Are you looking for the best Tulum cenotes that are perfect for an easy day trip from Tulum Pueblo or Zona Hotelara?
Swimming in a Tulum cenote is a super unique experience and, hands down, one of the best things to do in Tulum! Cenotes have a special meaning in the ancient Mayan culture, and there is still something very mystical about them. Make sure you add at least 2-3 favourite cenotes to your Tulum itinerary.
You can either self-drive to these awe-inspiring natural formations or join organised cenote tours from Tulum. However you choose to visit, don’t forget your camera, as Tulum cenotes are one of the best Tulum Instagram spots!
Best Tulum Cenotes Tour
If you’re looking for an organised Tulum cenote tour, I can recommend the jungle bike tour that takes you to Cenote Escondido and Cenote Cristal, which are both off-grid Tulum cenotes and the best cenote near Tulum – Gran Cenote. The tour also includes a guide and lunch.
What To Expect At Cenotes Near Tulum
A cenote is created when the rocky roof of a naturally formed underground well or pit collapses, leaving the chamber and the groundwater inside intact. Think of it as a large natural hole in the ground containing rainwater! Some cenotes are part of a large underground cave system or river.
Cenotes only form in limestone rock which is something the Yucatan Peninsula has in abundance. In fact, there are an estimated 6,000 Yucatan cenotes, some of which are thought to be over 60 million years old. The Mayans used cenotes as a source of fresh water, and their popularity continues today.
Due to the rainwater’s slow filtration of particles through the original roof of the cavern, the water in a cenote is exceptionally clear and offers excellent visibility for swimming, diving and snorkelling.
There are four types of cenotes found in Tulum. ‘Ancient’ cenotes are the oldest, ‘open cenotes’ are fully exposed to the sky, ‘semi open’ cenotes, as the name suggests, are partially exposed, and ‘cavern’ cenotes are cenotes found underground.
Tulum cenotes range from a few metres to hundreds of metres wide.
You can reach cenotes near Tulum (such as Calavera and Gran Cenote) by bike or shared bus, whereas other, more remote cenotes (including Cenote dos Ojos) will require a car to visit.
Map Of Cenotes In Tulum
Click anywhere on the map to access the interactive version of the map of cenotes in Tulum.
#1 Gran Cenote Tulum
BEST FOR | crystal clear snorkelling
WHERE | 5 kilometres from Tulum town
ENTRANCE FEE | 500 pesos
OPENING HOURS | 8 am – 4.15 pm.
How To Get To Gran Cenote
If you are self-driving, take the main 109 Road from Tulum towards Coba. Gran Cenote is on the right-hand side, around five kilometres from town. Look out for the entrance sign and car park. This will also be a short taxi ride from Tulum or a pleasant bike ride if you’re up for a small workout.
Alternatively, catch a Tulum to Coba colectivo (bus). Make sure you tell the driver that you want to get off at Gran Cenote.
What To Expect At Gran Cenotes Tulum Mexico
Gran Cenote is one of Tulum’s most popular cenotes due to its proximity to Tulum plus its idyllic setting.
Gran cenote in Tulum is a series of caves and caverns linked by a wooden walkway and a cave. The open cenote has incredibly clear turquoise water, which is perfect for snorkelling, and it is also a popular spot for cave divers.
The snorkelling gear is included in the cenote ticket, but you must bring with you an ID card or passport to leave as a deposit.
You can expect to see turtles and lots of fish whilst swimming, and there’s a designated diving and jumping spot here. Outside the cenote, visitors can sunbathe on the manicured grass or relax in a free hammock.
There are toilets, changing rooms, showers and lockers on site.
#2 Cenote Calavera Tulum
BEST FOR | uniqueness!
WHERE | 2.8 km from Tulum town
ENTRANCE FEE | 250 pesos
OPENING HOURS | 8.30 am – 5 pm
How To Get To Cenote Calavera
Calavera Cenote is situated on Highway 109, and, as it is only just over two kilometres from Tulum, this is one of the easiest cenotes to visit. You can cycle to the cenote in around 20 minutes, take a cheap taxi or catch a colectivo (in the direction of Coba).
What To Expect At Cenote Calavera
Cenote Calavera in Tulum (or Skull Cenote) gets its name from the three holes in its roof. Ominously, it is also known as The Temple of Doom.
This is a Cántaro cenote which means the entrance hole is smaller than the actual cenote. As a result, there is nowhere to stand or sit inside the cenote, so you must swim. Unusually, the halcyon layer of this cenote (where fresh and saltwater mixes) is dense, so you can clearly see ‘layers’ of water when swimming.
Note that if you are scared of heights, access to Calavera cenote Tulum is by ladder only or from designated jumping spots. There is no step or incline entry into the water.
There are toilets, showers, hammocks, a car park and life vest rentals on site. There is also a small shop and bar for refreshments. If you want to take photos here, you will have to pay an extra charge for the use of a professional camera. Taking photos with your phone is free of charge.
#3 Laguna de Kaan Luum
BEST FOR | scenic setting
WHERE | 10 kilometres south of Tulum
ENTRANCE FEE | 300 pesos
OPENING HOURS | 9 am – 4 pm every day
How To Get To Laguna de Kaan Luum
The lagoon is south of Tulum, just off highway 307. It is a straightforward drive or taxi ride to the cenote, or you can catch a Colectivo in the direction of Felipe Carillo. From the bus drop-off point, it is a ten-minute walk to the cenote.
What To Expect At Laguna de Kaan Luum
Laguna de Kaan Luum (which means ‘ yellow earth’ in Mayan) is a secluded lake-like cenote in the middle of the Mexican jungle. It is one of the biggest cenotes in Tulum.
The lake is shallow and encircles a central cenote which is over 80 metres deep. The depth of this cenote in Tulum compared to the surrounding shallow waters creates a fascinating mix of colours.
Laguna de Kaan Luum offers some of the best cenote snorkelling Tulum has to offer, as you can expect to see triggerfish, angelfish, turtles and eels here. You cannot swim into the closed-off deep part of the cenote due to strong currents.
There is a kiosk selling fresh coconut, hammocks, cabanas for shade and Instagram-worthy swings over the water. Facilities include toilets, showers and parking. Visitors can also hire paddle boards and kayaks on-site.
#4 Casa Cenote Tulum (Cenote Manati)
BEST FOR | variety of aquatic life
WHERE | 8 km north of Tulum
ENTRANCE FEE | 150 pesos
OPENING HOURS | every day from 9 am – 5 pm
How To Get To Casa Cenote
It is best to self-drive to Casa Cenote on the 307 Highway. If you take a public bus, it will drop you on the main road from where it is at least a one-kilometre hot walk to the cenote.
Look out for the signs for ‘Blue Sky’ (Ceilo Maya) on the right of Highway 307; this is the turning point to reach the cenote.
What To Expect At Casa Cenote
Casa Cenotes Tulum gets its name from the restaurant located here. The cenote used to be called Cenote Manati after the manatees that once swam here.
This Mexican cenote is situated in Tankah Bay, just a few metres from the ocean. The snake-shaped emerald green water here is not the usual sinkhole formation, it is an entrance to an underground river. Due to its proximity to the sea, the halocline (mix of fresh water and seawater) in Casa Cenote is noticeable, which makes for a unique swimming or diving experience.
In addition, the cenote is located in a mangrove field, giving snorkelers and divers the unusual feeling of swimming ‘under’ the jungle. Swimmers can expect to see eels, tarpons, crabs, and guppies. You may even see a small Panchito crocodile here. When you have exhausted snorkelling in the river, you can walk a few minutes and swim in the sea.
This cenote is perfect for beginner divers but not for beginner swimmers due to its depth and current.
Snorkelling equipment, kayaks and paddleboards can be rented on site. Casa Cenote offers some of the best cenotes diving Tulum has to offer, but it is only available by a guided trip at this location.
#5 Cenote Azul Tulum
BEST FOR | family-friendly swimming
WHERE | 40 kilometres from Tulum
ENTRANCE FEE | 120 pesos
OPENING HOURS | 8 am to 5.30 pm (last entry 4 pm)
How To Get To Cenote Azul
This Tulum cenote is 40 kilometres from Tulum on the Tulum to Cancun highway. You can self-drive or take a colectivo in the direction of Playa del Carmen and ask the driver to get off at Barcelo hotel.
What To Expect At Azul
Cenote Azul is an open cenote consisting of two shallow pools, the largest of which is the best pool for swimming and snorkelling. The crystal clear azure water set against the green jungle makes this a scenic location, and the good facilities found here makes it a popular location too.
There are several safe jumping spots plus easy entry/exit points for children or people who don’t like jumping into the water. Whilst most of the cenote is shallow, there are different depths suitable for different ages. Visitors can scuba dive or go snorkelling.
Facilities include parking, toilets, a snack bar, snorkelling equipment rental and lockers. There are benches for picnics and shaded areas to escape the sun. Wet shoes are advisable as the moss-covered rocks moss can be slippery.
The good facilities and shallow, calm waters make this the best cenote Tulum has for families.
#6 Cenote Dos Ojos
BEST FOR | varied locations and space for swimming
WHERE | 17 kilometres north of Tulum
ENTRANCE FEE | 350 pesos
OPENING HOURS | 8 am – 5 pm
How To Get To Cenote Dos Ojos
It is a 20-minute drive from Tulum to Dos Ojos. Alternatively, take a bus from Tulum to Xel Há, from where you can catch a taxi for a ten-minute ride to the cenote.
What To Expect At Dos Ojos
Dos Ojos cenotes (Two Eyes Cenotes) is one of the largest underwater cave systems in this area. It has the deepest cave passage (118 metres), and the cave system is a staggering 61 kilometres long. With stats such as this, it is understandable why Cenote dos Ojos is one of the most popular dive cenotes Tulum has to offer.
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.
If you are looking for a unique Tulum cenote, Dos Ojos is a great option. Snorkelling and swimming around stalactites and stalagmites through natural light rays is an unforgettable experience.
Note that life vests are mandatory here but are included in the entrance fee, and entry is cheaper if you pay in pesos rather than U.S. dollars. Underwater flashlights are also recommended.
Facilities include toilets, changing rooms, showers and lockers (don’t forget your pesos). There are snorkel rentals, a snack shop and a restaurant. You can even indulge in a post-swim massage. Free parking is available on site.
#7 Cenote Casa Tortuga
BEST FOR | jungle location and variety of cenotes
WHERE | 15-minute drive north of Tulum
ENTRANCE FEE | 650 pesos (4 cenotes)
OPENING HOURS | Open every day from 9 am to 5 pm
How To Get To Casa Tortuga Cenote Tulum
To reach Casa Tortuga Tulum (Turtle House), drive north on the Tulum to Cancun Highway for 15 minutes. The entrance to the cenote is well-signposted.
What To Expect Cenote At Casa Tortuga
Cenotes Casa Tortuga Tulum is a relatively new attraction consisting of four separate cenotes (Wisho, Bell Jaguar and Tres Zapotes), which can only be accessed by guided tour (included in your entrance fee).
The jade green waters range from one metre to eight metres deep. Bell, Wisho and Jaguar cenotes are semi-open with some low ceilings in places, and you can see bats and ancient fossils within the caverns surrounding the cenotes.
Tres Zapotes is a fully open cenote and is more than 100 metres long. All four cenotes are located in the heart of a lush jungle, so you will be enveloped by flora and fauna.
There is a restaurant with an à la carte service, toilets, lockers, showers and changing rooms. You can also sleep here in the property’s houses, suites or loft accommodation.
If you only have time to visit one cenote in one location on your trip, this Tulum Mexico cenote is a great option as it will give you a taste of the different types of cenotes you can experience.
#8 Cenote Sac Actun (Pet Cemetery Cenote)
BEST FOR | Cave diving and cave formations
WHERE | 12 km north of Tulum
ENTRANCE FEE | 100 pesos
OPENING HOURS | Every day from 9 am to 5 pm
How To Get To Cenote Sac Actun
Sac Actun Tulum can be accessed from the same entrance as Cenote dos Ojos (see above).
What To Expect At Cenote Sac Actun
Cenote Sac Actun (White Cave) Tulum forms part of the world’s second-longest underwater cave system, an estimated 230 kilometres long.
The semi-open cavern is filled with delicate and fragile low-hanging stalactites from its low ceiling. The cave is thought to have been used by the Mayans as a disposal pit for animals, hence why so many animal bones and fossils have been found here.
It is an eerie and otherworldly place to visit and even more unique to swim in.
There is step access to the water, but you can only visit the cenote with a guide and wearing a mandatory life vest. Visitors can snorkel independently, but diving is only allowed as part of a tour.
There are toilets, showers and changing rooms on site.
#9 Tulum Cenote Car Wash
BEST FOR | jumping and uncrowded swimming
WHERE | 9 km from Tulum
ENTRANCE FEE | 300 peso
OPENING HOURS | Open daily from 8 am to 5 pm
How To Get To Cenote Car Wash Tulum
Carwash cenote is just off the main 109 Tulum to Coba Highway. You can drive, take a taxi or hire a scooter or bike to reach the cenote. Look for the signs approximately three kilometres after Gran Cenote.
What To Expect At Cenote Car Wash
Car Wash Cenote (Cenote Aktun Ha in Mayan) can be combined with a trip to Gran Cenote nearby. It is a large, open cenote (more like a lagoon) which is usually less crowded than other Tulum cenotes.
It has deep clear water with easy entry and exit points and is a good location for diving and jumping – there is a three-metre high jumping platform here. Visitors can snorkel or swim without a life vest and can walk around the cenote on a wooden boardwalk.
There are toilets, changing rooms and a car park on site.
#10 Cenote Nicte Ha
BEST FOR | non-confident swimmers and families with young children
WHERE | 20-minute drive north of Tulum
ENTRANCE FEE | 250 pesos
OPENING HOURS | 9 am to 4 pm each day
How To Get To Cenote Nicte Ha
Nicte Ha cenote (Flower of Water) can be visited in conjunction with Dos Ojos as the two cenotes are only five kilometres apart on Highway 309. Self drive from Tulum, take a taxi or catch a colectivo to reach this cenote.
What To Expect Cenote At Nicte Ha
This small open cenote is a tranquil, scenic pool which is less visited than other Tulum cenotes. If you are lucky enough to have this cenote to yourself, it feels magical. The cenote is known for its water lilies, and you can also expect to see turtles and a variety of fish.
The water is shallow (ranging from three to nine feet deep) and crystal clear. Step access provides easy entry and exit points. It is one of the best cenotes Tulum Mexico can offer families with young children.
There are toilets on site.
#11 Cenote Escondido
BEST FOR | secluded swimming
WHERE | 6 km southwest of Tulum
ENTRANCE FEE | 150 pesos (300 pesos if you are diving)
OPENING HOURS | Open daily from 9 am to 4 pm
How To Get To Cenote Escondido
Drive for six kilometres southwest of Tulum on the 307 Highway in the direction of Chetumal/Cancun. The cenote is on the right-hand side of the road opposite Cenote Cristal, but you will need to buy your tickets at the Cenote Cristal entrance on the left.
What To Expect At Cenote Escondido
Escondido Cenote is a long, thin, deep blue freshwater cenote surrounded by lush greenery. It is an idyllic and secluded spot for swimming; this cenote is not called ‘hidden cenote’ in Mayan for no reason! If you are looking for lesser-visited Tulum Mexico cenotes, Cenote Escondido is for you.
You can snorkel or swim without life vests and use the 3-metre high rope swing into the water.
There are showers and picnic tables on site.
#12 Cenote Cristalino
BEST FOR | families with different ages and for easy access from Tulum
WHERE | 25 km from Tulum
ENTRANCE FEE | 150 pesos
OPENING HOURS | every day, 8 am to 6 pm
How To Get To Cenote Cristalino
Self-drive to the cenote on the Carretera Federal or catch a colectivo in the direction of Playa del Carmen. From the bus drop-off point, it is only a few minutes walk to the cenote.
What To Expect At Cenote Cristalino
Cenote Cristalino is one of the most visited Riviera Maya cenotes due to its proximity to both Tulum and Playa del Carmen. It is a stunning, open-air cenote with emerald green waters.
Considered to be one of the best cenotes near Tulum, this cenote has something for everyone, including easy access for kids, space for sunbathing, a three-metre high jumping platform and excellent visibility for snorkelers and swimmers. You can rent out snorkel gear and see a lot of colourful fish. There is also a 20-metre-long cave to explore.
There are showers, toilets and lockers on site. Visitors can also rent sun loungers. For the best experience, we recommend visiting the cenote in the late morning when it is at its quietest.
#13 Cenote Zacil-Ha
BEST FOR | families
WHERE | 8 km from Tulum
ENTRANCE FEE | 200 pesos
OPENING HOURS | every day from 9 am to 5 pm
How To Get To Cenote Zacil-Ha
Self drive on the road to Coba or catch a colectivo from Tulum.
What To Expect At Cenote Zacil-Ha
This small sinkhole offers visitors cool, clear water. Due to its small size, Cenote Zacil-Ha (meaning ‘clear water’) is best visited early morning or late afternoon to avoid the busiest times.
The cenote is three metres deep, so it is a good introduction to cenote swimming for less confident swimmers.
Family-friendly facilities include a restaurant, a swimming pool and lifeguards. You can even have a go at the aquatic zipline into the cenote or explore a small cave.
There is parking, toilets, showers and a restaurant on site. It is one of the best cenotes Tulum has to offer in terms of facilities.
Practical Tips For Cenotes In Tulum
These are a few practical and safety issues to consider before visiting the best cenotes in Tulum.
- The best time to visit a cenote is in the early morning. The light is best for photography, and you are guaranteed a tranquil environment before the crowds arrive. Weekdays are quieter than weekends.
- Bring cash for entrance fees and lunch.
- Bring a towel or sarong and your own snorkelling gear to avoid rental fees at a cenote.
- To protect the pristine water in the cenote, visitors must shower before swimming. It is also advised to shower after swimming.
- Do not apply sunscreen or body lotions before swimming in a cenote, as it will contaminate the water.
- Read the swimming rules at the cenote carefully, as some cenotes require visitors to wear a lifevest. The rules are in force for a reason. Several cenotes are fed by underground rivers, so you may experience unexpected currents. Plus, the water in some cenotes is very deep and can be cold, even in summer. If you are not a strong swimmer, it is advisable to wear a lifevest.
- Do not jump or dive into the water, as there may be submerged rocks. Only jump in from designated locations.
- Avoid drinking alcohol before swimming. There have been accidents and fatalities in Tulum cenotes.
Tulum Cenote Final Word
Tulum cenotes are an unmissable natural feature of this region; even if you do not go swimming, the cenotes are worth visiting for their beauty and idyllic surroundings.
If you do go swimming, you can expect to see a variety of wildlife and experience crystal-clear water filled with sparkling light patterns. Divers can enjoy some of the best cave diving conditions in the world, as well as fascinating dive sites packed with fossils, narrow passages and underwater formations.
Don’t forget your mask and snorkel as snorkelling Tulum cenotes is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that should be grasped.
I hope this comprehensive guide to the best Tulum cenotes has inspired you to add a few of these special places to your Tulum itinerary.