Want to visit the best cenotes in Tulum, Mexico?
You’ve come to the right article and the right guide because — I live in Mexico — not too far from Tulum, actually. I have spent quite a bit of time in Tulum, visiting many of the most beautiful Tulum cenotes, and you’re about to get all my insider info on how to visit the best cenotes in Tulum like a pro.
In this Tulum cenote guide, you’ll discover where all the coolest ones are located — conveniently pinned to your Tulum Cenotes Map! You’ll learn which cenotes are best for what (snorkeling, diving, Instagram cenote photos, etc.), and practical info on visiting them (hours, cost, etc.).
On the map, you’ll see your options for cenotes in Tulum, the best cenotes near Tulum, and the best cenotes near Playa del Carmen, located less than an hour from Tulum. Further away, you’ll learn about the Valladolid cenotes, located near Chichen Itza Ruins in Valladolid, Mexico.
Ready to get to this epic list of the 35 best Tulum cenotes?! Let’s get to it, starting with some cenotes FAQs, so you have enough info to visit like a pro! (If you prefer, you can just jump right to the Tulum cenotes list.)
Tulum Cenotes in mexico
What are Cenotes?
Q: How do you pronounce cenote?
A: Cenote is pronounced sen-no-tay, and two or more cenotes are sen-no-tays.
Cenotes pronunciation now cleared up, let’s answer the 🤔What is a cenote? question! The cenotes of Mexico are essentially sinkholes, or natural freshwater pools located in the Yucatan jungle. Want additional info on the Tulum cenotes? — Use these quick links:
Tulum Cenotes Map
Wondering, What are the best cenotes near me right now? If you’re in Tulum — you probably are! The cenotes are hidden in the Yucatan jungle, sometimes down dirt roads and off the beaten path. Check out the map of the Tulum cenotes below to find the closest cenotes to you.
Not sure where to stay in Tulum?
► Nativus Glamping & Cenote Tulum has it’s own private cenote on the property!
Tulum Cenotes in mexico
Instagram Worthy Tulum Cenotes
Calavera Cenote, which means skull cenote in Spanish, has three holes — one larger one, and two smaller ones. When you’re underwater and the sun’s shining in all the holes at the same time, it looks like a skull, which is how this cenote got its name.
The larger hole has a ladder and a rope swing (though not pictured here), which is perfect for lounging on while the little fish nibble at your toes — known as a Mayan pedicure 🤣 You can jump into the water from all the holes, as the water’s quite deep. In fact, this is one of the best Tulum diving cenotes!
One of the most popular of the Instagrammable Tulum cenotes, if you want to take photos here without a crowd of people in them, arrive early. This is a smaller-sized cenote, and also the closest cenote to Downtown Tulum, so it’s a popular stop for most Tulum visitors, and can get full fast.
🤿 Cenote Calavera Tour: Cenote Triple Tour in Tulum — Casa Cenote, Gran Cenote and Cenote Calavera
📍 Cenote Calavera Location: Cenote Calavera is 2 miles (3km) from Downtown Tulum (AKA Tulum Town) on Carretera 109. This is one of the closest cenotes to Downtown Tulum (AKA Tulum Town), and one of the few you can bike to. If you’re coming by bicycle, it’s only about 20 minutes from Tulum Town.
🚻 Cenote Calavera Facilities: There are restrooms and chairs to sit on, but really, not much here — ie. lockers, no restaurant, no showers — so come prepared with anything you might need.
Gran Cenote, meaning big cenote or great cenote, probably ties with Cenote Calavera for most Instagram worthy Tulum cenote. It’s beautiful, close to Tulum Town (AKA Downtown Tulum), and big enough to spend half a day swimming, relaxing at, and exploring.
As one of the most popular Quintana Roo cenotes in the state, Gran Cenote gets very crowded. Its famous staircase (pictured above) will often have a line of people waiting to take photos on it. If you want a photo here — arrive early. If not, there are plenty of other beautiful photo ops at Tulum Gran Cenote.
🤿 Gran Cenote Tours:
- Cenote Triple Tour in Tulum — Casa Cenote, Gran Cenote and Cenote Calavera
- Private Tour: The Best Tulum & Riviera Maya Cenotes: Taak-Bi-Ha & Gran Cenote
📍 Gran Cenote Location: Gran Cenote is 3 miles (5km) from Downtown Tulum (AKA Tulum Town) on Carretera 109. This is one of the closest cenotes to Downtown Tulum (AKA Tulum Town), and one of the few you can bike to. If you’re coming by bicycle, it’s only about 20 minutes from Tulum Town.
🚻 Gran Cenote Facilities: There are a few amenities here, including restrooms, showers, changing rooms, and life jacket and locker rentals. There’s also a small shop selling snacks, drinks and a few more things.
3. Cenote Zacil-Ha
Best for: Photos, Swimming, Relaxing | Cost: $100 pesos ($5USD) | Hours: 9 or 10am-5pm (They usually open earlier in the Tulum busy season of November to March)
Located right next to the Car Wash Cenote (#4 on this list), Zacil-Ha Cenote is the true definition of a swimming pool/open cenote. As such, it’s the perfect cenote for a swim! There’s also plenty of places you can dive or jump in, as well as a zip line for the more adventurous.
This is a very popular cenote, not only as one of the only Tulum cenotes with a zip line, but also as a place for all types of travelers (including families with small kids). After swimming, enjoy the hammocks, two regular swimming pools and lounge chairs by the water.
🤿 Cenote Zacil-Ha Tours: Full Nature Day Tour! 3 Cenotes, 1 Lagoon and Playa Paraiso
📍 Cenote Zacil-Ha Location: On Carretera 109, about 5.5 miles (7km) north of Downtown Tulum (AKA Tulum Town). You’ll want to come by car or colectivo, as it’s a bit far to bike under the hot Tulum sun.
🚻 Cenote Zacil-Ha Facilities: Restrooms, small restaurant, showers, regular swimming pools, lounge chairs, shaded palapas — this one has it all — even cabanas to rent for the night!
Best Tulum Cenotes in Tulum
On many lists of “Best Cenotes in Tulum” (this one included!) you’re going to get a mix of those that are actually in Tulum, and the popular or Instagram cenotes you’ve likely seen on IG or in YouTube videos — like Cenote Suytun and Cenote Ik-Kil.
For that reason, the cenotes actually located in Tulum have been separated out on this list. If you only have a few hours, a half day or a full day but want to see as many Tulum cenotes as possible, stick to these.
4. Cenote Carwash (AKA Cenote Aktun Ha)
Best for: Swimming, Snorkeling, Diving | Cost: $80 pesos ($4USD) | Hours: 9am-5pm
Carwash Cenote got its fun name because it’s located so close to the main road, and the Tulum taxi drivers would just pull right off the road for a quick wash. Even though it’s so accessible, this Tulum cenote rarely gets too crowded, making it the ideal spot for a relaxing swim in a peaceful cenote.
Cenote Carwash is, however, very natural. Often called a “pond cenote,” it does have clear water like most cenotes, but there’s also lily pads atop the water, fallen tree branches under the water, and plenty of fish and turtles. There’s even a small shy and harmless 🐊 crocodile that occasionally appears
In short, there’s a whole underwater world here — which makes Cenote Carwash popular for divers and snorkeling. It’s nice to swim here, but the real magic happens when you strap on a mask and start exploring under the water.
📍 Cenote Carwash Location: On Carretera 109, about 5.5 miles (7km) north of Downtown Tulum (AKA Tulum Town). You’ll want to come by car or colectivo, as it’s a bit far to bike under the hot Tulum sun.
🚻 Cenote Carwash Facilities: There’s not much here beyond the restrooms. However, you can always head to Cenote Zacil-Ha just next door, which has plenty of facilities.
5. Cenote Cristal (AKA Cenote Naharon)
Best for: Swimming, Snorkeling | Cost: $120 pesos ($6USD) — Includes entry to Cenote Cristal & Cenote Escondido | Hours: 8am-5pm
One of the more off the beaten path Tulum cenotes, Cristal Cenote offers a lot, and often without a huge crowd! It is located just across the street from Escondido Cenote, so you also get two cenotes for the price of one — quite literally — as you’ll get free entry to both with each admission price.
💁♀️Note: Make sure not to confuse Cenote Cristal with Cenote Cristalino (#25 on this list)!
Those who want to visit some of the “jump cenotes” (AKA cenotes with jump platforms) will love Cenote Cristal and its wooden platform you can jump off to enter the water. If that’s not your thing, it has really great swimming and snorkeling, and you’ll see plenty of fish in the clear waters of Cenote Cristal.
🤿 Cenote Cristal Tours:
- Cenote Trail Jungle Bike Tour & 3 Cenotes in Tulum with Lunch
- Tulum Bike Tour: Tulum Maya Ruins, Cenote Swimming, Pueblo History, Art, Tacos Lunch
📍 Cenote Cristal Location: Cenote Cristal is about 3.5 miles (5.5km) west of Downtown Tulum (AKA Tulum Town) on the main road, Carretera 307. This is one of the closest cenotes to Downtown Tulum, and one of the few you can bike to. If you’re coming by bicycle, it’s about 30 minutes from Tulum Town.
🚻 Cenote Cristal Facilities: Rustic restrooms, outdoor showers, picnic tables
6. Cenote Escondido
Best for: Swimming, Diving, Snorkeling | Cost: $120 pesos ($6USD) — Includes entry to Cenote Cristal & Cenote Escondido | Hours: 8am-5pm
Escondido Cenote, which means “hidden cenote,” is well known for its natural look and rope swings. That’s right: If you want to have a Tarzan and Jane jungle rope swing moment, you can do that at this cenote!
This cenote is popular with divers, and has good visibility to see all the fish swimming in the water with you. Much like Cenote Cristal (#5 on this list), there’s also a tall jumping platform at Cenote Escondido for the adventurous.
As Cenote Cristal, located just across the street, is the more popular of the two, you’ll want to visit that one first. When it starts getting a bit crowded, you can head to Cenote Escondido, which always seems to have less people.
🤿 Cenote Escondido Tours
- Cenote Trail — Caves Visit and Bike Tour to Cenote Escondido & Cristal
- Sian Ka’an Lagoon and Cenote Escondido Tour
📍 Cenote Escondido Location: Cenote Escondido is about 3.5 miles (5.5km) west of Downtown Tulum (AKA Tulum Town) on the main road, Carretera 307. This is one of the closest cenotes to Downtown Tulum, and one of the few you can bike to. If you’re coming by bicycle, it’s about 30 minutes from Tulum Town.
🚻 Cenote Escondido Facilities: Rustic restrooms, outdoor showers, picnic tables
Clandestino is the only Tulum restaurant with a cenote at it! They are also known to have the best burgers in Tulum — so head there for a yummy burger, cold beer, and a refreshing swim.
Clan-Destino Restaurant is located right on Tulum Beach — meaning it has the closest cenote to Tulum Ruins and, of course, the closest cenote to Tulum Beach! The Clandestino Cenote has a swing in it, which is a popular place for getting Instagrammable cenotes photos.
📍 Cenote Clandestino Location: On Tulum Beach, behind the Bambu Gran Palas Tulum Hostel (enter through the hostel)
🚻 Cenote Clandestino Facilities: Restrooms, restaurant
8. Kaan Luum Lagoon Cenote
Best for: Photos, Swimming, Relaxing | Cost: $300 pesos ($15USD) | Hours: 9am-4:30pm
Kaan Luum Lagoon used to be one of the best kept secrets in Tulum, though it’s gaining in popularity as one of the off the beaten path Tulum hidden gems. It is a shallow water lagoon, but has a very deep cenote in it that you actually can’t swim in — though you can swim and even SUP in Laguna Kaan Luum.
Don’t Swim? Kaan Luum is perfect because the water is only about waist-high. You’ll also want to check out the Adventure in Shallow Cenotes Tour, ideal for non-swimmers.
There’s not much at Laguna Kaan Luum in the way of shade, and you’ll see signs indicating sunscreen of any kind is prohibited. For this reason, a long sleeve bathing suit (rash guard) and wide-brim sun hat will help.
🤿 Kaan Luum Lagoon Tour: Lagoon Paddleboarding Tour in Tulum
📍 Kaan Luum Lagoon Location: Laguna Kaan Luum is about 9 miles (14.5km) west of Downtown Tulum (AKA Tulum Town) on the main road, Carretera 307. You’ll want to get here by car or colectivo.
🚻 Kaan Luum Lagoon Facilities: Restrooms, outdoor showers, a few vendors selling snacks and coconut water
9. Cenote Corazon del Paraiso
Best for: Swimming, Relaxing | Cost: $100 pesos ($5USD) | Hours: 9am-4pm
For those who truly want to escape the crowds to one of the best off the beaten path cenotes in Tulum — Corazon Cenote is perfect for you. Its name means “heart cenote,” and it’s said that from above, it makes a heart shape.
Corazon Cenote is all about nature… and this rustic cenote has little else besides nature to offer. It’s the perfect place to float around in the water and listen to the peaceful sounds of the jungle. When you want to relax, jump out and lay on the wooden platforms just outside the water.
📍 Cenote Corazon Location: Cenote Escondido is about 7.5 miles (11.5km) west of Downtown Tulum (AKA Tulum Town) on the main road, Carretera 307. You’ll want to get here by car or colectivo.
🚻 Cenote Corazon Facilities: Rustic restrooms, outdoor showers, picnic tables
10. Cenote Zemway
Best for: Swimming, Diving, Relaxing | Cost: $70 pesos ($3.50USD) | Hours: Sunday to Thursday, 9.30am-5pm; Friday, 9:30am-4pm
Opened in July 2021, this is a modern facility with nice amenities. Those who like their cenotes less rustic will love this one, with paved floors and nice bathrooms. There’s also a rope swing and diving platform at Zemway Cenote — one of the tallest Tulum cenote dive platforms — at 39-feet (12m) 😳
📍 Cenote Zemway Location: On Carretera 109, about 8 miles (13km) north of Downtown Tulum (AKA Tulum Town). You’ll want to come by car, as it’s a bit far to bike under the hot Tulum sun, and too far off the main road to use the colectivo.
🚻 Cenote Zemway Facilities: There’s everything you need — restrooms, showers, a lifeguard, food vendors, hammocks, lounge chairs, palapas and hammocks — it’s basically a VIP cenote resort!
Best Tulum Cenotes Near Tulum
11. Cenotes Yaxmuul at Jungle Maya Native Park
Best for: Adventurers & Adrenaline Junkies | Cost: $115USD | Hours: 9am-5pm
Located near the Jungle Maya Native Park, the Yaxmuul Cenotes are some of the best cenotes in Riviera Maya. Located outside of Tulum, so you’ll need a rental car or taxi, the Yaxmuul Cenotes are beautiful, and often much less crowded than other cenotes by Tulum since they are part of a larger facility.
The cenotes here are in a Mayan park (think: Mayan waterpark or Mayan eco park), which are becoming more and more popular as tourism to the Yucatan Peninsula cenotes only keeps increasing.
These types of places offer nice amenities and lots of activities: like rappelling into the cenote, ATVing through the jungle and zip lines. For those who want a more natural cenote experience, this may not be for you. However, adrenaline junkies will love the Jungle Maya Native Park and Yaxmuul Cenotes.
🤿 Jungle Maya Native Park Tickets:
- Jungle Maya Native Park One-Day Tour
- Snorkel, Zip Line, and Mayan Ceremony Tour
- Tulum Ruins & Jungle Maya Park Tour
📍 Jungle Maya Native Park Location: About 25 minutes north of Tulum on Highway 307 (Carretera Cancun-Tulum), towards Playa del Carmen
🚻 Cenote Yax-Muul Facilities: There’s everything you need at the park — restrooms, showers, restaurant, lockers, etc.
Nicte-Ha Cenote is one of the cenotes at Dos Ojos Park, which also includes Cenote El Pit, popular with divers, and Cenote Pet Cemetery, one of the best Tulum cave cenotes. There are actually several cenotes in this area, like the famous Cenote Dos Ojos and Cenote Taak Bi Ha.
Nicte-Ha Cenote, however, is the perfect lagoon for swimming and relaxing. The water is lined with lily pads, but underneath, the crystal clear waters are teeming with life, so don’t be surprised to see tons of little fish and maybe even turtles swim past you.
As one of the most popular cenotes, Cenote Dos Ojos is a must visit for many Tulum visitors — though it’s located outside of Tulum. If you’re headed to Dos Ojos Cenote, which is often quite crowded, its neighboring Cenote Nicte-Ha is a great (less crowded) alternative.
🤿 Cenote Nicte-Ha Tours: Private Cenotes Tour to Cenote Nicte-Ha & Casa Cenote
📍 Cenote Nicte-Ha Location: About 25 minutes north of Tulum on Highway 307 (Carretera Cancun-Tulum), towards Playa del Carmen. You’ll want to go by rental car or taxi, as it’s a 30 minute walk along a dirt road to get to the cenote from the main road, where the colectivo will drop you off.
🚻 Cenote Nicte-Ha Facilities: Rustic restrooms
13. Cenote Taak Bi Ha
Best for: Cave exploration, Swimming, Snorkeling, Diving | Cost: $350 pesos ($17.50USD) | Hours: 9:30am-5pm
Taak Bi Ha Cenote is an underground cave cenote, located near the popular Cenote Dos Ojos. If you’re headed to the Dos Ojos Cenotes Park area, make sure to plan for a visit to Cenote Taak Bi Ha as well — especially if you’ve never been inside a cave cenote.
Once inside, you’ll feel like you’re in another world! There are beautiful white-colored stalactites and stalagmites rock formations, extending from the ceiling above the water below. This is a privately-owned cenote and it’s kept well lit, so visitors can see and enjoy all the subterranean beauty.
💁♀️Note: You can go on your own through the cave — up to a point. There will come a point when you’ll need a guide with a flashlight to take you into the deeper parts. If you want to explore the entire cave, ask for a guide at the entrance; the price is only $50 pesos ($2.50USD) more for a guide.
🤿 Cenote Taak Bi Ha Tours:
- Private Cenote TaakBiHa & Snorkeling Tulum with Turtles in Akumal
- Private Tour: The Best Cenotes in Tulum Riviera Maya: Taak-Bi-Ha & Gran Cenote
- VIP Tulum Private Tour: Tulum Ruins, 2 Cenotes
📍 Cenote Taak Bi Ha Location: About 25 minutes north of Tulum on Highway 307 (Carretera Cancun-Tulum), towards Playa del Carmen. You’ll want to go by rental car or taxi, as it’s a 30 minute walk along a dirt road to get to the cenote from the main road, where the colectivo will drop you off.
🚻 Cenote Taak Bi Ha Facilities: Just restrooms
14. Cenote Xunaan-Ha (Akumal Cenote)
Best for: Swimming, Snorkeling, Diving, Photos | Cost: $70 pesos ($4USD) | Hours: 9am-5pm
Located in the small pueblo of Chemuyil village, midway between Tulum and Akumal, you’ll find the picturesque Xunaan-Ha Cenote. For those headed to Akumal Beach to swim with the turtles, make sure you also plan for a stop at this secret cenote!
Cenote Xunaan-Ha is an off the beaten path cenote in Riviera Maya, though it’s getting more popular year after year. For now it’s still a hidden gem, and for those who do know about this hidden cenote, you’ll often have this beautiful place (almost) all to yourself. For the adventurous, there’s a diving platform and zipline.
🤿 Cenote Xunaan-Ha Tours:
- Tulum Day-Trip Mayan Ruins With Cenote Swim
- Ultimate Tulum Experience Mayan Ruins & Cenote Swim from Riviera Maya
- VIP Cenotes Private Tour: Cenote Xunaan-Ha, Yal-Ku Lagoon & Cenote Taak Bi Ha
📍 Cenote Xunaan-Ha Location: About 25 minutes north of Tulum on Highway 307 (Carretera Cancun-Tulum), towards Playa del Carmen
🚻 Cenote Xunaan-Ha Facilities: Just restrooms
Best Tulum Cenotes for Snorkeling
15. Cenote Dos Ojos
Best for: Swimming, Snorkeling, Diving, Photos | Cost: $350 pesos ($17USD) | Hours: 8am-5pm
Dos Ojos Cenote, meaning “two eyes cenote,” is actually two cenotes in one. There’s the ojo azul (blue eye), an open cenote with bright blue water, and the ojo negro (black eye), a completely dark cave cenote that you’d need a guide to enter.
While it’s among the best cenotes in Mexico, if you arrive within 1-2 hours of opening, or 1-2 hours of closing, you’ll enjoy this natural wonder in peace and quiet. If not, expect crowds that will include everyone from people posing for IG photos, to families with small kids, and groups of divers.
Even if you can only visit during peak hours, it might be worth it — as sometimes, popular places are popular because they really are amazing. Cenote Dos Ojos is one of those places! The water is crystal clear, there’s tons of fish swimming around, lots of underwater rocks, fallen tree branches, and more.
🤿 Cenote Dos Ojos Tours:
📍 Cenote Dos Ojos Location: About 25 minutes north of Tulum on Highway 307 (Carretera Cancun-Tulum), towards Playa del Carmen
🚻 Cenote Dos Ojos Facilities: Restrooms, lockers, showers, mask/snorkel rentals, two restaurants (Restaurante Dos Ojos and Restaurante Juanita) — on some days, there’s even massage therapists giving massages
16. Casa Cenote (AKA Cenote Manatí or Cenote Tankah)
Best for: Swimming, Snorkeling, Diving, Kayaking | Cost: $150 pesos ($7USD) | Hours: 9am-5pm
Casa Cenote is unique in that it’s a mix of freshwater and saltwater. In fact, it used to be known only as Manati Cenote, as manatees once lived there. They are all gone now, but there’s one solitary crocodile named Panchito who does live there (he’s harmless, but maintain a healthy distance).
Besides Panchito the crocodile, there’s plenty of other wildlife to see under the water, like fish and turtles. On land, you might even see an adorable coati, which look like raccoons, walking through the trees and mangroves that line the shore.
This Tulum cenote is a fun one, popular with families and all kinds of travelers. You can do everything here from swim to kayak (there are onsite rentals), SUP paddle board to snorkel. Divers particularly love Casa Cenote because there’s an underwater cave system that goes directly out to the Caribbean Sea.
🤿 Casa Cenote Tours:
- Cenote Triple Tour in Tulum — Casa Cenote, Gran Cenote and Cenote Calavera
- Casa Cenote Paddle Boarding and Snorkeling in Tulum
📍 Casa Cenote Location: About 10 minutes north of Tulum Town (Downtown) on Highway 307 (Carretera Cancun-Tulum), just past the Dreams All Inclusive Tulum Hotel
🚻 Casa Cenote Facilities: There’s restrooms, lockers, kayak rentals and snorkeling gear rentals
If the admission price seems higher than most cenotes, that’s because there are four different cenotes at the Casa Tortuga Cenotes. These are Cenote Wisho, Cenote Tres Zapotes, Cenote Campana and Cenote Jaguar — and they are all different types, so you get to see open, semi-open and a cave cenote.
More than just visiting cenotes, you’ll go with a guide through the whole park on an educational tour that lasts a few hours. On it, they’ll tell you all about the animals that live in the cave cenotes, including blind cave fish and bats, and the unique cenote geology with its stalactite and stalagmite rock formations.
After exploring the caves, you’ll go for a refreshing swim in an open, swimming pool cenote. This cenote is really nice for swimming, snorkeling and photos.
🤿 Cenote Tortuga Tours:
📍 Cenote Tortuga Location: About 10 minutes north of Tulum Town (Downtown) on Highway 307 (Carretera Cancun-Tulum), about five minutes past the Dreams Tulum All-Inclusive Resort
🚻 Cenote Tortuga Facilities: Restrooms, showers, restaurant, and a life jacket, mask and snorkel are included in the price, and there’s even cabana rentals for overnight stays
18. Cenote Yal Ku Lagoon
Best for: Swimming, Snorkeling | Cost: $280 pesos ($14USD) | Hours: 9am-5pm
Laguna Yal-Ku is an inlet, though it’s often referred to as both a lagoon and cenote. For this reason, you’ll see it called Yal Ku Lagoon & Snorkel and Yal Ku Cenote. Regardless of the name, this “natural aquarium” has the best snorkeling in the Yucatan Peninsula — of anywhere that’s not at a coral reef, of course!
Yal-Ku Lagoon has a mixture of freshwater and saltwater, so besides all the small fish and the occasional turtles you’d see in a cenote, here, there’s so much more. Snorkelers will love all the colorful tropical fish near shore, and for those who swim out towards the ocean, you may encounter sea turtles and rays.
For those planning to snorkel with the turtles in Akumal Bay, Yal-Ku Lagoon is located just minutes away from the beach where you’d do that. The lagoon makes a great place to visit after swimming with the turtles, as you head back south to Tulum.
🤿 Cenote Yal Ku Lagoon Tours:
- Tulum Guided Tour, Cenotes and Yal-kú Lagoon Snorkeling
- Cenotes and Yal-kú Lagoon Snorkeling from Playa del Carmen
- VIP Cenotes Private Tour: Yal-Ku Lagoon, Cenote Taak Bi Ha & Cenote Xunaan-Ha
📍 Cenote Yal Ku Lagoon Location: About 35 minutes north of Tulum on Highway 307 (Carretera Cancun-Tulum), in the pueblo of Akumal, Mexico.
🚻 Cenote Yal Ku Lagoon Facilities: Restrooms, showers, palapa rentals, snorkel, mask and fins rentals, snack bar — and even cabins you can rent for the night.
Best Tulum Cenotes in Caves
19. Cenote Sac Actun (AKA Cenote Pet Cemetery)
Best for: Cave Exploration, Quick Swim, Photos | Cost: $450 pesos ($23USD) | Hours: 8am-4pm
Sac Actun Cenote is part of the longest underwater, flooded cave system in the entire world — Sistema Sac Actun. The cenote is sometimes called the Pet Cemetary Cenote, as there have been many animal remains (as well as human remains) uncovered by divers and archeologists over the years.
Mexico Fun Fact: The oldest skeletal remains discovered on the Americas Continent were found in this cave system. Among them, archeologists found bones from a mastodon (giant prehistoric shark 🦈)!
Sac Actun (Maya for “white cave”), is an area that includes the three Sac Actun cenotes: Cenote Dos Ojos, Cenote El Pit and Cenote Pet Cemetery. All three are popular with diving, but you can also visit Cenote Sac Actun to just explore the caves. Note: You can only enter this cenote with a guide.
🤿 Cenote Sac Actun Tour
📍 Cenote Pet Cemetery Location: About 25 minutes north of Tulum on Highway 307 (Carretera Cancun-Tulum), towards Playa del Carmen. You’ll want to go by rental car or taxi, as it’s a 30 minute walk along a dirt road to get to the cenote from the main road, where the colectivo will drop you off.
🚻 Cenote Pet Cemetery Facilities: There’s not much here — ie. no restrooms, no lockers, no restaurant, no showers — so come prepared with anything you might need.
20. Cenote Caracol
Best for: Cave Exploration, Swimming, Photos, Divers | Cost: $75 pesos ($4USD) | Hours: 9am-5pm
This is a very fun cave to explore, and it appeals to all kinds of visitors, because there are plenty of areas to swim, but also parts to just walk. As some visitors don’t swim, or don’t want to swim in a cave, you can stick to the more dry parts. For those who do want to swim, there are plenty of places to do that.
Caracol Cenote is considered to be just as beautiful and impressive as the much more touristy Rio Secreto (Secret Underground River Park) — which is about 20 times more expensive! The experience at Rio Secreto is most polished, but the atmosphere and esthetic at Cenote Caracol is just as picturesque.
📍 Cenote Caracol Location: About 20 minutes north of Tulum Town (Downtown), off Highway 307 (Carretera Cancun-Tulum) down a dirt road into the jungle
🚻 Cenote Caracol Facilities: Restrooms, nearby restaurants, and a nearby campground
Best Tulum Cenotes for Diving
While there are only two cenotes listed here as Tulum dive cenotes — many others have already been mentioned. There are actually more than 25 dive cenotes in Tulum, including these popular ones:
While not the most poetic name, “the pit” perfectly describes the El Pit Cenote — the deepest cenote in Quintana Roo State — at 390-feet (119m). This cenote is only for scuba divers (swimmers and snorkelers aren’t allowed), as it’s basically a hole in the jungle floor that descends straight down into a cavern.
For those who want to dive Cenote El Pit, you’ll need to be dive certified. However, for cave divers, this is said to be the best diving cenote in Mexico.
🤿 Cenote El Pit Tours: Discover the Mystical Cenotes — 2 Tank Cavern Diving
📍 Cenote El Pit Location: About 25 minutes north of Tulum on Highway 307 (Carretera Cancun-Tulum), towards Playa del Carmen. You’ll want to go by rental car or taxi, as it’s a 30 minute walk along a dirt road to get to the cenote from the main road, where the colectivo will drop you off.
🚻 Cenote El Pit Facilities: There’s basically nothing here (not even restrooms) — just a wooden staircase leading down into the cenote.
Angelita Cenote is another one that pretty much only divers go to, though it’s one of the more off the beaten path Tulum cenotes for diving. For those who go, it’s often said this cenote looks like a somewhat murky river, more so than that crystal clear blue cenote water many head to the Yucatan for.
What appears murky is actually halocline — a layer of gas located almost 100-feet (3om) below the surface. It is basically what happens when the saltwater and freshwater mix, creating the illusion of sand, when in reality, there’s even more cenote to explore beneath the halocline layer.
🤿 Cenote Angelita Tours: Discover the Mystical Cenotes — 2 Tank Cavern Diving
📍 Cenote Angelita Location: Cenote Angelita is about 11 miles (17.5km) west of Downtown Tulum (AKA Tulum Town) on the main road, Carretera 307. You’ll want to get here by car or colectivo.
🚻 Cenote Angelita Facilities: None
Best Cenotes Near Playa del Carmen
The so-called Playa del Carmen cenotes are located about midway between Tulum and Playa del Carmen, another top Yucatan destination. Though they are about 30-40 minutes outside of Tulum, the cenotes in Playa del Carmen are worth a visit — and some of the best cenotes in Riviera Maya.
Azul Cenote, meaning “blue cenote,” is commonly grouped in with what are called the Playa del Carmen cenotes.
💁♀️Note: There’s are two Cenotes Azul — one near Tulum and one in Bacalar, Mexico, which is about three hours south of Tulum — so make sure you’re always looking at info for the correct Cenote Azul!
Of the most beautiful in this group of cenotes, there’s Cenote Azul (and Cenote Jardín de Eden, up next on the list). This cenote is popular with both locals and visitors, so to avoid the crowds, head there early when they open, 1-2 hours before closing, or on a weekday.
This cenote is so popular because it has the perfect crystal clear blue, and the cenote is surrounded by lush plants and jungle vegetation. It’s as popular for swimming and snorkeling as it is for taking great cenote photos. There’s also a jumping platform, for those who want to dive in.
🤿 Cenote Azul Tour: Cenote Tankah 4 Cenotes & Zip-Line Mayan Adventure
📍 Cenote Azul Location: Cenote Azul is about 35 minutes north of Tulum on Highway 307 (Carretera Cancun-Tulum), towards Playa del Carmen
🚻 Cenote Azul Facilities: Restrooms, showers, life jacket rentals
24. Cenote Jardin Del Eden (AKA Cenote Ponderosa)
Best for: Swimming, Snorkeling, Photos | Cost: $200 pesos ($10USD) | Hours: Sunday-Friday, 8am-5pm, Closed Saturdays
On a personal note, if I had to pick a favorite cenote, it’s this one! Jardín del Eden Cenote, which means Garden of Eden Cenote — is just like the name says — an otherworldly secret garden paradise.
I find it just as beautiful as Cenote Azul (if not more so), but with about half as many people and a larger area to swim in. The swimming area in this open cenote is actually really big, and you could easily spend an entire day here, between swimming, snorkeling, jumping around on the dive platforms, and more.
💁♀️ Note: Looking for Cancun cenotes? There aren’t really cenotes in Cancun, though this is one of the closest and best cenotes near Cancun!
Cenote Jardin del Eden is actually only minutes from Cenote Azul, so you can visit both and see which one you prefer. It’s also next to another popular one, Cenote Cristalino (up next on this list), so as you can see, it’s definitely worth making the 35-minute Tulum to Playa del Carmen trip for the cenotes.
📍 Cenote Jardin Del Eden Location: About 35 minutes north of Tulum on Highway 307 (Carretera Cancun-Tulum), towards Playa del Carmen
🚻 Cenote Jardin Del Eden Facilities: Restrooms, snack bar, life jacket rentals
25. Cenote Cristalino
Best for: Swimming, Jumping, Diving | Cost: $150 pesos ($7USD) | Hours: 8am-6pm
Cristalino Cenote is another beautiful one located near the last two mentioned, Cenote Azul, Cenote Jardin del Eden (and also Cenote Kantun Chi, a cave cenote that’s not on this list). It’s name, cristalino, means “crystal clear,” and the water here is exactly that.
🐟 Fish pedicure: If you leave your feet in the cenote in one place long enough, all the little fish will come nibble the dead skin off your feet — so you get a free “Mayan pedicure!”
This adventure cenote has a 12-foot (3m) dive platform, and also a cave! When visiting, don’t miss the chance to swim through the 65-foot-long (20m) cave! There are also a few separate cenote pools here, and plenty of places to lounge around outside of them.
🤿 Cenote Cristalino Tours: Full Nature Day Tour! 3 Cenotes, 1 Lagoon and Playa Paraiso
📍 Cenote Cristalino Location: Cenote Cristalino is about 35 minutes north of Tulum on Highway 307 (Carretera Cancun-Tulum), towards Playa del Carmen
🚻 Cenote Cristalino Facilities: Restrooms, showers, restaurant, life jacket rentals
26. Cenote Chikin-Ha
Best for: Swimming, Snorkeling, Adventurers | Cost: $350 pesos ($17USD) | Hours: 8am-5pm
Chikin-Ha Cenote is a sort of Mayan culture park. There are three cenotes here, but many also come for the temazcal (sweat lodge) and purification ceremony and ritual performed by a Mayan shaman. Though the cenotes are popular for tourism — they are actually sacred to the Maya people.
- Cenote X’tabay: This is an open, swimming pool style cenote with beautiful blue water that’s perfect for swimming and snorkeling. There’s also a zipline you can use to enter the cenote.
- Cenote Chikin Ha: A semi-covered cavern cenote, with hanging tree roots that give it an otherworldly look (see the photo above ⤴). You can swim around in the cenote water, exploring all the corners and crevices here, and searching for fish and cool rock formations under the water.
- Cenote Ta’ak Bil-Ha: This cenote is used only for ritual purposes, and not for swimming. It is said this is the most sacred of the three, and here, a shaman will perform a ritual before the temazcal ceremony.
Even if you’re not participating in the sweat lodge, you might be lucky enough to visit while one is going on. If so, the Ta’ak Bil-Ha Cenote will be all lit up with candles, and the smell of copal incense will fill the air — and this whole sacred space will look magical!
For those who aren’t into the spirituality associated with visiting Cenote Chikin-Ha, there’s plenty of other things to do here. For the adventurous, there’s the cenote zip line and rappelling, and swimmers will love splashing around and snorkeling in Cenote X’tabay.
📍 Cenote Chikin-Ha Location: About 35 minutes north of Tulum on Highway 307 (Carretera Cancun-Tulum), towards Playa del Carmen
🚻 Cenote Chikin-Ha Facilities: Restrooms, showers, lockers, snack bar
Best Cenotes in Valladolid
Valladolid, Mexico is a pueblo magico (magic town), located about 90-minutes from Tulum. It is a charming and colorful colonial town that ranks among the best Tulum day trips — especially for travelers looking to experience a bit of Mexican culture off the beach.
As there are so many things to do in Valladolid, those with the space on their Tulum itinerary won’t regret checking out this Mexico magic town! You can easily travel to Valladolid from Tulum by rental car or on the ADO bus, which is usually only about $15-20USD round-trip.
The Suytun Cenote is located fully underground in a cave, with large stalactite rock formations hanging from the ceiling. There is a small hole above the cenote so a single ray of light will shine in, and a circular platform in the center where many take their Instagram worthy cenote photos.
This cenote isn’t large, though it is very popular — so it will fill up quite quickly. If you want it all to yourself for photos, you’ll want to arrive by about 9-10am, and preferably on a weekday rather than a weekend. (However, note that the light beam is strongest at midday when the sun’s overhead.)
Cenote Suytun is located about 45-minutes by car from both the Chichen Itza Mayan Ruins and the Coba Mayan Ruins, and many combine the cenote with a visit to one of the ruins for a nice Tulum day trip. There are also other less-crowded and beautiful cenotes nearby, like Cenote Chukum and Cenote Xux-Ha.
🤿 Cenote Suytun Tours
- Visit Chichén Itzá with our Complete Tour and visit a real Cenote and Valladolid
- Mayan Adventure to Chichen Itza and Cenote Suytun with Transportation
📍 Cenote Suytun Location: Cenote Suytun is about 90 minutes northwest of Tulum on Highway 109 (Carretera Chemax-Coba), towards Valladolid
🚻 Cenote Suytun Facilities: Restroom, changing room, showers, restaurant, life jacket rental
28. Cenote Ik-Kil (Chichen Itza Cenote)
Best for: Photos, Quick Swim | Cost: $80 pesos ($4USD) | Hours: 8am-5pm
Considered among the best cenotes in Yucatan, the Ik Kil Cenote is a bucket list Mexico destination for many visitors. It is only about 10 minutes from Chichen Itza Mayan Ruins, and very popular with tour groups which make stops at both.
As you might imagine, this Yucatan cenote gets very crowded! As with all cenotes, the best strategy to beat the crowds is early in the morning, or later in the day. Cenote Ik Kil isn’t very big, so even if you’re only able to visit for an hour, it makes a nice stop to check out this gorgeous cenote.
🤿 Cenote Ik-Kil Tours: Chichen Itza, Cenote & Valladolid Private Tour
📍 Cenote Ik-Kil Location: Cenote Ik-Kil is about 90 minutes northwest of Tulum on Highway 109 (Carretera Chemax-Coba), towards Valladolid, and close to Chichen Itza Mayan Ruins
🚻 Cenote Ik-Kil Facilities: Restrooms, showers, changing rooms, lockers, life jackets, restaurant, bar, gift shop — Probably the most equipped Mexico cenote of them all
Zaci Cenote is located within walking distance of Downtown Valladolid. It is popular with both visitors and locals, who gather there as though this cenote is the town swimming pool. It is a deep-water cenote, with plenty of ledges where you can jump into the cenote.
After spending the day exploring downtown, you can walk to Cenote Zaci for a swim and a meal at the onsite restaurant. If you’re eating at the restaurant, you get free admission to the cenote. They serve traditional Yucatan foods and Mexican drinks, like cochinita pibil tacos and horchata.
📍 Cenote Zaci Location: Cenote Zaci is about 90 minutes northwest of Tulum on Highway 109 (Carretera Chemax-Coba), towards Valladolid
🚻 Cenotes Zaci Facilities: Restrooms, restaurant, life jacket rentals
Among the best cenotes in the Yucatan Peninsula, Oxman Cenote is located on the grounds of Hacienda San Lorenzo Oxman — and you can also tour the hacienda. It is a beautiful, semi-open cenote, with bright blue water and long tree roots and vines hanging down, making it look otherworldly!
This cenote is very popular for photos, as the rope swing plus the cenote’s tropical jungle background make for a stunning photo. Though so beautiful and photogenic, Cenote Oxman doesn’t see the huge crowds some of the other Valladolid cenotes do, so it makes a great option to beat the crowds.
🤿 Cenote Oxman Tours: Go Maya by Bike in Valladolid (Local Market-Cenotes-Mayan Family)
📍 Cenote Oxman Location: Cenote Oxman is about 90 minutes northwest of Tulum on Highway 109 (Carretera Chemax-Coba), towards Valladolid
🚻 Cenote Oxman Facilities: Restrooms, showers, restaurant, regular swimming pools, life jackets
31. Cenote Xcanche (Ek Balam Cenote)
Best for: Swimming, Photos, Adventurers | Cost: $70 pesos ($4USD) or $400 pesos ($20USD) for the cenote, zip line and rappelling | Hours: 9am-5pm
Located only about one-mile (1.5km) from Ek Balam Mayan Ruins, Cenote X’Canche has earned itself the nickname of “Ek Balam Cenote.” After a long day of exploring the ruins, you can catch a rickshaw taxi from Ek Balam to X’Canche Cenote for a nice swim in this large cenote.
Besides just swimming, there’s also some fun things to do here for more adventurous travelers — like the cenote zipline and rappelling. This is definitely a hidden gem cenote that so few visit, so there’s a good chance you’ll have the whole place to yourself at one of the best cenotes near Valladolid!
🤿 Cenote Xcanche Tours: Half-Day Tour Ek Balam and Cenote from Valladolid
📍 Cenote Xcanche Location: Drive about two hours northwest of Tulum on Highway 109 (Carretera Chemax-Coba) towards Valladolid, then head north on Highway 295 towards Ek Balam Mayan Ruins
🚻 Cenote Xcanche Facilities: Restrooms, showers, lockers, life jacket rentals
32. Cenotes Dzitnup (Cenote Samula & Cenote X’Keken)
Best for: Swimming | Cost: $80 pesos ($4USD) for one cenote, and $125 pesos ($6USD) for both | Hours: 8am-7pm
What’s known as Dzitnup Cenote is really two cenotes next to one another: Cenote Samula and Cenote Xkeken. These are somewhat off the beaten path cenotes, so they rarely get very crowded. If you can, visit them both — though if you have to pick just one, here’s some info on each of these cenotes:
- Xkeken Cenote is located underground in a cave, lit up by colored lights for a funky and cool vibe.
- Samula Cenote is also a cave cenote which looks similar to Cenote Suytun, with a single ray of light that shines in through a smaller hole at the top of the cenote.
🤿 Cenote Dzitnup Tours: Go Maya by Bike in Valladolid (Local Market-Cenotes-Mayan Family)
📍 Cenote Dzitnup Location: Drive about two hours northwest of Tulum on Highway 109 (Carretera Chemax-Coba), pass Valladolid but stay on the same road (which becomes Highway 180), and you’ll find Cenotes Dzitnup
🚻 Cenote Dzitnup Facilities: Restrooms, showers, restaurant, lockers, life jacket rentals
33. Cenote Choo-Ha (Coba Cenote)
Best for: Photos, Quick Swim | Cost: $100 pesos ($5USD) | Hours: 8am-6pm
One of the so-called Coba cenotes, Choo Ha Cenote is a shallow-water cenote, perfect for splashing around, but not fully swimming. This is one of the best cave cenotes in Mexico; especially for those who want to get nice photos because there’s a decent amount of natural light that gets in this cave.
Cenote Choo Ha (meaning “water that drips” in Maya) is filled with stalactites and stalagmites — it’s name a reference to the water that drips from the hanging rocks. It is only a few miles from Coba Mayan Ruins, and makes for the ideal stop to cool down after climbing the tall Coba Pyramids!
🤿 Cenote Choo-Ha Tours:
- Tour 4 in 1 – Coba, Tulum, Cenotes & Playa del Carmen
- Discover Tulum, Visit Coba And Swim In Real Mayan Cenotes & Buffet
📍 Cenote Choo-Ha Location: Cenote Choo-Ha is about 60 minutes northwest of Tulum on Highway 109 (Carretera Chemax-Coba), near Coba Mayan Ruins
🚻 Cenote Choo-Ha Facilities: Restrooms, showers, lockers
Unlike Cenote Choo-Ha which isn’t the best for swimming, the Tamcach-Ha Cenote is a deep-water cenote perfect for a swim. In fact, tamcach-ha mens “deep water” in Maya, and life jackets are actually required to swim here (you’ll get on at the entrance).
To enter this cenote, you’ll walk down a spiral staircase and then enter the water. The water here is a bit cool, though very refreshing. Take advantage of the life jacket and float around a while, looking up at the rocky stalactites hanging from the cave roof and watching the bats fly around.
🤿 Cenote Tamcach-Ha Tours:
- Tour 4 in 1 – Coba, Tulum, Cenotes & Playa del Carmen
- Discover Tulum, Visit Coba And Swim In A Real Mayan Cenote Round Trip and Buffet
📍 Cenote Tamcach-Ha Location: Cenote Tamcach-Ha is about 60 minutes northwest of Tulum on Highway 109 (Carretera Chemax-Coba), near Coba Mayan Ruins
🚻 Cenote Tamcach-Ha Facilities: Restrooms, showers, lockers
We’ve reached the last place on this Tulum cenotes mega list! Of the three cenotes in Coba, the Multum-Ha Cenote might be the best of the three, in terms of swimability and beauty. Do note that this one is located deep underground, and you’ll need to go down (then back up!) about 100 stairs.
Like Cenote Tamcach-Ha, this is a deep-water cenote, perfect for swimming. The water here, however, is much more crystal-clear blue in color, and you can see down to the rocks on the bottom in some parts.
📍 Cenote Multum-Ha Location: Cenote Multum-Ha is about 60 minutes northwest of Tulum on Highway 109 (Carretera Chemax-Coba), near Coba Mayan Ruins
🚻 Cenote Multum-Ha Facilities: Restrooms, showers, lockers
Tulum Cenotes in mexico
What is a Cenote?
The actual definition for cenote from Merriam Webster dictionary is “a deep sinkhole in limestone with a pool at the bottom that is found especially in Yucatan.” Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula is a three-state peninsula in the southeastern part of the country that has the largest concentration of cenotes on Earth.
Q: How many cenotes are in Mexico? A: There are about 6,000 cenotes in the Yucatan!
This word “sinkhole” describes the process of how the cenotes came to be. At one time, all cenotes were encased in the Yucatan Peninsula’s native limestone rock. Over time, some rock has eroded, collapsed and “sunk in” to reveal the water beneath — which is the cenote water we can now swim in.
The cenotes aren’t individual pools, but rather, the same water from massive freshwater rivers that flow beneath the entire Yucatan Peninsula. In fact, some cenote water comes from the largest underground river on Earth.
Tulum Cenotes: The 4 Types of Cenotes
Of the (approx.) 6,000 cenotes in Yucatan, there are four distinct types of cenotes: open, semi-open, cave and diving cenotes. Each type is unique and beautiful in its own way, so make sure to visit as many types of Mexican cenotes as you can.
You may see these called swimming pool cenotes, as they are completely open and look like a natural swimming pool.
For photos, these are the best because they get the best lighting since they are above ground. They are also usually surrounded by lush jungle vegetation — like Cenote Azul (pictured).
These cenotes will be semi-encased in the native limestone rock.
This type of cenote will have large walls surrounding the pool itself, and a large hole in the top of it so some sunlight gets in when it’s located directly overhead — like Cenote Ik-Kil (pictured).
Closed Cenotes in Caves
Cave cenotes are exactly as the name says. These are located underground in a cave, and you’ll have to access them by going down some stairs.
Many closed-off cenotes will have a single ray of light (or a few rays) that gets in through cracks in the rock above, giving them a magical look — like Cenote Suytun (pictured).
Dive Cenotes for Diving
The final type is also essentially located inside a cave, but the water in these cenotes is much deeper so they are sought out for diving.
With clear water in the cenotes, divers get incredible visibility, even as much as 165-feet (50m) in some cenotes — like Cenote Dos Ojos (pictured).
🤿 Note: You must be certified to do Tulum cenotes diving! For those who are, check out these Tulum tours — Go Dive Cenotes in Tulum Tour and Cenotes Scuba Diving Tulum Tour — for an unforgettable diving cenotes Tulum tour.
Tulum Cenotes in mexico
Tulum Cenotes Tours vs Visiting on Your Own
You have the option to visit Tulum cenotes on your own, or go on a group Tulum cenotes tour. There are pros and cons to both options, including the ones listed below. For a complete guide to the best tours, check out this article, 10 BEST Cenotes Tours Tulum Has to Offer 🧜♀️
Tulum cenotes tours
Going with a tour means you’ll get to see a nice mix of both on and off the beaten path cenotes. Since Tulum cenotes tours are led by locals, they will be able to take you to ones only locals know about — which means they will be less crowded, though just as beautiful.
Obviously, tours tend to cost a bit more than going on your own, but they often include a guide, a meal, your cenote entrance fee, transportation costs, etc. However, there are inexpensive Tulum cenotes tour options, like these:
visiting tulum cenotes on your own
Going on your own means visiting on your schedule, and not the group’s timeline. You can spend four hours at one cenote, and 20 minutes at another — only staying at your favorite cenotes.
For those who are going to visit the Tulum cenotes on your own, check out the Tulum cenotes map below, and the 35 best cenotes in Tulum and near Tulum.
5 Tips for Visiting Tulum Cenotes
1️⃣ visit the cenote early — or late
If you want some Mexico cenote time where you’re the only (or, one of the few) people in the cenote — you’ll have to plan your visit strategically.
The best time to visit cenotes is early in the day, within 1-2 hours of them opening, or later in the day, within 1-2 hours of closing. Most cenotes, especially those “on” the beaten path that are popular with tour groups, will see the peak amount of visitors during the day.
2️⃣ sunscreen of any kind is prohibited
As the oils and ingredients in sunscreen can harm the cenote, you can’t wear sunscreen of any kind — including eco-friendly sunscreen and reef safe sunscreen. In fact, most cenotes make you rinse off in the shower before you enter, so putting any on is actually a waste.
What you can do if you burn easily is opt for a long sleeve bathing suit and wide-brim sun hat. When you get out of the cenote, you’re free to apply sunscreen, and this Badger anti-bug sunscreen is great for both sun and mosquito protection. (🚫🦟 These anti-mosquito bands are another great option.)
3️⃣ cenotes are often cash only
The vast majority of cenotes are cash only. Even those that take credit cards at the entrance may not take cash inside if you need to buy food, rent a locker, life jacket or snorkel equipment. In short — bring cash, and store it in your waterproof phone holder with your cell phone.
4️⃣ Cenote Prices are subject to change
The cenotes are privately owned, and the owners can change their pricing and hours of operation at any time. Since most don’t have websites (or updated websites, for that matter), it’s really hard to really know anything until you show up.
5️⃣ don’t swim? most cenotes have life jackets
Most, but not all, cenotes offer free life jackets or have life jacket rentals for about $50 pesos ($2.50USD). If you don’t swim, you’ll want to do individual research for that specific cenote, or check out this Adventure in Shallow Cenotes Tour, ideal for non-swimmers.
How to Visit Tulum Cenotes
🚗💨 Rental Car
Without a doubt, a rental car is the best way to visit the Tulum cenotes. With a rental, you can make a nice little cenote road trip itinerary — visiting all the secret hidden gems and off the beaten path cenotes, staying at each cenote for as long as you want, seeing as many as you want in one day, and more.
Head to Renting A Car in Mexico: Everything You Need to Know for Mexico car rental info and tips.
Ready to get your Tulum car rental? I personally recommend, and use, Discover Cars. This company checks both local Mexican companies and international car rental company prices so you get the best rates. I’ve used them several times, with great results.
🏊♀️ Cenote Tours
Cenote tours certainly make things easy, especially because you can book them online in advance of your trip. Many of the cenotes featured in this article have tours listed that go to that specific cenote. For a more complete list of the best cenote tours in Tulum, check out the article below ⤵
🚕💨 taxi or private driver
Besides a rental car, another great option is to hire a driver for the day who will take you to all the cenotes you want, let you stay as long as you want — It’s basically your own custom private tour. To do this, you can ask someone from your accommodation for a driver recommendation, or negotiate with a cab driver.
As there’s no Uber in Tulum, there are plenty of Tulum taxis. You can negotiate a day rate with them by telling the driver where you want to go and how long you intend to be out. If you like the driver, you can take their number and continue to use them throughout your Tulum trip.
🚲 Tulum Bikes
Renting a bike in Tulum is one of the best ways to get around town. There are numerous Tulum bike rental shops on the main road in Tulum Town (AKA Downtown Tulum), for about $200 pesos ($10USD) per day. As Tulum gets more popular, and Tulum traffic gets worse, biking in Tulum is now the best option.
There are a few Tulum cenotes that are within biking distance of downtown — so check the Tulum Cenotes Map at the top of this article to see which those are.
For those on a strict Tulum budget trip, the colectivo is the cheapest option. Colectivos are smaller shared vans, like a Nissan Urvan, which hold about 12-15 people. They are the cheapest way to get around anywhere in Mexico, and you can take colectivos throughout Tulum and the Yucatan Peninsula.
Though they are the cheapest, they also take the longest and aren’t always convenient. In fact, I’d only even recommend these to more adventurous travelers who speak at least basic Spanish, as colectivos are mostly used by locals.
To use them, you’ll have to know which direction you’re headed. Head to the main road on that route and wait for a colectivo to drive past, which is often every 5-10 minutes. Not all of them will stop for you, but when one does, ask the driver if they are going near the cenote you want to visit; if so, jump on.
You’ll pay the fare when you get off. Different colectivos have different costs, but most are only $5-50 pesos ($0.50-2.50USD). Do keep in mind you’ll want to figure out the latest time you can catch a colectivo back from the cenote!
What to Bring to Visit Tulum Cenotes
Here’s everything you’ll want to have on your Tulum cenotes packing list!
📲 Waterproof Phone HOlder
If you’re planning to take Instagrammable cenote photos, an inexpensive waterproof phone holder that goes around your neck really comes in handy. With these, you can take them in water and capture the cenotes from all angles. The waterproof fanny pack is another great option.
👟 Water shoes
Water shoes really help you enjoy your cenote time! As cenotes are natural pools, most have slippery rocks, muddy ground, etc. Water shoes also help you not slip in general, especially when walking down any staircase entryways.
📸 GoPro camera
If you’ve been considering getting a GoPro Hero, the photogenic cenotes of Tulum offer the perfect place to put it to good use! You can get amazing shots of yourself jumping into the cenotes, epic underwater cenotes photos, and more.
🩱Long Sleeve Bathing Suit (Rash Guard)
Do not wear sunscreen in the cenotes! Lotions and sunscreen of any kind (even eco-friendly sunscreen) is prohibited, as it’s harmful for the cenote. Many cenotes require you to rinse off in a shower before entering, so applying anything will be a waste.
If you sunburn easily, opt for a long sleeve bathing suit (AKA rash guard) and wide-brim sun hat. When you get out of the cenote, you’re free to apply sunscreen, and this Badger anti-bug sunscreen is great for both sun and mosquito protection. (🚫🦟 These anti-mosquito bands also work well.)
🤿 Mask & Snorkel
Many cenotes rent snorkeling equipment, but for sanitary reasons, you may want to bring your own. If you’re conserving luggage space, goggles and this roll up snorkel are a great option, but this combo mask and snorkel is the best option for snorkeling in the cenotes.
🧖♀️ Quick-Dry Towel
A quick dry towel comes in handy to dry off with after getting out of the cenotes, but also as a place to sit. As the Tulum cenotes are in a natural setting, there might be nowhere to sit but in the dirt on the ground, so the towel will also come in handy as a seat.
The vast majority of the Tulum cenotes are cash only — so have pesos to cover your Tulum cenotes entrance fee costs!
Even those that take credit cards at the entrance may not accept cash inside if you need to buy food, rent a locker, life jacket or snorkel equipment. In short — bring cash enough cash for the whole day, and store it in your waterproof phone holder or waterproof fanny pack.
How to Get to Tulum Mexico
As there’s no Tulum airport, and the closest airport to Tulum is Cancun International Airport (code: CUN), you’ll fly there and then make your way two hours south to Tulum. But don’t worry — it’s very easy to travel from Cancun to Tulum. Check out the article below for all your options ⤵
Is Tulum safe for travel?
If you’re wondering about Tulum travel safety, or even Is Mexico safe for travelers? — the short answer is Yes, by and large, it is. However, you must prioritize your own safety because no place on Earth is 100% safe!
As Mexico travel safety is a complex topic, head to Is Mexico Safe for Women: 20 Mexico Solo Travel Tips You Need for an in-depth explanation on Mexico safety. 🎧 Prefer podcasts? Check out the one below titled The Ultimate Tulum, Mexico Travel Guide for Tulum travel tips.
Where to stay in Tulum Mexico
If you have a higher budget, stay on Tulum beach in the middle of all the action! If you want to save some money on a place, opt for the trendy Tulum neighborhoods of Aldea Zama or Tulum Town (Downtown). Below are a few great options for places to stay in Tulum ⤵
$$$$ Tulum Beach Resort: Azulik Tulum
$$$ Tulum Beach Hotel: Coco Tulum Zen Zone
$$ Tulum Town Hotel: La Tulumeña Boutique Hotel
$ Tulum Hostel: Meteora Stay & Coffeehouse
Final Thoughts: Tulum Cenotes
If you’re wondering, Is Tulum worth visiting? — the answer is YES — especially for those who want to explore the more natural side, including the cenotes in Tulum. There are an estimated 6,000 cenotes in Yucatan, but the cenotes near Tulum and those in Tulum are among the best Mexico cenotes.
I hope the 35 Best Cenotes in Tulum featured on this list offer you all the options you were looking for — and more! To plan your Tulum itinerary, don’t forget to use the Tulum Cenotes Map to see which ones are near each other, so you can visit a few in one day.
Have questions about Tulum cenotes?
I’d love to hear from you! If there was anything not covered in this article, please join the conversation in the comments below 🧜♀️