tulum cenotes

19 Most Beautiful Tulum Cenotes & Ultimate Tulum Cenotes Guide

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Tulum Mexico is most famous for its picture-perfect beaches and trendy Tulum hotels. However, beyond its coastline and jungle hideaways lies Tulum’s best kept secret – spectacular Tulum cenotes.

No time to read the full guide? Here are the key highlights:

  • Tulum has over 18 incredible cenotes both in town and nearby that you must visit
  • Top cenotes include Gran Cenote, Cenote Calavera, Cenote Zacil Ha, Casa Cenote, and Cenote Dos Ojos
  • Rent a car or book a tour to easily access cenotes outside of Tulum’s center
  • Best times to visit are early morning and late afternoon to avoid crowds
  • Combine your cenote trip with visits to nearby ruins on a Tour like Chichén Itzá and Cobá

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18 Most Beautiful Tulum Cenotes & Ultimate Tulum Cenotes Guide

Dotted both in and around Tulum are over 18 magical Tuum cenotes just waiting to be explored. From open air cenotes perfect for cliff jumping to cavernous underwater caves only accessed by scuba divers, Tulum offers every type of cenote experience imaginable.

Visiting Tulum’s cenote overview

is one of the top things to do during any trip. Their crystalline waters provide the ultimate way to cool down after a hot day on the beach. This ultimate guide covers everything you need to know to plan your perfect cenote adventure in Tulum, including:

  • What exactly are cenotes?
  • Tulum’s best cenotes with photos and descriptions
  • Tips for getting to and around the cenotes
  • What to bring when visiting cenotes
  • Expert advice on best times to go to avoid crowds
  • combine cenote trips with visits to nearby ancient Maya ruins

So grab your swimsuit and let’s dive into discovering Tulum’s magnificent cenotes!

tulum cenotes

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What is a Cenotes in Tulum?

Cenotes are natural pits, pools, or sinkholes resulting from the collapse of limestone bedrock that exposes groundwater. They are common geological formations in the Yucatán Peninsula due to its karst terrain.

There are an estimated 6,000 different cenotes spread across the Yucatán state of Quintana Roo. The Maya civilization actually considered these sites sacred and used them for sacrificial offerings.

Today, cenotes make excellent places for cave diving, snorkeling, swimming, and relaxing. Their cool crystal clear waters provide the perfect escape from Mexico’s hot, humid weather.

Coco Tran — Aesthetic Travel Blog By Film Photographer Coco Tran https://cocotran.com/tulum-cenotes/

Types of Cenotes in Tulum

There are three main types of cenotes you’ll discover around Tulum:

Open Air Tulum Cenotes

Formed when a cave ceiling collapses to expose the cenote to open sky above. These cenotes have lots of sunlight and are wonderful for swimming, cliff jumping, and photography.

Semi-Open Tulum Cenotes

 Have both buried cave sections as well as holes in the ceiling allowing beams of sunlight to filter down to the cenote floor. These mix open spaces with more enclosed cavern areas.

Underground Cenotes in Tulum

 Fully enclosed ceremonial cenotes buried entirely in cave systems underground. No natural light gets inside, so they require flashlights/headlamps to explore. These cenotes are magical to dive and swim in by only illuminated by artificial lights.

Best Tulum Cenotes: Best cenotes in tulum

Here’s my curated list of best cenotes.in tulum . Tulum must-see cenotes based on their wow-factor, unique features, popularity, reviews, and ease of access.

Coco Tran — Aesthetic Travel Blog By Film Photographer Coco Tran https://cocotran.com/tulum-cenotes/

Top Cenote in Tulum: Cenotes in Tulum Mexico 

If you don’t want to stray too far let’s start with the closest Tulum Cenotes.

Tulum Pueblo itself has a few nice cenotes that are easy to reach. Here are top picks within 5-10 minutes driving time of downtown Tulum:

Coco Tran — Aesthetic Travel Blog By Film Photographer Coco Tran https://cocotran.com/tulum-cenotes/

Cenote Zacil Ha 

A neighbor of Cenote Car Wash, Cenote Zacil Ha Telumbre dazzles with stunning hues ranging from palest jade to deepest indigo in its crystal clear waters. Its name means “child that cries” in Mayan, referencing formations resembling teardrops.

Coco Tran — Aesthetic Travel Blog By Film Photographer Coco Tran https://cocotran.com/tulum-cenotes/

With few tourists and great on-site amenities like cabanas, ziplines, lockers, picnic tables, Zacil Ha satisfies families and adventure seekers alike. Brave swimmers can leap from platforms or zip line down into the cenote! Other features include nice regular swimming pools, hammocks, and little fish that nibble your feet.

» Location: 15 minutes northwest of Tulum
» Cost: 200 pesos ($10 USD) for cenote access, 10 pesos for zipline

Coco Tran — Aesthetic Travel Blog By Film Photographer Coco Tran https://cocotran.com/tulum-cenotes/

Gran Cenote: The Best Tulum Cenotes mexico 

Of all Tulum cenotes, none surpass Gran Cenote in terms of sheer size and beauty. This extensive underwater cave system connects to caverns with crystalline freshwater pools – some in sunlight and some illuminated only by artificial lights.

Coco Tran — Aesthetic Travel Blog By Film Photographer Coco Tran https://cocotran.com/tulum-cenotes/

Gran Cenote is exceptional for snorkeling and diving. Its cool clear waters allow fantastic visibility while small fish and even sea turtles swim by.

Stalactites hang down from parts of its open-air ceiling, above small sandy beaches that invite relaxation. Shade structures, diving boards, wood deck platforms, and nearby showers/lockers round out the amenities.

With its good mix of cavern spaces and open pools, Gran Cenote offers something for everyone and rightfully deserves its fame.

» Location: 10 minutes west of Tulum center » Cost: 500 pesos ($25 USD)

Cenote Cristal Cenote : best cenote in tulum 

Cristal’s crystal clear swimming hole. True to its name which means “crystal,” Cenote Cristal impresses with its gin-clear turquoise waters in a jungle setting. Visitors adore its vibe reminiscent of a natural swimming pool.

Coco Tran — Aesthetic Travel Blog By Film Photographer Coco Tran https://cocotran.com/tulum-cenotes/

Conveniently located just 5 minutes south of central Tulum, this open air cenote has shallow sections perfect for wading. While its deepest parts reach down 65 feet for divers to explore underwater tunnels.

Kids love jumping off Cenote Cristal’s mid-height platforms anchored in the middle of the pool. This cenote doesn’t allow alcohol or loud music, making its chilled atmosphere ideal for families.

» Location: Near center of Tulum
» Cost: 150 pesos ($7.50 USD)

Cenote Carwash (Cenote Aktun Ha) : Tulum Mexico cenotes

Despite its odd naming origin, Cenote Car Wash (also called Aktun Ha) remains one of Tulum’s hidden gem cenotes. Surrounded by lush jungle just off the main highway, only a lucky few know of this secret oasis.

Coco Tran — Aesthetic Travel Blog By Film Photographer Coco Tran https://cocotran.com/tulum-cenotes/

Clear waters fill Car Wash’s expansive limestone sinkhole with little fish, turtles, and even tiny resident crocodiles! Shop for snacks, rent gear, or enjoy cave diving and cliff jumps at its deeper 15m section.

Come early to beat any crowds as this cenote stays quiet most days – especially on weekdays. It’s one of Tulum’s best budget-friendly options under 100 pesos.

» Location: 10 minutes northwest of Tulum
» Cost: 100 pesos ($5 USD)

Top Cenotes Near Tulum Mexico – Cenotes close to tulum

To reach Tulum’s most spectacular cenotes, having your own transport allows accessing more secluded spots farther away from downtown.

Many travellers choose to either rent a car in Tulum or join organized tours to comfortably fit in multiple cenote visits when staying longer in the area.

 top cenotes near Tulum that you simply must add to your Quintana Roo bucket list!

Cenote Ik Kil (Chichén Itzá)

While the world-famous Chichén Itzá ruins should already be on your Yucatán itinerary, make sure to also visit neighbouring Cenote Ik Kil during your trip.

High Angle View of Cenote Ik Kil, Piste, Tinum Municipality, Yucatan, Mexico

The fast-flowing waters of Cenote Ik Kil impressively plunge 85 feet below ground. Visitors viewing platforms look out to swimmers dotting an immaculate turquoise pool encircled by hanging vines and vegetation. It’s magical!

Ik Kil’s perfectly circular shape almost resembles a natural reflecting pool. Remember to bring your bathing suit to enjoy a refreshing swim within its limestone walls after touring the incredible ancient city ruins.

» Location: 2.5 hours west of Tulum » Cost: 70 pesos ($3.50 USD)

Cenote Dos Ojos

Serious divers won’t want to miss a trip to Cenotes Dos Ojos near Tulum. The area spans over 10 miles of underwater cave networks, including parts that connect to the world’s largest cave system!

Above ground, two adjacent pool stained striking blue make it clear how Dos Ojos got its name, meaning “two eyes”. Starting 85 feet deep, experienced cave divers navigate its elaborate mazes of tunnels with an array of limestone formations.

Coco Tran — Aesthetic Travel Blog By Film Photographer Coco Tran https://cocotran.com/tulum-cenotes/

Even just snorkeling you can catch glimpses of stalactites and stalagmites before coming up for air in crystal clear open pools.

» Location: 35 mins north of Tulum » Cost: 400 pesos ($20 USD)

Cenote Azul

Cenote Azul earns its heavenly namesake with delightfully cool rich blue waters in an idyllic setting. Visitors adore its family-friendly vibe and facilities like lifejackets, snacks, lockers, and equipment for rent.

Coco Tran — Aesthetic Travel Blog By Film Photographer Coco Tran https://cocotran.com/tulum-cenotes/

Two wooden deck platforms anchor either side of Cenote Azul with ladders for easy access. Brave swimmers leap from adjacent cliffs some 6m high into deeper refreshing pools.

Crystal clear shallow sections allow little ones to splash safely or try snorkeling under the water’s calm surface. And the resident schools of fish will gently nibble your feet if you dip your toes!

» Location: Near Puerto Aventuras, 1 hour from Tulum » Cost: 120 pesos ($6 USD)

Cenote Tankah 

Cenote Tankah offers visitors the chance to experience both an open-air cenote surrounded by rainforest as well as a picturesque beach caleta (cove). The mix of fresh and saltwater here makes for an interesting swim. There’s also a small cavern area perfect for exploring.

Coco Tran — Aesthetic Travel Blog By Film Photographer Coco Tran https://cocotran.com/tulum-cenotes/

After your swim, enjoy drinks and snacks from the on-site beach club restaurant while relaxing seaside. Lockers, lifejackets, and other amenities available.

» Location: 20 minutes northeast of Tulum » Cost: 150 pesos ($7.50 USD)

Casa Cenote 

Unusually long and narrow, Casa Cenote winds through a vibrant mangrove forest like a hidden jungle river. It’s great for swimming, kayaking, paddleboarding and snorkeling amid tropical fish and birds.

Coco Tran — Aesthetic Travel Blog By Film Photographer Coco Tran https://cocotran.com/tulum-cenotes/

Casa Cenote is also home to a friendly resident crocodile that visitors can spot basking along its banks. Change rooms, lifejackets, and equipment rentals on-site.

Tip: There are alligators at this Cenote! Make sure you book a tour or guide and don’t venture off too far.

» Location: 20 minutes from Tulum on Highway 307 » Cost: 150 pesos ($7.50 USD)

Cenote Suytun 

Famous for its spectacular sunbeams streaming down onto an island platform through a hole in its ceiling, Cenote Suytun near Valladolid makes for magical photos.

Coco Tran — Aesthetic Travel Blog By Film Photographer Coco Tran https://cocotran.com/tulum-cenotes/

This is one of the most beautiful cenotes in Tulum. The small circular platform surrounded by clear blue water sits inside this vast underground cave. Remember your swimsuit to enjoy a refreshing swim within its limestone walls after capturing that iconic shot.

» Location: 90 minutes from Tulum near Valladolid » Cost: 150 pesos ($7.50 USD)

Cenote X’Keken

A picturesque open-air cenote located beside the ancient Mayan ruins of Ek Balam. A soft waterfall stream cascades down through vibrant green vegetation before flowing into X’Keken’s main circular swimming hole below.

Coco Tran — Aesthetic Travel Blog By Film Photographer Coco Tran https://cocotran.com/tulum-cenotes/

There are also opportunities for cliff jumping and rope swinging here. Changing rooms, gear rental and snacks available on-site.

» Location: 2 hours from Tulum near Ek Balam » Cost: 70 pesos ($3.50 USD)

Cenote Verde Lucero


A fabulous hidden gem cenote still mostly undiscovered, residing not far from downtown Tulum. Here you’ll find an open-air pool tucked away in lush jungle, with a fun party atmosphere.

Coco Tran — Aesthetic Travel Blog By Film Photographer Coco Tran https://cocotran.com/tulum-cenotes/

Its mostly shallow waters allow swimming, cliff jumps, rope swings, and even inflatable swans! Basic amenities onsite.

» Location: 15 minutes west of Tulum center
» Cost: 100 pesos ($5 USD)

Cenote Ponderosa 

Also known as Cenote Jardín del Edén, Cenote Ponderosa earns its “Garden of Eden” moniker thanks to an idyllic open-air pool set amidst lush jungle vegetation. Two small islands in the center are perfect for sunbathing between dips in in the cool crystal waters.

Coco Tran — Aesthetic Travel Blog By Film Photographer Coco Tran https://cocotran.com/tulum-cenotes/

Wooden platforms provide launch points for cliff jumps up to 20 feet high. Scuba diving through underwater caves is also popular here. Cabins, lockers, gear rentals and a restaurant are on-site.

» Location: 20 minutes northwest of Tulum » Cost: 250 pesos ($12.50 USD)

Cenote Nicte-Há 

The mirror-like turquoise waters of Cenote Nicte-Há resemble a tropical lagoon more than an underground limestone cenote. Visitors love floating lazily about this large open sinkhole filled with lily pads as beams of light filter down through the jungle canopy high above.

Linked to the Dos Ojos cavern system, scuba divers can access incredible underwater tunnels. For surface swimmers, there’s cliff jumping ledges up to 5m/16ft tall on one side. Onsite restaurant.

» Location: 45 minutes northwest of Tulum » Cost: 400 pesos ($20 USD) with Dos Ojos general admission ticket

Cenote Xunaan-Ha 

This open-air swimming hole with its trademark red-painted cliff lies hidden down a winding jungle path. Visitors to Cenote Xunaan-Ha love leaping from heights over 20 feet into crystalline waters below!

Coco Tran — Aesthetic Travel Blog By Film Photographer Coco Tran https://cocotran.com/tulum-cenotes/

Underwater formations like calcified tree roots covered in moss intrigue both snorkelers and scuba divers within Xunaan-Ha’s extensive partially-submerged cave networks. Zip lines, gear rentals, lockers and snacks available.

» Location: 45 mins from Tulum btwn Playa del Carmen and Cancún » Cost: 150 pesos ($7.50 USD)

Cenote Yaax Che

The jewel-toned saturated blues of Cenote Yaax Che almost resemble colored contacts under the water! Located beside the archaeological site of Xel-Há near Akumal, this semi-open sinkhole has dazzling opaque aquamarine pools within its immense cavern spaces.

Stalactites drizzle down from above where a giant opening in its ceiling lets in natural sunlight. Scuba diving, lifejackets and equipment rentals on offer. Onsite cabanas, change rooms, restaurant and pool as well.

» Location: 45 mins from Tulum close to Xel-Há
» Cost: 300 pesos ($15 USD)

Cenote Ox Bel Ha 

Dreamy Cenote Ox Bel Ha hides a patchwork of idyllic crystal clear pools amidst the jungle foliage blanketing the Quintana Roo coastline. Visitors adore floating lazily about Ox Bel Ha’s interconnected cenotes linked by flooded tunnels.

Coco Tran — Aesthetic Travel Blog By Film Photographer Coco Tran https://cocotran.com/tulum-cenotes/

Underwater caverns await certified divers. And cliff jump lovers can plunge from heights up to 25 feet into cool waters below! Located at the end of a paved access road off 307 for easy access.

» Location: 25 minutes south of Tulum, north of Akumal » Cost: 150 pesos ($7.50 USD)

Cenote Chac 

Named after an ancient Mayan stone statue, Cenote Chac Mool is a long open-air swimming hole with jade green waters. Visitors love exploring its underwater caves accessible through a narrow tunnel in the limestone bedrock.

Two wooden decks with jumping platforms (5m & 8m heights) anchor either end of Chac Mool’s expansive sinkhole. There’s also fun zip lines riders swing from before splashing down into in the cenote!

Onsite you’ll find amenities like lifejackets, lockers, showers and bathrooms. The access road leads right to the parking lot.

» Location: 25 minutes west of Tulum on highway 307 » Cost: 180 pesos ($9 USD)

What to Bring When Visiting  Tulum Cenotes

Swimming in cenote water is unlike a normal pool, so having the right gear and accessories enhances your cenote experience.

Here’s exactly what you need to bring for an awesome time while cenote hopping around Tulum:

  • Cash/pesos – Many cenotes are still cash only and don’t accept cards for entry fees or gear rentals
  • Towel – Essential for drying off and relaxing on beaches/shorelines
  • Water shoes/sandals – The rough rock and underwater formations are easier to stand on with grip
  • GoPro/waterproof camera – For capturing those Instagram-worthy underwater shots!
  • Swimsuit + change of clothes – Most dont have dressing rooms so wear underneath
  • Headlamp/flashlight – For exploring dark underground cave cenotes

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Insider Tips for Visiting Tulum Cenotes

Follow these pro tips to make the most of your time at Tulum’s fabulous cenotes:

Arrive Early Aim to get to cenotes first thing when they open or an hour before closing time. You’ll avoid crowds from big tour groups that typically arrive between 11am to 2pm.

Visit on Weekdays
Weekends draw bigger crowds at popular spots like Gran Cenote and Cenote Cristal. For a more relaxed experience, plan your cenote days on less busy weekdays.

Pack a Picnic
Once done swimming, many cenotes have shoreline areas perfect for an impromptu picnic. Some even have little restaurants, but bringing your own snacks and non-alcoholic drinks often works out cheaper.

Combine Trips Visit cenotes like Cenote Ik Kil and Cenote Suytun on day trips to famous nearby Maya ruins. Go early and you can often avoid scores of other tourists.

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Tulum Cenotes FAQ

What is the best cenotes in Tulum?

Some of the most spectacular cenotes in Tulum area include Gran Cenote, Cenote Calavera, Cenote Cristal, Cenote Ik Kil, Cenote Dos Ojos, and Cenote Azul. These options offer incredible swimming holes, cave diving, stalactite formations, jungle settings, Mayan history, and more. Gran Cenote and Cenote Calavera are two top picks close to downtown Tulum.

How much does it cost to go to the cenotes in Tulum?

Entry fees for most Tulum cenotes range from 100 to 500 Mexican pesos per person. More popular locations like Gran Cenote (500 pesos) and touristic spots like Cenote Ik Kil (150 pesos) sit at the higher end. Smaller local cenotes generally cost under 200 pesos to access.

Are the cenotes in Tulum free?

No, there are no free public access cenotes in the Tulum area. All operated cenotes charge an entry fee to access their grounds and swimming areas. Prices are quite reasonable though compared to similar attractions.

How many cenotes are in Tulum?

There are approximately 20 notable cenotes around Tulum that tourists regularly visit. Smaller local cenotes push the total number higher. New cenotes also get discovered from time to time as underground cave systems get explored.

Are Tulum cenotes safe?

Yes, most popular Tulum cenotes have lifeguards, good amenities, marked swimming areas, and regular maintenance to ensure visitor safety. Some have certain deep sections limited only to certified divers. As long as you follow posted guidelines and take proper precautions around water as usual, cenotes make very safe, enjoyable swimming holes for responsible travellers.

Does Tulum have cenotes?

Yes, the area surrounding Tulum has a high concentration of impressive cenotes – over 20 lie within close driving distance of town. Many visitors combine beach & jungle experiences by adding an excursion to one or more cenotes during their Tulum vacations.

Are cenotes free in Tulum?

No, at this time all cenotes require an entrance fee to access, ranging around 100-500 pesos per person.

Are there cenotes in Tulum?

Absolutely! Exploring Tulum’s spectacular cenotes ranks among the most popular activities in the whole Riviera Maya region. Over 20 incredible cenote options exist both within Tulum town itself as well as short driving distance away.

How many cenotes are in Tulum?

There are over 20 notable cenotes around the Tulum area that see regular tourist visits. More smaller local cenotes push the total number even higher for locals in the know. And new cenote systems still occasionally get discovered over time too.

What are cenotes Tulum?

Cenotes are natural limestone sinkholes exposing fresh underground rivers. Tulum has around 20+ picturesque cenotes offering swimming, cliff jumping, snorkeling, cave diving and more in unique hidden oases!

Are there crocodiles in Tulum cenotes?

A few small freshwater crocodiles have been spotted living in certain Tulum cenotes like Cenote Calavera and Cenote Car Wash but they tend to be quite shy, non-threatening animals under 1.5m in length. Most visitors never even realize crocodiles inhabit the same waters they are swimming in!

Are there sharks in Tulum cenotes?

No, since cenotes provide access to self-contained freshwater rivers running under the Yucutan Peninsula’s porous limestone, there are no sharks or larger marine animals living inside them. Some fish and turtle species may be present along with bats above water.

What is cenotes Tulum?

Cenotes Tulum refers to the high concentration of spectacular natural limestone sinkholes filled with crystalline swimming holes surrounding Tulum, Mexico on the Caribbean coastline. Over 20 incredible cenotes offer cliff jumping, swimming, snorkeling, cave diving and more!

How to get to Tulum cenotes?

Visitors can reach Tulum cenotes via organized tours, taxi, renting a car, bicycling from town or public colectivo vans. Central Tulum cenotes are easiest to access while more secluded cenotes require private transport for 20-90 minute drives.

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