15 Best Cenotes Near Tulum To Swim, Snorkel, And Explore

Tulum is one of the most stunning places in Mexico, and the cenotes near Tulum are a major attraction for tourists, bloggers, and digital nomads alike. There are over 6,000 cenotes in the Yucatan area, so it can be a bit daunting trying to choose which cenotes to visit if you’re only spending a short time in Tulum! To make it easy for you – here’s our list of the best cenotes in Tulum – whether you’re going for snorkelling, swimming, or just to spend a day in the sun looking at the sparkling, crystal blue water.

best cenotes in tulum mexico
The beautiful Cenote Dos Ojos near Tulum in Yucatan, Mexico

Thinking about visiting Mexico? Check out my other articles here:

What Is A Cenote?

A cenote is a natural sinkhole (or pit) that has been caused by the collapse of limestone bedrock. This collapse exposes the groundwater under the rock.

Although these natural sinkholes are also found in places like Australia and Cuba, the term “cenote” is specifically used to define sinkholes in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico – where cenotes were traditionally used by the ancient Mayan people for water supplies, and even to throw sacrifices into the blue waters as an offering to the gods.

The Mayan term for cenote is tsʼonot – which refers to any location that has an accessible groundwater supply.

Underground cenotes

As you’d expect, these cenotes are found in underground cave systems. They are dark and have no natural light to illuminate their beautiful water.

Examples of the best underground cenotes in Tulum that you can visit are:

  • Cenote Choo-Ha
  • Cenote Multum-Ha
  • Cenote Tamchach-Ha

Open cenotes

These are formed from caves which have collapsed, so the cenote is now exposed. There are plenty of open cenotes you can visit to swim, snorkel, and dive in around the Yucatan.

Tulum cenotes featured in this list that are open cenotes are:

  • Cenote Azul
  • Cenote Carwash
  • Cenote Zacil-Ha
  • Jardin del Eden

There are also other popular open cenotes near Tulum like Cenote Oxman in Valladolid, and Cenote Xcanche in Ek Balam.

Semi-open cenotes

These are cenotes which are semi-underground. They have openings in their cavern ceilings where fresh air and sunlight can enter. This creates a stunning underground experience where shafts of sunlight beam down to illuminate the clear, blue water below.

Tulum cenotes you can visit that are semi-open include:

  • Cenote Samula
  • Cenote Ik Kil

best cenotes in tulum
The famous Gran Cenote – one of the best cenotes in Tulum

The Yucatan area in Mexico has over 6,000 cenotes. Most are small, underground cenotes which aren’t accessible to tourists, as they are obviously underground – but experienced cavers and divers can access these, and many are large enough to swim and dive in once you’re inside.

The cenotes in this list are all stunning, and worth a visit even if you’re a non-swimmer! You’ll be amazed at the crystal blue water in the cenotes, and the wildlife that lives in and around each cenote.

best cenotes in tulum
Photos of Tulum cenotes are perfect for Instagram!

Visiting a cenote in Tulum is pretty much mandatory when you visit the area – but there are a few things you need to know before you go.

Tips For Visiting Tulum Cenotes

How to get to the Tulum cenotes

It’s easy and cheap to hire a bike in Tulum and cycle to many of the best cenotes that Mexico has to offer. With a bicycle, you can easily get to these cenotes in under 30 minutes – and it’s a flat and enjoyable ride:

  • Cenote Car Wash
  • Gran Cenote
  • Cenote Zacil-Ha
  • Cenote Cristal
  • Cenote Escondido
  • Cenote Tankah
  • Casa Cenote
  • Virgin Cenote

Some of the cenotes are a bit further out of town. As there is no Uber in Tulum, you might need to consider driving or taking a taxi.

The Tulum cenotes that are further away include:

  • Cenote Dos Ojos
  • Cenote Azul
  • Cenote Choo-Ha
  • Cenote Multum-Ha
  • Cenote Tamcach-Ha
  • Jardin del Eden
  • Coba cenotes

In a taxi, you can expect to pay around 500 pesos ($24 USD) to reach these cenotes. Our taxi driver dropped us off and left, but it was only a short wait before we were able to get a taxi back from the Tulum cenotes to town.

Most people visit the cenotes on their own, but there are some excellent guided tours like this one that will take you on a day trip from Tulum township and transport you around many of the best cenotes in Tulum.

Cost to get into Tulum cenotes

All of the best cenotes in Tulum have an entry fee. This cost helps ensure the continued health of the cenotes and upkeep of walkways and stairs to ensure safety for visitors.

You can expect to pay 40 to 500 pesos ($2 to $25 USD) to enter a cenote, depending whether you need to hire guides and equipment or not.

When you arrive at the cenote, you can also hire lockers and snorkels if you need to, and there are restrooms, showers, and snacks available at most cenote sites.

All you need to take with you is cash, a towel, your swimming or snorkelling gear, and you’ll be all set for a memorable day.

Do NOT wear sunscreen!

Cenotes are ancient and fragile environments with their own ecosystems that support a wide range of flora and fauna.

If you wear sunscren in the water, the chemicals can cause irreparable damage to the plants, animals, and water system within the cenotes. Even eco-friendly sunscreen is a BIG no-no when you step into a cenote, as they still contain chemicals that can threaten the fragile ecosystem.

Most of the popular cenotes have showers you can use to wash any sunscreen or perfumes off before you go swimming – so make sure you use them and do your part to protect these beautiful cenotes for the future.

best cenotes in tulum
One of the best Tulum cenotes to visit is Cenote Dos Ojos

Best Tulum Cenotes For Swimming, Snorkelling, And Day Trips

If you’re in the Yucatan in Mexico, these are my top recomendations for best cenotes in Tulum to visit – in no particular order 🙂

1. Gran Cenote

The Gran Cenote is one of the most famous cenotes in Mexico. It’s a few miles from Tulum on the way to Coba, and if you love snorkelling or diving – this is one of the best spots around Tulum to get your fix.

Rather than being a giant cenote as its name suggests, Gran Cenote is a collection of caverns, with an open-air cenote connected by wooden walkways.

Even if you’re not planning to swim or dive, you can enjoy exploring this underground wonder and watching the fish and turtles swim in the crystal clear cenote waters.

To get the most of of Gran Cenote, you’ll need to get your dive gear on. If you don’t dive, you can also take your own snorkel gear or rent it on site. This will give you the opportunity to see the beautiful rock formations under the water, and explore the caverns from below.

  • Opening times: 8am – 4.45pm every day
  • Bathrooms: Yes
  • Lockers: Yes
  • Admission fee: 300 pesos (approx $15 USD) – not including equipment rental
  • Food: There’s nothing on site, so bring your own

best cenotes in tulum
Gran Cenote is one of the most popular and famous Tulum cenotes

2. Cenote Dos Ojos

The Cenotes Dos Ojos (two eyes) is part of a park, and is an impressive group of five cenotes close together. It houses the deepest underwater cave passage known – measuring 118 meters deep and 61km long.

It’s named after the two cenotes Blue Eye and Black Eye. The Blue Eye cenote, as its name suggests, is an open-air cenote with sparkling, clear water.

The Black Eye cenote is underground – a pitch black cavern with awesome rock formations. You’ll need to hire a guide and take a powerful flashlight to explore this cenote.

The Dos Ojos cenote system is made up of flooded caverns which connect with the nearby Sac Actun cenotes (you’ll find this further down in our list of best cenotes in Tulum).

You can easily get to two of the cenotes, but the remaining three will require you to hire a guide to take you there.

If you’re a diver, you’ll be able to explore the parts of the Dos Ojos cenotes that snorkellers and swimmers are unable to access. For swimmers, you’ll be pleased to know the waters aren’t icy cold, and remain a steady 24 degrees Celsius (75 degrees Fahrenheit) all year round.

You can find Cenotes Dos Ojos between Playa del Carmen and Tulum. It’s 22km north of Tulum, and 50km south of Playa.

  • Opening hours: 9am to 5pm
  • Entrance fee: 200 pesos ($14 USD) – not including snorkel rental
  • Bathrooms: Yes
  • Lockers: Yes
  • Food: No – you’ll need to pack your own food

  • Learn more about Cenote Dos Ojos here

best cenotes in tulum
The magical Cenote Dos Ojos – one of the most famous Tulum cenotes

3. Cenote Jardin del Eden

This cenote is a huge, open-air cenote nestled in the jungle. It has a cliff on one side with a diving platform, and group of flat rocks in the center you can swim out to and have some chill-out time.

The water here is stunningly clear and perfect for snorkelling. There isn’t as much marine life to be seen as Gran Cenote, but the water visibility makes it perfect for divers who want to explore the deep underwater cave system.

Opening hours: 9am to 5pm
Entrance fee: $200 pesos ($14 USD) for adults and $100 pesos for kids
Bathrooms: Yes – but they’re a bit run down
Lockers: Yes
Food: No – you’ll need to take your own, and there is a restaurant close by

best cenotes in tulum
You can go scuba diving at the Cenote Jardin del Eden in Tulum

4. Cenotes Cristal & Escondido

Not to be confused with Cenote Cristalino up the coast in Playa del Carmen, Cenotes Cristal (aka Cenote Naharon and Cenote Crystal) and Cenote Escondido (aka Cenote Mayan Blue) in Tulum are surrounded by lush jungle vegetation that makes you feel like you’re in a different world. These cenotes don’t get as much tourist traffic as some of the other cenotes, so they’re mostly a quiet place to swim and enjoy nature.

Cenote Crystal is an open cenote where you can swim in a huge pool of clear water. The water here is so clear you can easily see to the bottom without the need for diving or snorkelling equipment. There are three platforms in this cenote which make it easy for people of all ages and abilities to get into the water.

If you’re not a confident swimmer, Cenote Crystal has a guide rope you can use to rest in the water, or pull yourself around the large swimming hole.

Cenote Escondido (“hidden cenote”) is across the road from Cenote Crystal. It’s a long, thing strip of water which is rich with fish and vegetation. It has a rope swing on one side.

Both of these cenotes are connected by an underwater tunnel which you can scuba dive though if you’re able to dive.

These cenotes are around 3km from Tulum town and are ideal for swimmers, all levels of snorkel ability, and diving.

Opening hours: 8am to 4pm
Entrance fee: $200 pesos ($14 USD) for entrance to both cenotes
Bathrooms: Yes
Lockers: No – leave your valuable in the car, or at home
Food: Bring your own – there is a BBQ area if you plan to stay for the day

Note: Since this photo was taken, life jackets have been made compulsory for anyone who wants to get in the water at these cenotes

best cenotes in tulum
The beautiful waters of cenotes Cristal y Escondido in Tulum

5. Cenote Azul

Also known as the Blue Cenote, Cenote Azul is an incredibly popular cenote to visit if you’re exploring the Yucatan Peninsula or Riviera Maya area.

It’s located between Tulum and Playa del Carmen (see the map at the end of this article), and many people consider it to be a must-visit cenote if you’re trying to make a list of which ones to go to.

It has great facilities for visitors, it’s suitable for families, and has plenty of areas to relax and swim in. This cenote has several pools with water of varying depths, so even non-swimmers can enjoy bathing in the stunning turquoise water.

The pools at Cenote Azul are connected by walkways, and you’ll find some diving platforms scattered around as well. Unlike many of the other Tulum Cenotes, there are plenty of shady areas if you’re prone to sunburn.

Remember – you can’t wear sunscreen if you’re swimming in a cenote!

Cenote Azul is ideal if you want to swim, snorkel dive, feed the fish, or have a picnic with friends and family surrounded by lush jungle and sparkling blue water.

Opening hours: 9.30am to 7.30pm
Entrance fee: $140 pesos ($7 USD)
Bathrooms: Yes
Lockers: No – don’t take anything valuable in with you
Restaurants on site: Yes, there’s a small restaurant/snack bar on site

best cenotes in tulum
The stunning Cenote Azul in in Tulum

6. Cenote Zacil-Ha

This Tulum cenote is popular with tourists and locals alike, and it’s one of the cheapest cenotes to visit.

Zacil-Ha is an open-air cenote around 3 meters in depth, and it has two pools with a diving platform, and a zip line. The cost for a zip line ride is only 10 pesos – which is a great way to use up the piles of spare change that you’ll accumulate in Mexico!

You’ll find this cenote in between Tulum and the Coba ruins – about 8km out of Tulum town. It’s a perfect stop after a hot day of exploring the ruins before you return to Tulum.

Weekends can get pretty crowded, so if you want a more peaceful cenote experience, plan your trip during the week.

This cave system connects to the nearby Grand Cenote and Cenote Carwash mentioned in this list of best cenotes in Tulum. If you’re a qualified diver you can explore this underground cenote and the cave system

Opening hours: 10am to 5.30pm
Entrance fee: $50 pesos ($2.50 USD)
Bathrooms: Yes
Lockers: Yes – for an extra cost
Food: Yes – there is a restaurant on site

best cenotes in tulum
Cenote Zacil-Ha in Tulum

7. Casa Cenote (aka Cenote Manatee)

You’ll find this cenote in Tankah Tres close to the beach, 10km north of Tulum. While it’s mostly known as Casa Cenote, it’s also referred to as Cenote Manatee. Manatees used to live here in the past, and the name has remained.

Due to its location, it’s an incredibly popular cenote to visit. It’s surrounded by mangroves and is home to many fish. This is one of the bigger Tulum cenotes you can swim, snorkel, dive, paddleboard, and kayak in.

Casa Cenote is part of the world’s largest underground cave system, hosting a variety of fresh and saltwater fish, coati, butterflies, birds, crabs – and even a crocodile! Known locally as “Panchito” this cute little croc has never bitten anyone, but it’s best not to get too close, just in case!

Opening hours: 9am to 5pm
Entrance fee: $150 pesos ($8 USD)
Bathrooms: Yes
Lockers: Yes
Website: Casa Cenote

best cenotes in tulum
Crystal blue waters of Casa Cenote in Tulum

8. Yal Ku Cenote and Lagoon

Located about 40 minutes from Tulum town, the Yal Ku cenote and lagoon is a fantastic place to spend the day. Here you’ll find calm water you can enjoy even if you’re a non-swimmer or you have small children that require more vigilance in the water.

Around the cenote and lagoon are small sandy beaches and plenty of hammocks so you can chill out in between swimming and snorkelling.

Yal Ku is in the Akumal district (meaning “place of the turtles”) – and this cenote is host to turtles that you can see while snorkelling, plus a huge variety of other marine life including angelfish, parrotfish, barracudas, rays, and larger sea turtles.

Opening hours: 9am to 5pm
Entrance fee: $280 pesos ($15 USD)
Bathrooms: Yes
Lockers: Yes
Food: Yes – you can buy food and snacks on site

best cenotes in tulum
Yal-Ku Lagoon and cenote in Tulum

9. Cenote Chaak Tun

You’ll find Cenote Chaak Tun on your way from Tulum to Playa del Carmen. If you’re looking for photos for your Instagram account, this cenote won’t let you down! It’s a gorgeous, natural wonder with crystal clear blue water, and it’s perfect to visit whether you’re planning to go swimming, snorkelling, or just want to walk around and explore.

The guided tour (in Spanish or English) is pricey at $500 pesos, but the tour lasts around 3.5 hours and includes snorkel gear, flashlights, life jackets, and a secure locker for your clothing and valuables. You’ll explore a vast cavern with beautiful rock formations, stalagmites, and stalactites. It’s like entering a different, mystical world.

The cenote is safe for families, as there are boardwalks to guide you through the cavern system and jungle.

This cenote is perfect for the whole family as you can walk on the long boardwalk through jungle surroundings, and swim or snorkel through the cave system.

I recommend you get here early in the day or later in the day to avoid peak crowds – as this is a popular day trip for many tour groups.

Opening hours: 9am to 3pm
Entrance fee: $500 pesos ($30 USD) – this includes a guided tour and snorkel gear, a life vest, flashlight and secure locker
Bathrooms: Yes
Lockers: Yes
Food: Yes – there is food on site

best cenotes in tulum
Cenote Chaak Tun, one of Tulum’s best underground cenotes

10. Cenote Choo-Ha, Multum-Ha, and Tamcach-Ha

These cenotes can be found on the way from Tulum to the Coba ruins. Each cenote has its own unique features, so you’ll want to visit them all.

Choo-Ha Cenote – a classic underground cenote with centuries-old rock formations, and shallow turquoise water. It’s a cool, refreshing swim after spending the day in the sun visiting the nearby ruins.

Multum-Ha Cenote – widely regarded as one of the best underground Tulum cenotes. It’s deep underground and a true natural wonder, as it looks like a perfect dome shape with jungle vines hanging down into the cavern. You’ll find stunning clear water and an entrancing cavern to explore that will make for a memorable travel experience.

Tamcach-Ha Cenote – this is the biggest of the three cenotes – and the most popular. It has two diving platforms (5 and 10 meters high), depending how brave you feel!

Opening hours: 9am to 6pm
Entrance fee: $100 pesos ($5 USD)
Bathrooms: Yes
Lockers: Yes
Food: No – you’ll need to bring your own

best cenotes in tulum
The beautiful underground Choo-Ha Cenote in Tulum

11. Cenote Kaan Luum

Is this Tulum’s best kept secret? We think so! This cenote has incredible blue water that’s warm all year round because of the shallow water here. This is one of the best cenotes in Tulum for non-swimmers as the lagoon area is calm and safe.

In the middle of the lagoon is the cenote which is a darker blue in contrast to the turquoise waters surrounding it.

Caution is recommended here, as the cenote causes a strong current that can pull people down to the bottom. This area is surrounded by a security rope (see the photo below), which you can use as a guide to help you stay safely away from this part of the lagoon. Only experienced scuba divers are allowed to enter the central cenote area.

The rest of the lagoon is perfect for non-swimmers, kids, and paddleboarders as it is completely calm and flat.

If you’re a content creator that’s planning to bring your drone to Cenote Kaan Luum, be aware there is an extra charge of $150 pesos to take this in with you.

Opening hours: 9am to 4pm
Entrance fee: $300 pesos ($15 USD) for adults and $100 pesos for kids
Bathrooms: Yes
Lockers: No
Food: No – you’ll need to pack your own snacks

best cenotes in tulum
Kaan Luum Lagoon and cenote in Tulum

12. Cenote Carwash (aka Cenote Aktun-Ha)

This rather oddly named Cenote Carwash is also known as Aktun Ha (meaning “water cave”). It’s perfect for snorkelling, scuba diving, swimming, and paddling around in. You’ll find it 8km out of Tulum town.

If you’re wondering how it came to be known as Cenote Carwash – local taxi drivers used to wash their cars in it!

Aktun-Ha cenote is the perfect example of an open-air cenote. The waters are absolutely clear and tranquil, and safe for all levels of swimmers, divers, and snorkellers. There are diving platforms located around the cenote.

Opening hours: 9am to 4pm
Entrance fee: $50 pesos ($2.50 USD) per person, and $200 pesos ($10 USD) for divers
Bathrooms: Yes
Lockers: Yes
Food: Maybe – there is a food stall, but bring your own snacks in case it isn’t open when you go

best cenotes in tulum
Tulum cenotes don’t get better than Cenote Carwash

13. Cenotes Sac Actun

Sac Actun (literally “pet cemetery”) is another part of the world’s longest underground cave system that joins many Tulum cenotes in this list.

It’s also a site of archaeological significance. The skeleton of a teenage girl was uncovered here, and scientists dated it back 13,000 years, making it the oldest skeleton discovered in the Americas. Remains of mastodons have also been found here.

All of the caves and pools in Cenote Sac Actun are underground and incredibly beautiful, with ancient stalagmites and stalactites everywhere, contrasting beautifully with the blue cenote waters.

Opening hours: 9am to 5pm
Entrance fee: $450 pesos ($22 USD) – including snorkel gear and a 45 minute guided tour
Bathrooms: Yes
Lockers: Yes
Food: Yes

best cenotes in tulum
Cenote Sac Actun – a stunning example of Tulum cenotes

14. Cenote Caleta Tankah

The Caleta Tankah cenote is another open-air cenote in Tulum. It’s not as good for swimming as other cenotes in the area, as it’s quite rocky and easy to scrape your feet and knees. You’ll find the entrace to this cenote at the Caleta Tankah hotel on the beach.

From there, it’s a short walk along a jungle path to the cenote, which is surrounded by palm trees – the perfect place to chill out!

Opening hours: 9am to 6pm
Entrance fee: $100 pesos ($5 USD)
Bathrooms: Yes
Lockers: Yes
Food: Yes – there is a restaurant on site

best cenotes in tulum
The hidden Caleta Tankah cenote in Tulum

15. Cenotes Casa Tortuga

The Casa Tortuga cenotes are incredibly beautiful – and this is one of my personal favorite Tulum cenotes!

These cenotes are 15 minutes north of Tulum. You can enjoy exploring the three cenotes in this group for one entrance price.

Each cenote has its own features, and whether you want to dive, spot wildlife (bats, fish, turtles, and more!) look at fossils, swim, explore, or lie in the sun – there’s something for everyone here, making it a fantastic day trip from Tulum.

Opening hours: 9am to 5pm
Entrance fee: $650 pesos ($31 USD)
Bathrooms: Yes
Lockers: Yes
Food: Yes there is a restaurant on site

best cenotes in tulum
Enjoy a magic day out at Cenote Tortuga in Tulum

Map Of The Best Tulum Cenotes

You can use this handy map to find the best cenotes in Tulum near you. Zoom in and out to get even more detail on the cenote locations.

Save and fownload the map to your smart phone if you want to use it offline (click here for instructions!)

Get A Guided Tour Of Tulum Cenotes

If you want to take all the hassle out of finding and traveling to the best cenotes in Tulum, a guided day trip is one of the easiest ways to visit. Check out these recommended day trips to get you inspired:

Summary – Best Cenotes In Tulum

Hopefully you found this quick guide to the best cenotes in Tulum a great starter point for planning your Tulum adventure!

I personally love Gran Cenote and Cenotes Casa Tortuga – but with a little research, you’re sure to find your own favorite cenotes in Tulum where you can dive, snorkel, swim, or catch some sun.

If you’ve been to Mexico and visited any other Tulum cenotes that you loved – leave a comment below!

rachael freelance copywriter digital nomad taco and bean

Author bio
Rachael is a full-time digital nomad and freelance copywriter for B2B and SaaS companies. She’s worked with brands like Unbounce, Biteable, Datacom, Viddyoze, and Owler.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *