Ultimate Guide: 9 Best Cenotes in Tulum, Mexico
Are you looking for the best cenotes in Tulum, Quintana Roo? There are many mysterious cenotes in Mexico and at least 6,000 beautiful cenotes in the Yucatan Peninsula.
You can easily spend a whole day visiting the cenotes near Tulum, where you can swim, snorkel, and jump off the platforms into the crystal clear water.
In this post, you’ll find the best cenotes in Tulum, learn why they were essential to the Mayan civilization, and get practical information about the cenotes.
Use the map at the bottom of this post to find the best cenotes near Tulum.
- Ultimate Guide: 9 Best Cenotes in Tulum, Mexico
- What is a Cenote?
- Best Cenotes near Tulum, Mexico
- 1. Cenote Suytun
- 2. Cenotes Casa Tortuga Tulum
- 3. Cenote Calavera
- 4. Gran Cenote
- 5. Cenote Ik Kil
- 6. Cenote Oxman
- 7. Cenote Aktun Ha (Cenote Carwash)
- 8. Cenote Azul
- 9. Cenote Dos Ojos
- What to Pack for the Cenotes
- Tips for Visiting the Best Cenotes in Tulum
- Map of the Best Cenotes in Tulum
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What is a Cenote?
Cenotes are natural freshwater sinkholes that form after the collapse of an underground limestone cave, exposing the groundwater underneath.
The cenotes are filled with crystal clear, cold underground and rainwater.
These cenotes and underground rivers provided the Maya with drinking water and irrigation supply.
The cenotes were a sacred place, and Maya people believed that the cenotes were a passage to the underworld and the afterlife.
Therefore during Mayan rituals, they offered valuables and human sacrifices to their gods.
Visiting the cenotes is one of the best things to do in Tulum, Mexico.
You can escape from the heat, swim, snorkel, enjoy the scenery of natural sinkholes or go scuba diving.
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Types of Cenotes in the Yucatan Peninsula
There are different types of cenotes: open cenotes, semi-open cenotes, cave cenotes, and underground cenotes.
Best Cenotes near Tulum, Mexico
1. Cenote Suytun
The Cenote Suytun is an underground cenote with a small hole in the ceiling from which light is beamed directly onto the platform.
Good to know that the Cenote Suytun platform is not always underwater, depending on weather conditions.
However, in the dry season, you can usually walk on the platform, which is a fantastic experience.
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General information for visiting Cenote Suytun
- Cenote Suytun is open daily from 9 AM to 5 PM.
- Because Cenote Suytun is the most popular cenote in Mexico, if you want to avoid the line, arrive in the morning!
- The entrance fee to Cenote Suytun is 150 MXN.
If you want to catch the Cenote Suytun when the natural light is beaming on the platform, you should visit from noon to 2 PM.
2. Cenotes Casa Tortuga Tulum
Are you looking for the best cenotes in Tulum where you don’t have to beat the crowds?
If you stay in Cenotes Casa Tortuga Tulum, you’ll get free access to one cenote, and you can also visit before opening hours.
The cenotes at Casa Tortuga Tulum are stunningly beautiful and well worth a visit.
When you want to zipline in Tulum, one of the best places is the Cenotes Casa Tortuga, and after that, you can refresh in the beautiful turquoise waters.
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General information for visiting Cenotes Casa Tortuga Tulum
- Cenotes Casa Tortuga Tulum is open from 9 AM to 5 PM.
Casa Tortuga Tulum is just a 15-minute drive from the city center.
- The entrance fee is 650 MXN which includes a local guide, a lifejacket, access to the 4-cenotes, and the zipline.
3. Cenote Calavera
The Cenote Calavera is one of the best cenotes in Tulum, where you can spend a few relaxing hours, jump in the water, relax on the swing, scuba dive or take some creative shots.
Calavera means “skull” in Spanish, and the name comes from the form cenote.
It wasn’t so famous before, but thanks to Instagram, those who visit Tulum already have Cenote Calavera on their bucket list.
General information for visiting Cenote Calavera
- Cenote Calavera is open every day from 9 AM to 5 PM.
- Because it’s only a few minutes from the center of Tulum, you can easily reach the Cenote Calavera by car, bike, or taxi.
- The entrance fee to the Cenote Calavera is 250 MXN, and there is an extra 200 MXN fee for camera use.
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4. Gran Cenote
The Gran Cenote is the most popular cenote in Tulum, therefore is always crowded. So we recommend visiting early in the morning or just before closing time.
At the Gran Cenote, you can swim, snorkel and explore the underwater caves. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to visit the Gran Cenote, but if you have the time, be sure to visit!
General information for visiting Gran Cenote
- The Gran Cenote is open every day from 8 AM to 4.45 PM.
- It is located just a few kilometers from Tulum on the road to the Coba ruins, near Cenote Calavera.
- The entrance fee to the Gran Cenote is higher than the other cenotes, at 300 MXN per person.
5. Cenote Ik Kil
Cenote Ik Kil is one of the best cenotes near Tulum and should be on every Mexico itinerary.
Take a day trip from Tulum and visit Chichen Itza, then after exploring the Mayan ruins, enjoy a dip at Cenote Ik Kil.
Cenote Ik Kil is a beautiful open cenote with long tendrils of vines and green plants that offers fantastic photo opportunities.
Take a few photos from above and then go down and swim or jump into the turquoise water from the platforms.
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General information for visiting Cenote Ik Kil
- Cenote Ik Kil is open daily from 9 AM to 5 PM.
- From Chichen Itza, Cenote Ik Kil is just a 5-minute drive away.
- The entrance fee is 150 MXN, which includes a life jacket and a locker.
Or you can buy another ticket with buffet service in the restaurant for 350 MXN.
6. Cenote Oxman
Another best cenote near Tulum is Cenote Oxman, about a 1.5-hour drive away, not far from Cenote Suytun.
You can spend a few refreshing hours by the pool or in the cenote.
There is a platform with a rope swing where you can jump into the crystal clear water, which is a fantastic experience.
Wearing a life jacket is mandatory for swimming!
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General information for visiting Cenote Oxman
- Cenote Oxman is open daily from 9 AM to 5 PM.
- The Hacienda Cenote Oxman is just a 15-minute drive from the center of Valladolid.
- The entrance fee is 150 MXN which has access to the cenote and the pool and includes a life jacket.
Or you can buy a ticket for 350 pesos which offers buffet service in the restaurant.
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7. Cenote Aktun Ha (Cenote Carwash)
The Cenote Aktun Ha is one of the less crowded cenotes in Tulum, and you can easily combine your visit with the nearby Cenote Zacil Ha.
The Cenote Carwash is a stunning, open cenote, which is a great snorkeling and diving spot in Tulum.
Previously, taxi drivers used to come here to wash their vehicles, which gives the name to the place. But nowadays, they don’t come here to wash cars, and it is one of the best cenotes in Tulum.
General information for visiting Cenote Aktun Ha
- Cenote Aktun Ha is open daily from 9 AM to 4 PM.
- Cenote Carwash is located just 10 minutes from the center of Tulum.
- Cenote Aktun Ha entrance fee is 250 MXN.
8. Cenote Azul
Cenote Azul is a stunning open cenote with crystal clear blue water.
The Cenote Azul has different areas and depths, a perfect place for snorkeling, swimming, and enjoying the free fish pedicure.
If you’re looking for adventure, jump off the cliff into the 6-meter deep water.
There are plenty of benches where you can drop your stuff and spend some relaxing hours at the cenote.
You can rent a life jacket for 40 MXN.
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General information for visiting Cenote Azul
- The Cenote Azul is open from 8.30 AM to 5 PM.
- The Cenote Azul is a beautiful place located about a 30-minute drive from Tulum, near Playa del Carmen.
- The entrance fee to Cenote Azul is 150 MXN.
If you want to explore other cenotes in the area, you can visit the Cenote Cristalino and Jardín Del Eden Cenote.
9. Cenote Dos Ojos
Cenote Dos Ojos is a unique place in Mexico that you can visit easily during your stay in Tulum. The name Cenote Dos Ojos means “Two Eyes Cenote” in Spanish.
If you are interested in cave diving or snorkeling is the perfect place for you.
You can explore the Cenote Dos Ojos complex and enjoy the two cenotes.
General information for visiting Cenote Dos Ojos
- Cenote Dos Ojos is open daily from 8 AM to 5 PM.
- You can get to Cenote Dos Ojos from Tulum in about 30 minutes by Colectivo or rental car.
- The entrance fee to Cenote Dos Ojos is 350 MXN, or with a guided tour for around 700 MXN.
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What to Pack for the Cenotes
- Bring a quick-drying towel, swimsuit, flip-flops, and biodegradable sunscreen.
- If you have snorkeling gear, take it with you. It’s more hygienic, and you can save on rental fees.
- Some cenotes have less light, and the cave cenotes are dark, so be sure to take a tripod with you if you want to take good-quality photos.
- Always bring enough Mexican pesos with you, as not all places accept card payments.
- Not all cenotes have lockers for rent, so bring a waterproof bag to protect your valuables.
Tips for Visiting the Best Cenotes in Tulum
- If you want to visit all the cenotes, 1-day is probably not enough. As they are all at different distances and each one is beautiful (and some are expensive), it’s not worth a short visit.
- The best way to visit the cenotes is by rental car and explore them at your own pace. You can also rent a bike, join a cenote tour, take a taxi, or travel with a shared minivan (Colectivo).
- The best time to visit the cenotes to avoid crowds is in the morning hours or just before closing time.
- You must shower before visiting the cenote and avoid wearing sunscreen or insect repellent.
- Although most cenotes have bathrooms or changing rooms, it is easier to wear your swimsuit under your clothes.
- Take great photos but allow enough time to explore the cenotes and enjoy a refreshing dip.
- Most cenotes are mandatory to wear a life jacket!
- Some cenotes require a camera fee or drone ticket.
Map of the Best Cenotes in Tulum
We hope you enjoyed our guide to the best cenotes in Tulum, Mexico.
Have you visited a cenote in Yucatan Peninsula? Which was your favorite cenote near Tulum?