The Best Cenotes in Tulum (2022 Mexico Expert Guide)

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      This is the number one list of best cenotes in Tulum, Mexico you’ll find on the web. Filled with loads of useful information about each cenote, it’s perfect for helping you find the top cenotes in Tulum for your needs.


      How do I Know So Much About the Tulum Cenotes?

      While living in Mexico, my local friend took me to all of the best cenotes near Tulum. I went to about five different ones at that time. Then later, I came back to Tulum with my own Mexican car to explore the cenotes once again. I was on a search to find out which cenote is the best in Tulum. By this time, you could say I was cenote-obsessed and I spent even more time exploring as many off-the-beaten-path cenotes that I possibly could on my very own Tulum cenote tour!

      That means this post is about the best of the best Tulum cenotes, with insider local knowledge just for you! Hell, you may even discover your own favorite cenote Mexico has to offer in this very guide!

      But, What is a Cenote?

      According to Wikipedia’s cenote definition; “A cenote is a natural pit, or sinkhole, resulting from the collapse of limestone bedrock that exposes groundwater underneath.”

      There are over 6, 000 cenotes in the Yucatan Peninsula alone. The cenote meaning to the Mayan people was so sacred that they believed that cenotes were the crossroads to the underworld. It is also believed that some Gods resided in these underwater caves. Cenotes were highly significant as they were one of the only sources of water, plus they were also used for sacrifices to please the Gods and bring good fortune. The Cenotes are still sacred to the Mayan people today, meaning most cenotes are closed off from public use.

      The amazing cenotes in Mexico are extremely unique in the world and are only found on the Yucatan Peninsula. So ‘what are Cenotes’ exactly? They are out-of-this-world, incredible, fascinating, spectacular and should be high up on your Mexico itinerary!

      Tulum is home to the largest underwater cave system in the world. The Sac Actun System (Sistema Sac Actun) meaning “white cave system” is impressive at 347 kilometers (215 miles) long. Having this unbelievable local feature means you’ll be sure to find the best cenotes around Tulum.

      The Tulum cenotes in the Sac Actun System are highly decorated, with beautiful stalactites hanging from the roofs of the underwater caves leftover from when the caverns were dry. Cenote Dos Ojos is a good example of this and is the perfect cenote to do your first cavern dive. Other cenotes, such as Cenote Pet Cemetery, have the remains of ancient animal fossils that can still be seen today.

      But exactly ‘how many cenotes in Tulum’ itself? I hear you ask… Roughly 226 cenotes! Not all open to the public but the best Tulum cenotes are!

      Why not use our find a cenote near me map below?

      Snorkeling at Cenote Pet Cemetery for Best Cenotes in Tulum
      Cenote Pet Cemetery in Sistema Sac Actun

      READ: How to Choose the Best Snorkel Gear on the Market!


      Cenote Car Wash

      Snorkeling at Cenote Car Wash for Best Cenotes in Tulum

      Car Wash is a large open cenote, filled with brightly colored lily pads, turtles and even the odd shy cayman. It’s sometimes referred to as “Pond Cenote” due to its peaceful exterior. Underwater, there are a large variety of plants and fish which make it the best cenote for snorkeling. Cenote Carwash is easily one of my top 5 cenotes, because not only was it much more peaceful than the more popular cenotes in Tulum, but there is something under the water that makes this cenote more unique than all the others!

      Carwash Cenote is named so because the cenote is close to the road and taxi drivers used to bring their cars to this cenote to wash them. People particularly loved to wash their cars here because each new day, all the soapsuds and cleaning products would “magically” disappear from the cenote! This “phenomenon” sparked one of the first cenote cave explorations in the area, to find out where the suds went.

      The opening of the underwater cave is partly covered by giant submerged trees, and with the odd diver darting in and out of the cave; the snorkeling at Car Wash Cenote is some of the most impressive of all! If you want to take a peek at Tulum underwater caves this is the place to do it! There is also a wall of lily pad leaves that are fun to explore with a snorkel mask too!

      The cenote diving at Carwash is also incredible. Adorned with colorful rock decorations, stalactites, and the giant fallen trees, this cenote has an eerie, otherworldly vibe! These features make it one of the best cenotes Tulum has to offer.

      Every day from 9 am to 5 pm
      $200 MXN pesos general entry / $250 MXN pesos scuba diver entry
      Toilets, life jacket rental at $20-$50 MXN pesos
      9 km (5.6 miles) from Tulum center on the Highway to Coba (Calle Carretera Federal 109) and turning left

      Cenote Dos Ojos

      Snorkeling at Cenote Dos Ojos Caves for Best Cenotes in Tulum

      In this winding underwater cave system, both diving and snorkeling are stunning in Cenote Dos Ojos (Two Eyes Cenote). I’ll take a hot minute to talk about the snorkeling in Dos Ojos, but if you think you’d prefer to dive, make sure you jump down to the scuba diving section to read about diving at Dos Ojos.

      One of the best cenote caves in Tulum (and probably Mexico), Dos Ojos is named so because two 70-meter sinkholes connect by a 400-meter passageway, which gives the appearance of two eyes. Though you cannot enter the passage, the “eyes” are a beautiful place to go snorkeling. You can view dramatic rock formations, play with schools of fish and watch under the crystal-clear waters as the divers cruise through the caves.

      On the road out to Dos Ojos, you can also drop into the quieter Cenote Nicte Ha which is part of the Dos Ojos park and included in your entrance fee.

      Every day from 8 am to 5 pm
      $350 MXN pesos general entry fee / $380 MXN pesos scuba diver entry
      Shower and toilet. Snorkel gear for hire between $50-$90 MXN pesos apiece. Lockers for rent at $50 pesos. Restaurante Dos Ojos and Restaurante Juanita near the entrance
      North of Tulum 22 km (13.5 miles) down the highway to Playa del Carmen (Carretera 307) and turning left onto Cenote Jaguar Road

      Casa Cenote (Cenote Manati or Cenote Tankah)

      Snorkeling at Casa Cenote for Best Cenotes in Tulum for diving

      Casa Cenote has always been one of my favorites even though it is now super popular and busy. Cenote Manati is an open cenote that connects a long underwater cave system (Nohoch Na Chich) to the sea. Because the cenote contains both fresh and seawater, both ocean and freshwater fish live here. You don’t get that in the cave cenotes. Some of the most interesting fish are the Cichlids, and they can be viewed in abundance here, darting around the mangrove roots.

      Casa Tankah is like a big, natural swimming pool, making it perfect for paddle boarding, snorkeling, scuba diving and free diving. It is also commonly referred to as Cenote Manati because (you guessed it) it used to have manatee sea cows living in it.

      Scuba diving here is just as good as the snorkeling. You’re able to cruise under the wetland mangrove roots, through a limestone passage and face-on with interesting fish. Sometimes, you’ll even be able to spot the halocline that occurs when the saltwater mixes with the fresh. It’s one of the most unique cenote dives in the area. Plus, because it is mostly open water, it’s great for beginner divers who need some practice before they head into the Tulum caves.

      Casa Cenote is one of the best cenotes near Akumal if you are thinking of combining activities into a day trip.

      Every day from 9 am to 5 pm
      $150 MXN pesos general entry / $200 MXN pesos scuba diver entry
      Toilet (sometimes). Life jacket and snorkel gear for rent. $50 MXN pesos for a locker and $150 for a kayak.
      North of Tulum 11 km (7 miles) down Carretera 307 and then taking a right hand turn towards Tankah Bay

      Cenotes Casa Tortuga

      Snorkeling at Cenote Casa Tortuga for Best Cenotes in Tulum for diving

      Casa Tortuga might just be one of the best off-the-path cenotes in Tulum. It is newly opened so not too many people actually know how awesome this place is… Yet.

      Visiting Casa Tortuga is sort like a cenote tour of a series of three cenotes in a park. A tour guide leads you to visit two cave cenotes and an open cenote. One of the cave cenotes you are led inside where you can see bats and interesting blind cave fish. In the other, you are taught about the rock formations and interesting cave geology facts while experiencing slight vertigo caused by the crystal-clear water and the sheer depth of the cave. The open cenote is mainly for fun. You can jump in off the edge and swim around. If you’re lucky you’ll spot a resident turtle swimming alongside you.

      The cenotes of Casa Tortuga are perfect for newbies who want an in-depth introduction into the cenotes on a tour. They provide snorkel gear, life jackets, and a guide is included in the price. The cenote tour can take some time, especially if you need to wait for more members before the tour can leave, so make sure you leave at least a few hours to complete the entire route.

      Every day from 9 am to 5 pm
      $650 MXN pesos entry fee (guide and gear included)
      There is a shower, toilet and restaurant on site. Life jackets and snorkel are included in the price
      North of Tulum 17 km (10.5 miles) down Carretera 307 and then taking a left hand turn at Casa Tortuga


      Cenote Calavera

      Diving at Cenote Calavera for Best Cenotes in Tulum for diving
      📷 Lucas Pinhel

      You’ve probably seen gorgeous pictures like the one above. This is the cenote with a swing and a jumping platform, all surrounded by Mexican jungle foliage; it’s a great cenote to photograph, that’s for sure.

      But there’s a lot more to Cenote Calavera than first meets the eye. Under the surface, the caved-in middle platform juts downward in an almost perfect circle, with boulders tumbling down the sides.

      This means that when you scuba dive there, you can follow the edge around past rainbow-colored rock formations, a prehistoric fossil and have fun swimming through the halocline. Because of this formation, Cenote Calavera is known as a jug-type formation.

      Cenote Calavera translates to ‘skull cenote’ in English, and the reason it is called this is that the sunlight that pours in through the holes of the cenote looks exactly like a skull at certain angles of the dive. It is also known as ‘The Temple of Doom’ possibly due to the appearance of small “altars” in the wall of the cave, one that contains pottery and bones.

      This unassuming yet impressive cenote is usually pretty quiet, especially in the mornings, since it is usually more popular with divers than it is with swimmers or snorkelers. This is weird because it’s a cenote close to Tulum center, and quite easy to get to. It’s also the best cenote near Tulum Ruins (only 4.5 km), so easily make the two a day trip! This cenote would be at the top of the best diving cenotes Tulum recommendation list. Check it out on our Cenote Map Tulum below!

      Every day 9 am to 4 pm
      $250 MXN pesos normal entry
      There is nowhere to put on dive equipment inside the cenote so divers must walk the short distance while kitted up. No toilet, shower or restaurant
      3 km (2 miles) from Tulum town center on the Highway to Coba (Carretera 309) and turning right. You can bicycle here, and it only takes about 20 minutes

      Cenote Angelita

      Diving at Cenote Angelita for Best Cenotes in Tulum for diving
      📷 Tom St George

      The incredible Cenote Angelita (or “Little Angel”) is one of the most interesting cenotes to scuba dive in Mexico. Although I have not personally been, I know that there is a magical gas layer 30 meters deep called halocline. Decomposing leaves create hydrogen sulfide and it becomes caught between the fresh and salt waters, creating the illusion of a sandy bottom.

      Eerily poking out of the gas layer are giant dead trees, of which you can swim amongst the branches. On the dive, you can hover above and dip below the gas layer if you feel comfortable. Under the gas, it is completely dark and feels as if you are floating through a haunted forest.

      The cenote is sometimes dubbed “the underground river” because once you are down there, the gas layer coupled with the fallen trees and boulders look like the edge of a peaceful river. It is a cenote dive that, if you are adventurous, you definitely should not miss!

      Every day from 8 am to 5 pm
      $300 MXN pesos scuba diver entry
      No facilities
      4.5 km (3 miles) from Tulum town center on the Highway to Coba (Carretera 309)

      The Sac Actun System

      Sac Actun, meaning ‘white cave’ in Mayan, is the second-longest underwater cave system in the world, accessible by hundreds of sinkholes (cenotes). A relatively recent discovery that the Dos Ojos System was connected to the Sac Actun system, gave Sac Actun the title of the world’s largest flooded cave system.

      Stalactites punctuate gorgeous caverns and stalagmites jut out all over the place, making Sistema Sac Actun some of the best diving in Tulum. Sac Actun is only 4 km from Tulum but is also easily accessed from Playa Del Carmen as well. The Sac Actun System is home to the best cenotes Tulum has to offer for scuba diving. Check them out listed below.

      Cenote Dos Ojos

      Diving at Cenote Dos Ojos for Best Cenotes in Tulum for diving
      📷 Tom St George

      Cenote Dos Ojos is one of the best places to go diving in Mexico and perhaps the world, for first-time cavern divers. The cave system is mapped out by reel lines, helping the first-time cavern-diver like myself feel safe navigating these confusing tunnels.

      This passage is filled with spectacular stalactites and stalagmites that you come face-to-face with as you cruise past. As the divers wind their way through the cave system, they can occasionally get a glimpse of the snorkelers and free divers alongside them. It’s totally breathtaking here and absolutely worth the price. It is one of the BEST diving I’ve ever done in my life!

      If you are looking for famous cenotes in Tulum, the Dos Ojos system has featured in an IMAX Film ‘Journey Into Amazing Caves‘, the 2006 BBC/Discovery Channel series Planet Earth and parts of the Hollywood movie ‘The Cave’ were filmed in Dos Ojos.

      There are two scuba dive routes that can be taken in Cenote Dos Ojos. The most popular route is ‘The Barbie Line’ which leads divers around the light-filled cavern of the second eye, where divers encounter incredible rock formations, huge columns, and stalactites. With lots of space to swim around, this is ideal for the less experienced cavern diver. ‘The Batcave Line’ is a lot darker and feels more like a cave dive. It leads around an air-filled bat cave, where divers will actually ascend to take a look at the bats and the stunning cave decorations.

      I mentioned this particular cenote in the snorkeling section above, too. The snorkeling and diving are somewhat separated and both incredible in their own right. Cenote Dos Ojos is easily one of the most versatile and best cenotes to visit in Tulum.

      Every day from 8 am to 5 pm
      $350 MXN pesos general entry fee / $380 MXN pesos scuba diver entry
      Shower and toilet. Snorkel gear for hire between $50-$90 MXN pesos apiece. Lockers for rent at $50 pesos. Restaurante Dos Ojos and Restaurante Juanita near the entrance
      North of Tulum 22 km (13.5 miles) down the highway to Playa del Carmen (Carretera 307) and turning left onto Cenote Jaguar Road

      Cenote El Pit

      Diving at Cenote El Pit for Best Cenotes in Tulum for diving
      📷 Tom St George

      The Pit Cenote is the deepest cenote in the state of Quintana Roo. The visibility is incredible at this cenote, you can see about deep into the crystal clear water, even from the surface! The entrance is steep and narrow but once in the water, it opens up into a huge menacing cavern. At about 30-meters deep, divers can see what looks like the sandy bottom with an eerie branch sticking out from it. Actually, this is a white gas layer, which is caught between the salt and fresh waters. It is similar to the gas layer that makes Cenote Angelita so famous. The cave then drops even further but can’t be reached by untrained divers.

      On the deepest point of the dive, your guide will point out some animal and human bones on the floor of the cavern, before beginning the ascent. On your way back you’ll notice the mesmerizing light beams that dance around in the depths on a sunny day.

      The Pit is easily one of the best cenotes for divers, due to the amazing things you’ll see down there and the fact that it’s open-water, so suitable for almost all diver certifications. Recently, snorkellers and swimmers were banned and only scuba divers are allowed to enter El Pit these days. 

      Every day from 8 am to 5 pm
      $475 MXN pesos scuba diver entry
      Area to get dive equipment on. No other facilities
      North of Tulum 25 km (15.5 miles) down the highway to Playa del Carmen (Carretera 307) and turning left onto Cenote Jaguar Road


      Cenote Pet Cemetery

      Snorkeling at Cenote Pet Cemetery for Best Cenotes in Tulum

      Cenote Pet Cemetery is also part of the Sac Actun (White Cave) system that we talked about above. It is famously called ‘Pet Cemetery’ due to the animal skeletons found inside that can still be seen when scuba diving today. One set of remains was first believed to be that of a dog but was later found to be of an extinct prehistoric camel. For snorkelers, the cave inside is lit up by lights, there are bats everywhere and lots of cool crevices to explore. For advanced divers, it’s one of the best cenotes in Mexico to do cave diving because all of the bones and fossils are still in their original position, and the spectacular caves are highly decorated with delicate white rock formations.

      This beautiful cenote is deep in the jungle and difficult to get to because of how remote it is. But that just means there will probably be fewer people there and you might have the whole cenote to enjoy to yourself. It can be accessed from the same entrance as Cenote Dos Ojos and El Pit, so it is possible to do these cenotes on the same trip. But you cannot visit this cenote without an approved guide.

      Above the cenote, there is a rainforest walk and spider monkeys and other animals can be spotted in the trees.

      Every day from 8 am to 5 pm
      Current price unknown. The last know price was $350 MXN pesos with a guide
      Toilets and changing facilities
      North of Tulum 25.5 km (14 miles) down the highway to Playa del Carmen (Carretera 307) and turning left onto Cenote Jaguar Road

      Gran Cenote

      Snorkeling at Gran Cenote for Best Cenotes in Tulum
      📷 Taylor Taverna

      One of the most popular cenotes in Tulum, or should I say one of the most Instagram famous cenotes in Tulum, Gran Cenote (Grand Cenote or Great Cenote) is a large connection of a series of smaller caves more than one giant cenote (as the name suggests). All of the sections are connected by wooden walkways, laid down on the jungle floor. It boasts such crystal clear blue water, that fish and turtles can be seen swimming around without the need of a snorkel!

      I did not personally visit this cenote, but I have included it because of all the raving reviews – in person and online. It is possibly the most expensive cenote in Tulum, and most packed with people. And although I wanted to visit, I simply couldn’t afford to.

      The Gran Cenote price doesn’t include life jacket rental, you will have to organize that at the gate as well as snorkel gear hire and/or locker rental.

      Every day 8:10 to 4:45 pm (last entry 4:15 pm)
      $300 MXN pesos normal entry
      Toilet, shower and change rooms. Small shop on site. Snorkel equipment ($80 MXN), life jacket and locker rental ($30 MXN) available
      4 km (2.5 miles) from Tulum town center on the Highway to Coba (Carretera 309)


      Laguna Kaan Luum

      Laguna Kaan Luum for Best Cenotes in  Tulum

      Laguna Kaan Luum is a wide, bright green lagoon cenote located just outside of Tulum. Kaan Luum is a locals’ secret and if you go in the afternoon, you’ll probably have the whole place to yourself.

      Laguna Kaan Luum is similar to the Blue Hole in Belize. The center of the cenote is fenced off because it is REALLY DEEP (80 meters deep, actually). But the outside area is shallow and most people could stand up. It’s the perfect cenote to bring your kids to, too! The soft sand at the bottom is known to be a great skin exfoliator, but it smells like rotting eggs! Maybe that’s why it’s so good for you…

      It is certainly not the most beautiful cenote in Tulum, but if you want to relax in the sun away from the crowds, this place is ideal.

      Every day from 9 am to 4:30 pm
      $300 MXN pesos general entry fee (updated 15th June 2021)
      Toilet only. Use the pier to enter the water. No restaurant or life jackets
      South of Tulum 16.5 km (10 miles) down the highway to Chetumal (Carretera 307) and turning left

      Clan-Destino Cenote Bar

      Clandestino Cenote Bar for best Cenotes in Tulum

      Finally, someone made a bar at a cenote! Clan-Destino Bar is perfectly located on the main beach strip of Tulum. It’s ideal for those that want to experience a cenote, but really don’t want to leave Tulum (or the bar). I personally think this place is a hidden gem in Tulum. It’s right in the middle of all the action; they sell good burgers and round-the-clock alcohol and the young guys who run Clan-Destino Tulum are fun and upbeat. This place has a sister bar owned by the same guys, which is on the beach and has some of the best tacos in Tulum, called Taqueria La Eufemia.

      The cenote itself is fairly average. Not spectacular, but a nice place to cool off and to escape the harsh Mexican sun and the only cenote bar Tulum has to offer. It is one of the only free cenotes Tulum has, however, make sure you bring some money for beers and your swimmers and prepare to get seriously relaxed. The entrance is easy to miss, so be on the lookout for the orange ‘Clan-Destino” sign on the roadside.

      Every day 24 hours a day
      Free, just buy something from the bar/restaurant
      There are toilets but no showers. There is a bar and restaurant on site. No life jackets
      Along main beach road (Carretera Tulum Boca Paila) across from Villa Estrellas Hotel. Look out for the orange sign

      Cenote Arco Maya

      Cenote Arco Maya for the Best Cenotes in Tulum, Mexico

      Cenote Arco Maya Tulum is the only non-commercialised free cenote in the area that I could find. It’s quite well hidden but is a great place to get some quiet time as no one else will be around. It’s also a great place to go for sunset since the tree-line is low. There’s a nice deck for you to sit on and a few active cichlid fish swimming around the mangroves as well as a resident cayman that I never got the pleasure of meeting. There’s a small deck for sunbathing and the walk to the cenote is along wooden stumps through the mangroves. It’s quite an adventure!

      A little further down the road in the Biosphere Reserve, there is a platform over the lake with hammocks, which are even better to watch the sunset from if you want to make an afternoon of it.

      I read recently that sometimes this cenote is blocked off from the public due to an ongoing ownership dispute. However, it usually isn’t manned so if someone is there that day you will just have to pay a small amount to enter.

      Cenote Arco Maya for the Best Cenotes in Tulum, Mexico
      Every day 24 hours (but don’t swim at night; there’s a resident cayman)
      Free (unless it is being manned, then you may have to pay a small entry fee)
      No facilities
      Being completely off the normal tourist trail, this cenote can be difficult to find. It’s located down Carretera Tulum Boca Paila just before the Biosphere Reserve of Sian Ka’an at the Arco Maya caseta arch across the road from Casa de las Olas. Once at the caseta, you’ll see a sign on the right pointing you in the direction of the cenote.


      These Playa del Carmen cenotes are located between Playa del Carmen and Tulum, about 20-30 minutes driving down the main highway (Carretera 307). There are no cenotes in Playa del Carmen city center, so these are the best (and closest) cenotes if you are coming from Playa del Carmen.

      There are three really good Playa del Carmen cenotes right near each other, so they would make a fantastic day trip from either Tulum or Playa del Carmen. On the opposite side of the road, near Akumal Beach, there is a lagoon-style cenote called Laguna Yal-Ku (sometimes called Cenote Akumal).

      Below, I have posted some of my favorite photos from the cenotes near Playa del Carmen. If you want to know more about these cenotes, just read the article!

      Want to travel to the cenotes near Playa del Carmen pictured above? From top left, these are:

      By clicking on any of the above links, you will be taken to that exact cenote in my other post. All of these Playa del Carmen cenotes are of a moderate price range from $100 MXN pesos to $350 MXN pesos.

      READ: Road Trip the Yucatan Peninsula!

      My Tips for Visiting the Cenotes of Mexico

      1. Swimming/Snorkeling: The oils from human hands and certain elements in lotions and repellents can severely damage this natural growth process and also harm the fish. Some cenotes will require you to shower before entering and you may also like to get a biodegradable sunscreen.

      2. Scuba Diving: You MUST dive with an experienced guide in the cenotes of Tulum so you don’t get lost. It’s quite dangerous; people have got lost in the many tunnels and drowned inside. You’ve been warned. 

      3. Free Diving: Never lose sight of the cave entrance unless you are following a line. The complex cave systems of the cenotes are extremely easy to get lost in, it is not worth the risk.

      READ: How to Choose the Best Snorkel Mask to Fit You!

      A Quick Note on the Cenote Prices

      There are many beautiful cenotes close to Tulum that are open to the public, just waiting for you to explore. Prices differ between each cenote and are subject to change. Since most Mexico cenotes are located on private land and the owner of the land decides their own cenotes’ prices. Most of the best cenotes in Yucatan cost money, but there are also some free cenotes around Tulum. I will talk about all of your options below.

      This is my ultimate list of cenotes in Tulum, complete with current prices and the facilities found at each cenote.


      This custom map of cenotes near Tulum includes all of the best cenotes in Riviera Maya as well as cenotes in Tulum that I didn’t go to but have been recommended. The Tulum and Playa Del Carmen cenotes that I went to and thought were the best are marked with a heart.

      Click on each icon to see more information about the cenote and its entry price.

      To open this cenote Tulum map in Google Maps simply tap the small square icon on the top right-hand side of the map. This way with your location and these cenote pinpoints on the map you will be able to see where the awesome ‘cenotes near me’ are.

      If you are using the map from your phone, the map should save into “Your Places” > “MAPS” automatically. You can select an area to download and use offline if you won’t always have access to data in Mexico. For more information on how to download maps for offline use, click here

      READ: Visit My Favorite cenote in Mexico. Cenote Oxman in Valladolid!

      How to Get to the Cenotes in Tulum

      The cenotes range from less than a kilometer (1/2 mile) from Tulum to over 40 kilometers (25 miles) away from Tulum. This means picking your transport type is dependant on which cenotes you go to.

      Bike Hire in Tulum

      Bike rental places are common around Tulum town center and main beach road. Rental usually costs $180 MXN pesos per day from various hotels. You can get to quite a few really good cenotes with a bicycle. It will be a hot ride though – take lots of water! My picks would be either Cenote Calavera, Gran Cenote or Casa Cenote by bike.


      Some of the cenotes along the Carretera that runs between Playa del Carmen and Tulum are accessible by taking the colectivo from Tulum. A colectivo is a shared minivan. I have marked on the cenote map where you can get these colectivos. The cost will between $20 and $40 MXN pesos. Easily head to Cenote Azul, Cenote Cristalino or Cenotes Casa Tortuga using the colectivos.

      Car Rental

      The best way to see all the cenotes you want is to rent a car and do your own Tulum cenotes tour. We did this and think it is the best way if you love cenotes. There are several car rental offices in Tulum, and you can also rent cars at Cancun Airport. The roads are safe in the day and easy to drive. I prefer to book online with Hertz as they are trustworthy and well-priced. Always take pictures/video of the car before you leave the rental office to avoid scams (they can happen anywhere, not just Mexico).


      READ: How to Choose the Best Snorkel Fins for Your Needs


      After extensive time exploring countless cenotes, I have compiled a list of items you really should not forget to take. Seeing the cenotes in real life is absolutely incredible and I’m sure you will want to know what items are an absolute must-bring when spending time in these mesmerizing natural structures.

      Snorkel Gear

      If you’re doing your own trip to the cenotes you will definitely want to bring your own snorkeling gear. Some of the bigger cenotes will rent snorkel gear to you at a price, from my experience at around 50-200 pesos each time you rent. But most of the time the gear is old, crappy and has had other people’s mouths all over it! On my first trip to Mexico, I bought a top-of-the-line snorkeling kit and I did not regret it. Cenote Tulum snorkeling may become your favorite thing to do in Mexico!



      Packing light and don’t want to bring too much baggage? I have found a tiny pair of Goggles just as useful for exploring the cenotes. Sure, what you’re seeing isn’t as clear and you can’t breathe underwater, but it still does the job!


      Biodegradable Sunscreen

      You read that right! You are 100% NOT ALLOWED to wear normal sunscreen in the cenotes in the Riviera Maya. The bio-diversity in cenotes is fragile and the ingredients of most sunscreens and insect repellants can severely damage the cenotes and harm the fish. Some popular cenotes will even require you to shower before entering because of the oils on the human skin. This is also a problem for the fragile reefs surrounding the beautiful shores of the Yucatan Peninsula. If you plan to do any cenote snorkeling or diving, anywhere in this area, you will be asked not to wear normal sunscreen. It’s best to buy biodegradable sunscreen at home and bring it because it can be difficult to find and/or very expensive in Mexico.


      GoPro Hero Action Camera

      You really don’t want to travel to Mexico without a top underwater camera. Mexico is a water-lovers paradise and it would be a shame not to capture all your special memories made in the cenotes. GoPro underwater cameras are so cheap now and you can use them for loads of different types of photography, not just water. You really don’t have an excuse not to buy one when their prices start at only $250 USD!


      Waterproof Phone Cover

      Perfect for those of you who aren’t in the market for a GoPro right now or just want another awesome way to capture your watery memories! I find them easiest to use by pressing buttons above the water then dipping the phone under.


      Dive Light for GoPro

      This was one of my most frequently used GoPro attachments in Mexico! Did you know that the deeper you go the more colours you’ll lose out of your photos or video? Water cuts out light, meaning by about 10 meters deep your GoPro footage will be all blue. The dive light is a way of adding colours back into your picture is by using artificial light. This dive light starts at only $25 USD and is so bright you’ll be sure to easily take gorgeous underwater video, especially in the cenotes!


      GoPro Dome

      Have you seen those amazing half-underwater and half-above-water photos? They are done with this awesome contraption called a dome. It essentially makes it much easier to get those awesome shots. Check out some of the shots it took in the cenotes above!


      Waterproof Head Torches

      Exploring cenotes seriously quickly became one of my favorite activities in the Rivera Maya, and I am confident they will become one of your favorites too. The dark underground cenotes, such as El Pit, Dos Ojos, and Pet Cemetery Cenotes, are much better explored with a head torch. The market for waterproof head torches is slim, but I have researched the crap out of them and these ones I think are the best:

      Black Diamond Storm Headlamp

      Super low-cost waterproof head torch. This headlamp had been on my radar for a long time because it’s cheap, waterproof, sleek and small. It outputs quite a bright light (400 lumens), which you will want inside the cenote caves. It also dims and flashes. Another thing I love about this torch is the red light, which is good for spotting animals at night! It is only waterproof up to one meter for 30 minutes though, so this is NOT a diving lamp.


      Princeton Tec Apex LED Headlamp

      A sturdy waterproof torch with a lifetime warranty. This is my second choice for a waterproof headlamp. This is a seriously sturdy headlamp that can be used for literally everything. It comes with five output modes, up to 170 hours of burn time and you can even buy a rechargeable version of this torch!

      BESTUSN Diving Headlamp

      If you plan to dive, you’ll want a dive light in the cenotes! There are loads of different types of dive lights out there to choose from but I particularly love headlamps. It shines where you look, leaving your hands free to play with cameras or do other more important things. It has rubber straps to grip better underwater, it is seriously bright, and you can take it 150-meters underwater. We used this headlamp to find bones at the bottom of a cenote that was once used as a graveyard!


      Aqua Booties / Reef Shoes

      Some of the less popular cenotes are set amongst the jungle with more rustic facilities. Protect your feet around and inside the cenotes by wearing these super stylish booties.


      Also don’t forget:

      • A hat
      • Swim shirt
      • Swimwear
      • Shoes
      • Towel
      • Sarong

      • Camera
      • Water
      • Snacks
      • Picnic blanket
      • Beach bag or waterproof bag
      • Sunglasses

      MORE: See more travel gear I love and use!


      Best Beach Hotel: Habitas

      The gorgeous Habitas hotel right on the beach is life-changing, no word of a lie! This eco-hotel in Tulum features a Gram-tastic infinity pool overlooking the Caribbean beach’s turquoise waters, seriously sumptuous day-beds and, best of all, glass-walled tree houses with unsurpassable jungle sea views. Perfect in every way!


      Best Hotel in Centro: Una Vida

      With elegance and style at the very core of its being, this serene guesthouse is located in a beautifully quiet spot deceptively close to Tulum town’s main street. Una Vida’s gorgeous modern buildings complement its ancient jungle surroundings, and the luxurious pool and beautifully decorated dining area are set off by cozy twinkling lights each evening. Enjoy cocktails and private dining, free bike rental, yoga lessons and luxury massages as part of your stay – we promise you won’t be disappointed!


      Best Hostel: Mama’s Home

      Shabby but cute, Mama’s Home has the best backpacker vibes! The rooms are packed with beds, but the breakfast is flipping amazing. It’s also one of the cheapest hotels you’ll find in Tulum.


      Who to Dive with in Tulum

      In Tulum, I dived with Jean-Claude at Zen Diving. JC was one of the most professional and friendly dive instructors I have ever encountered. He obviously loves his job cenote diving and goes out of his way to ensure his customers have the best day diving of their lives diving some of the best cenotes Mexico has to offer!

      He took us to three lesser-known but seriously incredible cenotes, helped us perfect our buoyancy and had really nice diving gear. Zen Divers are the only dive center I can wholeheartedly and without any doubt recommend when diving in Tulum!

      READ: The ULTIMATE GUIDE to Isla Mujeres, Mexico

      How Often do I Update the Prices of Cenotes?

      Yucatan cenotes are usually located on private property, meaning prices can change at any time at the owner’s discretion. I check prices regularly whenever I can but sometimes the price I have listed may not be the most recent.

      To keep prices as updated as possible, I ask if you can please comment and let me know if a price is different to what I have listed in this article. I thank you greatly if you do this 🙂

      Book a Tulum Cenote Tour!

      Cenote Tulum Mexico FAQs

      How deep are cenotes in Tulum?

      The depth of the cenotes in Tulum varies. Some cenotes are shallow enough for a regular size adult to stand in, while some others (like Cenote El Pit and Laguna Kaan Luum) are over 30 meters deep. That is why some cenotes are perfect for diving and snorkeling, but some are just good for swimming. Most cenotes have life jackets for rent so you do not need to be afraid of the deep crystal clear waters!

      Can you freedive in the cenotes in Tulum?

      It depends. Some cenotes will require you to rent a life jacket, even if you don’t need one (as a way to make money from tourists). Some cenotes restrict part of the cenote for guided tours only. And then there are some cenotes that offer you more freedom and you can do pretty much whatever you want – freedive, snorkel, swim, whatever your heart desires!

      How much do cenotes cost in Tulum?

      This is one of the most frequently asked questions as it seems like different people are getting offered different prices. As cenotes in Mexico get increasingly popular, locals see this as an opportunity to make more and more money from tourists. This leads to cenotes offering “mandatory” guided tours, varying entrance prices, and other add-ons just to make a quick extra buck from unaware tourists.

      Obviously, this doesn’t happen in every cenote. But when it does, there isn’t much that you can do as a tourist. Learning some Spanish will definitely help you barter, but sometimes, you just have to accept that you won’t be paying nearly the same price as the locals.

      What are the best cenote caves Tulum has to offer?

      For something a bit more popular, we recommend Gran Cenote, which is located only 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) from the town of Tulum. There you can swim, snorkel, or even scuba dive, though swimming and snorkeling are more popular.

      For something less touristy, we recommend Cenote Pet Cemetery. It is one of the most remote cenotes near Tulum so you are more likely to have some peace and quiet. Visiting is only available through a guided tour because diving is the only option at Cenote Pet Cemetery. It is all worth it because you can see remains of animal skeletons (if you are into that sort of thing)!

      What is the water temperature in the cenotes?

      Because the water from the cenotes comes from an underground water system, the temperature stays constant at around 77 degrees Fahrenheit (25 C), regardless of which season you decide to visit. Of course, if you decide to visit in the summer and the cenote is an open-air type, the water temperature will be marginally warmer.

      Though 77 degrees F might sound quite cold, it is hardly cold enough to cool you down from Mexico’s summer heat! In the cooler months though, the temperature of the water in the cenotes is ideal!

      Can you visit cenotes without a tour?

      YES!!! The majority of the cenotes in Mexico are available for visitors without a tour. Read our huge guide to find out which ones! You simply rock up to the place, pay the entrance fee (and other amenities you might want), and then you are free to explore! However, things tend to get more complicated if you decide to dive in one of the Tulum water caves, as those might require certifications and a tour guide to lead the way.

      Are the cenotes free in Tulum?

      Unfortunately, most of the cenotes are not free in Tulum. They were once upon a time, but locals now know how big of a hit they are with tourists, so they’ve decided to start charging to enter the cenotes. With the profit they make, part of it goes to maintaining this natural wonder and making it better and more accessible for everyone.

      Is the water in cenotes clean?

      Cenotes form when underground limestone erodes and collapses, creating essentially an underground river. This means that the water in cenotes is straight from the source and extremely clean. In fact, some cenotes are the only clean water supply for locals!

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      I hope this post has helped you choose the best cenote in Tulum for your needs. If you need any help or have anything to say, feel free to comment them below!

      Originally Posted: November 30, 2016. Frequently updated.

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      Categories: Adventure & off the Grid, Featured, Mexico
      Crystal Egan

      Passionate baby goat cuddler and part-time adventurer, Crystal can often be found doing headstands on the edges of cliffs, taking photos of abandoned buildings or sleeping on deserted islands with dangerous criminals. She has too many awesome stories and helpful tips to keep them all to herself so follow along and in return she will bring you inspiring pictures, travel videos and a whole load of fun!