Entrance Fee: 300 Mexican Pesos (around 14 USD) for adults and 215 Mexican Pesos (around 10 USD) for children.

Opening Hours: Open daily from 9:00 AM until 5:00 PM, but the last entry is at 4:30 PM.

10. Cenote Nicte-Ha

Tons of lily pads floating around the serene Cenote Nicte-Ha.

Photo by Autumn Sky on Adobe Stock

Another less-known hidden gem is Cenote Nicte-Ha. This pond-like cenote is known for its peaceful and serene surroundings and is one of the five cenotes in Cenote Dos Ojos. Compared to other cenotes, you can have this place all to yourself since it never really gets crowded. What makes it even more magical are the tons of lily pads floating around the cenote, adding aesthetics and beauty to the whole place. Apart from admiring the water lilies, you can also snorkel and swim with fishes in Cenote Nicte-Ha. You can spot turtles at times, too.

 

Cenote Nicte-Ha Entrance Fee: 450 Mexican Pesos (around 23 USD) per person. 

Opening Hours: Open daily from 9:00 AM until 5:00 PM. 

Semi-Open Cenotes

Semi-open cenotes are known for their unique feature wherein the ceilings have small openings, and light and air easily pass through. Its beauty is defined by how the light coming through the roof stunningly illuminates the water at the bottom. Here are some semi-open cenotes in and near Tulum.

11. Cenote Ik Kil

Wonderful rock formations and cascading vines in Cenote Ik Kil. 

Photo by suseboy on Flickr

Cascading vines down 25 meter-high rocky walls make Cenote Ik Kil particularly dreamy. The open-top allows you to appreciate the open sky while swimming around the cenote. Several ladders are also attached to the rock formations surrounding it, making it a great place for jumping. Try to visit early in the morning to avoid a big crowd as it is a popular cenote in Tulum.

 

Moreover, the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza, where Cenote Ik Kil is nearby, is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites and Seven Wonders of the World. Cenote Ik Kil is undoubtedly considered one of the best cenotes near Tulum. 

 

Cenote Ik Kil Entrance Fee: 100 Mexican Pesos (around 5 USD) for adults and 40 Mexican Pesos (around 2 USD)  for children. 

Opening Hours: Open daily from 9:00 AM until 5:00 PM. 

12. Cenote Calavera

High angle shot of Cenote Calavera showing the ladder and swing, with two divers waving their hands underneath.

Photo by Just Booked A Trip on Flickr

Cenote Calavera may seem small from the outside as compared to previously mentioned cenotes, but there’s more to it than what meets the eye. You can use the stairs or take the 4-meter drop to enter the cenote for a thrilling experience! Before exploring the cenote, try out the fun swing while dipping your feet in the crystal clear waters of this cenote.

 

Cenote Calavera translates to “Skull Cenote” in English. When the light illuminates the water during daytime, it passes through two smaller holes that form to look like eyes. From certain angles underwater, especially when scuba diving which Cenote Calavera is known for, the sunlight passing through the holes makes the area resemble a giant skull. The cenote also has another ominous name. The Temple of Doom is said to be called such due to the discovery of bones and Mayan pottery that rest on a small ledge resembling an altar or a small temple at the end of the dive.

 

Cenote Calavera Entrance Fee: 250 Mexican Pesos (around 13 USD) per person. 

Opening Hours: Open daily from 9:00 AM until 5:00 PM. 

13. Cenote X’canche

Peaceful Cenote X’canche featuring rocky formations and its boardwalks you can jump off from. 

Photo by kzoop on Flickr

Cenote X’canche is the ideal family-friendly spot for a serene or sporty vacation. This less-known cenote in Tulum houses a waterfall that adds to the beauty and uniqueness of the area.

 

Want to appreciate the breathtaking scenery while sunbathing? The wooden boardwalks surrounding the Cenote X’canche are perfect for this. Up for some extreme water activities? Cenote X’canche will surely not disappoint. After swimming the blue waters of Cenote X’canche, spend hours ziplining, rappelling, and rope swinging. If you’re feeling more adventurous, you can basically jump off the wooden platforms around Cenote X’canche.  

 

Cenote Xcanche Entrance Fee: 70 Mexican Pesos (around 4 USD) per person. 

Opening Hours: Open from 8:00 AM until 4:00 PM, but the last entry is at 3:30 PM.

14. Cenote Oxman

A tourist freely floating around Cenote Oxman under cascading tree roots that dip into the water..

Photo by Andrea Schaffer

Situated just 4.5 kilometers from Valladolid City is Cenote Oxman, which was once an agave plantation. Located in Hacienda San Lorenzo Oxman, it is popular for having tree roots hanging into the turquoise crystal clear waters, a truly captivating sight that will take everyone’s breath away. Witness the majestic view from below as you swim or float in this semi-open cenote among the fishes. Also, don’t forget to try the most iconic activity in Cenote Oxman — swinging from the hanging rope into the waters. 

 

Cenote Oxman Entrance Fee: The entrance fee varies depending on the inclusions you prefer. It costs 70 Mexican Pesos (around 4 USD) to access Cenote Oxman alone. 100 Mexican Pesos (around 5 USD) will give you access to the pool area plus 50 Mexican Pesos (around 3 USD) worth of food and drinks. The last option is 150 Mexican Pesos (around 8 USD), which covers free access to the cenote, and 150 Mexican Pesos (around 8 USD) worth of food and drink at the restaurant and bar. 

Opening Hours: Open daily from 8:00 AM until 6:00 PM. 

Underground Cenotes

From the name itself, underground cenotes are found in a cave system. Among the three kinds of cenotes, underground cenotes are considered the youngest type. Typically, there is either one or no natural light coming in with this type of cenote. To explore underground cenotes, you will have to swim through caves and tunnels brimming with stalagmites and stalactites. 

15. Cenote Dos Ojos

Crystal clear water and rock formations in Cenote Dos Ojos, one of the underground cenotes near Tulum..

Photo by Niek van Son on Flickr

If you’re looking for the perfect scuba diving spot, head on to Cenote Dos Ojos, located between Tulum and Playa Del Carmen. Cenote Dos Ojos is famous among scuba divers because of the double sinkholes that form a deep cave system and the mesmerizing stalactites and stalagmites. 

 

Dos Ojos translates to “two eyes,” in reference to the two sinkholes that connect in a cavern, and is one of the largest cave systems in the Yucatan Peninsula. The two cenotes, Barbie line, and Bat Cave are perfect for scuba diving and snorkeling as the water is sparkling clear. The first sinkhole, the Barbie line, has more natural light coming in. This cenote, being 415-meters long and 6-meters deep, has a 45-minute scuba diving duration. Meanwhile, Bat Cave has fewer light sources since the cave has not fully collapsed yet. At 300-meters long and 10-meters deep, it takes about 35 minutes to accomplish.

 

While Dos Ojos is more popular for scuba diving, you can still explore this cenote near Tulum by swimming and snorkeling. In addition,  Dos Ojos is home to five equally beautiful cenotes, including Cenote Nicte-Ha and Cenote Sac Actun. 

 

Cenote Dos Ojos Entrance Fee: 350 Mexican Pesos (around 18 USD) per person for Dos Ojos alone, and 450 Mexican Pesos (around 23 USD) per person which also includes Cenote Nicte-Ha and Cenote Sac Actun.  

Opening Hours: Open daily from 9:00 AM until 5:00 PM. 

16. Cenote Sac Actun

Reflection of stalactites and stalagmites in the clear waters of Cenote Sac Actun.

Photo by Nido Huebl on Adobe Stock

Another part of the aforementioned Dos Ojos Park, stalactites and stalagmites meet amongst the sparkling clear blue waters in the massive cave of Cenote Sac Actun. Part of the longest underwater cave system in the world, the large open areas of the cenote narrow down into long dark tunnels ideal for scuba diving and snorkeling.  

 

For history buffs, make sure to include Cenote Sac Actun in your itinerary. Cenote Sac Actun earned the name Pet Cemetery with the scattered animal bones found in its caves that used to be part of Mayan rituals in the past. As the cenote is massive with intricate tunnels, only guide dive tours are available if you wish to scuba dive in this cenote.

 

Cenote Sac Actun Entrance Fee: 200 Mexican Pesos (around 10 USD) per person. 

Opening Hours: Open daily from 9:00 AM until 5:00 PM. 

17. Cenote Suytun

Aerial shot of Cenote Suytun with the circular stone platform below.

Photo by Joseph Nyveen on Flickr

Cenote Suytun is a highly popular tourist destination, and we can totally see why! Cenote Suytun actually houses two cenotes – the main cenote and Cenote Kaapeh.

 

The main cenote is more popular because of the sunlight passing through the roof which strikes the circular stone platform with an otherworldly glow. The walls of the underground Cenote Suytun are high, but the shallow water is only around 3 to 5 feet deep. Although it is not ideal for swimming and snorkeling because the water can be quite murky, take advantage of this picturesque cenote. Snap beautiful photos from the different vantage points as the sun beams through the roof. 

 

Cenote Kaapeh, on the other hand, is a lot smaller, more open, and consists of lower walls. This equally majestic cenote receives fewer tourists, so if you prefer a more private getaway, check out Cenote Kaapeh.

 

Cenote Suytun Entrance Fee: 120 Mexican Pesos (around 6 USD) per person. 

Opening Hours: Open daily from 9:00 AM until 5:00 PM, but the last entry is at 4:30. 

18. Cenote Chaak Tun 

Large quantities of stalactites and stalagmites in Cenote Chaak Tun.

Photo from Cenote Chaak Tun official Facebook page

If you’re looking for some underground adventure, head on to Cenote Chaak Tun. It is a hidden gem in Playa del Carmen near Tulum that doesn’t really get crowded — another perfect spot for relaxation.

 

The Mayan word “Chac” translates to rain, while “Tun” in English means stone. Made up of two caves, Cenote Chaak Tun stays true to its name with its giant stalactites dripping towards the emerald waters like stone rain. In the main cave, only one light source passes through a hole in the ceiling. The second cave is larger and darker. Enjoy snorkeling and exploring these caves since there are no off-limits areas in Cenote Chaak Tun. Bring your own waterproof headlights or rent one to really appreciate the wonders of this cenote. 

 

Cenote Chaak Tun Entrance Fee: 550 Mexican Pesos (around 28 USD) for foreign tourists, 400 Mexican Pesos (around 20 USD) for Mexican Nationals, and 300 Mexican Pesos (around 15 USD) for people who live in Quintana Roo. Each admission consists of a guided tour of the two caves, a Neoprene suit, snorkeling equipment, a life vest, water shoes, a flashlight, and a locker. 

Opening Hours: Open Monday through Saturday from 9:00 AM until 5:00 PM but the last tour starts at 2:30 PM. It is open from 9:00 until 3:00 PM on Sunday, but the last tour is at 12:30 PM. 

19. Cenote Choo-Ha 

Crystal clear waters, stalactites, and stalagmites of Cenote Choo-Ha, one of the cenotes near Tulum.

Photo by Luis Miguel Bugallo Sánchez on Wikimedia Commons

After spending the day exploring the Coba Ruins, you might want to make a refreshing stop at Cenote Choo-Ha, a small underground cenote. Cenote Choo-Ha, along with Cenote Multum-Ha and Cenote Tankach-Ha are the three cenotes you can explore near the Mayan Ruins in Coba near Tulum. 

 

In English, the name Cenote Choo-Ha translates to “water that drips,” pertaining to the water that drips down from the numerous surrounding stalactites. The shallow waters of Cenote Choo-Ha also make it ideal for families with kids to swim and snorkel in. 

 

Cenote Choo-Ha Entrance Fee: 100 Mexican Pesos (around 5 USD) per person and already covers all three cenotes near the Coba Ruins.

Opening Hours: Open daily from 8:00 AM until 6:00 PM. 

20. Cenote Multum-Ha 

Natural light passing through the clear waters of Cenote Multum-Ha showing underwater rock formations.

Photo by Ashley Frill on Flickr

Cenote Multum-Ha is also part of the three beautiful cenotes located near the Mayan ruins at Coba. The sunlight that beams through the small hole on the roof of this cave cenote during daytime casts an almost magical illumination over the turquoise blue water. 

 

Jump off the platforms surrounding Cenote Multum-Ha for the adrenaline rush! Or have a relaxing swim in the calm waters of the cenote, perfect after exploring the jungle ruins. Since Coba Ruins nearby are less popular among Mayan Ruins, you can also expect that Cenote Multum-Ha would be the perfect place to unwind with fewer people.

 

Cenote Multum-Ha Entrance Fee: 100 Mexican Pesos (around 5 USD) per person which covers all three cenotes near the Coba Ruins.

Opening Hours: Open daily from 8:00 AM until 6:00 PM.

Plan Your Next Cenote Adventure in Tulum!   

 

Open cenotes in and near Tulum mesmerize with their abundance of flora and fauna all around. Semi-open cenotes emanate a sense of mystery in their beauty with the sunlight illuminating the waters. And if you’re looking for a thrilling experience, snorkel through underground cenotes peppered with stalagmites and stalactites. Cenotes in and near Tulum each have their own beauty and charm that will leave you in awe. So try all of them to experience all that Tulum has got to offer!