Are you staying at Lagoon Bacalar and planning a visit to Cenote Azul Bacalar? Swimming in Bacalar Cenote Azul is one of the best things to do in Bacalar!
Bacalar lake has intensely turquoise waters that more resemble the Maldives than a lake! And, along Bacalar’s western shore, you will find colourful Bacalar cenotes such as Cenote Cocalitos, which has a turquoise colour, Cenote Esmeralda, the dark Cenote Negro, which is almost black and the dark blue Cenote Azul.
Cenote Azul is excellent for taking a refreshing dip in its cool water and swimming. It also has a fantastic restaurant, which makes it a great place for a Bacalar day trip.
This post is a complete guide to visiting Cenote Azul Bacalar. Let’s dive in!
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Where is Cenote Azul Bacalar?
You can find Cenote Azul Bacalar just over 4 km south of Bacalar town, just off the main road number 307. Cenote Azul has a few small Bacalar hotels in its neighbourhood and another amazing cenote called Cocalitos.
Bacalar Cenote Azul Map
How to Get to Cenote Azul Bacalar?
Car Rental Bacalar
The best way to get around Bacalar is with a rented car. However, the car rentals in Bacalar are very limited, and I can’t really recommend any particular Bacalar car rental shop.
If you’re interested in driving in Mexico, you may want to get your rental car in Cancun, Tulum or Playa del Carmen. The most convenient way of renting a car in Mexico is to arrange a collection as soon as you land at Cancun Airport with a reputable car rental provider such as Discover Cars.
An alternative way of getting to Cenote Azul Bacalar is renting a scooter or a bicycle. The motorbike rental shop in Bacalar that I can recommend is called Italia Probike, located just west of the main city square. The scooter rental rates range from 450 to 700 MXN per day ($23 – $35) depending on the time of the motorbike.
TIP | If you want to rent a scooter in Bacalar, get it sorted out as soon as possible. Surprisingly, there is little availability of scooters, and if you try renting one on the same day, you may not be able to. This is exactly what happened to us, and in the end, we had to travel by taxi on that day.
Bacalar taxi services are quite reliable and very affordable. You either hail a cab on the street or ask your hotel to order you one. Expect to pay 200 pesos ($10) for a one-way ride. On the way back, you can take a phone number from the taxi driver that gave you a lift to WhatsApp them, and they will be more than happy to come and get you at the time that suits you.
TIP | You can also get a taxi that just dropped off people at the cenote. The taxi driver needs to come back to town anyway, so you can negotiate a discount on your fare!
Bacalar Cenote Azul Quintana Roo Facts
Cenote Azul Opening Hours | 10 am to 6 pm
Cenote Azul Bacalar Price | 25 MXN ($1.25)
Cenote Azul Balalar Depth | 90 meters (295 feet)
What to Expect at Cenote Azul Bacalar?
The first thing that came to my attention during my visit to Cenote Azul Bacalar was its entrance fee. After staying in Tulum for a while and paying 500 pesos for the entrance to a cenote, I was shocked to find out that the Bacalar Cenote Azul entrance fee is only 25 pesos or just over one dollar!
After paying the entrance ticket, you go through the cenote restaurant to access the cenote pool. Toilets and changing rooms are inside the building, and you are required to take a shower before accessing the cenote water.
The mandatory shower is enforced in order to protect the cenote pool from contamination with chemicals such as suncream, deodorant or any body lotion or skin moisturiser. Please be respectful and a mindful traveller, and let’s make sure others can enjoy those cenotes in the years to come.
Don’t forget to check out the viewing platform located directly above the restaurant, which provides a great view over the entire cenote! Below the viewing platform, there is a picturesque swing, which is an awesome place to take a cool shot at the cenote!
Swimming at Bacalar Cenote Azul
Cenote Azul Bacalar is 90 meters deep! That is probably the reason why its water is so intensely dark blue. If you’re not a strong swimmer, you can rent out a lifevest and simply enjoy floating in the pool.
And strong swimmers can really go for it and do some laps along the robe with floating buoys that mark the designated swimming area. You can swim the whole length of the cenote and when you’re tired, take a break by holding onto one of the buoys. The water is super refreshing, and it’s a special experience swimming at such a depth.
If you owe a snorkelling mask, make sure you bring it with you. The water at Cenote Azul Bacalar is crystal clear, and underneath, you can see some fish and massive tree routes growing inside the cenote.
On the left shore of the cenote, you can also find a small swing attached to a tree, where you can swing half submerge in the refreshing water.
Facilities at Cenote Azul
Cenote Restaurant – Eco Turístico Cenote Azul
The cenote boasts a great restaurant with an expansive dining area overlooking the deep dark blue water of the cenote. There is no obligation to eat at the restaurant when visiting the cenote, but if you are hungry, it’s a good place for lunch, which is when it gets busy.
They serve mostly seafood dishes and not many vegetarian options. We had some fresh juice, salad and guacamole, which was enough to keep us satisfied.
Lifevests at Bacalar Cenote Azul are optional and available for rent for 50 MXN ($2.50). If you’re not a strong swimmer, it may be a good idea to get one.
You can also explore Cenote Azul Bacalar by kayak. Kayak rental starts at 150 MXN.
Toilets & Changing Rooms
Toilets and changing rooms are located inside the restaurant building and are free to use.
There are two swings at Cenote Azul Bacalar Quintana Roo. One attached to a tree by the shore of the cenote. You need to be in the water to get on it. The second swing is located on the opposite (right) side, on the shore and has colourful Cenote Azul Bacalar letters.
The parking at Cenote Azul Bacalar is free, and you can find it on the right side of the cenote entrance.
More Tips for Visiting Bacalar Cenote Azul Mexico
What’s the Best Time to Visit Bacalar, Mexico?
Bacalar Cenote Azul hours of operation are 10 am to 6 pm. The busiest time at the cenote is around lunchtime so if you want to avoid the crowds, arrive either in the morning or late afternoon.
In my opinion, however, any time of the day is good to visit. The cenote is massive, with plenty of space for everyone to enjoy, even during busy times.
How Much Time Do I Need for Bacalar?
Cenote Azul Bacalar is an excellent place to easily spend half a day! It has plenty of space for swimming and a nice grassy area where you can stretch your towel to relax, and when you get hungry, you can eat at its fantastic restaurant. I recommend putting aside at least 2-3 hours to fully appreciate this incredible Bacalar cenote. You can also easily combine the visit to Cenote Azul with Cocalitos Cenote Bacal or Los Rapidos.
Where to Stay in Bacalar?
What to Take With You to Cenote Azul Bacalar Mexico?
Cash | Bring some cash with you to cover the ticket cost and lunch. Most Mexican cenotes have remote locations, and although card machines are more common these days, there is always a possibility that the wifi connection won’t be strong enough to take your payment.
Action camera | Swimming in the cenotes is one of the best things to do in Mexico, and you may want to record some memories while you’re having fun! And, for that, there is no better camera than a Go Pro!
Well-fitted swimsuit | Visiting and swimming in cenotes is definitely an adventure! As you’re likely to be jumping off the platforms, swinging into the water on a Tarzan robe or going on a zip line, I recommend wearing a well-fitted swimsuit that will stay in place while you’re having fun.
Fast-drying towel | You will also need a towel, and the best towels are the fast-drying ones made of microfibre, like the Fit-Flip Beach Towel.
Flip-flops | Since you’ll be swimming and getting wet at the cenote, the easiest shoes to wear are flip-flops! And, there are no better flip-flops than a pair of Havaianas.
Thermal water bottle | Stay hydrated and bring with you a thermal water bottle to keep your water cool and help reduce the use of plastic. My favourite is Chilly’s Bottle. It’s a little more expensive, but the price comes with superb quality. Our water literally stays icy cold the whole day!
Other Awesome Bacalar Cenotes Nearby
Cenote Cocalitos Bacalar
Cenote Cocalitos is another amazing Bacalar cenote and a must-visit when staying at the lake Bacalar. It is famous for its shallow milky-turquoise waters and colourful water hammocks where you can relax after a day of sightseeing around Mexico Bacalar. It also has some water swings and a nice area on the grass where you can stretch your towel. Cocalitos Bacalar was my favourite place to hang out in the afternoon!
Entrance | 50 MXN
Where | Location on Google
You may also like: Cenote Cocalitos Bacalar – A Guide To Visiting
Los Rapidos Bacalar
Los Rapidos or the Rapids is another beautiful place which you should visit. The Rapids are renowned for their crystal clear and turquoise water and stromatolite formation on the bottom of the river. There is an excellent restaurant on-site, and the best way to enjoy the place is to rent a kayak and explore the waters and the surrounding mangroves.
Entrance | 300 MXN
Kayak Rental | 350 MXN per hour
Where | Location on Google
Sac Ha Bacalar
A way less touristy alternative to visiting Los Rapidos is Balneario Sac Ha, located just over 4 km north of The Rapids. Here, you can also swim and rent a kayak and explore the turquoise waters without the crowds. It is also possible to kayak from Sac Ha to Los Rapidos. The only thing to keep in mind is that sometimes the current is strong, and you will need to be a pretty good paddler to make it to The Rapids. The way back, with the current, will be way easier.
Entrance | 40 MXN
Kayak Rental | 100 MXN per hour
Where | Location on Google
More About Mexico Cenotes
What are Cenotes in Mexico? | Cenote Meaning
Cenote definition / cenote translation – sinkhole
So, what are cenotes? The term is mainly associated with the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, but cenotes can be found all over the world. Cenotes are sinkholes formed by collapsed limestone rocks that expose groundwater. Swimming in cenotes is super delightful and very refreshing. The cenote water is typically cool and very clear, thanks to the water being filtered through the ground. The colour of the water varies from deep blue to bright emerald and depends on the rock type and fauna. Cenote depth also varies, ranging anything from a few metres up to hundreds of metres in depth!
Mexican Cenotes in Mayan Culture
The name cenote is derived from the Mayan word Dz’onot, which means “cave with water”. During the Mayan civilisation, cenotes were an important source of water. Apart from having a practical meaning, Mayan cenotes also had a spiritual significance. They were considered to be the gateway to the underworld (Xibalba), a place where gods met and a sacred place of worship where Mayans had their spiritual ceremonies and left offerings.
Types of Cenotes
There are hundreds and hundreds of cenotes on the Yucatan Peninsula, and you’ll be pleased to know that some of the top Yucatan cenotes are located near Bacalar but also near Tulum, Valladolid and Merida. There are at least four types of cenotes Mexico is renowned for.
Underground cenotes in Mexico (cavern cenotes) | Underground cenotes are the youngest water wells that are entirely covered by rock mass, with only a small opening in the cave roof that lets in minimal sunlight. They are super interesting to visit, so make sure you include at least one cavern cenote during your visit. Cavern cenotes include Cenote Xkeken and Cenote Palomitas.
Semi-open cenotes | Semi-open cenotes are much older than cavern cenotes. For millions of years, part of the limestone that covered the well has been eroded and collapsed inside, exposing the underground water. These cenotes let in more light and have more vegetation. If you visit them at the right time, usually around midday, you can witness an amazing spectacle of light, when a light beam comes through an opening in the roof, illuminating the water inside the cenote, creating an extraterrestrial-like effect. Best semi-open Mexico cenotes include Cenote Suytun and Cenote Samula.
Open cenotes | Open cenotes are the ones where the cave roof entirely collapsed, exposing the whole water well to the outside environment. These cenotes have the lushest vegetation and are great for a day out. Oxman cenote near Valladolid and Gran Cenote in Tulum are both open cenotes.
Ancient Cenotes | Ancient cenotes are the oldest Riviera Maya cenotes that can even be 66 million years old! The roof, as well as the walls of the ancient cenote, are completely eroded, making ancient cenotes look more like lagoons. Most Bacalar cenotes are ancient cenotes.
How are Cenotes Formed?
Millions of years ago, and well before the Mayan civilisation, the Yucatan Peninsula was a giant coral reef under a huge mass of the ocean. In the last Ice Age, the sea levels drastically dropped, exposing the coral reef to the erosive powers of sun, wind and rainwater.
The coral reef also provided a fertile base for the jungle to grow, and the coral limestone evolved over time into a complex system of underground caves and passages that were subsequently flooded by rising sea levels.
A limestone roof still covers the youngest cenotes, and the oldest ones are the open cenotes with the limestone roof fully collapsed.
Are Cenotes Safe to Swim?
Bacalar Cenotes are generally super safe to swim. The water is clean and inhabited by different species of fish. You definitely don’t have to worry about sharks, crocodiles or piranhas! There is usually a lifeguard on site and if you’re not a strong swimmer, make sure you wear a life vest.
Are Cenotes Clean?
Cenote water is typically super clean and transparent. The water comes from the underground river system, which has been naturally filtered through the ground.
How Deep are Cenotes?
Cenotes in Yucatan Peninsula are anything between 8 to 60 meters deep, and the deepest cenote is the Cenote Pit, with an incredible depth of 119 meters (391 feet)!
Is el Cenote Azul Bacalar Worth a Visit?
Cenote Azul Bacalar is totally worth a visit, in fact, it’s one of the best things to do in Bacalar!
You may also like: 15 Epic Valladolid Cenotes