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Cenote Zacil Ha, Tulum: A Visitors’ Guide [2024]

Cenote Zacil Ha in Tulum is a natural pool with crystal-clear waters. You can’t pass up this beautiful open-air cenote if you’re in Tulum! Check out this comprehensive guide to plan your visit.

The Riviera Maya in the Yucatan Peninsula is teeming with options when it comes to cenotes. It’s pretty much a staple of the region!

But as many cenotes there are in Quintana Roo, there are also plenty of visitors making their way to them. This makes finding a cenote that’s not too crowded a bit of a puzzle.

Cenote Zacil Ha, also spelled Zazil Ha, is not as popular as other sinkholes. And this is a fantastic thing if you’re looking for off-the-beaten-path gems. What’s more, it’s family-friendly!

While there are quite a few cenotes in the area that are almost untouched, they’re mostly a draw for adventure-seekers, but not so much for children.

So you could say Cenotes Zacil Ha is just the attraction for those traveling to Tulum with kids.

There are many facilities available on-site (including two proper swimming pools), and it’s one of my favorite cenotes in the area.

READ MORE: The Best Cenotes in Tulum

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!


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. In my opinion, it’s quite important to understand what is their significance to the Mayans.

A cenote is a natural sinkhole that dates back several centuries. When limestone caves collapse they expose a natural pool.

It then gets filled with rainwater and with the water flowing through underground rivers. That’s how a cenote gets formed (pretty cool, huh?)

The word cenote comes from the Mayan word dzonot, which means well. But not all cenotes look the same! There are 3 types of cenotes:

  1. 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 diving.

    An example of an open cenote is Cenote Azul near Playa del Carmen, and so is Zacil Ha cenote.
  2. 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!).
  3. 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.

Cenotes have great cultural and religious significance to the ancient Mayans. They 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.


An image of Cenote Zacil Ha
One of the gorgeous Cenote Zacil-Ha photos…convinced to visit yet?

Cenote Zacil Ha is an open-air cenote that looks like a natural swimming pool. It’s located about 5 miles (8.5 km) 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 Zazil Ha is an ideal escape if you’ve spent the entire day visiting Coba Ruins or the Tulum Archaeological Site. This refreshing sinkhole is easy to reach, which makes it all the more enticing.

It’s also a fabulous cenote to go scuba diving if you’re certified. Heading into the depths allows you 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’s depth goes from 26 to 115 feet (8 to 35 meters) deep, and there you’ll find a chamber called “Las Lágrimas”. Impressive stalactites shaped like tears can be admired there!

READ ALSO: Cenote Carwash: Swim with a Baby Crocodile & More

Wearing a life jacket is advised at Cenote Zacil Ha, and required for children. They will be provided on-site, so you don’t need to worry about taking one.

You can bring your own snorkeling equipment to spot some fish as you swim. If your goal in visiting the cenote is to snorkel, though, IMO there are better ones to visit.

Keep in mind that the use of sunblock is prohibited to avoid polluting the water.

While it’s a cenote not found on the tourist trails, it’s rather small, and it can feel crowded if a bus with visitors arrives or during the weekend.

Try to visit early in the morning or on weekdays to avoid the masses.


An image of a natural cenote with palm trees in the background, inserted in a post about Zacil Ha Cenote

There are many facilities available at Cenote Zacil Ha. In fact, it is one of the more developed cenotes near Tulum.

Bathrooms & Changing Rooms

For your convenience, the cenote is equipped with bathrooms and changing rooms. Showers are available as well.

Food at Cenote Zacil Ha

Cenote Zacil Ha features a small restaurant where you can go for food, drinks, or snacks.

Unfortunately, outside food is not allowed, so you’ll need to purchase on-site if you get hungry. The restaurant accepts cash (and Mexican pesos) only, so remember to take some!


There’s free parking outside the cenote.

Other Facilities

One of the coolest things about Cenote Zacil Ha is the zip line above the cenote. The most adventurous ones can zipline to the middle and jump into the water. The experience comes at an additional cost of 10 MXN (approximately 0.5 USD) per ride.

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.

This is one of the very few cenotes that also comes with lifeguards, one extra point for being child-friendly.

There are also many shaded areas where you can relax, and rental for life jackets and lockers.

Rustic cabins that provide overnight accommodation to guests. They’re equipped with beds, bathrooms, porches, TV, electricity, and fans.

⚠️ Remember to take Mexican currency in cash to the cenote. It’s the only payment option available.


A sign with red letters saying Cenote Zacil Ha

Cenote Zacil Ha Price

The entrance fee for Cenote Zacil Ha is 300 MXN (approx. $18) per person at the time of writing.

Cenote Zacil Ha Location

You can reach Cenote Zacil Ha from Tulum by taking the Tulum-Coba Road. It’s located merely 5 miles from the city. There is a sign on the left of the main road, making it difficult for you to get lost.

Here you can see it on the map:

Cenote Zacil Ha Opening Hours

Cenote Zacil Ha is open daily from 9 AM to 5 PM. But the opening hours could change depending on the time of the year. In the low season, the cenote tends to open later (at around 10 AM).

What is the best time to visit Cenote Zacil Ha?

Cenote Zacil Ha is fairly popular 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 locals go with their children.

Cenote Zacil Ha Snorkeling

Snorkeling is possible at the cenote. There are incredible rock formations to admire, and you may spot the occasional fish.

Cenote Zacil Ha Diving

Zacil Ha is a fantastic cenote to go diving. It features caverns and fascinating underwater formations, as well as the opening to Las Lagrimas Cave.

Are drones allowed?

Drones are not allowed in most cenotes in the Riviera Maya. I couldn’t find specific information about Cenote Zacil Ha’s policy regarding drones, but it’s always important to check with the staff. Don’t fly your drone without prior explicit permission.

Is there anything prohibited at the cenote?

There are a few prohibited practices in Cenote Zacil Ha that help protect the crystal-clear waters and ecosystem. These are some of them.

  • Using regular sunscreen, as well as mosquito repellent and any other lotions is not allowed.
  • Bringing outside food and beverages (of any kind) is prohibited.
  • There’s a no-smoking policy in the cenote.
  • This should go without saying, but no littering the cenote and surroundings. It’s a natural haven; let’s keep it that way!

How long should you stay at the cenote?

I’d say 2 to 3 hours is the perfect amount of time. It gives you ample time to do water activities and relax in the shaded areas, allowing you to visit other cenotes or attractions the rest of the day.


If you prefer visiting Cenote Zacil Ha as part of a tour, here are the two best tours of Zacil Ha:

➤ The Kaan Luum Lagoon, Cenote Zacil Ha & Cenote Kuxtal Tour from Tulum lasts a full day. Enjoy the natural beauty of the region with visits to two cenotes and a lagoon.

Swim, snorkel, and relax in each location, all the while learning about the cenotes’ history and significance from your guide. Lunch is included. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

➤ This Eco Day! Cenote Kuxtal & Cenote Zacil Ha with Lagoon From Cancun is a guided tour. A professional will take you to the stunning cenotes Zacil Ha and Kuxtal. They’ll tell you all about their formation and their importance to the Mayans.

Swim in the clear waters, visit a lagoon, and refuel with lunch. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

READ ALSO: 13 Best Cenotes Tours in Tulum


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’s only a 15-minute drive 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 take 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? Granted, it doesn’t make much sense if you’re just looking to visit Cenote Zacil Ha. The trip would be quite expensive (possibly over $100), and the cenote is very close to Tulum.

However, if you plan to visit nearby cenotes, or one of the region’s Mayan ruins on the same day, 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. 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 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 cavern 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 more than 20 people are visiting at the same time.

❌ With all its facilities, it feels less of a natural experience. I, for example, prefer more “wild” cenotes such as 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 Zacil Ha.

▶️ Visit other cenotes near Tulum. If you’re looking for a more off-the-beaten-path-cenote, Cenote Nicte Ha is a good bet. 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. 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!


What’s the entrance fee to Cenote Zacil Ha?

Currently, entry to Cenote Zacil Ha costs 300 MXN (18 USD).

Is cenote water cold?

Yes, the water at the cenotes is usually quite cold! This is because cenotes are mainly fed by underground rivers.

Can I go to cenotes without a tour?

Yes, you can certainly visit cenotes on your own. Renting a car is usually the easiest way to reach them.

Can you visit cenote Zacil Ha with a tour?

Absolutely! I recommend the Kaan Luum Lagoon, Cenote Zacil Ha & Cenote Kuxtal Tour if you’re coming from Tulum. If you’re in Cancun, join the Eco Day! Cenote Kuxtal & Cenote Zacil Ha with Lagoon.

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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  • Stefania Guglielmi

    Stefania Guglielmi is the founder of Every Steph. Originally from Bologna, Italy, she's been traveling full-time since 2016 and has visited over 50 countries across 6 continents. She believes sustainable travel and luxury travel can go hand in hand and has been advocating for responsible tourism since 2014. Stefania's advice and travel experiences have been featured in important publications such as Business Insider, Refinery29, and Yahoo Money.