Dive Into Cenotes Tulum: Your Ultimate Travel Guide

Key Highlights

cenote in tulum
Wirestock Creators / Shutterstock
  1. Explore the stunning cenotes near Tulum known for their beautiful rock formations and crystal clear water
  2. Don’t forget to bring your snorkel gear to make the most of your cenote experience
  3. Discover the natural wonders of the Yucatan Peninsula and the Riviera Maya through these magical cenotes
  4. Immerse yourself in the unique cave systems and swimming pools of the Gran Cenote and Cenote Dos Ojos
  5. Jump into the cenotes like: Cenote Calavera and Cenote Zacil-Ha with their diving platforms and rope swings
  6. Take a zip line ride and relax in the serene waters of Cenote Zacil-Ha and Cenote Casa Tortuga Tulum

What makes Cenotes in Tulum unique compared to other cenotes in Mexico?

view of cenote in tulum
Image by Canva

Due to their mystical beauty, crystal-clear waters & ancient Mayan significance, these cenotes in Tulum offer travelers magical experiences. There are various ways to experience these cenotes, including ziplining, swimming and snorkeling. Their magical beauty sets them apart from other cenotes in Mexico due to their prime location!


tulum welcome sign
Image by Canva

Tulum, located on the stunning Riviera Maya in Mexico, is a paradise for nature lovers and adventure seekers. While its pristine white sand beaches and ancient Mayan ruins are undoubtedly the main attractions, Tulum is also known for its incredible cenotes. Cenotes can be found all over the world but these cenotes in Tulum hold a magical value to them that draw tourist from all over the world. Cenotes are natural sinkholes that were formed when limestone bedrock collapsed, revealing breathtaking underground rivers and swimming holes of crystal clear water. The best travel guides note that these cenotes are not only a refreshing escape from the tropical heat, but they also offer a unique opportunity to explore the hidden wonders of the Yucatan Peninsula.

Discovering the Best Cenotes in Tulum

cenote in tulum
Elzbieta Sekowska / Shutterstock

Tulum is home to a wide variety of cenotes, each with its own unique characteristics. Depending on what type of activity your looking for, there are plenty of options when it comes to cenotes in Tulum. The Gran Cenote, one of the most popular and best cenote in the area. This cenote offers a mix of caves, caverns, and an open-air cenote, making it an exceptional experience for all type of travelers. Its turquoise water and stunning rock formations make it a favorite among snorkelers and divers too. Another must-visit cenote is Cenote Calavera, also known as the Skull Cenote, which gets its name from its three sinkholes resembling eyes and a mouth. With its diving platform and rope swing, it’s perfect for adrenaline junkies. Lastly, two other cenotes that should be noted but not listed are Cenote Escondido and Cenote Cristal. These cenotes are catered to travelers looking for more of a ‘low key’ vibe. These cenotes are perfect for travelers looking to just chill while being surrounded by lush vegetation. Let’s start exploring which cenote is best for you!

1. Gran Cenote: A Gateway to Underground Wonders

pov in gran cenote
Miinaamii / Shutterstock

The Gran Cenote is a true gem in the cenote world. As you enter the cave system, you will be greeted by an underground natural swimming pool with crystal clear water. This cenote is a popular spot for scuba divers looking to explore the intricate cave systems and admire the unique limestone rock formations. Snorkelers can also enjoy the beauty of the cenote from the surface, spotting fish and other aquatic life living in these cenotes. With its pristine water and serene atmosphere, the Gran Cenote should be at the top of your list for cenotes to visit while in Tulum

2. Cenote Calavera: The Skull Cenote’s Mystique

cenote calavera
Wirestock Creators / Shutterstock

Cenote Calavera, also known as the Skull Cenote, is a hidden gem tucked away in the jungle near Tulum. The unique name of this cenote comes from its three sinkholes that resemble eyes and a mouth, giving it a skull-like appearance (making this a one of a kind cenote). This cenote offers a thrilling experience with its diving platform and rope swing, perfect for travelers looking for a mid day adrenaline rush. Whether you choose to jump into the cenote or simply take a refreshing swim in its clear waters, Cenote Calavera is the perfect place for just that. This cenote will be sure to leave you with unforgettable memories on your visit to Tulum.

3. Cenote Zacil-Ha: Crystal Clear Waters for Relaxation

cenote zacil-ha
Joana Villar / Shutterstock

Cenote Zacil-Ha creates a serene oasis vibe and is located in the heart of the jungle. Its crystal clear waters make it the perfect spot for relaxation and rejuvenation. The cenote offers a variety of activities, including a zip line that allows you to soar above the water while enjoying breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. How often can you go ziplining in the jungle above a crystal clear cenote? I don’t think that often 😉 Also, you don’t want to forget your snorkel gear, you won’t want to miss the exploration of the underwater world of this magical cenote. With its open cenote and tranquil atmosphere, Cenote Zacil-Ha is the ideal place to escape the stress of everyday life and connect with nature.

4. Cenote Dos Ojos: Diving into Twin Blue Pools

cenote dos ojos
Image by Canva

Cenote Dos Ojos, which translates to “Two Eyes,” is a stunning cenote located between Playa Del Carmen and Tulum. This cenote gets its name from the two small holes that are connected by a boardwalk and resemble a pair of eyes. It is important to note that the only way to get to this cenote is by walking about 30 minutes along a dirt road. The Dos Ojos cenote is a paradise for scuba divers, as it offers access to an extensive underground cave system, one of the best things for exploring when it comes to scuba divers. The crystal clear waters and distinctive rock formations create a mesmerizing underwater landscape. Whether you’re an experienced diver or a beginner, exploring this cenote’s fresh water pools is an unforgettable experience.

5. Casa Cenote: Nature’s Perfect Swimming Pool

snorkeler in casa cenote
Image by Canva

Casa Cenote is often referred to as nature’s perfect swimming pool, and it’s easy to see why. This cenote is a picturesque mix of fresh and saltwater, creating an exceptional ecosystem that is home to a variety of marine life. Snorkelers can swim alongside sea turtles, colorful fish, and other fascinating creatures. How much cooler can that get? The cenote’s natural beauty is described as unparalleled by many travel guides. No matter if you’re a seasoned snorkeler or a first-time explorer, Casa Cenote should definitely be on your list to visit while in Tulum.

6. Cenote Car Wash: A Hidden Gem Amongst the Jungle

pov of cenote car wash
Anna LoFi / Shutterstock

Cenote Car Wash, (yes we said car wash) is a hidden gem nestled in the jungle near Tulum. Its unique name comes from its history as a place where locals used to wash their cars. This cenote offers a tranquil escape with its crystal clear water and lush surroundings. The cenote is adorned with tree roots that hang down into the water, creating a magical atmosphere. Whether you choose to take a refreshing swim or simply relax by the water, Cenote Car Wash is a peaceful oasis that showcases the natural beauty of Tulum.

7. Cenotes Casa Tortuga Tulum: A Diverse Cenote Experience

cenote in tulum
Image by Canva

Cenotes Casa Tortuga Tulum offers a diverse cenote experience with its guided tours that take you to some of the most beautiful cenotes near Tulum so you don’t have to chose! Whether you’re interested in snorkeling, swimming, or simply admiring the natural beauty of these cenotes, Casa Tortuga Tulum has something for everyone. Being apart of these tour groups allow travelers to explore these cenote at ease. Along with the ease of exploring these cenote, snorkeling and scuba diving gear is included in the admission price for these tours. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced explorer, a cenote tour with Casa Tortuga Tulum is a great way to make the most of your visit to Tulum.

8. Cenote Yax-kin: Warm Waters and Serene Vistas

cenote yax-kin
phortun / Shutterstock

Cenote Yax-kin is considered one of the hidden gems when it comes to cenotes. This cenote offers warm waters and serene vistas while also providing travelers with a peaceful atmosphere. Whether you choose to swim, snorkel, or simply relax by the water, Cenote Yax-kin is another spot to escape the crowds and enjoy the tranquility of nature. The warm waters and picturesque surroundings make it a great cenote to visit if you’re looking for a peaceful and serene experience in Tulum.

9. Cenote Azul: The Blue Water Paradise

cenote azul
Image by Canva

Cenote Azul is a popular spot for both locals and tourists due to its striking blue waters (hence the name). This cenote is always include in destination guides because of how the blue water creates such an inviting feel. This cenote allows travelers to escape from the heat of Tulum and cool down with it’s refreshing waters. Cenote Azul is perfect for swimming, diving, but is mainly known for experiencing a refreshing swim. The cenote also offers convenient facilities such as changing rooms and life jackets, ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience for all visitors. If you’re someone mainly looking to relax by the water or be refresh from the Mexico heat, Cenote Azul is the perfect cenote for you.

10. Cenote Cristalino: A Sparkling Natural Aquarium

tourist at cenote cristalino
Alexey Oblov / Shutterstock

Cenote Cristalino is a sparkling natural aquarium that offers crystal clear water and tons of marine life. This cenote is a great spot for snorkeling, as it provides a unique opportunity to observe colorful fish and other aquatic creatures in their natural habitat. This cenote is perfect for those looking for the in between of adrenaline rushes and relaxing. Lastly, don’t forget to bring your snorkel gear to fully immerse yourself in the beauty of Cenote Cristalino.

Essential Tips for Tulum Cenotes Exploration

When planning your cenote exploration in Tulum, there are a few essential tips to keep in mind. The best time to visit the cenotes is during the dry season, which runs from November to April. Dry season allows the water of the cenotes to be the crystal clear blue color. Most cenotes charge an entrance fee, usually ranging from 80 to 150 pesos which equates to $5 to $9 in USD. Don’t forget to bring your own snorkel gear or there are rental available on-site. Finally, remember to explore the cenotes of the Yucatan Peninsula beyond Tulum, as there are many hidden gems waiting to be discovered.

What to Pack

snorkeling gear on a beach
Image by Canva

When preparing for your cenote adventure in Tulum, there are a few essential items to pack to ensure an enjoyable experience. Here are some things to consider:

  1. Snorkel gear: Bring your own snorkel, mask and fins to fully explore the underwater world of the cenotes.
  2. Life jackets: Some cenotes require the use of life jackets, so it’s a good idea to bring your own or check if they are provided on-site.
  3. Waterproof camera: Capture the beauty of the cenotes with a waterproof camera to document your adventure.
  4. Sunscreen: While you should avoid wearing sunscreen in the cenotes to protect the delicate ecosystem, it’s still important to protect your skin from the sun’s rays while outside the water. Be sure to buy mineral sunscreen to protect the waters and reefs.

Navigating Your Way to Tulum’s Cenotes

Getting to Tulum’s cenotes is a relatively easy process with a few transportation options to choose from. If you prefer the convenience of having your own vehicle, renting a car is a great option. This allows you to explore the cenotes at your own pace and visit multiple locations in a day without being held back by others. Another popular option is to take a bike tour. Bike tours are a popular option for those looking for more of an active vacation and allows travelers to enjoy the scenic routes while visiting the cenotes in a more eco-friendly way. Lastly, if you’re staying in downtown Tulum, many cenotes are easily accessible by walking or taking a short taxi ride.

Renting a Car vs. Taking Public Transportation

taxi on the road in tulum
Art Konovalov / Shutterstock

Renting a car gives you the freedom to explore the cenotes at your own pace and visit multiple locations in a day. This transportation option allows you to easily access cenotes that may be farther away or not easily reachable by public transportation or walking. However, if you prefer not to drive, public transportation is a viable option. Colectivos, which are shared vans, run along the main highway and can take you to popular cenotes. Another option is to take a taxi, which can be more convenient way but also more expensive. Taking a taxi is perfect for those looking for a more intimate cenote experience and who don’t want to worry about other travelers who aren’t on their same time schedule. At the end of the day, any mode of transportation is beneficial for seeing these majestical cenote.

Best Tulum Cenotes Tour

Don’t worry if you need guidance when looking to visit these cenote! There are multiple types of guided tours available in Tulum for travelers who want just that, guidance :). These tours offer a convenient way to visit multiple cenotes in one day and provide knowledgeable tour guides who can share interesting information about the cenotes and the surrounding area. With guided tours you can enjoy some inside facts along with enjoying the beauty these water holes have to offer. Some tours also include additional activities such as snorkeling, zip-lining, or visiting nearby attractions like the Tulum ruins. Booking a cenote tour is a great way to make the most of your time in Tulum and ensure a hassle-free and enjoyable experience.

Combining Cenote Visits with Other Tulum Attractions

entrance of tulum jungle gym
Image by Visit Tulum

While exploring the cenotes in Tulum is a must-do activity, there so many more attractions in the area that you can combine with your cenote visits. Take a day trip to the nearby Mayan ruins of Tulum or visit the vibrant town of Playa del Carmen. You can also explore the stunning beaches of the Riviera Maya or take a snorkeling tour to explore the coral reefs. Also a trip to the Tulum Jungle gym can be a perfect way to sneak in a little workout while on your vacation. Combining cenote visits with other Tulum attractions allows you to experience the diverse beauty and culture of the region.

Tulum Ruins and Cenote Day Trips

overview of tulum ruins
Image by Canva

A popular day trip option from Tulum is to visit the Tulum ruins while also combining it with a cenote visit. The Tulum ruins are an exceptional attraction located in a breathtaking location. This stunning archaeological site located on a cliff provides travelers spectacular views of the Caribbean sea. After exploring the ruins and learning about the ancient Mayan civilization, you can cool off with a refreshing swim in a nearby cenote. Cenote Dos Ojos, located between Playa del Carmen and Tulum, is a great option for combining a visit to the ruins. Along with that, Playa del Carmen has a vibrant atmosphere and beautiful beaches, making it another amazing stop along the way.

Beaches and Cenotes Tulum: The Ultimate Relaxation Package

tourist walking on beach in hotel zone
George Wirt / Shutterstock

If you’re looking for the ultimate relaxation package, combining visits to the stunning beaches of the Riviera Maya with cenote exploration is the way to go. After a day of swimming, snorkeling, or simply lounging on the white sandy beaches, head to a nearby cenote to unwind and cool off in the crystal clear waters. Playa del Carmen is a great base for this combination, as it offers easy access to both the beaches and the cenotes. So, whether you’re seeking adventure or simply want to relax and soak up the beauty of the region, the beaches and cenotes of the Riviera Maya provide the perfect escape.

Where to Stay for Easy Cenote Access

When planning your visit to the cenotes in Tulum, it’s important to consider where to stay for easy access. Tulum offers a range of accommodation options, from luxury resorts to budget-friendly hotels and hostels. Travelers looking for a more upscale experience, the luxury resorts located along the coast of Quintana Roo provide easy access to the cenotes and other attractions. A luxury resort option that is close by to a few of the more popular cenote is Secrets Tulum Resort and Beach Club. This resort is known for their bohemian vibes and luxurious atmosphere that blends into the jungle of Tulum. For those on a budget, staying in downtown Tulum offers convenient access to the cenotes at a more affordable price. A budget friendly hotel to keep in mind is Tulum Nueve. Tulum Nueve is known as a more quaint and quiet accommodation that also happens to be affordable and in close proximity to popular cenotes.

Luxury Resorts and Budget Friendly Options

Luxury resorts in Tulum offer indulgent stays with easy access to cenotes, combining comfort and convenience. These high-end options boast exquisite amenities and personalized services, ideal for travelers looking to spend a decent amount on accommodation. On the other hand, budget-friendly accommodations provide economical alternatives without sacrificing comfort. They offer basic yet cozy rooms, perfect for travelers seeking affordability and a quieter stay while also exploring the cenotes. Both luxury resorts and budget-friendly options cater to travelers with various preferences, ensuring a memorable stay among the natural beauty of Tulum’s cenotes.


underground cenote in tulum
Image by Canva

Travelers from all over the world note that exploring the magical cenotes in Tulum offers a unique escape to paradise. From the crystal-clear waters of Cenote Zacil-Ha to the mystical allure of Cenote Calavera, each cenote presents a gateway to the underground wonders that have been created in Tulum. To be sure your ready for your adventure to cenote, be sure to consider essential tips like choosing the right time to visit and what to pack. These tips are crucial to experience the cenotes with the most ease as possible. Whether you opt for a luxury resort or a budget-friendly stay, you’ll be sure to have easy access to these natural treasures. Overall, these tips will assist all travelers in fully enjoying the tranquility and charm of Tulum’s cenotes. After the first cenote trip, you’ll be itching for more!

Frequently Asked Questions

overview of tulum with faq in the top left corner

What is the best time of day to visit cenotes in Tulum?

The best time to visit the cenotes in Tulum is early in the morning or late in the afternoon. This is when the cenotes are less crowded and the water is at its clearest. Don’t forget to bring your snorkel gear and be prepared to pay an entrance fee at most cenotes.

Can I travel from Cancun to Tulum?

Yes, you can travel from Cancun to Tulum. The most convenient way to travel is by rental car, which allows you to explore the cenotes and other attractions at your own pace. Alternatively, you can take public transportation, such as buses or colectivos as they are called in Mexico, which run regularly between Cancun and Tulum. Quintana Roo is well-connected by road, making it easy to travel between these two popular destinations.

Is Tulum safe to travel to?

Tulum is generally considered a safe destination for travelers. However, it’s always a good idea to take necessary precautions and practice common sense while traveling. This includes having travel insurance, keeping valuables secure, and being aware of your surroundings. Quintana Roo, the state where Tulum is located, has a strong tourism industry and is well-prepared to ensure the safety of visitors.

Should I take a trip to the Tulum Jungle Gym too?

A trip to the Tulum Jungle Gym can be a unique and adventurous experience. This outdoor gym is located on the beach and offers a range of fitness and training activities. Whether you’re a fitness enthusiast or simply looking for a fun and active way to spend your time in Tulum, the Tulum Jungle Gym is worth a visit.

Leave a Comment

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

Scroll to Top