The Cenotes in and around the peninsula of Yucatan and Tulum, the popular tourist destination, are on the bucket list of almost every tourist around the world.
Showcasing a striking contrast of the elements of both water and land, yet exhibiting a balancing sync to create a sight that captures countless tourists every year, the cenotes are a must-travel experience to gain.
This guide will help you in having the best possible trip to Tulum by indicating to you the best cenotes in tulum, and more.
What Are Cenotes?
If you know about the popular cenotes already then it’s fine. But if you aren’t familiar with the term and keep asking what are cenotes in mexico, then no problem. We have all the answers to your questions regarding the cenotes in Mexico.
Pronounced as seh-no-tay, a cenote is an impressive geographic feature that takes place in limestone rocks. When an underground cave or level comes down and is exposed to underground water, a sinkhole is formed. This is what is referred to as cenotes.
Ask any tourist and most of them will suggest to you the vast array of cenotes in the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico, mainly Tulum. And if you are here then entrust us to give you every knowledge about your trip to Tulum, especially regarding the best cenotes in tulum.
Types Of Cenotes
In this section, we will be telling you all about the different varieties of cenotes present in and around Tulum. We hope this will only give you important information which you can utilize to best prepare your tulum cenotes tour.
There are three types of cenotes: underground cenotes, semi-open cenotes, and open cenotes.
These are present underground and have little to no natural sunlight to provide illumination. But being separated from the external ecosystems doesn’t mean these don’t have natural habitats for life. Partially flooded or completely submerged, these cenotes provide the opportunities for scuba diving, and if you are even bolder, then exploration and sightseeing of the hidden wonders in the cave systems.
Many have dived and resurfaced in virtually hidden spots and encountered the breathtaking sight of stalactites and columns of stone.
Cenote Xkeken (near Valladolid) and Cenote Choo-Ha are two good examples of underground cenotes in Yucatan.
These are divided in two parts — open and cavernous. The open part is under an open sky with an abundance of light and air. The cavernous part though runs under a surface and goes deeper into the cave system.
Since it has two types of open and closed spaces, it provides a ton of fun activities.
The open part is fun to swim in and enjoy the beautiful sparkle of the turquoise water due to the sunlight reflected by it. Other activities you can try in the water are snorkeling, scuba diving and freediving.
While the rock can give you the entertainment of ziplining, base-jumping or rappel depending on the kind of the spot it is.
Cenote Samula and Cenote Ik Kula are two good examples of this king of cenotes.
Open Cenotes are the most tourist-friendly and crowded spots. Having a fully uncovered, under-the-sky and in excess sunlight, provide a lot of activities.
These are formed by the complete collapse of a cave or cave system and are exposed fully to the land above ground. Lit with sunlight and having access to a free flow of fresh air, these hold a variety of wildlife too.
Since it is basically like a big pool under the sun with warm sunlight and warm out, you can relax, kick back and have a good long swim. Or you can enjoy kayaking with your friends. If you are interested in underwater activities then you can try out snorkeling with the fish. Or you could go deeper to be with them and scuba dive or free dive to feel a closer connection with nature and find a new appreciation for nature and its numerous wonders.
If you just want to relax then don’t worry. Just kick back and enjoy the crystal-clear or turquoise water for which cenotes are popular.
The rocks can provide good spots for jump diving if you have the heart for it.
Cenote Carwash is one of the best cenotes in tulum which falls in this category.
Why Cenotes In Tulum Are So Popular
If going by number, Mexico is the top in the world with some thousands of cenotes spread around in Tulum. This is one of the factors of the popularity of Mexico for its cenotes.
Tulum also is home to some unique systems of cenotes in the entire Earth and thus attracts tourists as well as explorers and geologists to admire the absolute awe-inspiring rock formations and cave systems in these cenotes. This is why the best cenotes in tulum are something every traveler has to visit at least once in life.
If you are a fan of the native mythology of the place you visit then you will be intrigued by the link between Cenotes and the Mayan underworld. Cenotes served as water sources to the Mayans primarily but they had a belief that these acted as entrances to Xibalba, the Mayan underworld, and a haunt of the Mayan gods.
We saw why tulum mexico caves are popular. Now let us get on to our tulum cenotes tour!
How To Get To Tulum
Tulum doesn’t have an airport and Cancun is the only closest airport to Tulum. About 81 miles away from Tulum, Cancun is the second most important international airport of Mexico.
A variety of airlines from American Airlines to Air France, Air Europa to Air Canada and more fly to Cancun and will get you there without any trouble.
The route from there is via bus services or private taxis. Playa Del Carmen is the nearest city in between Cancun and Tulum that also has good transportation options available.
Where To Lodge In Tulum
While you are surely looking for information on the best cenotes in tulum, it is also an equally important task to look up places where you will stay in Tulum. After all, a nice, comfy place after a whole day of sightseeing and other activities is a must! You have to restore your energy for the next day.
Habitas Beach Hotel
Featuring a scenic spot right beside the beach of the Caribbean Sea this is a good spot to enjoy your stay. There are also other attractions like infinity pools and tree houses as well as an overlook to the jungles.
Una Vida Guest House
This beautiful guest house located a little to the center of the Tulum town is among modern buildings set apart from the surrounding ancient jungles. Providing a plethora of services like massage, free dining and bike rental etc. this hotel should also be on your list.
If you are looking for a cheap alternative or want the unfiltered, genuine experience of visiting Tulum, then try out Mama’s Home hotel. Also, it is lauded for its breakfast in the community!
Transportation To Reach The Cenotes From Tulum
Choosing your mode of transportation depends on which cenotes you are visiting to see. There are over a thousand cenotes in Tulum and they range from a distance of less than a kilometer to over forty kilometers.
Bikes are easily available to rent in Tulum. From dedicated shops to in-hotel services, you can find a bike to rent and ride to the cenotes if you are covering a fairly short distance. The average price stands around $180 MXN pesos. Carry water and bike carefully.
Gran Cenote and Casa Cenote are reachable cenotes with a bike.
Colectivos are what you would call minivans which take a number of tourists collectively to certain cenotes. Some cenotes between Tulum and Playa del Carmen are accessible through this transportation. Average prices are between $20 and $40 MXN pesos.
Cenote Azul and Cenotes Casa Tortuga are some of the cenotes reachable via this option.
Car rentals are the best way because you can go anywhere you want if you just know the way. There are a lot of car rental shops in Tulum. Alternatively, you could simply save the trouble by renting a car at Cancun International Airport itself.
The thing to keep in mind is to keep presentable proof of the circumstantial condition of the rental car during the time of renting it. This way you can avoid scams.
Before we get into the subject of the best cenotes in tulum, getting to know the landscape around Tulum will only be beneficial. Landing in Tulum, you will be in the tourist district of Riviera Maya. It is a corridor of coastal towns on the side of the Caribbean Sea and is popular for the cenotes they flaunt.
It is thus helpful to know about the cenotes riviera maya has to offer. After all, if you are in Tulum, you might as well spend some more bucks to have a full experience of the terrain.
Offering an unobstructed view of the huge, intricate array of stalactites covering its ceiling, Cenote Suytun is an impressive semi-open cenote that doesn’t directly fall inside Tulum. Between Coba and Valladolid, this cenote is mostly popular for admiring the beautiful stalactites and nature photography. Swimming is allowed but only with a life jacket on. A ticket per person costs $120 pesos.
In Dzitnup, Cenote Samula is a semi-open cenote popular for its crystal clear water and hanging roots of trees overhead. While too small for diving, the pool is reputedly famous for the snorkeling experience with the fishes visible in the clear water easily. The sunlight falling through the open roof also makes for an unforgettable sight. The entrance fee is $125 pesos for each person.
Cenote Ik Kil
Near the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza, this semi-open cenote is pretty deep at 130 feet below the ground. Thanks to the openings in the roof, natural sunlight is able to illuminate the cenote and allow an awesome view of the roots of trees reaching down so below to the water.
Also has accommodations for eating, rest, and changing. Swimming is allowed but is advised only to the fairly adept in it. Entry costs $80 pesos a person.
Adding this stop0 to your destination of the best cenotes in tulum won’t be a mistake.
Cenote Jardin del Eden
An open cenote full of lush vegetation and a lot of water, Cenote Jardin del Eden translates to “Garden of Eden” and actually is an Eden for tourists. For the more courageous, the options of cliff jumps and scuba and freediving are available. Snorkeling is also a popular activity here. It is present between Tulum and Playa del Carmen at Puerto Aventuras and easily accessible from either of the towns. The entrance fee is $100 pesos.
Located at Ek Balam, is a popular site after watching the nearby ruins. A little hard to reach through only a single wooden staircase, this is a cavernous cenote that requires firm courage and belief over oneself to dive into the water. Since it is backlit by some sunlight but still dark to some extent at the same time, it provides spectacular underwater views to scuba divers. $70 pesos entails the price for entrance to X’Canche.
Cenote Tak Be Ha
A popular Cenote of the Riviera Maya, Cenote Tak Be Ha (or Taak Bi Ha) is a cavernous cenote. With an entrance leading to a huge room of stalactites and stalagmites inside, tak be ha cenote is popular for its snorkeling and swimming experience. The entrance is priced at 350 pesos per person but the experience is worth this payment.
This was all about the noteworthy cenotes riviera maya has to offer. Read on to find out about the best cenotes in tulum.
Best Cenotes To Tour In Playa Del Carmen
Located slightly northeast of the town of Tulum at a distance of about 64 kilometers, Playa del Carmen is a fairly popular stop in the Riviera Maya for tourists visiting Tulum. You might as well have a look at the cenotes playa del carmen boasts to tourists from around the world. Stay with us for the information about the best cenotes in tulum.
Cenote Azul is a favorite among tourists because of its shallow waters and the well-lit open roof letting in an abundance of sunlight. Swimming and snorkeling are some activities popular here. The entrance fee is $120 pesos.
Cenote Chaak Tun
Two underground cenotes collectively form this cenote. Fully under the ground, they are pretty poor lit and hence require supervisors and artificial light for a trip. The package of the snorkeling tour comes with a Mayan ritual of a shaman’s blessing and a Myan meal. Entrance fee is $550 pesos and includes many services.
Also a feature of the best cenotes in tulum, Cenote Zacil-Ha is in the vicinity of both Tulum and Playa de Carmen. Being an open cenote it lays with its crystal-like water sprawled across its entirety. Intensively commercialized for the throngs of tourists, it features a lot of things to try out like hammocks and swimming pools.
The water is in the best condition for swimming as well as trying out other activities like jump diving as well as ziplining to splash into the water. It has a lot of built-in diving boards to attract visiting tourists. Tickets for entry cost $80 a person.
Located near Cenote Azul, this is also a popular spot to stop for travelers. It is an open cenote and is popular for the clarity of its crystal waters. Perfect for swimming in the sunlight, this is also a worthy mention among the cenotes near Playa del Carmen. Clear waters also means it provides a gorgeous view of the underwater life. Entry tickets cost $150 pesos.
Cenote Tajma Ha
If the name sounds familiar, then you guessed it right. The name comes from Taj Mahal which the cave divers can’t help referring to after the breathtaking experience inside the underwater cave systems and rock formations. Illuminated by the scant sunlight breaking through the roof of the cave, the rock formations are lit alike by the sunlight as well as the reflected light from the water.
It is one of the best destinations for scuba diving enthusiasts. A lot of players in the scuba diving industry provide a safe, step-by-step scuba dive tour to the underwater cave systems. Prices for the scuba dive tours start from around $150 pesos per person.
Hidden from the outer world with a surrounding jungle, this ring-like circular cove at the end of a beach is a good find for people who like to be in less-crowded spots. The water is a mixed freshwater and saltwater stream from an underground river. It is a nice exercise if you are a good swimmer.
So, these were some of the best cenotes playa del carmen has. Next let’s finally jump into our main attraction: best cenotes in tulum!
Attracting crowds of tourists year after year to its sandy beaches, restaurants, and bars as well as Mayan ruins and biosphere reserves, and wildlife protection sites, Tulum has gained the reputation to be one of the busiest tourist stations in the corridor of the tourist district of Riviera Maya as well as in the entire Yucatan peninsula.
Tulum is a favorite go-to place for tourists worldwide offering both a clear seascape of the neighboring Caribbean Sea as well as the jungles, Mayan ruins and the Most popular of them all, cenotes.
So, without wasting any moment, here are the best cenotes in tulum.
Gran Cenote is a very well-known cenote among the regular cenote tourists around the world. But if you don’t know much about it, then don’t let the name fool you. Instead of a singular “grand” cenote, gran cenote tulum is a network of small cenotes of open and semi-open cenotes as well as cave systems.
The water is a crystal clear turquoise and is inhabited by a variety of fish and turtles. This entire collection of cenotes is joined by boardwalks made of wood and provide scenic spots to take photographs and chill above the water.
Those who wish can walk into the water and have fun swimming or snorkeling. The water goes through cave openings and hence provides a good close-up of the rock formations for swimmers. The collection of all kinds of cenotes in Gran Cenote provide the best tulum cenote snorkeling experience.
There are a lot of options to reach Gran Cenote. You can take a rental car from either Tulum or Playa del Carmen. Colectivos also travel between the two towns and head to this destination from either direction. Taxis are another example.
Entry is $180 pesos per person.
It is dubbed Cenote Carwash by the locals because of the fact that the cars traveling between Tulum and the other nearby towns stopped here to wash the dirt. It is an open cenote with beautiful clear water for swimming. You can go diving here too, but that takes extra charges.
You can reach here easily with a rental car. A colectivo or taxi from Tulum headed to Coba might be another alternative.
The entrance is very cheap at only $50 pesos per person.
Casa Cenote, located near the highway between Tulum and Playa del Carmen, is a popular cenote among the tourists. This relatively shallow cenote has a lot of flora and fauna to boast about, from mangroves to a variety of aquatic creatures. It has nice water for swimming or kayaking. A little farther into the water, you can find spots to dive too. It is popular for scuba diving till the opening on the nearby sea.
Taxis, colectivos or rental cars are the available options for transportation. Just get off on the highway and follow a dirt road to the nearby jungle. Cross the woods and you will reach the cenote.
The entrance to Casa Cenote costs $120 pesos.
Cenote Dos Ojos
Another cenote in between Tulum and Playa del Carmen, Cenote Dos Ojos is also a unique landmark and popular among tourists for its peculiar geography. The name translates to “Two Eyes” as the two neighboring sinkholes create an illusion of two eyes. One is called the Blue eye and the other is the Black eye.
Blue eye is named so for its open-air nature and clear, sparkling water under the open sky. Black eye is named so because it is basically a cavernous system with stalagmites and stalactites. Dark and without exposure to natural sunlight, this cenote is accessible only with a flashlight and a tour guide.
It has more cenotes to its system, one of them popularly known as Cenote Sac Actun. All the cenotes in this cluster are interconnected but not all are accessible through swimming or snorkeling. Diving is necessary to reach some of the cenotes.
Reaching this cenote is easiest by taking a rental car. Colectivos or taxis are available but they will leave you at the entrance of Dos Ojos Park, from where it is a walk of half an hour to reach the cenotes.
The entrance ticket for only Dos Ojos Cenotes is $350 pesos and the included trip to Sac Actun and other cenotes together costs $450 pesos per person. Don’t worry the price is worth it.
Near the ruins of Cabo, this cenote is a collection of many cenotes. Three of the well-known cenotes of Coba are Choo-Ha Tamcach-Ha and Multum-Ha are located here. Like, Gran Cenote, you find a variety in the cenote types here ranging from open to closed and even cavernous cenotes.
Choo-Ha is the shallowest cenote of the three and is visited by families with children and others who are not so confident in water.
Tamcach-Ha gives the delight of jumping boards and swimming.
Multum-Ha with a small opening in the roof has a very mesmerizing view of the sunlight leaking through there and illuminating the rocks and water inside.
Take a rental car to cover all the cenotes. Other travel transportations don’t provide full coverage of the location.
Entry costs $100 pesos.
Though cenotes are mainly approached with a focus on the water activities, they provide many other entertainments. They are a good trip to observe the life and biosphere in these areas. They help us to appreciate nature a little more. They also provide fabulous views of the ancient landforms both above and underwater and make for lifelong memories and experiences. This is why we are including some of the best cenotes in tulum for non swimmers.
A cluster of all kinds of cenotes, this cenote is the best bet for any non-swimmers to enjoy even in water.
Furthermore, what’s best is the boardwalk which connects all the cenotes so non-swimmers don’t miss out on the beauty of all the cenotes. Also, one of the best cenotes in tulum, it is an essential stop for your trip to Tulum.
Dos Ojos Cenotes
Since it has some open cenotes, they are good and safe to check out with your friends. Also it has a boardwalk, so no pressure to get into the water.
Things To Keep In Mind While Traveling To Tulum
- Always carry cash. Majority of the cenotes in Tulum are cash-only and hence taking credit cards will fail your purpose to visit.
- Carry your own towels to avoid trouble of hygiene doubts or bad quality in hotels or the cenote rental towels.
- Swim-shoes are a must to avoid needlessly wetting your feet. They are helpful on the boardwalks and the watery entrances of cenotes too.
- Carrying a waterproof camera to a place which has a lot of water is only common sense. The water can destroy the cameras that are not waterproof and run the great risk of being destroyed by water.
This is a detailed map of the best cenotes in tulum as well as the less-crowded and serene cenotes all-around Tulum, so you have the required knowledge of the terrain and the best possible trip.
That was all about the best cenotes in tulum and we hope we have answered all your curiosities regarding your trip to Tulum. Have a nice trip, or as is said in Mexico, “Buen viaje”!!!
Q: Are there crocodiles in Tulum cenotes?
A: Yes, there are crocodiles reported to be in the cenotes of Tulum. But accidents are rare and scant. Still, be careful of them and keep a distance.
Q: What is the most famous cenote in Mexico?
A: Gran Cenote is the most famous and touristy cenote in Mexico and one of the best cenotes in tulum.
Q: Are the cenotes in Tulum safe?
A: Yes, the cenotes for a lot of years have been consistently safe for swimming in Tulum. Still, life jackets and snorkeling equipment are provided to every tourist to counter any risk.
Q: Can you go to cenotes in Tulum without a guide?
A: Yes it is possible to visit most of the cenotes in Tulum without a guide, but some have strict entrances with guides only.
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