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16 Best Cenotes Near Tulum To Visit in 2024

No trip to Tulum is complete without the cenotes. Check out the 16 best cenotes in Tulum that you need to visit if you are dreaming of swimming in caves or among water lilies.

The tropical weather, sandy beaches, great Mexican food and ancient Mayan ruins are enough reasons to buy a plane ticket and visit Tulum ASAP. However, all across the region, there are hidden treasures that predate even the Mayans by thousands and thousands of years: the cenotes.

Swimming in cenotes is something that you can only do here, and that will quickly become your favorite activity in the Riviera Maya. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, cenotes are sinkholes, many of them opening up into vast subterranean worlds, filled with tunnels and lagoons.

If you’re staying in Tulum, then there are so many amazing cenotes in Tulum just a stone’s throw away, and it would be a shame not to include these incredible natural wonders in your Yucatan itinerary. Check out my favorites in this video below!

In my opinion, the cenotes near Tulum are the best ones in the state of Quintana Roo, and it makes sense to come for a day trip from Cancun or Playa del Carmen. If you’re coming from Cancun, check out how to get from Cancun to Tulum.

▶ You can easily visit cenotes on your own, or you can check out this list of the best cenote tours in Tulum.

But first things first…

WHAT IS A CENOTE IN MEXICO?

What is a cenote, and why is everyone obsessed with them?

A cenote is a natural pit or sinkhole that has been forming for several centuries or thousands of years. This happens as a result of limestone caves collapsing and exposing a natural pool. This natural sinkhole or pool gets then filled with rain water and with water flowing through the underground river, to which these cenotes are connected to.

The word cenote is derived from a Mayan term dzonot. This word literally means well. But it’s not as easy as saying that cenotes are underground sinkholes and that’s it. If you have been to any of the cenotes in Mexico, you will know that there are a variety of cenote types:

 Open Cenotes – Open cenotes are like natural, open pools. No caves or anything like that. They can be more or less deep, depending on which cenote you go to. Some of the open cenotes are also connected to an underground river passage (and they are usually suitable for diving).

 Semi-open Cenotes – As the name implies, this type of cenote has some parts that are exposed like the open cenotes above, and some portions that are partially hidden by a cave.

 Underground Cenotes – This type of cenote is the most difficult to reach. This explains why they are the least researched (and visited), because only experienced divers can access these hidden cenotes.

 Cave Cenotes – Cave cenotes can usually be accessed via a land-level entrance with a staircase. Cave cenotes open up to an underground pool with shallower and deeper areas. This type of underwater caves is the most mysterious one, and some of my favorite cenotes are in this category.

The Yucatan cenotes that boast underwater passageways connected to the Mayan river system are the best ones for cave diving.

Mexico cenotes have cultural and religious significance to the ancient Mayans, who believe that cenotes are passages to the underworld and consider them sacred. This explains why ancient Mayans used to perform rituals in the cenotes.

3 BEST TULUM CENOTE TOURS 

You like all the cenotes in Tulum and don’t know which one to choose? Well, don’t. There are multiple cenotes tours where you can visit more than one in a day, but these three in my opinion offer the best value for your money.

Cenote Trail: Caves Visit and Bike Tour – Discover some of the best cenotes near Tulum (Gran Cenote, Cenote Escondido & Cenote Cristal) all in one day. Many of my readers went on this tour and told me they loved it! ➥ BOOK IT HERE

Cenote Triple Adventure Tour – This Tulum cenote tour will bring you to three different cenotes in half a day, where you’ll get to snorkel, free-dive and cliff-jump, as well as marvel at the surroundings of each. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

Snorkeling Adventure Tour in Three Ecosystems – In one day, you’ll be able to snorkel at Casa Cenote + Cenote Sac Actun and the beautiful reef of Tulum for some of the best snorkeling in Tulum experiences. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

6 BEST CENOTES IN TULUM, MEXICO

Keep reading for my six picks for the very best cenotes to visit near Tulum: make sure you see at least one them all! Entrance fees and opening times info for this list of cenotes in Tulum were updated in February 2022.

Cenote Dos Ojos

Some images on this post were taken by Raphael Alexander Zoren, Journey Wonders

In English, the name of this cave cenote translates to “two eyes”- and the reason for that becomes clear as soon as you set eyes on Cenote Dos Ojos, one of the best cenotes in Tulum.

From the surface, it appears to be two separate sinkholes, each filled with crystal-clear blue water that makes it look as though the Earth itself is peering up at you through two enormous eyes. In fact, though, Dos Ojos is actually a single cenote, with the two sinkholes connected by a 400-meter long passageway.

The water is always nice and warm, and a lots of light comes through those eyeballs, coloring the water of the most beautiful turquoise. No wonder it’s one of the most instagrammable cenotes in Tulum!

Cenote Dos Ojos is truly beautiful. The only issue with it is that it’s also probably the most famous cenote in Tulum and it gets really crowded.

See this photo above with absolutely no one in sight or the big photo at the top of this post? They were taken at 8 am, right after opening time, and by 8.15 there were already quite a few people, so make sure you get here early: there’s nothing better than floating in this turquoise water immersed in the silence.

You can also visit Cenote Dos Ojos by joining a tour.

➤ The Tulum and Dos Ojos Cenotes: 5-Hour Guided Tour combines a guided visit to the Tulum ruins and a swim at Cenote Dos Ojos. Pick up is included from Cancun, Playa del Carmen, the resorts along the Riviera Maya, and Tulum, so it’s pretty much a great option for anyone who’s looking for an introduction to Tulum! BOOK IT HERE

➤ Dos Ojos & Casa Cenote Adventure from Tulum All Inclusive – No matter if you are a snorkeler or scuba diver, you can join this tour that caters to both. You will be able to snorkel or dive with a guide at both Casa Cenote and Cenote Dos Ojos. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

Cenote Dos Ojos Entrance Fee: 350 MXN.
Cenote Dos Ojos Opening Times: 9 AM to 5 PM daily.
Best For: Swimming / Snorkeling / Diving

Cenote Dos Ojos is on the Carretera Federal 307, km 244.5, 22km north of Tulum

READ THE FULL BLOG POST FOR MORE INFO:
Visit Cenote Dos Ojos, Tulum – The Most Beautiful Cenote in Riviera Maya

Gran Cenote

Located between Tulum and Coba, Gran Cenote is one of the most popular cenotes in Tulum… and it’s easy to understand why.

The color of the water is simply amazing, and you could spend hours snorkeling through the cenote caves. And what caves! You can see stalagmites and stalactites, and even swim with small turtles.

Gran Cenote is beautiful, but can get very crowded, so make sure you come early in the morning or right before closing time to avoid the big crowds.

You can also join an organized tour to Grand Cenote. 

The Cenote Trail: Caves Visit and Bike Tour will bring you to Gran Cenote, Cenote Escondido & Cenote Cristal all in one day to quench your cenotes thirst. BOOK IT HERE

The Cenote Triple Adventure Tour takes you to three cenotes to free-dive, snorkel and cliff-jump, as well as explore the various rock formations underwater. BOOK IT HERE

Gran Cenote Entrance Fee: 500 MXN.
Gran Cenote Opening Times: 8 AM to 4.45 PM daily.
Best For: Swimming / Snorkeling / Diving

Gran Cenote is only 5 kilometres away from Tulum town centre, on the Carretera 109 towards Coba. You’ll find it on your right after passing Cenote Calavera.

READ THE FULL BLOG POST:
Gran Cenote, Tulum – A Beautiful Cenote in Riviera Maya

Cenote Calavera

Cenote Calavera might be my favorite cenote in Tulum! In Spanish, Calavera means “skull”- a pretty grim-sounding name, right? 

However, there’s nothing dangerous about the Calavera cenote. Rather, it takes its name from the three sinkholes which open up into it, which from above resemble the eye sockets and mouth of an enormous skull.

It’s quite a bit deeper than the other cenotes listed above, which makes it the perfect place to try the legendary Yucatan sport of cenote diving (as in jumping) if you’re feeling brave enough. If you’re not, then don’t worry- there’s a ladder you can climb down instead!

Plenty of fish can be found in the water, and if you’re lucky (or unlucky, depending on how you feel about it!), you might spot a bat or two flying through the cenote cave. Looking up at the sunlight streaming into the cenote through the openings is definitely a sight you won’t forget for a long, long time.

The Calavera Cenote used to be quite unknown and both times I visited, there were only 4 or 5 people. However, nowadays it’s a pretty popular one, so get here early in the morning to avoid the crowds. This Tulum cave cenote is truly special!

Be aware that if you bring professional photo equipment, like a GoPro or a drone, they may charge you extra.

The Cenote Triple Adventure is a great Cenote Calavera tour. You’ll get to visit this and other two cenotes, where you’ll be able to snorkel, free-dive and cliff-jump into the fresh waters. BOOK IT HERE

Cenote Calavera Entrance Fee: 250 MXN.
Cenote Calavera Opening Times: 9 AM to 5 PM daily.
Best For: Swimming / Scuba Diving

Coming from Tulum on Carretera 109 towards Coba, you’ll find Cenote Calavera on your right after a 5-minutes drive.

READ THE FULL BLOG POST:
Cenote Calavera, Tulum : Swimming in the Temple of Doom

Cenote Nicte-Ha

While cenotes are certainly beautiful, they can sometimes be a little overcrowded with tourists and visitors, which obviously spoils the serenity of the place somewhat. That’s not an issue with cenote Nicte-Ha, though- since it’s a little way off the tourist trail, it’s the perfect cenote to visit for a bit of peace and quiet. When I visited, I had it all to myself!

Unlike many of the other cenotes in the region, cenote Nicte Ha is largely above ground, but it’s the most magical place to take a swim surrounded by nature. The water is clear and clean, and plenty of lily pads and other plants float gently on the surface, while surrounding trees dip their roots into the cenote to soak up some of that fresh water.

There’s also a part of the cenote which is covered by a small rock overhang, allowing you to feel like a real explorer as you make your way through the dark to discover what lies inside.

Combine it with Dos Ojos for the perfect day tour from Tulum.

The Private Tour to Cenote Taak Bi Ha and Nicte Ha offers transportation from Tulum, as well as lunch and snorkeling equipment. You’ll have time to swim and snorkel in both cenotes with an expert guide. BOOK IT HERE

Cenote Nicte-Ha Entrance Fee: 250 MXN.
Cenote Nicte-Ha Opening Times: 9 AM to 5 PM daily.
Best For: Swimming / Snorkeling / Scuba Diving

Cenote Nicte Ha is at Carretera Federal 307, km 244.5, 22km north of Tulum, in the same complex of Dos Ojos.

READ THE FULL BLOG POST: Why You’ll Fall In Love With Cenote Nicte-Ha

Cenote Carwash

Officially, this outdoor swimming hole is called Aktun Ha Cenote, but most locals know it as the Cenote Carwash. It got its name because it’s only a minute or so off the road, so many taxi drivers would stop by to clean their cars in hot, dusty weather.

However, even though it’s easily accessible, it rarely gets crowded, so it’s the ideal spot to come for a swim and relax (even better if you have a heart floatie to play with!). It’s often referred to as a “pond cenote”, in fact, it’s a swimming pool style cenote. Even if it’s different from others on this list, it’s one of the best cenotes in Tulum.

If you’ve got snorkeling gear, then you’ll be able to gaze in wonder at the vast underwater “garden” that lies at the bottom. Diving at Car Wash Cenote is also very popular, but you should contact a diving center beforehand to organize a dive.

In the summer, a layer of algae tends to form on the surface, and although it reduces visibility, it does trap a lot of heat from the sunshine to warm the cenote up considerably- it’s almost like a natural bubble bath!

Also, there’s a resident small crocodile you might be lucky enough to swim with…check out the full post to discover more!

Cenote Carwash Entrance Fee: 100 MXN for swimmers, 250 MXN for divers.
Cenote Carwash Opening Times: 8 AM to 6 PM daily.
Best For: Swimming / Snorkeling / Diving

Coming from Tulum on Carretera 109 towards Coba, you’ll find Cenote Carwash on your left after a 10-minutes drive.

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

Cenote Zacil Ha

Located just a short drive away from Tulum (and right next to the Car Wash Cenote), Cenote Zacil Ha is one of the most convenient cenotes to visit while you’re staying in town.

If you didn’t know better, you’d think that it was a man-made outdoor swimming pool carved into the rock, but the underwater cave system extending from one end connects Zacil Ha  cenote with many other cenotes in the area.

Cenote Zacil Ha is not that big, but the cenote has plenty going for it, including a zip line that runs some 10 feet above the surface of the water, the perfect way for thrill seekers to plunge into it.

There are also multiple amenities available, including changing rooms, two actual swimming pools, and a restaurant, so it’s very family-friendly albeit a little less natural than the others on this list.

Cenote Zacil Ha Entrance Fee: 200 MXN.
Cenote Zacil Ha Opening Times: 10 AM to 6 PM daily.
Best For: Swimming

Cenote Zacil Ha is right next to Car Wash Cenote, so follow the directions above.

READ THE FULL BLOG POST:
Cenote Zacil Ha: Zip Line at This Family-Friendly Cenote


Want to take it a step further and stay at a cenote hotel in Tulum? Totally possible, and the hotel I have in mind is probably the most unique hotel I’ve EVER stayed in.

With not 1, not 2, but 3 cenotes on its grounds, plus 2 lakes, 3 pools and 2 underground rivers (!!), you’ll never get bored at Wakax Hacienda.

Plus, all the activities (bike tours, tours of the underground river, and more) are all complimentary and included in your stay!

▶ Book your stay at Wakax Hacienda ON THEIR WEBSITE or on BOOKING.COM.

OTHER COOL TULUM CENOTES

These are some of the other cool cenotes worth checking out when you are in Tulum.

Cenote Cristal

Cenote Cristal (don’t confuse Cenote Cristal with Cenote Cristalino!) is a beautiful cenote that looks like a pristine lake. It is a well-kept cenote but not too commercialized. Because of its crystal clear waters (thus, the name), you will be able to swim with tons of small fish.

You can jump off into the cenote from a high wooden platform if you like a more thrilling experience.

This cenote is located right next to Cenote Escondido and most tourists visit both of these cenotes.

Cenote Cristal Entrance Fee: 150 MXN (includes admission to Cenote Escondido).
Cenote Cristal Opening Times: 10 AM to 5 PM daily.
Best For: Swimming / Snorkeling / Diving

➤ Cenote Cristal is one of the cenotes you can visit by joining the Cenote Trail Tour, together with Gran Cenote and Cenote Escondido. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

Cenote Cristal is located on Highway 307 going south from Tulum. From the ADO Bus Terminal in Tulum Town, drive for 5 minutes and you’ll find it on your right.

READ THE FULL BLOG POST:
Cenote Cristal & Escondido: All You Need to Know

Cenote Escondido

Cenote Escondido is across the road from Cenote Cristal. It’s a large, open cenote so it is never crowded. There is also a rope swing that you can use to jump into the water in style. It is perfect for swimming, snorkeling, or diving. Nothing super special if you’ve been to other cenotes in the area, but it makes sense to visit if you’re already visiting the more popular Cenote Cristal.

Cenote Escondido Entrance Fee: 150 MXN (includes admission to Cenote Cristal).
Cenote Escondido Opening Times: 10 AM to 5 PM daily.
Best For: Swimming / Snorkeling / Diving

This cenote is located on Highway 307 going south from Tulum. From the ADO Bus Terminal in Tulum Town, drive for 5 minutes and you’ll find it on your left, right in front of Cenote Cristal.

READ THE FULL BLOG POST:
Cenote Escondido & Cristal: All You Need to Know

Casa Cenote (also called Cenote Manati)

Casa Cenote is an open type cenote, and it’s family friendly because the open space makes it ideal for kids to swim in. Like most of the cenotes in Mexico, it’s well-known for its crystal clear waters that make it suitable for snorkeling and diving. The location of this cenote near the Tulum Mayan ruins is perfect to combine a cenote with an historical tour.

➤ Check out the Snorkeling Adventure Tour in Three Ecosystems. In one day, you’ll be able to snorkel at Casa Cenote + Cenote Sac Actun and the beautiful reef of Tulum. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

➤ The Cenote Triple Adventure takes you to Casa Cenote, Gran Cenote and Cenote Calavera to explore the caverns, cliff-jump, snorkel and free-dive in the crystal-clear waters. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

Casa Cenote Entrance Fee: 150 MXN.
Casa Cenote Opening Times: 9 AM to 5 PM daily.
Best For: Swimming / Snorkeling / Diving

Casa Cenote is off the 307 Highway, driving north towards Playa del Carmen (about 20 minutes drive from Tulum Town).

Cenote Angelita

Cenote Angelita is a deep cenote located to the south of Tulum. If you’re looking for diving cenotes in Tulum, this is one of your best options as it reaches a depth of 60 meters.

Cenote Angelita resembles an underground river, but it’s due to the effect of the halocline. This is a natural phenomenon that happens when freshwater and saltwater meet, and it creates optical illusions.

Cenote Angelita Entrance Fee: 150 MXN.
Cenote Angelita Opening Times: 8 AM to 5 PM daily.
Best for: Diving

Cenote Angelita is located on the 307 Highway, approximately 12 minutes drive going south from Tulum.

Cenote El Pit

Cenote El Pit is another popular cenote for Tulum cave diving. It got its name from the fact that this is the deepest cenote in the Yucatan – 119 meters deep! Aside from avid divers, it is also frequented by speleologists and geologists who want to study the rock formations and species that can be found here. Keep in mind that only experienced divers are allowed to dive here.

Cenote El Pit Entrance Fee: 300 MXN or 500 MXN for a combined ticket with Dos Ojos Cenote as well.
Cenote El Pit Opening Times: 9 AM to 5 PM daily.
Best For: Diving

Follow the directions for Cenote Dos Ojos. Cenote El Pit is part of the same group of cenotes.

Pet Cemetery Cenote (also called Cenote Sac Actun)

The Pet Cemetery Cenote (or Cenote Sac Actun) might sound creepy but it is actually one of the most beautiful cenotes in Mexico. The name comes from the many animal bones that were found on this cenote. These bones are believed to have been part of the rituals performed by the ancient Mayans in this sacred site.

This cenote was first discovered in 1987, and while it’s more known among divers, snorkelers can enjoy it too. You can’t visit this cenote without a guide, which explains the high cost of the entrance fee.

➤ You can visit Sac Actun by joining the Dream Underground World with pick up from Tulum. This tour gets raving reviews! ➥ BOOK IT HERE

The Pet Cemetery Cenote Entrance Fee: 450 MXN.
The Pet Cemetery Cenote Opening Times: 9 AM to 5 PM daily.
Best For: Diving / Snorkeling

Follow the directions for Cenote Dos Ojos. Cenote Pet Cemetery is part of the same group of cenotes.

Cenotes Casa Tortuga

Casa Tortuga comprises four cenotes of three different types: two open cenotes, a semi-open cenote and a cavern cenote, making it the ideal destination if you want to swim in various sinkholes but have little time.

The cenotes at Casa Tortuga are ideal for swimming, snorkeling and admiring the stalactites and stalagmites in the caverns. You can also jump into the cenotes from a certain height, if you dare! Even though Casa Tortuga means Turtle House in Spanish, don’t go looking for turtles because it’s unlikely you’ll see one; the name is a bit deceiving on that end!

➤ With the Visit to 4 Cenotes at Casa Tortuga you’ll get to explore them with a bilingual guide, and snorkel in all of them with the equipment provided. Roundtrip transportation from Tulum is included, as well as snacks and water. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

➤ The Day-Trip to Mayan Ruins With Cenote Swim offers the best combination of culture and cenotes. You’ll start the day with a visit to the Tulum ruins, where you’ll learn about the history of the Mayan civilization, and then head to the cenotes at Casa Tortuga for a swim. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

Casa Tortuga Entrance Fee: 650 MXN.
Casa Tortuga Opening Times: 9 AM to 5 PM daily.
Best For: Swimming / Snorkeling

Cenotes Casa Tortuga is on the 307 Highway, about 20 minutes north of Tulum.

Cenote Xunaan-Ha

Cenote Xunaan-Ha is one of the most picturesque cenotes you will find, and one of the most secret cenotes in Tulum. It’s located in Chemuyil village, half way between Tulum and Akumal, and is known as the fourth largest underwater cave system within Riviera Maya. It’s suitable for both snorkelers and advanced divers.

Cenote Xunaan-Ha Entrance Fee: 100 MXN.
Cenote Xunaan-Ha Opening Hours: 9 AM to 5 PM daily.
Best For: Swimming / Snorkeling / Diving

The cenote is off the Carretera Federal 307, 25 minutes drive north of Tulum. Get off the highway at Chemuyil and Cenote Xunaan-Ha is right there on your left.

Cenote Azul

Cenote Azul is a beautiful open cenote, ideal for families with children and those who are claustrophobic and don’t like climbing down into a cave to enjoy the fresh waters of a cenote. At Cenote Azul, you just have to dip your feet in the water and get in, as you would in a swimming pool!

If you’re into a bit of adrenaline, there are small cliffs from where you can jump into the water, and you can also practice snorkeling (the crystal-clear waters are perfect for this!) and meet the fish that will nip on your feet when you sway them slowly in the water. It’s quite an experience!

Cenote Azul Entrance Fee: 140 MXN
Cenote Azul Opening Hours: Daily from 8.30 AM to 5 PM
Best for: Swimming / Snorkeling

Cenote Azul is located on the 307 Highway, about 40km north of Tulum toward Playa del Carmen. The cenote is right across the street from Barcelo Hotels.

Yal-Ku Cenote

Yal-Ku Cenote is a great option for snorkeling, as its waters are spectacularly clear and there are plenty of colorful fish to swim with. The cenote, which resembles a large lagoon, is very big and meets the ocean on one side; make sure you swim there to see the spectacle! (With precaution of the tides, though)

Yal Ku Cenote Entrance Fee: 300 MXN
Yal Ku Cenote Opening Hours: Daily from 9 AM to 5 PM
Best for: Swimming / Snorkeling

Yal-Ku Cenote is 30km north of Tulum, in Akumal. Take the 307 Highway toward Playa del Carmen and turn right on Reforma Agraria. You’ll then turn left (north) and keep going for about 2km. The journey takes around 35 minutes.

How To Get To the Cenotes Near Tulum, Mexico

Wondering what’s the best way to visit the cenotes Tulum? You don’t need to be driving a car, as there are quite a few transportation options that are easily available.

Take a Colectivo to the Cenotes

Colectivos (shared vans in Spanish) are often the best way to move the Riviera Maya and Yucatan Peninsula. You need to understand how they work, but then they are really easy to use and they are your best option if you are traveling on a budget. Just stand on the side of the highway and wave at any minivan coming your way. Some will stop, some won’t. Usually you won’t have to wait for more than 5-10 minutes. Get in, tell the driver your destination, and pay when you get off. Don’t worry about knowing the price in advance, it’s always pretty cheap (most times a couple of dollars).

Some of the cenotes in this article such as Cenote Dos Ojos and Cenote Nicte Ha are located on highway 307 going north from Tulum, towards Playa del Carmen. Others such as Cenote Calavera and Cenote Carwash are located on the Tulum/Coba highway, going towards the Coba Ruins.

Book A Private Driver for the Day

One of the best day trips from Tulum is visiting the best cenotes in the area. Nope, you won’t be able to see them all as there are considering there are thousands of cenotes in Yucatan and Quintana Roo.

If you want to visit multiple cenotes and maybe other attractions in Tulum in one day, consider getting a private driver to make the most out of your time. I chose to do it this way and I was able to visit 6 cenotes in one day. TOTALLY WORTH IT!

Shop around a bit before settling for a driver, and ask your hotel receptionist for recommendations. I was first quoted high prices such as $150 for the day, and then found a friend of a friend that asked for $100. It’s still not a budget option, I know, but Tulum and Riviera Maya are way more expensive than the rest of Mexico. If you can split the cost with a few other people, it’s the way to go IMO.

Take a Taxi

Honestly, I recommend this option only if you’re interested in seeing one cenote, or two cenotes that are located next to each other. If you’re planning to visit a few cenotes in a day, the taxi cost will add up pretty quickly. You might be better off finding a driver for the day or try and negotiate a price with the taxi driver for the whole day or half a day.

Rent a Bike 

Some of the cenotes in Tulum, especially the ones located on the Tulum/Coba road such as Cenote Calavera, Cenote Zacil Ha, and Gran Cenote, are close enough that you can bike to them. There are quite a few bike rental places both in Tulum Town and Tulum Beach. Renting a bike for a day shouldn’t cost you more than 200 pesos (around $10).

Rent a Car

If you feel confident driving in a foreign country, renting a car is probably the easiest way to get around and go visiting Tulum cenotes. Driving around the Riviera Maya is actually pretty easy. The roads are well kept and rivers more or less respect the rules.

If you plan to see a few cenotes in one day and you don’t mind driving, this is probably the smartest option. It’s very easy and quite cheap to rent a car in Mexico.

I use Discover Cars to compare prices from different car rental agencies and book the best option. ➥ COMPARE PRICES HERE

What to Pack for the Cenotes

This is a list of the essential items you need to bring with you when you visit a cenote in Tulum.

Swimwear: Of course. This is an essential item to pack with you when you visit a cenote. Make sure that you wear something that will enable you to swim with ease and to make the most of the natural pool.

Biodegradable Sunscreen: Please make sure not to apply regular sunscreen before entering a cenote. Not only it’s expressly forbidden in many of them, but it’s also just really bad for the water and its creatures.
If you really need to use sunscreen, only go for 100% biodegradable sunscreen. Help maintain the cenotes as beautiful as they are!

Snorkel Mask or Goggles: The crystal clear waters of the cenote will make you want to take a closer look at what lurks beneath the surface of the water. Snorkeling gear or mask is what you need to make this possible.

Water Shoes: It can be uncomfortable to walk barefoot on the jagged rocks that surround the cenotes. Make sure to bring water shoes so you can protect your feet from the rocks.

Water Bottle: Mexico has tropical weather so you can expect it to be hot and humid. Packing your own bottled water will enable you to re-hydrate often. Try and use a refillable water bottle to reduce the consumption of plastic! 

Camera: Because these cenotes feature one-of-a-kind natural beauty, it is hard to pass up the opportunity to capture them in photos. Even better if you have an underwater camera or GoPro, so you can take it in the water with you.

Where To Stay To Visit the Cenotes in Tulum

Trying to decide where to base yourself? Well, you have multiple options. If you’d like to be closer to the cenotes in Tulum, you have incredible accommodation options in Tulum.

READ ALSO: 30 Best Things to do in Tulum – The Ultimate Guide

Check out a few of my favorites hotels in the area.

Where to Stay in Tulum

Book your accommodation by using the map below ⬇
Here you’ll find hotels and holiday rentals in Tulum Town; change the location to Tulum Beach if you prefer to stay by the beach.

Azulik: Ever dreamt of staying in a luxury treehouse? The treehouses at Azulik feature an incredible design & mosaic hot tubs on the terrace with jungle views. Do I need to say more?
Check out prices and availability for Azulik.

Zamas Hotel: Choose one of the colorful bungalows on the beach at this boutique hotel and wake up to the sound of waves. You can’t get closer to the beach than this!
Check out prices and availability for Zamas Hotel.
CHECK OUT A FULL REVIEW OF ZAMAS HOTEL

Chiringuito Tulum: I’m in love with the white design that reminds me of Mykonos or Santorini. The suites with a private pool overlooking the ocean are unbelievable.
Check out prices and availability for Chiringuito Tulum.

Harmony Glamping & Boutique Hotel: Try out glamping or opt for one of the design suites. A budget option in Tulum town. Scroll down for a full review!
Check out prices and availability for Harmony Glamping & Boutique Hotel

A Full Review of Harmony Glamping & Boutique Hotel

There are plenty of all-inclusive resorts and luxury boutique hotels in Tulum, but if you want to try something different, glamping in Tulum is a fantastic option.

You might already know that I love glamping, together with luxury treehouse cabins and all that jazz, so when I found out there was a glamping site in Tulum, I knew I had to go and try it out.

Located in Tulum Town, Harmony Glamping features 7 bell tents, each of them with a double bed, and 5 suites. The tents are obviously pretty essential, but they are nicely decorated, each with a different theme.

But Harmony Glamping stands out for more than its tents. Its owners make sure that the place is ran in the most sustainable way possible. The materials used to build the hotel are sustainable, as well as some of the furniture that comes from recycled materials. Wastewater is reused for gardening, the miniature product are 100% natural and biodegradable, and so on.

Image by Harmony Glamping

I also spent one night in the Grand Suite, and this is a great alternative if you want the privacy of your own bathroom or prefer a more traditional stay. I loved the design of the room, you know those white, greatly-decorated rooms that you can find through the pages of design magazines? Yes, it was like that!

The glamping spot also features a pool (soooo nice to have one when it’s Tulum-hot, trust me!) and offers yoga classes, which unfortunately I never got to try out. You can also find a nice organic restaurant serving healthy food, Flow Restaurant.

Image by Harmony Glamping

Overall, I recommend glamping in Tulum to those who don’t mind sharing a bathroom and want to try a stay that is truly green – all without having to give up the comfort of a hotel.

With rates starting at $55 for a tent and $65 for a junior suite during the high-season, Harmony Glamping is a great mi-range alternative, especially considering that boutique hotels on the beach go for several hundreds dollars a night! Check out the current rates for Harmony Glamping.

Looking for something different? Check out the best prices for hotels in Tulum HERE.

Cenotes Tulum FAQ

Which is the best cenote in Tulum?

Cenote Dos Ojos is one of the most stunning cenotes in Tulum, although it can get crowded! Other fabulous options include Cenote Calavera, Cenote Carwash and Pet Cemetery Cenote.

Are there crocodiles in Tulum cenotes?

The only cenote where you may find, if you’re lucky, a small resident crocodile is Cenote Carwash. It’s shy and totally harmless! None of the other cenotes are home to crocodiles, only colorful fish and rock formations.

Are there free cenotes in Tulum?

Cenotes in Tulum are not free, although you can find some which charge very little fees, like Cenote Xunaan-Ha or Cenote Carwash.

Are the cenotes in Tulum safe?

The cenotes in Tulum are very safe for swimming, and some even feature shallow areas that are perfect for small children. There are no undercurrents nor dangerous rock formations, however, you should only venture into activities you feel confident about!

Are there sharks in cenotes in Tulum?

There are no sharks in the cenotes in Tulum (nor in cenotes anywhere else in Mexico), so it’s perfectly safe to swim in them.

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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.

Becky

Thursday 4th of January 2024

I love cenotes so much! We had such a great time visiting a few of them last year and are looking forward to going back next month. I was wondering if you could tell me what the first cenote pictured at the top of the page is?

Stefania Guglielmi

Friday 5th of January 2024

Sure! That is Dos Ojos.

victoria james

Thursday 17th of May 2018

I was debating between Cabo and Tulum. You just made up my mind. Thanks for sharing!

Antri C. | Beauty Blogger & Reviewer

Tuesday 1st of May 2018

You have done an incredible work!!! Cenote for me is a must place to be!! Xoxo

Steph

Friday 4th of May 2018

Thank you! I agree - cenotes are the best!

Shona Kosmatka

Tuesday 3rd of April 2018

I simply wanted to write down a quick word to say thanks to you for those wonderful tips and hints you are showing on this site.

Will Charles

Sunday 18th of March 2018

Definitely on my bucket list next visit to Mexico. Going to the Tulum area. Thanks for sharing!

Judy

Tuesday 1st of May 2018

I'm like the previous commenter--I've been to several cenotes but can't remember their names. They are the best! If I return to Mexico they are definitely on my to-do list. Check with your hotel staff--they know the best.

Steph

Tuesday 27th of March 2018

I'm jealous, you'll love it!