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Cenote Cristalino Tulum: All You Need To Know To Visit This Hidden Gem


Planning to visit Cenote Cristalino?

If you’re a travelling adventurer who loves swimming, snorkelling, and discovering hidden gems off the beaten track – then Cenote Cristalino is the perfect place for you!

Located near Puerto Aventuras, between Tulum and Playa del Carmen, it’s an amazing place to swim that promises crystal-clear blue water teeming with colourful tropical fish set in a lush jungle.

cenote cristalino

In this blog post, we’ll be taking a look at what makes Cenote Cristalino such a special place to visit, from insider tips on how to enjoy this natural wonder to essential things to know before planning your trip.

Let’s dive right into why Cristalino Cenote should be your first choice when exploring cenotes near Tulum.

Cenote Cristalino At A Glance

Cenote Cristalino opening hours | 8 am to 6 pm

Cenote Cristalino price | 200 pesos or $11

Cristalino Cenote is an excellent place to take a refreshing dip, thanks to its expansive swimming pool with sparkling emerald water. Its rocky bottom is also home to an abundance of mesmerizing fish and making it an ideal place to enjoy snorkelling.

And, if you’re feeling adventurous, Cenote Cristalino offers caves to explore and a jumping platform for the thrill-seekers out there. 

One of the swimming pools at the Cenote Cristalino.

Cenote Cristalino Entrance Fee

Cenote Cristalino is one of the cheaper cenotes, compared to all the super popular Tulum cenotes that can cost up to 500 pesos in entrance fees. Here is the detailed pricing:

General admission | 200 pesos ($11) adult & 150 pesos child ($8)

Nacional | 170 pesos ($9) adult & 120 pesos ($7) child

Local | 150 pesos ($8) adult & 100 pesos child ($6)

Entrance fee for professional photographers and models | 250 pesos ($14)

Diver entrance | 250 pesos ($14)

Where is Cenote Cristalino?

Cenote Cristalino Map

Tucked just off the main road near Puerto Aventuras, the Cenote Cristalino is a must-visit for lovers of natural beauty. This stunning cenote is conveniently situated for visitors staying in both Tulum and Playa del Carmen, making it an excellent day trip option.

In its vicinity, you will also find Cenote Azul and Cenote Eden, which you can visit on the same day.

From Tulum | 30 min (40 km)

From Playa Del Carmen | 21 min (25 km)

From Cancun | 1hr 15min (97 km)

Can i drive in Mexico with US license?

Renting A Car In Tulum?

In this blog post, we will tell you how easy it is to rent a car in Cancun, covering everything from prices, rental conditions, insurance requirements, tips for driving in Mexico, and so much more.

How To Visit Cenote Cristalino

Car rental in Tulum.

By Car

The easiest way to get to Cenote Cristalino is by car. Whether you’re staying in Playa del Carmel, Akumal or Tulum, renting a car is an easy and convenient way to explore the local cenotes. Driving in Yucatan is safe and very straightforward, as roads are well-marked and of decent quality. If you rent a car, you will also be able to visit more places in one day. And, if you’re travelling with a family or a group of friends, it may even work out cheaper.

We always use Discover Cars to browse for the cheapest car rental deals from the top-rated providers. With Discover Cars, you can book a car safely with no hidden cost, and they also offer a generous cancellation policy in case your travel plans change.

If you’re travelling during the peak season (November to April), we highly recommend booking your car ahead of your vacation, as the best rental shops sell out fast.

Cristalino Cenote is located just off the main road 307, which connects Tulum to Cancun. From Tulum, you will have to turn left and cross the main road, while from Playa del Carmen, Cenote Cristalino will be on your right-hand side.

The parking at Cenote Cristalino Riviera Maya is free but comes a little small. If you’re planning to visit during the weekend, leave early in the morning to ensure you can find a parking space.

By Colectivo Bus

Colectivo stop in Tulum.
Colectivo bust stop in Tulum.

Travelling on a budget or simply wanting to experience the local transport system? No problem. It is also possible to visit Cenote Cristalino Playa del Carmen by a colectivo bus. Colectivo buses are small passenger vans that normally serve short-distance connections in Mexico.

From Tulum

Colectivo Bus station in Tulum is located near Raw Love restaurant and across the street from ADO Bus Station. There are no set timetables, but Tulum towards Playa del Carmen is a fairly common route, so you shouldn’t have any problems catching a bus. The bus leaves when there are enough passengers to make the trip financially worthwhile.

Make sure you have a small change with you, as the driver of colectivo may not have change to give you. It is customary to pay for your ticket when you’re exiting the bus. You also need to tell the driver that you want to go to Cenote Cristalino and keep an eye on the location on your phone to make sure you get off at the right place, as the driver is not likely to remember all the requested stops. Just before Cristalino Cenote, stand up and let the driver know you want to get off.

You’ll get dropped off on the right side of the road, so be extremely careful when crossing the busy road to the cenote. On your way back, just wait in front of the cenote, and wave down any white minivan that has a “Tulum” sign on the front. As there are no set timetables, you may need to be a little patient.

From Playa del Carmen

All the tips that we shared above also apply to getting a colectivo bus from Playa del Carmen. Colectivo bus station in Playa del Carmen is located behind Chedraui supermarket. Again, make sure to have some change on you and tell the driver where you want to get off.

A one-way collective ticket should be well under 100 pesos ($6).

What To Expect At Cenote Cristalino?

cenote cristalino
Live jackets are optional & can be rented from the ticket office.
Shower area at Cenote Cristalino.

When you arrive at the parking lot near the entrance, there is a ticket booth where you can purchase tickets for entry and rent life vests if needed. If you’re not a confident swimmer, it is a good idea to get one. Floating in a lifevest is actually a very pleasant experience, and there is no shame in doing that!

From there, you will walk down the stairs to reach the main pool of water, which is surrounded by lush greenery and large rocks.

The water is crystal clear and offers great visibility into its depths, where large rocks sit on the bottom. There are also two smaller cenotes a little more hidden away.

Also, make sure you walk around to explore the whole complex and everything it has on offer. At the end of your visit, to avoid any confusion, be certain to leave the Cenote Cristalino Mexico through the same gate you entered, as there are two entrances!

Swimming at Cenote Cristalino Tulum

cristalino cenote

The water is shallow for the most part, but be sure to wear water shoes as the rocks can be quite slippery and uneven. The water may feel a bit chilly, especially in the early morning when the pool is in the shade.

We recommend you plan to come during the late morning or early afternoon when the pool is in the sun for a much more pleasant swimming experience.

And don’t forget to swim through the cave for a truly unique experience! And, also check out the two smaller, hidden cenotes, where you can relax in shallow water.

Snorkelling at Cenote Cristalino

Cristalino Cenote is one of the best cenotes in Yucatan.

Cenote Cristalino (as the name suggests) has some of the most crystal clear water and is home to plenty of fish species, making it an ideal destination for snorkelling enthusiasts.

If you want to make the most of your snorkelling experience, plan your trip for the later morning/early afternoon when the pool is in the sun. This is the best time for snorkelling as the sunlight will illuminate the water, revealing the beauty of the underwater world. If you don’t have your own snorkelling gear, no worries! You can easily rent it here. 

Exploring caves

Hidden cenote at Cristalino.
cenote cristalino playa del carmen
Another smaller pool.

Swim through the cave tunnel and explore its rock formations hanging from the roof. The cave stalactites are formed through the process of water filtering through the limestone and take thousands of years to form.

As you swim, you will notice how clean and clear cenote water is – it is filtered through the ground! The water temperature at the cenote is very refreshing, so make sure to bring a towel to dry yourself off afterwards.

Cliff jumping at Cristalino

cristalino cenote

One of the most fun things to do at Cenote Cristalino is cliff jumping. You’ll find a jumping spot at the back of the main cenote pool. To get to it, go past the main pool on your right, where you’ll find a staircase. Climb up the staircase and go right until you reach the cliff.

Jumping into the clear, turquoise waters of Cenote Cristalino is an exhilarating experience.

The water depth at the jumping area is 3.5 meters deep, and there is a safety robe which separated this area from the main swimming part. Before your jump, make sure there are no swimmers underneath. The jump height is 3.2 meters.

Facilities at Cenote Cristalino Playa Del Carmen

cenote cristalino
Bathrooms & changing rooms.
cenote cristalino playa del carmen
Lockers and cafeteria at Cenote Cristalino.


The car park is free of charge and situated just in front of the cenote entrance, by the main road.


Life jackets are optional and free to use. If you want one, get it at the ticket booth before going down to the cenote.

Changing rooms & toilets

Changing rooms and bathrooms are located on the way to the main cenote pool.


You can find lockers by the main cenote pool, inside a small cafeteria. The fee for a locker is 100 pesos (under $6).


You can also hire a plastic lounger if you’re planning to spend a longer time at the cenote. The fee is also 100 pesos (under $6).


There is also a small snack shop selling simple grabs, cold drinks and waterproof phone cases. It is located by the main cenote.

Is Cenote Cristalino Worth Visiting?

Yes, Cenote Cristalino is definitely worth visiting! With crystal-clear water which is teeming with colourful fish, this cenote is perfect for snorkelling. It also has a cool tunnel-like cave and, for the thrill-seekers – a 3.2-meter high jumping platform. Moreover, the entrance fee is much cheaper than other cenotes in the area, like Grand Cenote or Cenote Dos Ojos, and it’s usually less busy.

A big sign at the Cenote Cristalino's car park.
Colourful letters at the Cenote Cristalino’s car park.

More tips for visiting Cenote Cristalino

☑️ Avoid weekends

Looking for a tranquil experience? You might want to steer clear of this spot on Saturdays and Sundays, as it tends to attract quite the crowd.

☑️ Bring a fast-drying towel

Nothing beats a refreshing dip in a cenote on a hot day, but nobody wants to spend their time waiting for a soggy towel to dry. Equip yourself with a fast-drying towel which takes well less space in your bag and, as the name suggests, dries fast.

A photo shoot at Cristalino.

☑️ Wear water shoes

Make sure you pack a pair of water shoes in your bag! Not only do they protect your feet from slippery and uneven rocks, but they also make for a more comfortable and enjoyable experience.

☑️ Protect your skin with a rash guard

Since sun cream is not allowed when swimming at the best cenotes Playa del Carmen or Tulum has to offer, it is a good idea to protect your skin by wearing a rash guard.

☑️ Bring cash

Don’t forget to tuck some change in your pocket for the entrance fee to the cenote and for other extras such as a snorkel rental or some snacks.

What Are Cenotes In Mexico?

cenote cristalino playa del carmen

Have you ever heard of cenotes before? Although mainly associated with the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, cenotes can be found around the globe. These sinkholes are caused by limestone rocks collapsing and exposing groundwater underneath them — making for an incredibly refreshing swimming experience!

The water is usually cool and clear due to it being filtered through gravel beneath. The cenote colours can range from deep blue to emerald green depending on what type of rock and life lies below. Swimming in a cenote definitely deserves a place at the top of your bucket list!

There are three types of cenotes In Mexico

Underground cenotes

Chukum Cenote Valladolid
Cenote Chukum.

Mexico’s underground cenotes, or cavern cenotes, are some of the most captivating places to visit. These caves contain only a tiny opening in their roofs through which little sunlight can penetrate the cave inside, and as a consequence, they are normally pretty dark inside. An example of a cavern cenote is Cenote Chukum.

Semi-open cenotes  

cenote suytun

Semi-open cenotes are far older than cavern cenotes, and as a consequence, part of the limestone covering them that has been gradually eroding over millions of years is collapsed.

The openings in semi-open cenotes permit more light to penetrate inside with greater vegetation growth too. If you visit during midday when a sunbeam passes through an opening in the ceiling – it’s breathtakingly magical! It reflects off the waters within, creating a spellbinding extraterrestrial atmosphere. Our favourite semi-open cenote is the Instagram-famous Cenote Suytun.

Open cenotes

Cenote car wash tulum
Cenote Car Wash near Tulum.

Open cenotes don’t have a roof, and their pools are entirely exposed to the outside environment. They are my favourite cenotes because they let in plenty of light and have the lushest vegetation. Cenote Cristalino Playa del Carmen is an open cenote, as well as Cenote Escondido and Cenote Car Wash.

Ancient cenotes

Bacalar cenotes.
Bacalar cenotes.

At over 66 million years old, ancient cenotes are by far the oldest cenotes Riviera Maya has to offer. With both their walls and roofs long eroded away, these cenotes have taken on a lagoon-like appearance rather than cave-like; Cenote Azul and Cenote Cocalitos are just some of many examples located in Bacalar.

Other Nearby Tulum Cenotes 

Cenote Azul – Best for swimming

Cenote tour from Cancun.
Cenote Azul

Nestled in a lush jungle right next to Cenote Cristalino, Cenote Azul is an open cenote with two shallow pools perfect for swimming and snorkelling. Its spectacular azure water surrounded by vibrant nature creates the most idyllic scenery – it’s no wonder this place has become so popular! Despite being popular, Cenote Azul is one of my favourite cenotes in Yucatan!

Casa Cenote – Best for kayaking

Cenote Casa
Cenote Casa.

Situated in Tankah Bay, just a few metres from the ocean, lies this extraordinary Mexican cenote. Its emerald-green water has a snake-like formation, and it serves as an entrance to an underground river!

Additionally, its close proximity to the sea creates halocline (a mix of fresh water and seawater), making your swimming or diving experience truly one-of-a-kind. Also, due to its length and shape, Casa Cenote is one of the best cenotes in Yucatan for kayaking! If you are looking for something out of the ordinary, this cenote should definitely be on your list!

Cenote Dos Ojos – Best for diving

Cenote Dos Ojos
Cenote Dos Ojos.

Dos Ojos Cenotes (Two Eyes Cenotes) is part of an expansive, 61-kilometre-long underwater cave system boasting one of the deepest passages in this region – a remarkable 118 metres long cave passage! With such impressive credentials, it’s easy to see why Cenote dos Ojos is widely regarded as one of Tulum’s premier diving cenotes.

Cenote Dos Ojos Tulum comprises the First Eye, Second Eye and the Bat Cave. The Second Eye is the biggest and deepest cenote and, therefore, the best section for swimming. Although all the pools are shaded here, the water temperature is a perfect 24 – 25 degrees Celsius year-round, with the added bonus of incredible visibility. 

Where To Stay Near Cristalino Cenote?

Tulum and Playa del Carmen are both excellent bases for exploring the best cenotes in Riviera Maya!

Ikal Tulum HotelPlaya Paraiso Tulum

tulum boutique hotels on the beach
Ikal Tulum Hotel via Booking.com

Ikal hotel, situated on the stunning Playa Paraiso beachfront, offers a range of chic boho-style suites, bungalows and even treehouses with private plunge pools and gorgeous ocean views. Guests can easily slip away into relaxation mode by either lounging around at the poolside or soaking up some sun in our secluded private beach area.

Book your stay at this awesome hotel here:

The Reef 28Adults Only Playa del Carmen

Where to stay near Cenote Cristalino
The Reef 28 via Booking.com

With its contemporary suites, some featuring baths and kitchens, The Reef 28 is the perfect hotel for couples seeking romance. Not only does this luxurious property offer two stunning rooftop pools, a spa and wellness centre, as well as a bar and restaurant – it also offers fantastic all-inclusive packages!

Book this hotel at the cheapest rate here:

Cenote Cristalino: FAQ

Do you need to book in advance to visit Cenote Cristalino?

No, you do not need to book in advance to visit Cenote Cristalino. You can purchase tickets for entry at the ticket booth near the entrance when you arrive. Make sure to have enough cash with you, as the cenote does not accept card payments or payments in different currencies such as dollar, euro or sterling.

How deep is Cenote Cristalino?

Cenote Cristalino is an ideal spot for swimmers of all levels, with depths ranging from 3.5 meters depth in the jump spot, to shallow areas that are perfect for a leisurely dip. If you don’t feel comfortable in the deeper water, be sure to rent a lifejacket before jumping in! Additionally, two smaller cenotes offer more seclusion and privacy if desired and are much shallower.

Do you wear water shoes in cenotes?

Yes, wearing water shoes in cenotes is recommended to protect your feet from sharp rocks or gravel on the ground. Water shoes also provide extra grip on slick surfaces, making swimming and exploring easier. But, if you don’t have water shoes, it is also okay to swim barefoot and just take extra precautions when walking on slippery rocks.

cenote cristalino playa del carmen

What is the best time of day to visit Cenote Cristalino?

The best time to visit Cenote Cristalino is late morning, as it tends to be less busy than during peak hours. This way, you can avoid crowds and have the cenote all to yourself. Additionally, the early morning sun means that the pool is still in the shade, and it may be a little chilly for swimming. It’s also wise to avoid weekends as they tend to be the busiest, with many local families spending time at the cenotes Cristalino.

Why can’t you wear sunscreen in cenotes?

Chemicals found in sunscreens, such as oxybenzone and octinoxate, can be toxic to the marine life that exists within cenotes. Research has shown that sunscreen chemicals can contaminate the water and poison living organisms, so it’s important to wear protective clothing instead. Long-sleeved rash guards or wetsuits are great options for those who want to protect their skin from the sun while also respecting nature! Alternatively, you can also purchase a reef-friendly suncream such as Sun Bum.

Can I get sick swimming in a cenote?

No, it is very unlikely you get sick from swimming in a cenote. The cenote water is super clean, as the water gets filtered through the ground over a long period of time. It is obviously not recommended to drink water from the pool, but if you happen to ingest some by mistake, don’t panic, you are still unlikely to get sick from it.

Cenote Cristalino: Final Word

All in all, Cenote Cristalino is a bucket list must-see for anyone visiting the Playa del Carmen and Tulum areas. Not only is it visually stunning and ripe with fish, but the cool cave provides an interesting backdrop, and there’s even a spot for jumping in. Cristalino is also not as busy as other more popular cenotes nearby, and its entrance ticket is cheap, allowing you to visit a few more cenotes in one day.

Add this captivating natural attraction to your day trip itinerary, and enjoy!

READ ALSO: 10+ Best Tulum Cenotes Tours

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