8 Best Cenotes Near Tulum

8 Best Cenotes Near Tulum - Suytun Cenote Couple Photo

I’m sure you’ve seen the photos on Instagram and Pinterest that have helped make the Tulum and Yucatan Peninsula area so famous recently. You know, the people swimming in holes in the earth that are filled with crystal clear, vibrant colored water. Well, these are called cenotes, and they are pretty magical! These were considered by the ancient Mayans to be sacred, and some were even used for cultural ceremonies and sacrificial offerings.

A cenote is created when limestone bedrock collapses, leaving behind a cavernous sinkhole or pit. These get filled with water, either filtered through the earth, or from underground river systems. There are all different types of cenotes. Some are open-air and appear almost like a natural pool. Others are giant cave systems of interconnected, underground tunnels. Some are semi-open cenotes, and somewhere in-between. There are over 6,000 of these cenotes on the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico, and in this blog post, I’m going to share the 8 best cenotes to visit in the Tulum area!


8 Best Cenotes Near Tulum

Before we jump into the details about Tulum cenotes, I want to first stress the need to research locations before visiting. Be sure to double-check they are open and if any visitation guidelines have changed. It’s impossible for me to keep this blog post updated every single day, so use my recommendations as a guideline but be sure to do your own research as well.

Map of the Best Cenotes Near Tulum

8 Best Cenotes Near Tulum - Cenote Oxman Mexico
Cenote Oxman

How To Get To Tulum Cenotes

There are many ways to get to the Tulum cenotes on this list, but which method you choose will depend on how close you are staying to each one.

By far the best option, in my opinion, is to rent a car. This will give you the most flexibility to reach the cenotes that are further away, as well as the ones that are close by. I personally found it no problem to drive around the Yucatan Peninsula. Just watch out for the overzealous speed bumps that often aren’t signed too well! I learned this the hard way, almost hitting my head on the roof driving in the dark one night after hitting one a little fast (whoops!)

Alternatively, you could rely on public transportation. Collectivos, which are essentially shared vans, travel all around the Riviera Maya and Yucatan Peninsula. If you’re in a popular area, you’re likely to see a LOT of these, so it shouldn’t be hard to find one. They are a little confusing at first, but once you understand how it all works, it’s a breeze! Simply stand on the side of the road, wave at any vans you see driving past, and if they have space they’ll pick you up. Tell the driver your destination, and pay when you get off. Don’t stress too much about finding out the price when you get in, these are cheap and shouldn’t be more than a few dollars or so. Taxis do operate in the area, but honestly, they can be pricey and I’d avoid them in favor of other options.

Another popular option is to hire a personal driver for the day. This is best done when you plan to visit multiple cenotes in one day, as this will get you the most value for your money. With the right planning, you can definitely hit 5 or more cenotes in a single day if you’re on a time crunch! As for pricing, you should shop around and haggle with drivers, but somewhere around $100-150 a day is pretty standard. Although this isn’t super cheap, you can bring some friends along to split the cost which really helps out.

For the cenotes closer to Tulum, consider renting a bike and riding there. It’s fun, environmentally friendly, and cheap! There are a few bike rental places in Tulum, and you can expect to pay around $10 USD for a day rental.

Read next: Ultimate Guide to Visiting Tulum: Make The Most Of Your Visit


8 Best Cenotes Near Tulum Mexico - Dos Ojos Cenote
Cenote Dos Ojos

Cenote Dos Ojos

Cenote Dos Ojos is one of the most famous cenotes on earth. Its incredibly blue and crystal clear water has lead to features in many movies, television shows, and documentaries. Possibly most famous for its diving, Cenote Dos Ojos’ crystal clear water is also great for people wanting to snorkel (lots of fish!) or just take a relaxing swim.

This is one of the more commercialized cenotes around and has 2 lifeguards on duty, a restaurant, restrooms, lockers, and changing rooms. A life jacket is included in your entrance fee, but a mask and fins will cost an additional 120 pesos (around $6 USD).

There are many ways to get to Cenote Dos Ojos, but the easiest is by having your own rental car. From the entrance station, it is a 1km walk to the cenote, but having your own vehicle allows you to drive up that road to the cenote and park right in front. I recommend you visit in the early morning at opening time, or late in the afternoon closer to closing time to avoid the bulk of the crowds.

  • Location: 22km (13 miles) north of Tulum, about a 20-minute drive. Get directions on GoogleMaps.
  • Entrance fee: 350 pesos ($18 USD) per person.
  • Facilities: Bathrooms, change room, lockers, restaurants, snacks
  • Opening times: 8 AM to 5 PM daily at time of writing.
  • Best for: swimming, snorkeling, diving

8 Best Cenotes Near Tulum Mexico - Cenote Calavera
Cenote Calavera

Cenote Calavera

Cenote Calavera (Spanish for skull) is one of the most centrally located cenotes, being only a 5-minute drive outside of Tulum. As such, it can get a little busy, so I recommend you get there early in the morning or later in the afternoon. Unlike Dos Ojos which you enter VIA stairs or platforms, Calavera has three entrances – the first is a large, wide hole around 10 feet (3 meters) above the water. You can jump in or take the ladder if you are afraid of heights. The other two are a little more “spooky”, and involves jumping through dark, narrow holes located just to the side of the larger hole (watch out for other swimmers below!).

Once inside the cenote, you will find crystal clear water, fish, and even some old pottery and bones if you dive far enough. If you are squeamish, you may not be a fan of the tiny little fish that inhabit this cenote (and others in the area). They will likely come up and feed on dead skin cells on your body. I know it sounds gross, but it doesn’t hurt at all, it’s just a weird sensation haha.

  • Location: 2km (1.2 miles) north of Tulum. Get directions on GoogleMaps.
  • Entrance fee: 100 pesos ($5 USD) for swimmers, 200 pesos ($10 USD) for divers.
  • Facilities: Bathrooms, snacks
  • Opening times: 9 AM to 5 PM daily at time of writing.
  • Best for: swimming, diving, cliff jumping

8 Best Cenotes Near Tulum Mexico - Gran Cenote Tulum
Gran Cenote

Gran Cenote

Gran Cenote is another of Tulum’s most famous cenotes, and in my opinion one of the most beautiful. It is also arguably the most popular, so be sure to go right at opening or later in the afternoon, for a less crowded experience. After paying your entrance fee, you will take a shower, which is common practice to protect the fragile cenote ecosystems, and follow a boardwalk to the cenote.

Gran Cenote is an open-air cenote, and almost appears like a river if it weren’t for the cave-like walls around the outer edges. With that being said, you can swim under the walls and into the caverns which will give you a whole different experience (maybe avoid this if you don’t like bats though haha). Like many other cenotes in the area, you can explore even more of the cenote if you do some scuba diving. There are many local guides nearby in Tulum who can help you do this, as well as rent you the necessary equipment if you don’t have it already.

  • Location: 4km (2.5 miles) north of Tulum. Get directions on GoogleMaps.
  • Entrance fee: 180 pesos ($9) per person.
  • Facilities: Bathrooms, change room, lockers (30 pesos, $1.5), life jackets (50 pesos, $2.25 USD), snack stand.
  • Opening times: 9 AM to 4:45 PM daily at time of writing.
  • Best for: swimming, snorkeling, diving

8 Best Cenotes Near Tulum Mexico - Cenote Oxman
Cenote Oxman

Cenote Oxman

Cenote Oxman is located on an old agave plantation that dates back to 1746. You’ll park out front, walk a short pathway through walled gardens, purchase your ticket, and then take another path through more beautiful gardens to the cenote. Oxman is a large, deep, cave styled cenote allowing for plenty of natural light to beam through during a sunny day. This creates some absolutely gorgeous light rays underwater, so make sure to bring some goggles.

Tree roots also extend from the surface all the way down to the water, creating a really magical feeling once inside. There are 73 stairs that take you down to the cenote, resembling a staircase you’ll find in a building, but built into the rock underground. Once down, there is a platform about 10 feet (3 meters) above the water that has a rope swing, allowing for a unique and fun way to make your entrance (highly recommend!) Or, if you’re a little nervous about heights, you can take the stairs down and walk right in.

Life jackets are included in the entrance fee, and you will find them lining the fence in the cave. Cenote Oxman is one of the less busy cenotes on this list, especially if you visit early in the morning. Tours that are going to nearby Chichin Itza often stop here in the afternoon, so I suggest avoiding that.

  • Location: Near the town of Vallovolid, a 1.5 hour drive from Tulum. Get directions on GoogleMaps.
  • Entrance fee: 80 pesos ($4 USD) per person.
  • Facilities: Bathrooms, changing rooms, showers, swimming pool, restaurant and bar
  • Opening times: 9 AM to 6 PM daily at time of writing.
  • Best for: Swimming, cliff jumping, snorkeling

8 Best Cenotes Near Tulum Mexico - Suytun Cenote
Cenote Suytun

Cenote Suytun

Cenote Suytun is the most “Instagram worthy”, but also one of the most popular cenotes on the Yucatan Peninsula. With this comes large crowds, but it’s still definitely worth checking this gem out if you’re in the area. I recommend you do this on the same day as Cenote Oxman as they are rather close.

To explore Cenote Suytun you will park at a large lot, buy your tickets, and then enter take a staircase that goes down through a little underground tunnel into the cenote. The first view of Suytun will make your jaw drop. It’s a wide, underground cavern in the earth, and unlike a lot of the other cenotes, the ground above is still intact. There are also some really cool rock formations that line the walls of the cenote. What makes this place especially unique is that there’s a small hole in the rocky ceiling way above, and around midday, a strong light-beam pierces the hole and illuminating a circular stone platform built in the center of the cenote.

The best time to see the famous light beam is on a sunny day in the early afternoon, when the sun is high in the sky. Unfortunately, that will also most likely be when most tourists are there, so decide how important that is to you and plan accordingly. If you want that famous Instagram photo, there is often a queue, and people will line up and take it in turns to get the shot. Be prepared with your camera settings ready to go so you don’t hold up the line. The water here is quite shallow, and the owners require you to rent a lifejacket (30 pesos, $1.90 USD) if you want to swim. This isn’t the best cenote for swimming honestly, and I’d skip it in favor of other ones if you plan to get in the water.

  • Location: Near the town of Vallovolid, a 1.5 hour drive from Tulum. Get directions on GoogleMaps.
  • Entrance fee: 120 pesos ($6.50) per person.
  • Facilities: Bathrooms, changing rooms, showers, restaurant, lifejacket rental, gift shop
  • Opening times: 9 AM to 6 PM daily at time of writing.
  • Best for: Swimming, photos

Read next: How To Take Stunning Travel Photos as a Couple


8 Best Cenotes Near Tulum Mexico - Cenote Nicte-Ha
Cenote Nicte-Ha

Cenote Nicte-Ha

Nicte-Ha is another of the magical cenotes located on the Mayan Rivera, and also happens to be in the same park as Dos Ojos. What makes Cenote Nicte-Ha unique is the abundant lilies spread all around the water, it really is a beautiful place. It’s more open-air than other cenotes on this list, quite similar to a lake but with small walls around the outer edge. It also has vividly blue, and crystal clear water. It’s quite “fresh”, but not too cold. The cenote is surrounded by beautiful vegetation, and between that and the floating lilies it feels like you are in your own little oasis. Bathing here on a sunny day amongst the lilies is a dream!

I recommend getting to the busy Dos Ojos first thing when they open for your best shot at avoiding crowds, then head over to the far lesser know Nicte-Ha afterward. There’s still a good chance you will be one of only a few people.

  • Location: 22km (13.5 miles) north of Tulum, around a 20 minute drive. Get directions on GoogleMaps.
  • Entrance fee: 100 pesos ($6 USD)
  • Facilities: Bathrooms
  • Opening times: 8 AM to 5 PM daily as of writing.
  • Best for: Swimming, scuba diving

8 Best Cenotes Near Tulum Mexico - Cenote Azul
Cenote Azul

Cenote Azul

Cenote Azul is a popular cenote along the Yucatan Peninsula, just south of Playa Del Carman. This is one of the most family-friendly cenotes, so definitely considering visiting if you have kids. The main swimming area of Cenote Azul is split into two by a boardwalk. One side is perfect for families as older kids will be able to stand there, the second is deeper and has great places for swimming and even some cliff jumping. Life jackets are available for rent at Cenote Azul and will cost 40 pesos per person ($2 USD). Like most other cenotes on this list, it can get busy, so if possible try and get there early to avoid the crowds.

  • Location: 25 minutes south of Playa Del Carmen, and 1 hour 20 minutes north-east from Tulum. Get directions on GoogleMaps.
  • Entrance fee: 120 pesos ($6 USD) per person.
  • Facilities: Bathrooms, changing rooms, gear rental, snack stand
  • Opening times: 9 AM to 5 PM at time of writing, depending on the season.
  • Best for: Swimming, snorkeling, families, cliff jumping

8 Best Cenotes Near Tulum Mexico - Cenote Zacil Ha
Cenote Zacil Ha

Cenote Zacil Ha

Cenote Zacil Ha is another of the more family-friendly cenotes to visit near Tulum. It has all the facilities you need, and there are even some cabins you can spend the night on the property. Zacil Ha is an open-air cenote, shaped like an oval, and appears almost like a natural swimming pool. Its name means “clear water”, which makes complete sense when you see it for yourself. It is also the most beautiful turquoise color, so dreamy. One thing that makes Zacil Ha especially unique is that it has a zip line above it, and you can pay an additional fee to take the zip line and jump into the cenote. Pretty cool! It also has two pools on the property, which are great for younger kids. Although it’s not one of the most popular cenotes along the Riviera Maya, it’s quite a small cenote, so it can fill up pretty fast if you get unlucky with the timing of other visitors. Try to avoid the weekends as that’s when the locals bring their kids for a fun day out.

  • Location: 10 minutes north of Tulum. Get directions on GoogleMaps.
  • Entrance fee: 100 pesos ($5 USD) per person.
  • Facilities: Bathrooms, changing rooms, swimming pools, restaurant, lodging
  • Opening times: 10 AM to 5:30 PM at time of writing. Can change depending on the season.
  • Best for: Swimming, families

8 Best Cenotes Near Tulum Mexico - Cenote Azul Tulum
Cenote Azul

Tips for Visiting Tulum Cenotes

There are a few things you should know before going to these Tulum cenotes:

1. Don’t wear sunscreen – I know, this goes against everything we’ve been taught as a kid about sun protection, but toxins found in sunscreen can damage the fragile ecosystems within the cenotes. Most cenotes in the area strictly forbid it, and some require you to shower before entering.

2. Pack light – Some cenotes have nowhere to store your belongings, and as such you will end up leaving them beside the cenote unattended. Although these places are usually very safe, it’s best to only pack what you need, and leave extra cash, credit cards, etc in the car or back at your accommodation.

3. Bring cash – Not all cenotes accept card (though most do). Bring cash, and make sure you have enough in case you plan to rent snorkel gear, life jackets etc. Research this ahead of time so you know exactly how much to bring so you don’t have too much extra lying around.

4. Time your visit – The cenotes on this list vary in popularity, so it’s best to plan your visits accordingly. If you plan to visit multiple in one day, go to the busiest at opening time or close to closing time to avoid the worst of the crowds. Similarly, if you want to visit one in the middle of the day (the busiest time), try one of the least popular cenotes.

5. Bring snorkel gear – Most cenotes have some really cool things you can only see if you bring a snorkeling gear. Some cenotes have these available for rent, but for hygiene purposes, and so you have one for each cenote you visit, I recommend bringing your own set along with you. They are cheap, but unfortunately do take up quite a bit of room in your bags.

6. Pack an underwater camera – This is great for snapping memories without having to worry about ruining your expensive, non-waterproof one. Something like a Go-Pro, or iPhone in a waterproof case works great! Make sure to have some kind of floatation device or wrist strap attached in case you drop it.


Final Thoughts on the Best Tulum Cenotes

I hope you found this guide to Tulum cenotes helpful! Remember to be respectful when you visit cenotes, and always follow Leave No Trace Principles. If you have any additional tips or advice on cenotes near Tulum, leave a comment below!


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I'm sure you've seen the photos on Instagram and Pinterest that have helped make the Tulum and Yucatan Peninsula area so famous! You know, the people swimming in holes in the earth that are filled with crystal clear, vibrant colored water. Well, these are called cenotes, and they are pretty magical! There are over 6,000 of these cenotes on the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico, and in this blog post, I'm going to share the 8 best cenotes to visit in the Tulum area! #Tulum #Cenotes
I'm sure you've seen the photos on Instagram and Pinterest that have helped make the Tulum and Yucatan Peninsula area so famous! You know, the people swimming in holes in the earth that are filled with crystal clear, vibrant colored water. Well, these are called cenotes, and they are pretty magical! There are over 6,000 of these cenotes on the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico, and in this blog post, I'm going to share the 8 best cenotes to visit in the Tulum area! #Tulum #Cenotes
8 Best Cenotes Near Tulum8 Best Cenotes Near Tulum

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