Discover why you need to swim at Cenote Dos Ojos, a stunning sinkhole located between Tulum and Playa del Carmen. This NEEDS to be on your bucket list!
Cenote Dos Ojos in Tulum might easily be the most famous cenote in the world. It has appeared in multiple documentaries and movies, and I can honestly understand why. It’s just incredibly beautiful!
The blue water that almost looks painted, incredible rock formations, and plenty of opportunities for divers make it one of the most beautiful cenotes near Tulum. Check out my other favorite cenotes in the are in this video below.
What Is a Cenote?
I already know what is a cenote! I know, I know – after all, cenotes have become super popular these past few years, especially thanks to Instagram and travel blogs. However, many people don’t really know what exactly is a cenote, and I do believe it’s important to understand what is their significance to the Mayans so we can be more respectful.
A cenote is a natural sinkhole dating back several centuries. Said in simple words, when limestone caves collapse they expose a natural pool. This pool then gets filled with rain water and with the water that flows through underground rivers, to which these natural sinkholes are connected to. Voilà, you’ve got yourself a cenote!
Cenote 2 at Cenote Dos Ojos – Image by Raphael of Journey Wonders
The word cenote comes from the Mayan term dzonot, which means well. But don’t make the mistake of thinking that all cenotes look the same. In fact, there are 4 types of cenotes:
• Open Cenotes – Open cenotes are like natural, open pools, which can be more or less deep. Some of these open cenotes are also connected to an underground river passage (which makes them great for diving!). Examples of beautiful open cenotes are Cenote Cristal and Cenote Escondido, Cenote Zacil-Ha, and Cenote Carwash.
• Semi-open Cenotes – As the name implies, semi-open cenotes have some parts that are exposed and some portions that are partially hidden by a cave. Examples of semi-open cenote are Gran Cenote and Cenote Calavera.
• Cave Cenotes – This type of cenote can be accessed via a land-level entrance. Once you make your way in, it opens up to an underground pool which can have both shallow and deep areas. Cenote Dos Ojos, which I’ll tell you all about in this post, is a cave cenote.
• Underground Cenotes – This type of cenote is the most difficult to reach as they are, in fact, underground. Only experienced divers can access underground cenotes. An example of underground cenote is the Pet Cemetery Cenote near Tulum.
Cenotes are not just natural pools and caves, they have a great cultural and religious significance to the ancient Mayans, who believed that the cenotes were passages to the underworld.
Please be responsible! Don’t litter the cenote, always take your trash back with you, and only apply biodegradable sunscreen before swimming in the cenote.
Make sure you have travel insurance before leaving for your trip to Mexico! As we all know after the last couple of years, unexpected things can happen and you want to be covered when you need it the most.
SafetyWing is the insurance I’ve been using for the last 3 years. It costs USD 42 for 4 weeks (and much less if your trip is shorter!) and provides coverage for COVID-19. For a more comprehensive, but pricier, coverage you can check out WorldNomads, which is another excellent choice.
Cenote Dos Ojos: An Introduction
Cenote Dos Ojos, contrary to popular belief, is not a single cenote but it’s actually a system made of two different cenotes. These are connected via a passageway that measures 400 meters long. Name explained! – in fact, the Spanish name Cenote Dos Ojos means Two Eyes Cenote.
Cenote Dos Ojos is part of one of the largest underwater cave systems of the Yucatan Peninsula. This cenote also boasts the record for the deepest underwater passageway, which is 118 meters (396 feet) deep, although the cenote itself is a maximum of 10 meters (33 feet) deep.
The water is transparent, blue, really one of the most crystal clear waters I’ve seen in my entire life. The temperature of the water is a pleasurable 24-25 Celsius degrees (in the high 70s Fahrenheit).
I could not find the name of the two “eyes”cenotes, I suspect they are just called Cenote Dos Ojos 1 and 2. Most people spend most of their time at the main cenote, as the second one is darker and less inviting – yet really beautiful in a different way. It’s not unusual to see bats here as well.
And if you really like bats, there’s another cave called Bat Cave that can be visited only led by a guide!
Both sinkholes feature beautiful stalactites and stalagmites, but these are pretty fragile so please don’t touch them. You’ll find both shallow and deeper areas in the cenotes, so it’s a good option for families with children as well.
The Facilities at Cenote Dos Ojos, Tulum
Parque Dos Ojos where Cenote Dos Ojos is located offers some of the best facilities in the region.
▶ Here you can find bathrooms and changing rooms, as well as lockers for rental.
▶ A large wooden deck area at the main cenote makes for a great entry point. There are stairs to go down in the water at both cenotes, but make sure you watch out for the shallow rocks right below the surface.
▶ Life jackets (I heard that they are now mandatory) are included in the price of the entrance ticket, but it’s an extra cost if you want to rent snorkeling gear at Cenote Dos Ojos. If you do want snorkeling gear, make sure you pay for it in advance at the ticket booth, since the cenote and the ticket booth are very far from each other. Mask and snorkel cost 50 MXN, and fins 70 MXN.
▶ You can also upgrade your ticket to a guided snorkeling or diving tour, although for diving I recommend going with a reputable diving school instead. You’ll find a few diving tours in the paragraph about tours.
▶ At Cenote 2 Ojos there are also lifeguards on duty, but always keep an eye on your children if you are traveling with kids. Parking is free and there’s a restaurant on site (although with such a great choice of restaurants in Tulum, I suggest heading to town for a meal.)
▶ You can have massages (some reviewers say this was the best massage they ever got!), and there are covered picnic areas where you can sit and eat.
Cenote Dos Ojos: Practical Info
Cenote Dos Ojos Price
The Dos Ojos Cenote entrance fee is quite expensive, costing 350 MXN (about 18 USD at the time of writing). Only cash is accepted.
Where is it located?
Cenote Dos Ojos is located 22 km (13 miles) north of Tulum, which is about a 20-minute drive, and about 50 km (31 miles) south of Playa del Carmen. It’s part of a place called Parque Dos Ojos where you can also find other cenotes: Cenote Nicte Ha, Cenote Jaguar, Cenote El Pit, Cenote Los Monos.
You can also visit Cenote Dos Ojos together with Xel Ha, which is just 1 km (0.6 miles) south.
Cenote Dos Ojos address is Carretera Federal 307, km 244.5 Here below you can see it on the map:
Cenote Dos Ojos Opening Hours
Cenote Dos Ojos is open 8 AM to 5 PM.
What’s the best time to visit Cenote Dos Ojos?
If you want to avoid the crowds, come to Cenote Dos Ojos in the early morning. I came at 8.30 AM and had the cenote pretty much for myself until 9. At 9.30 the crowds started to arrive and I escaped to Cenote Nicte Ha!
Cenote Dos Ojos Snorkeling
✓ Possible – you can either bring your own gear or rent it at the entrance of Dos Ojos Cenote when you pay for your ticket.
Dos Ojos Cenote Diving
✓ Possible but you need to organize it with a diving center in advance. Cenote Dos Ojos is really popular with divers (many of whom are at their first experience).
Best Cenote Dos Ojos Tours
If you decide to visit Dos Ojos with a tour, check out my favorite Cenote Dos Ojos tours. They depart from either Tulum or Playa del Carmen.
➤ Dos Ojos & Casa Cenote Adventure from Tulum All Inclusive – no matter if you are a snorkeler or scuba diver, you can join this guided tour that caters to both (which makes it a family-friendly tour). You will be able to snorkel or scuba dive with a guide at both Casa Cenote and Cenote Dos Ojos. It’s also more affordable than most other diving tours. ➥ BOOK IT HERE
➤ Dos Ojos Cenote Private Tour with Mayan Lunch – If you prefer the privacy and convenience of a private tour, this private Dos Ojos Cenote tour. By departing early in the morning, you’ll enjoy the two cenotes away from the tourist crowds! You’ll get lunch at a local Mayan restaurant as well. Hotel pickup is included from Tulum and Playa del Carmen. ➥ BOOK IT HERE
➤ Discover the Mystical Cenotes – This 2-tank cavern diving experience takes certified scuba divers to discover the tunnels and caves of two different cenotes. You’ll also enjoy a lunch break between dives to refuel. The tanks, weights, and flashlight are included. ➥ BOOK IT HERE
➤ Private Dream Underground World – You’ll be taken with your own group to explore the Sac Actun system, where you’ll get to swim and snorkel in the underground river and discover the rock formations of this unique ecosystem. Snacks, drinks, and snorkel equipment are included. ➥ BOOK IT HERE
READ ALSO: 13 Best Cenote Tours in Tulum
How to Get to Cenote Dos Ojos
Cenote Dos Ojos is located inside the Dos Ojos Cenote park where you can also find Cenote Nicte Ha, Cenote The Pit, and other cool cenotes. There are quite a few transportation options to get to Dos Ojos Cenote that you can choose from. Let’s see them all.
TAKE A COLECTIVO TO CENOTE DOS OJOS
Colectivos (shared taxis in Spanish) are often the best way to move around the Riviera Maya. Once you understand how they work, they are really easy to use: stand on the side of the highway and wave at any minivan coming your way.
Tell the driver your destination when you get on (or show the name on your phone if you don’t speak Spanish), and pay when you get off (it’s always very cheap!).
➤ If you want to get to Cenote Dos Ojos by colectivo, take it on highway 307 going north from Tulum, towards Playa del Carmen. There is no fixed schedule, but shuttles pass every few minutes. The shuttle will leave you at the entrance of Parque Dos Ojos and usually costs about 40 MXN from Tulum Town.
⚠️ Careful though: from the entrance and the ticket booth it takes about 30 minutes by walking to get to Cenote Dos Ojos. The path (around 2 km long) is on a dirt road and there’s no transportation available, so make sure you wear comfortable shoes. If you’re coming by colectivo, avoid going at midday when it’s too hot! You’ll have to pass in front of Cenote Jaguar and Cenote Nicte Ha before reaching Cenote Dos Ojos.
If you don’t want to walk for that long, check out one of the other options – this, however, it’s the cheapest way to get to Cenote Dos Ojos.
BOOK A PRIVATE DRIVER FOR THE DAY
One of the best day trips from Tulum in my opinion is visiting the best cenotes in the area – I would say all of them, but considering there are thousands of cenotes in the Yucatan Peninsula and Quintana Roo it’s a little difficult!
If you want to visit multiple Mexican cenotes and other attractions in one day, you can consider hiring a private driver to optimize your time just as I did. It was more costly, but this way I was able to visit 6 cenotes in one day including Cenote Dos Ojos, and I didn’t regret it one bit!
TAKE A TAXI TO DOS OJOS
➤ The ride from Tulum Town to the Dos Ojos park takes about 20 minutes and shouldn’t cost you more than 200 pesos. If they ask you for more money, make sure you haggle!
➤ If you are staying at Tulum Beach you are a little further away, so budget an extra 100 pesos.
Taxis will leave you at the entrance of the park, but if you don’t want to walk you can ask the driver to wait for you to buy the ticket and drive you to the cenote (obviously with a surcharge), which is over 1 km away.
RENT A CAR IN TULUM, PLAYA DEL CARMEN OR CANCUN
Many people are scared of driving in Mexico, but I didn’t find the roads in the Riviera Maya to be bad at all. Renting a car means more freedom, and you’ll be able to park right in front of the cenotes, which will save you a lot of time and hassle. Why not opt for a road trip through the Yucatan Peninsula?
Plus, renting a car in Mexico is generally cheap. I rented a car multiple times in Merida with absolutely zero issues.
▶ CHECK OUT HERE the best prices for rental cars in Riviera Maya, Playa del Carmen or Tulum.
Pros and Cons of Cenote Dos Ojos, Riviera Maya
Pros of Cenote Dos Ojos
• Cenote Dos Ojos is one of the most incredible cenotes in Mexico – that fresh water!
• It’s near Cenote Nicte Ha, so you can visit both in one day.
• It’s great for both snorkeling and diving.
Cons of Cenote Dos Ojos
• Cenote Dos Ojos entrance fee is expensive.
• It’s one of the most popular cenotes, so it gets very crowded.
What to Pack for Cenote Dos Ojos
This is a list of the essential items you should bring with you when you visit Cenote Dos Ojos.
➤ Swimwear: Of course. This is an essential item to pack with you when you visit a cenote! I’m currently in love with bikinis from ZAFUL – I kinda want to buy them all!
➤ Biodegradable Sunscreen: Please make sure not to apply regular sunscreen before entering Dos Ojos Cenote, or any other cenote. If you need to use sunscreen, only go for 100% biodegradable sunscreen.
➤ Snorkel Mask or Goggles: At Cenote Dos Ojos you can rent gear, but if you’re planning to snorkel on a few different occasions it makes a lot more sense to buy your own snorkeling gear.
➤ Water Bottle: Try and bring a refillable water bottle around with you to reduce the consumption of plastic. However, the tap water in Mexico isn’t generally safe to drink, so make sure to refill your bottle with safe water, or buy a LifeStraw water bottle that comes with a water filter.
The Dos Ojos Cenote price in 2022 is 350 MXN (approximately 18 USD).
You have a few options to get from Tulum to Cenote Dos Ojos. You can take a colectivo (shared taxi), a regular taxi, or hire a car with driver for a day. You can also rent a car and drive on your own.
Of course you can! Most cenotes in the Yucatan Peninsula can be visited easily on your own. There are some instances, though, where a particular cenote can only be visited accompanied by a guide. Other times, you might want to join a tour for convenience.
I recommend the 2 Cenotes Adventure from Tulum – This tour is great for both snorkelers and certified divers, and will bring you to two of the most beautiful cenotes in the Yucatan Peninsula… in just 5 hours! A light lunch, drinks, and all equipment and fees are included, and you’ll be accompanied by a guide and divemaster.
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Did I convince you to visit Cenote Dos Ojos? Let me know in the comments!
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