Skip to Content

10 Best Cenotes Near Tulum – Must Visit List!

10 Best Cenotes Near Tulum – Must Visit List!

Tulum cenotes are some of the best in the world. Known for their crystal blue waters, ideal for swimming, snorkeling, and scuba diving – These cenotes near Tulum need to be on your itinerary!  

Cenotes are natural sinkholes that are formed when the limestone bedrock collapses, exposing underground water, often in the form of an enchanting natural pool.

Cenotes are unique to this part of Mexico, and Tulum itself is home to the largest underwater cave system in the world. Tulum is one of the best places to explore cenotes because there are more than 200 cenotes near Tulum.

They were considered sacred pools in Mayan culture and today a popular Tulum attraction by locals and tourists alike. They are such unique and beautiful natural phenomena that they really are a must-do while in Tulum.

Best Tulum Cenote Tours

If you don’t have a rental car and want to see a few great cenotes, we suggest joining this Tulum cenote tour, which visits three cenotes.

If you are up for more adventure and seeing even more amazing cenotes, consider renting a car; before you say no, check out our full guide on renting a car in Mexico.

Here are some of the best Tulum day trips that visit Mayan ruins, cenotes, and more.

View from the viewing platform of Cenote Il Kil - perfectly circular and lush cenote in Mexico
#1 – Chichen Itza, Cenote and Valladolid 
Essential Experience
There is no better way to visit Chichen Itza, a cenote, and Valladolid (one of our favorite towns).
woman climbing out of Cenote Calavera on a ladder - One of the best Cenotes in Tulum and Mexico
#2 – 3-in-1 Discovery Combo: Tulum Ruins, Snorkeling, and Cenote & Caves 
Visit Tulum Ruins, go snorkeling, includes lunch buffet, swim in a cenote, and visit Xtun Cave. This is an action-packed day!
View from the entrance of Suytun Cenote with stalactites hsnging from the cave cenote ceiling
#3 – ATV Tour, Ziplines, and Cenote Swim 
Explore the Mayan jungle by ATV, then jump in a cenote for a little swim before heading off to the zipline!

woman climbing out of Cenote Calavera on a ladder - One of the best Cenotes in Tulum and Mexico

About the Authors: (Hannah & Adam) – We visited our first cenote in Mexico in 2010, and since then, we have visited nearly 100 cenotes. We have lived in Playa del Carmen as ex-pats and spend at least a few months per year in and around the Tulum area.

Our family loves to explore cenotes that are new to us and visit some of our favorite Tulum cenotes. This is a first-hand list, we’ve actually visited each and every one of these cenotes and many more that didn’t make the top 10 list.

Best Tulum Cenotes

With hundreds of cenotes near Tulum to choose from, we put together this list to help you decide which cenotes to visit. Here are some of our favorite Tulum cenotes.

woman cliff jumping at Calavera Cenote - Tulum Mexico

1. Calavera

If you ask us, the best cenote near Tulum is Cenote Calavera. It is so different than other cenotes in Mexico.

The name Calavera directly translates to the skull. It refers to its shape, consisting of three separate sinkholes that appear to form two eyes and a mouth when swimming in the cenote looking up.

This cenote has a fun 13-foot drop from the limestone cliff down to the water. There are also two small holes in the rock big enough for only one person at a time to jump down (super fun).

If you’re not interested in the thrill of a plunge, it’s also nice to take the safe (and Photogenic) route and climb down the ladder. While still popular this is still a relatively less busy choice when visiting cenotes in Tulum despite being easily accessible.

There’s a rope swing to sit on in the picturesque pit, and the whole thing is perfect for photo ops. 

It’s ideal for adventurers, as it offers such a unique underground setting and plenty of ways to play in the idyllic pool. Surrounded by jungle foliage and sunlight streaming in through openings above, it feels off the beaten path and immersed in magical Mexican scenery. 

Diving in Cenote Calavera is currently not open, which is too bad because it was one of our favorite cenotes to dive. Adam dove it back in 2018 and enjoyed it. Rainbow-colored rocks form prehistoric fossils, and small altars on the walls create an ethereal environment for divers.

  • Hours: 9 AM to 5 PM
  • Cenote Calavera Price | Entrance Fee: 250 pesos
  • Life jackets & snorkel gear for rent if needed
  • Pairs well with Gran Cenote

woman sitting on the deck of Gran Cenote near Tulum Mexico - One of the top cenotes in Mexico

2. Gran Cenote

Just a few miles outside of Tulum town is Gran Cenote. Those without a car can easily rent a bike in Tulum or take a local collectivo.

Sometimes called Grand Cenote, this open air cenote has a river-like quality and connects to a collection of caves and caverns. It’s such a beautiful cenote no matter how you explore it, whether it’s an in-depth dive or a simple swim. Stalactites and stalagmites abound here, as well as shallow tranquil pools of aqua-colored water.

There is a charming wooden boardwalk that weaves its way through all of them and is shrouded in lush and tranquil terrain. There’s a snorkeling area on either side of the cenote, where you can spot some native wildlife. 

Be ready to encounter some crowds when visiting, as its popularity is ever-increasing with the rise of Instagram explorers, and for a good reason.

Pro tip: be sure to arrive at least half an hour before closing time, or you won’t be let in. Bring your own water & snacks, as there aren’t any for sale.

We suggest joining this cenote tour if you want to visit several cenotes. It visits three cenotes near Tulum, including Gran Cenote, Cenote Zemway, and Casa Cenote. If you are exploring on your own, make sure to also visit Cenote Calavera, which is up the road 2kms, about a 7-minute bike ride, is Cenote Calavera.

If you are traveling to Tulum on a budget, consider going to Cenote Calavera instead; the entrance fee is half the price. However, the Gran Cenote price includes a lifejacket and snorkel equipment.

  • Hours: 8 AM to 4:45 PM
  • Gran Cenote Price | Entrance Fee: 500 pesos (cash only)

cliff jumping at cenote Azul in Tulum- "Blue Cenote"

3. Cenote Azul

Located halfway between Tulum and Playa del Carmen, Cenote Azul is spacious, open-air, and is tons of fun. The name means blue in Spanish, so it’s easy to guess what the striking color of these waters will be. There are two separate swimming sections with a boardwalk in between. 

One side is shallow, which makes this one of the best Tulum cenotes for kids and families with small children. The other side is much deeper, with a cliff right perched above, which is fun to jump off of and into the sparkling surface below. 

Cenote Azul is one the best cenotes near Playa Del Carmen and Cancun, which means that it can get super busy during the day, especially on the weekends. My advice is to head there first thing in the morning to enjoy a slightly more serene setting. Avoid weekends if possible, especially Sundays if you want to avoid the crowds.  

There are restaurants and picnic areas around, making it a nice place to spend part of the day. The pedicure fish are also a delightful surprise at this cenote in Tulum for an added spa-like experience. Though word to the wise, it can be super ticklish. 

We suggest visiting the nearby Cenote Jardin el Eden and Cenote Cristalino. You can easily visit these three cenotes in one trip.

  • Hours: 8:30 AM to 5 PM
  • Cenote Azul Price | Entrance Fee: 180 pesos for adults, 120 pesos for children 4-7 years old

Related Article: Best Family Resorts in Tulum

Woman swimming in Cenote El Jardin near Xpu ha

4. Cenote Jardin del Eden

With a name that literally translates to Garden of Eden – This is one of the most awe-inspiring settings of all the cenotes in Tulum. It’s also often called Cenote Ponderosa (this name is mostly associated with diving), which means powerful.

Located right next to Cenote Azul and Cristalino. It is famous for its striking and sapphire-colored pools. 

At one end of the vast pit, there’s a cliff edge with a platform for daring dives into the depths. There are a few places where you can jump into the lagoon from trees and rocks, some that are up to 25 feet above the water. In the center is a grouping of boulders that make for great hangout spots. 

Our favorite part of Cenote Jardin del Eden are the large downed trees submerged under water that you can explore and take some unique photos.

Moss-covered stones and tropical foliage complete the tropical scene that feels like its own hidden oasis. There’s less wildlife to spot in this environment, aside from the occasional fish. The visibility is amazing, and many still come to snorkel and scuba, exploring the deep underwater cave system. 

There’s a small snack bar, as well as life jackets and locker rentals. It’s easy to spot from the main road. Once you pay, you have to drive (or walk) down the gravel road to where the cenote is located and a large parking lot. This is one of the more popular near Playa del Carmen but still very much worth visiting from Tulum, as it is only 30 minutes away.

  • Hours: 9 AM to 5 PM
  • Jardin del Eden Price | Entrance Fee: 200 pesos for adults, 100 pesos for children 

Related Article: Best Family Resorts in Playa del Carmen

divingin Dos Ojos Cenote - Best cenotes in Tulum - Diver swimming with a flashlight during a cave dive

5. Dos Ojos

Dos Ojos is the most popular cenote near Tulum and is very well-known. It does live up to all the hype, but it can get really busy. So we suggest going early or later in the day.

It’s located between Playa Del Carmen and Tulum, and it’s pretty easy to get there. You can visit on your own, with a group tour, or we suggest this VIP private tour.

It’s named after its two large oval or eye-shaped pools. The two pools are connected by boardwalks. Some people call them the black eye and blue eye and they couldn’t be any more different.

Blue Eye is an open-air cenote with sparkling turquoise waters covered in tropical sunshine. The Black Eye is a closed cenote, a dark cavern covered in stalactites and stalagmites.

A flashlight is required to navigate this natural wonder. All in all, there are five cenotes here, so you see a lot of unique environments.

The others require a guided tour to access, and more advanced scuba divers can set up tours to see the underground spaces that are otherwise unreachable by simply swimming and snorkeling. Dos Ojos Park also offers some great facilities, like lockers, a bathroom, showers, snorkel equipment to rent, and a restaurant right at the entrance.  

Diving in Dos Ojos

This is the most popular cenote dive around, and for good reason. There is a lot to see and it’s a much shallower dive than most cenotes with beautiful cave structures to see yet spacious passages compared to others.

You can book this dive tour, which includes a two-tank dive in two different cenotes at Dos Ojos and includes transportation from Playa del Carmen. Our this Dos Ojos dive package from Tulum.

It is best to pay the entrance fee in pesos. USD and credit cards are accepted, but there is a credit card. There is a fee for bringing a camera with you besides your phone.

  • Hours: 8 AM to 5 PM
  • Dos Ojos Price | Entrance Fee: 400 pesos for the entrance park, 800 pesos for a snorkeling tour

Stone statue overlooks Zacil Ha Cenote with clear blue water and people swimming - One of the best cenotes near tulum

6. Zacil Ha

Cenote Zacil Ha is a favorite among locals and families for its abundance of fun activities. It’s an open cenote, which allows for a zipline to span entirely across the breathtaking pool. 

It’s surrounded by wooden platforms for jumping and ladders for climbing into the refreshing depths. The zipline runs about 10 feet above the surface, so dropping down can be exhilarating. If you work up an appetite zipping away (it’s about 10 pesos per ride), then there’s also a small snack bar on-site. 

It’s a great pick for anyone seeking more of a swimming pool experience. It’s almost a perfect oval shape and seems kinda like a regular man-made pool that is just carved from limestone. There are many hammocks to kick back in, cabanas to rent for a more luxurious lounge, and sunbeds for soaking up some rays. 

It’s conveniently close to Tulum. There’s even a gift shop for buying that perfect souvenir from the cenotes in Tulum.

In addition, there are two other normal swimming pools here to enjoy as well. It’s ideal if you’re hoping to indulge in more amenities and less nature. 

  • Hours: 10 AM to 6 PM
  • Cenote Zacil Ha Price | Entrance Fee: 300 pesos

Woman in a red bathing suit on a ladder exiting Cenote Cristalino - top cenotes in Tulum

7. Cenote Cristalino

A stunning open cenote with mesmerizing blue water and large white limestone rocks plunked into the shallow waters. This cenote has great swimming, some nice snorkeling, and a fun 4-meter (12ft) cliff jump.  

Cenote Cristalino is slightly less popular than the surrounding cenotes, but it’s not an undiscovered gem either. There is extra room to spread out at this cenote since there are multiple cenotes on the grounds of Cristalino Cenote, so it can feel less busy than others. 

It’s located right outside of the town of Puerto Aventuras, about 30 minutes outside of Tulum Centro. It can easily be paired with other great cenotes near Tulum on a day trip or combined with a trip to snorkel with the sea turtles in Akumal (one of our favorites). 

In many ways, it’s similar to Cenote Azul, with structure and watercolor – that makes sense because these cenotes are literally right next to each other. While they are both worth visiting – if you are tight on time, you should choose one or the other between these two since they are very similar.

Also nearby is Cenote Jardin del Eden, which is again an open Cenote with some similar features but it’s fairly different than Cristalino. 

  • Hours: 9 AM to 5 PM
  • Cenote Calavera Price | Entrance Fee: 200 pesos and 150 peso

areial drone phot of Casa Cenote near Tulum - River like cenote flowing into the ocean through the dense mayan jungle

8. Casa Cenote

Meandering through the jungles outside of Tulum is the one-of-a-kind Casa Cenote. This cenote sits right on the edge of the sea, and it’s actually connected underground to the ocean. 

This unique position creates a special environment with more aquatic life, with many fish and plants compared to other cenotes in Mexico. The walls of the cenote are fringed with mangroves and full of life. 

Like most cenotes near Tulum, Casa Cenote has crystal-clear water, but that’s where the similarities end. This cenote has a structure unlike any other we have visited, and that’s what makes this a must visit cenote in Tulum.  

At one time you were able to dive from the cenote out into the sea, but that has been stopped for safety reasons. This cenote still makes a great diving cenote, and with an extensive yet shallow river-like structure, you could have a very long and rewarding dive.  

This private cenote tour visits Casa Cenote, and this group tour visits three cenotes including Casa Cenote.

On our last visit, they were charging extra for cameras and GoPros. We suggest renting a kayak at Casa Cenote, it is a fun way to explore. The staff isn’t the friendliest and will push hard fo you to buy their snorkeling tour.

  • Hours: 8 AM to 5 PM
  • Casa Cenote Price | Entrance Fee: 150 pesos

Diver swim around the stalgtites formed at the top of the cenote

9. Cenote El Pit

If you are an advanced diver, this is one of the best cenotes for diving near Tulum. It is one of Adam’s favorite cenote dives. The rock formations and underground caverns are so unique.

We also have an in-depth review on diving El Pit.

El Pit is the deepest sinkhole in the entire state of Quintana Roo. The bright blue waters are so crystal clear here that the visibility is hard to top if there hasn’t been many divers. El Pit is part of Dos Ojos Park, it is about a 10-minute drive through the jungle.

It’s the best place to dive down and discover the underwater world of cenotes. El Pit has a little bit of everything that makes cenote diving so magical.

Even from the surface, you can get quite a transparent view of the subterranean scenery. The way in is steep and narrow but well worth the challenge. It quickly opens up into an impressive vast cavern that is almost 100 feet deep. 

It is so clear that you even think you can see the debris cone surrounded by a cloud of hydrogen sulfide. The halocline is also another beautiful feature in El Pit where the fresh and salt waters meet and where everything gets briefly blurry on the descent.

However, nothing really compares to the beams of light that dance deep into the water, let in by the narrow opening at the top of the cenote.

This place is just pure magic.

  • Hours: 8 AM to 5 PM
  • Cenote El Pit Price | Entrance Fee: 600 pesos

single diver approaches a dead tree poking out of the misty cloud layer of cenote angelita

10. Cenote Angelita

Cenote Angelita is a scuba diver’s dream. Set in the middle of the jungle, it’s one of the most interesting Tulum cenotes. Named little angel, it’s also sometimes referred to as the underground river for its jaw-dropping aquatic landscape. 

The natural phenomenon of the white gas layer, made from hydrogen sulfide, is the main magical draw here. Giant dead trees poke up through the misty clouds making an other-worldly experience. Swimming above, below, and through the hazy section makes for an enchanting atmosphere all its own. 

If you aren’t diving cenote Angelita, we suggest skipping this cenote and heading to one of the others on our list. It’s a more rustic cenote setting, so it’s best to be prepared for a distinct lack of facilities on-site. However, the sheer depth of this cenote is enticing, with an impressive reach of almost 200 feet. 

  • Hours: 8 AM to 5 PM
  • Entrance Fee: 350 pesos

woman with her feet in the clear waters of Cenote Jardin del Eden near Palay del Carmen and Tulum Mexico in an over/under photo via a gopro dome

What to Pack When Visiting Tulum Cenotes?

  • Water shoe/aqua sock – Cenotes are often rocky when entering, and the ladders/rocks are slippery. I like these aqua socks. They are lightweight, easy to pack, and CHEAP. 
  • Swimsuit
  • Quick Dry or Small Towel 
  • Mineral Sunscreen/ Reef-safe Sunscreen (many cenotes have a no-sunscreen rule)
  • Water Bottle
  • Underwater Camera or Go Pro – You will want a camera that is good for adventure activities that can get wet. If you are into photography, consider getting a dome for fun over/under shots. *Some cenotes charge an additional cost to bring in camera equipment.
  • Dry bag – Bring a bag to carry all your stuff and keep it dry in case it rains
  • Waterproof phone case – if you plan on bringing your phone in for photos
  • A dry pair of clothes – I like to rinse off cenote water and change into a dry pair of clothes after getting all wet and driving/riding back to our hotel.

inside of cenote Il Kil with light filling the catherdal style cave area of the cenote

There are tons of cenotes in Mexico to choose from, and this list is only a fraction of those in the Yucatan peninsula. We hope we inspired you to explore a few on your trip to Mexico!

Exploring these unique and otherworldly wonders is easily one of the best things to do in Riviera Maya. Be sure to check out the rest of our guides to help plan your next trip to Mexico!