This picturesque sinkhole is one of the most stunning cenotes not just in Playa del Carmen, but possibly one of the best cenotes in Mexico! Unlike other cenotes in the area, Cenote Cristalino is a half-cave, which means it’s partially covered and partially exposed. Spend the day exploring the dark underwater caves, soaking up the sun, or both!
The dense mangrove forests and lush foliage give Cenote Cristalino its relaxed, tropical atmosphere. There are also unique rock formations surrounding the edges of the cenote, creating a barrier of protection. With the birds chirping in the background, you’ll feel like you’re tucked away in the depths of the jungle.
There are plenty of activities to do during your visit to Cenote Cristalino. Thanks to the crystal clear waters, swimming and snorkeling are two of the most popular activities. However, it’s important to note the water is only 20-feet deep. While it’s not possible to scuba dive, the shallow waters make it the ideal place for families and beginner to intermediate swimmers.
If you do plan on visiting Cenote Cristalino, it’s recommended to come during the weekday. This is when the cenote is the least crowded. If you visit during the weekend, you will want to go as early as possible before the locals and tour groups arrive.
Reasons to Visit Cenote Cristalino
Despite its central location near Tulum and Playa del Carmen, Cenote Cristalino is less visited than nearby Azul. It tends to be quieter than the other cenotes in the area, which means you can enjoy swimming in the sinkhole without bumping shoulders with other visitors. If you can get there before 11 am, you’ll practically have the entire place to yourself!
Close to other cenotes
If you want to tick a few more cenotes off your bucket list, you can make the circuit to visit the nearby Cenote Azul and the Jardin del Eden. Compared to these two cenotes, Cenote Cristalino is less crowded. However, it’s still worth visiting Cenote Azul and the Jardin del Eden to experience something different.
Jardin del Eden is an excellent spot for scuba diving. You can dive down to 50-feet, and even explore the underwater caves if you have the right certification. Cenote Azul is an open-air cenote where you can cliff jump, scuba dive, and snorkel through the clear waters.
Cliff Jumping at Cenote Cristalino
There is a nice stone ledge to jump from that is high, but not too high with a nice deep pool of water below, perfect for cliff jumping. It’s just one more reason to love Cristalino Cenote.
Calm, shallow waters
The shallow waters of Cenote Cristalino are ideal for families and leisurely swimmers. The maximum depth around the cenote is only 20-feet, which makes it one of the shallowest cenotes in the area. Although it’s not very deep, it’s still recommended to wear the provided life vests unless you are a strong swimmer.
If you bring your snorkel gear, you’ll be able to see the shoals of tropical fish swimming around the cenote. But you don’t need a mask to enjoy one of the coolest things about the cenote. All you have to do is to sit on the edge of the rocks and dangle your feet in the waters. Within a few seconds, you’ll have dozens of tiny fish nipping at your toes! There are plenty of spas around the world that charge for this so-called fish pedicure, but at Cenote Cristalino, you can enjoy this treatment for free!
Three swimming areas
At Cenote Cristalino, there are three different pools to choose from. The biggest pool has the cliff jump and a cave, so it tends to be more crowded than the others. You can also visit the other two pools if you’re looking for a bit of peace and relaxation. The Cenote Escondido, or hidden cenote, is the quietest pool that almost feels like your very own private, tranquil sanctuary.
Caves to explore
Besides swimming in the open areas, Cenote Cristalino has several small caves to explore. Once you enter, you’ll see several medium-sized stalactites protruding from the ceiling of the cave. There are still rays of sunlight peeking through the rock formations to illuminate the cave, so make sure to bring your snorkel so you can see what lurks beneath the surface. It’s recommended to wear water shoes, as the rocks at the bottom can be very sharp.
Hours and Entrance Fees of Cenote Cristalino
- Hours: Daily 8am – 5pm
- Entrance Fee: 150 Pesos (adult), 100 Peso (children)
Snorkeling in Cenote Cristalino
Snorkeling is one of the most popular activities at Cenote Cristalino. The high visibility of the water is crystal clear, which means you can see to the bottom without much effort. However, snorkeling will allow you to get up close and personal with the abundance of marine life that floats through the shallow waters.
It’s recommended to bring your own equipment if you want to snorkel at Cenote Cristalino. If you forget your equipment, you can also rent a mask at the Cenote Cristalino shop.
Diving in Cenote Cristalino
Thrill-seekers will be happy to know that cliff diving is possible at Cenote Cristalino. Although the waters are shallow compared to other sinkholes in the area, it’s still deep enough for a small jump. There is one main jumping platform at Cenote Cristalino in the main pool, which stands 12-feet above the water level. It may not seem that high, but it’s definitely enough to get your heart pumping!
The water is roughly 20-feet deep, which means you won’t have to worry about grazing the bottom. If you’re up for the challenge, make sure to save up your courage to jump off the rock at Cenote Cristalino!
Equipment Rental Prices at Cenote Cristalino
Although Cenote Cristalino is less commercialized than other swimming holes in the area, it still has a few modern facilities like changing rooms and lockers. You can store your belongings in the lockers for 50 pesos, and order snacks and drinks at the on-site cafe. You can also rent swim goggles for 50 pesos. If you’d rather spend the afternoon relaxing in the sun, there are sun loungers available to rent for 50 pesos each.
Life jackets are included with your entrance fee, although it’s not required to wear it while swimming.