Cenote Zacil Ha (Zazil Ha) in Tulum is a natural pool with crystal clear waters. If you are staying in Tulum or visiting Coba, you can’t pass up this beautiful open-air cenote, especially if you’re traveling to Tulum with kids!
Since the Mayan Riviera, particularly the state of Quintana Roo, is teeming with options when it comes to cenotes, finding one not too crowded to go to can be a puzzle. Cenote Zacil Ha, also known as Cenote Zazil Ha, is not as popular as other ones, but what makes Cenotes Zacil Ha a great choice is that it’s a family-friendly cenote.
In fact, there are plenty of cenotes in the area that are almost untouched, which is great for adventure-seekers, but not so much when you bring your kids along. This cenote is perfect for the latter group because there are many facilities available on-site (including two proper swimming pools), and is not as deep as other cenotes.
READ MORE: The Best Cenotes in Tulum
It’s one of my favorite cenotes in the area. Check out my other favorite cenotes in Tulum in this video!
The name Zacil Ha means “clear water”. It was discovered 30 years ago and it has developed a lot in the last few years. Let’s see what makes it special.
But Wait, What Is a Cenote?
Maybe you already know what is a cenote. Cenotes have become super popular, and if you open Instagram you’ll often find pictures of someone at a cenote. But many people don’t really know what exactly is a cenote, and in my opinion, it’s quite important to understand what is their significance to the Mayans.
A cenote is a natural sinkhole which dates back several centuries. When limestone caves collapse they expose a natural pool, which then gets filled with rainwater and with the water flowing through underground rivers. That’s how a cenote gets formed.
The word cenote comes from the Mayan word dzonot, which means well. But not all cenotes look the same. there are essentially 4 types of cenotes:
• Open Cenotes – Open cenotes are like natural, open pools, and they can be more or less deep. Some of the open cenotes are also connected to an underground river passage, which makes them great for divin. An example of an open cenote is Cenote Azul near Playa del Carmen, and so is Zacil Ha cenote.
• Semi-open Cenotes – As the name implies, this type of cenote has some parts that are exposed and some portions that are hidden by a cave. An example is Cenote Zaci (an incredible cenote in the middle of a city!).
• 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 Xkeken near Valladolid, for example, 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 have great cultural and religious significance to the ancient Mayans, who believed that the cenotes were passages to the underworld. In fact, Mayans performed rituals in the cenotes and treated the sites as sacred.
This means that you should too. 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.
Cenote Zacil Ha, Tulum : All You Need To Know
Cenote Zacil Ha is a an open-air cenote that looks like a natural swimming pool. Cenote Zazil Ha is located about 8.5 kms away from Tulum on the road that connects Tulum with Coba. This cenote’s claim to fame is its crystal clear turquoise water. If you’re looking to cool off from the intense tropical heat, this is the right spot with both a cenote and two swimming pools.
Cenote Zacil Ha provides a cool and refreshing escape, which is ideal if you’ve spent the entire day visiting the Mayan ruins of Coba and Tulum. The average depth of this natural pool is three meters so it is ideal for the entire family to swim in.
If you are interested to dive this cenote, you must have open water or cavern diving certificate. This way you’ll be able to explore the cavern that is connected to a few other cenotes in Tulum such as Cenote Carwash. You know where the opening of the cave is because one end of the cenote has deep blue water. The cave, deep 8 to 35 meters, brings to a chamber called “Las Lágrimas” (“the tears”) where you can admire stalactites shaped like water drops. Pretty cool, uh?
READ ALSO: Cenote Carwash: Swim with a Baby Crocodile & More
When you swim at this cenote, always wear a life jacket that is provided on-site, especially for children. You can also bring your own snorkeling equipment to be able to see some fish, although if you want to snorkel IMO there are better cenotes to visit. When I visited there wasn’t a rental available for snorkeling equipment at Zazil Ha Cenote.
Keep in mind that the use of sunblock is prohibited, as with any other cenotes in Mexico, to avoid polluting the water.
The cenote itself is not that big, so it can get easily crowded when there is a large group of tourists. This is why it is crucial to plan your visit to ensure that you don’t visit at the same time as a tourist bus or on the weekend.
Facilities Available at Cenote Zacil Ha, Tulum
There are many facilities available at Cenote Zacil Ha. In fact, it is one of the more developed cenotes near Tulum.
▶ One of the coolest things is the zip line above the cenote. The most adventurous ones can zipline to the middle and jump into the cenote. The experience comes at an additional cost of 10 MXN at the time of writing (approximately 0.5 USD).
▶ In addition, there are multiple platforms around the cenote to jump into, as well as stair access. You’ll also find a rope across the cenote that you can hold onto.
▶ You can also use the two swimming pools (man-made ones). If the cenote gets a little too crowded for your liking, the swimming pool offers a great alternative, especially when you bring your kids.
▶ Cenote Zacil Ha also features a small restaurant where you can go for food, drinks, or snacks, as well as many covered areas where you can relax if you want to take a break from swimming.
▶ For your convenience, the cenote is also equipped with bathrooms and changing areas, as well as rental for life jackets and lockers.
▶ This is one of the very few cenotes that also comes with lifeguards, one extra point for being child friendly.
If you want to enjoy a full day at the cenote and spend the night, there are rustic cabins that provide overnight accommodation to guests. These cabins are equipped with beds, bathrooms, porches, TV, electricity, fan, and more.
If you drive your own car to Cenote Zazil Ha, Tulum, there’s free parking.
Cenote Zazil Ha, Tulum: Practical Info
Cenote Zacil Ha price
The entrance fee for Cenote Zacil Ha is 200 Pesos per person at the time of writing. This is especially affordable given the fact that the cenote is well developed with many facilities.
Cenote Zacil Ha location
Cenote Zacil Ha is located at km 8.5 of the Tulum-Coba Road. There is a sign on the left of the road. It’s located next to Cenote Carwash (which I also recommend visiting – read more here).
Here you can see it in the map:
Cenote Zacil Ha opening hours
Cenote Zacil Ha is open daily from 10 AM to 5:30 PM. But the opening hours could change depending on the time of the year. In the high season, the cenote opens as early as 9 AM.
What is the best time to visit Cenote Zacil Ha?
Cenote Zacil Ha is fairly popular, especially with local families. The rule of thumb with cenotes is to visit as soon as it opens or right before it closes. But in this particular case, mostly avoid the weekends which is when the local families visit.
Best Cenote Zacil Ha Tours
If you prefer visiting Cenote Zacil Ha as part of a tour, here are the two best tours of Zacil Ha:
Tour From Cancun
➤ On the Tour to Coba, Playa del Carmen, Tulum and Cenote Swim, Full Day Tou you’ll get to see A LOT in one single day! You’ll visit the Tulum Ruins with your guide, then it will be time to swim at Cenote Zacil Ha where you’ll also have lunch. You’ll then head to the Coba Ruins where you’ll be able to climb the main pyramid. The tour finishes with some free time on Playa del Carmen’s 5th Avenue, a heaven for shoppers! ➥ BOOK IT HERE
Tour From Cancun / Playa del Carmen / Tulum
➤ If you’re looking for a shorter tour, the Tulum, Coba, and Cenote Maya 3X1 might be the one for you. This tour includes a visit to the Tulum Ruins, the Coba Ruins, and a stop at Zacil Ha cenote for a swim and lunch. ➥ BOOK IT HERE
READ ALSO: 13 Best Cenotes Tours in Tulum
How to Get to Cenote Zacil Ha
To get to Cenote Zacil Ha, you have quite a few transportation options available based on your budget.
Drive Your Own Rental Car
You can drive to Cenote Zacil Ha as it is only approximately 8 kilometers away from Tulum. I always recommend renting a car if you’re planning to go on a few day trips from Tulum, as it will save you time and money.
Get on the Tulum/Coba Road towards Coba. There’s a sign on the left that indicates where the cenote is. Cenote Zacil Ha is located just off the highway with plenty of parking spaces available.
Take a Taxi to Cenote Zacil Ha
Another option to get to Cenote Zacil Ha is to get a taxi. You can find a taxi stand in the center of Tulum or have your hotel call a taxi on your behalf. The latter option is a safer one to ensure that you can get a legitimate taxi and that you won’t be overcharged for your trip.
The entire ride will take you about 20-30 minutes if you’re staying in Tulum Beach, or 10 minutes if you are staying in Tulum Town.
Hire a private driver for the day
Or what about hiring a private driver? This doesn’t make much sense if you’re just looking to visit Cenote Zacil Ha because the cenote is very close to Tulum and it would be quite expensive to get your own private driver (around 100 USD for the day).
However, if you plan to visit other cenotes as well or Tulum or Coba ruins on the same day and you don’t want to go on a guided tour, it’s a great option. I did it this way!
Bike to Cenote Zacil-Ha
You can also get to Zacil-Ha Cenote by renting a bike, the cenote is just 8 kilometers away. You can rent one in Tulum for approximately 150 MXN for a day. Beware of the heat though!
Take a colectivo from Tulum
The cheapest transportation option to get to Cenote Zacil Ha is with a colectivo (shared van). Ride the colectivo from Tulum towards Coba. Make sure to tell the driver to drop you off at Cenote Zacil Ha.
If you’re coming from Cancun or Playa, check out how to get from Cancun to Tulum, and how to get from Playa del Carmen to Tulum.
Pros and Cons of Cenote Zacil Ha
Pros of Cenote Zacil Ha:
- Cenote Zacil Ha is very family friendly.
- Zipline + cenote = tons of fun
- The complex has plenty of modern facilities for your convenience.
- It’s really accessible from Tulum and on the way to Coba, which makes it a great stop when you visit these beautiful pyramids.
- Zacil Ha cenote offers opportunities for cave diving.
- The entrance fee is very affordable.
- It’s not as popular as other cenotes in the area such as Gran Cenote or Cenote Dos Ojos.
Cons of Cenote Zacil Ha:
- Cenote Zacil-Ha is rather small, which can be an issue if there are more than 20 people visiting at the same people.
- With all its facilities, it feels less of a natural experience. I for example, prefer more “wild” cenotes such as Cenote Calavera.
Other Things to Do Near Cenote Calavera
I’ve spent quite some time around this area, so here are a few ideas for things to do once you’ve visited Cenote Calavera.
▶ Visit other cenotes near Tulum. If you’re looking for a more off the beaten path cenote, Cenote Nicte Ha is a good bet, but there are honestly so many that it would take you many days to see them all! I always recommend setting aside at least one day to check out a few.
▶ Spend some time at the beach and have lunch at one of the many trendy cafes and restaurants in Tulum.
▶ Check out the Tulum ruins and if you have time venture further to visit the Coba Ruins, where you can still climb the pyramid.
▶ Take a day trip to the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, where you’ll find the bluest water, dolphins, and even crocodiles!
This post contains affiliate links, which means if you book something through one of my links I might get a commission, at absolutely no extra cost to you
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