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Cenote Tulum Ultimate Guide 2024: A Comprehensive List

cenote tulum

Cenote Tulum Ultimate Guide 2024: A Comprehensive List

You’ve made it to Tulum, congrats! Now it’s time to explore one of the top attractions—the cenotes.

Cenotes are natural sinkholes formed by the collapse of limestone bedrock, and Tulum is home to some of the most stunning cenotes in the Yucatan Peninsula. Whether you’re looking to cliff jump, snorkel, swim or just float peacefully, Tulum has a cenote for you.

This ultimate Cenote Tulum guide covers all the best cenotes in and around Tulum. Get ready to discover these natural wonders and cross some unforgettable experiences off your bucket list. By the end of this guide, you’ll be a cenote expert ready to lead your own Tulum cenote tour.

An Overview of These Natural Pools

Cenote Tulum Guide 2024

What is a Cenote?

A cenote is a natural sinkhole resulting from the collapse of limestone bedrock that exposes groundwater underneath. Tulum is known for having some of the most stunning cenotes, with over 1,000 cenotes in the surrounding area. These freshwater pools were sacred to the ancient Maya, but today many are open for swimming, snorkeling and even cave diving.

The Different Types of Cenotes

There are three main types of cenotes: open, semi-open and cave.

Open cenotes have fully exposed pools with no ceiling. They receive sunlight and are best for swimming and snorkeling.

Semi-open cenotes are partially exposed with some holes in the ceiling, allowing in dappled light.

Cave cenotes have little to no holes, so they remain mostly in darkness. Some cave cenotes require scuba equipment to explore.

No two cenotes are alike. They come in all shapes and sizes, some with staircases leading into bright blue waters, others requiring ropes to climb down into. The formations within each cenote are unique, with stalactites, stalagmites and columns formed over thousands of years. The water in cenotes is crystal clear, fed by underground rivers flowing through the porous limestone.

There’s a cenote for every taste in Tulum, whether you want an open pool paradise, a semi-open cenote with jungle foliage, or an adventure in an undeveloped cave cenote. Pack your swimsuit, snorkel gear, and sense of wonder – the cenotes of Tulum await! With so many options, the hardest part will be deciding which cenotes to visit. But don’t worry, you can’t go wrong with any of these natural wonders.

open cenote
Open Cenote
semi open cenote
Semi Open Cenote
cave cenote
Cave Cenote

The Best Cenotes in Tulum for Swimming and Snorkeling

If swimming in an open cenote is on your Tulum bucket list, you’re in for a treat. Some of the best cenotes for swimming and snorkeling are right outside of town.

Gran Cenote

One of the largest cenotes near Tulum at over 100 feet in diameter, Gran Cenote (“big cenote”) is a popular spot for snorkeling, scuba diving, and cave diving. You can see tropical fish swimming through the limestone caverns and arches just below the surface. Gran Cenote does get crowded, so go early and on a weekday if possible. It’s located only a couple of miles from Tulum, making it an easy trip to paradise.

Cenote Dos Ojos

Only 20 minutes from Tulum, Cenotes Dos Ojos (“two eyes” in Spanish) is one of the area’s most popular cenotes for snorkeling and cave diving. With crystal-clear turquoise waters and an intricate network of limestone caves to explore, you could spend hours swimming through this natural wonderland.

Casa Cenote

Perfect for families with kids, Casa Cenote lets you swim, kayak, stand-up paddleboard, and more in a gorgeous open-air cenote. Casa Cenote is only a 15-minute drive from Tulum.

With so many amazing cenotes to experience, you’ll want to spend at least a couple of days exploring the crystalline waters around Tulum. Pack your swimsuit, snorkel gear, and sense of adventure—a cenote-filled getaway awaits!

gran cenote
Gran Cenote
cenote dos ojos
Cenote Dos Ojos
casa cenote
Casa Cenote

Top Cenotes Near Tulum for Cliff Jumping Adrenaline Junkies

If cliff jumping is your jam, Tulum has some of the best cenotes for taking the plunge. The cenotes around Tulum feature cavernous pools, stalactites, and cliffs of varying heights perfect for jumping. Here are two of the top cenotes for adrenaline junkies near Tulum.

Cenote Calavera

About a 15 minute drive from Tulum, Cenote Calavera is a favorite for cliff jumping. Cenote Calavera, also known as death’s-head in Spanish, boasts a unique shape that adds to its allure. Despite its small size, this cenote offers two thrilling ways to access it: either by descending a wooden ladder or by taking a daring leap! And if that’s not enough excitement, there’s even an outrigger for swinging above the sparkling water’s surface. Get ready for an exhilarating adventure at Cenote Calavera!.

Cenote Jaguar

Another popular cenote for cliff jumping is Cenote Jaguar, about a 20 minute drive from Tulum. This cenote offers cliff jumps into clear water at heights of 8 and 12 feet. Another attraction at this cenote is the zip line passing over the cenote. For the less adventurous in your group, don’t worry, this cenote is easily accessible by stairs and you can enjoy a leisurely swim away from the jumping platforms!

Take the plunge into these thrilling cenotes and get your heart pumping with an adrenaline-filled day of cliff jumping. But always exercise caution, know your limits. These cenotes will give you a rush like no other!

cenote calavera
Cenote Calavera
cenote jaguar
Cenote Jaguar

Hidden Gem Cenotes Off the Beaten Path in Tulum

While the popular cenotes like Dos Ojos and Gran Cenote attract big crowds, Tulum has many hidden gem cenotes that remain tranquil oases. If you want to escape the masses, head to these secret cenotes for a more secluded experience.

Cenote Taak Bi Ha

Located just 15 minutes from Tulum, Cenote Taak Bi is a cave cenote with magical formations and transparent water! A paradise for swimmers, snorkelers and Instagrammers alike!

Cenote Tak Be Luum

Cenote Tak Be Luum is a cave cenote, rarely visited. For the more adventurous, a zip-line is available to get into the water. A little more remote and harder to find in the jungle.

Cenote Corazon

Corazon, meaning “heart” in Spanish, is an open-air cenote with gardens. Cenote Corazon is the perfect place for young and old alike to take a leisurely swim, jump into the water, snorkel or simply relax on the deckchairs by the water!

These hidden gem cenotes may require some effort to reach, but for those seeking solitude amid exquisite natural surroundings, the rewards are well worth it. By venturing off the beaten path, you’ll discover the secret side of Tulum’s cenotes without the crowds. An unforgettable experience awaits at these secluded oases.

cenote taak bi ha
Cenote Taak Bi Ha
cenote taak be luum
Cenote Tak Be Luum
cenote corazon
Cenote Corazon

Family-Friendly Cenotes in Tulum to Explore With Kids

If you’re visiting Tulum with little ones, don’t skip the cenotes! These natural swimming holes are perfect for families with children. The clear, fresh water is usually shallow, calm, and refreshing. Many even have spots where kids can splash and play. Here are some of the best family-friendly cenotes to check out in Tulum.

Cenote Zacil-Ha

Known as one of the best cenotes for kids, Cenote Zacil-Ha is perfect for swimming and playing. A small cliff is perfect for jumping into the depths, if you’re feeling adventurous. There’s also a pool next to the cenote where the little ones can have fun.
Facilities include bathrooms, showers, picnic tables and a restaurant. Avoid weekends, as it’s usually more crowded.

Cenote Nicte Ha

Another highly rated cenote for families, Cenote Nicte Ha has crystal-clear waters with a mix of depths perfect for all ages. A wooden walkway leads to the swimming area, with shallow spots for toddlers and deeper areas for swimming. The stunning natural scenery will captivate both kids and adults.

The Yucatan Peninsula’s natural wonders make Tulum an unforgettable family vacation destination. Exploring the kid-friendly cenotes together will create cherished memories that last for years to come. Pack your swimsuit, towel and sense of adventure and get ready to discover these gorgeous underground worlds!

cenote nicte ha
Cenote Nicte Ha
cenote zazil ha
Cenote Zacil Ha

How to Get to the Best Cenotes in Tulum

Getting to Tulum’s cenotes is half the adventure. With your own wheels or a quick rideshare, you’ll be swimming in these natural wonders in no time.

Drive Yourself

Renting a car is one of the most convenient ways to explore the cenotes at your own pace. Head south from Tulum town on Highway 307 and follow the signs for each cenote along the road. Most are only 10 to 30 minutes away. Be aware that some cenote roads can be bumpy dirt paths, so an SUV is ideal.  Ensure that you have saved a map to easily reach the cenote, as you may experience a loss of signal once you enter the jungle.

Take a Taxi

If you prefer to leave the driving to someone else, taxis are readily available in Tulum to whisk you off to the cenotes. Fares for taxi rides to cenotes can range, but you can anticipate paying approximately 200 to 1000 pesos depending on the cenote location. It’s important to establish the fare beforehand and also inquire whether it includes the return trip. The exciting part is that once you inform the driver about the specific cenote you wish to explore, they will conveniently drop you off at the entrance.

Join an Organized Cenote Tour

Several tour companies in Tulum offer guided excursions to some of the most popular cenotes. These are a great option if you want to learn about the geology and history of the cenotes from an expert guide. Tours include roundtrip transport from Tulum and necessary snorkel equipment.

With a plethora of transportation choices and over 100 cenotes nearby, you’ll have no trouble discovering these natural wonders around Tulum. Now get out there and take the plunge into this underground oasis!

What to Bring When Visiting Cenotes in Tulum

When visiting the cenotes of Tulum, there are a few essential items you’ll want to bring to make the most of your experience.

Water Shoes

The terrain around cenotes can be slippery, with wet rocks and uneven surfaces. Water shoes, aqua socks or reef shoes provide extra traction so you can comfortably walk in and out of the cenotes. Regular flip flops won’t cut it and can be dangerous.

Life Jackets for Kids

When it comes to bringing your little ones to the cenotes, their safety is top priority! That’s why we highly recommend ensuring they have a life jacket with them at all times. As some cenotes may not have kid sizes available just remember to bring your own and have a worry-free day of fun and exploration!

Snorkel Gear

Many of the cenotes are perfect for snorkeling, with crystal clear waters and an abundance of small fish and plant life. Bring your own mask and snorkel to get an up-close view of the underwater scenery in the cenotes. Some cenotes rent basic gear but bringing your own well-fitted equipment will make for a better experience.

UV shirt

We highly recommend wearing a UV shirt for the open or semi-open cenotes. It’s important to note that putting sunscreen on, even if it’s biodegradable, is strictly prohibited. So, make sure to grab your UV shirt and protect your skin while enjoying the cenotes!.

Underwater Cameras

An incredible tool awaits you to capture breathtaking moments in the cenotes: an underwater camera! Just imagine the stunning photos and videos you can take of the crystal-clear waters and the fascinating creatures swimming within them. Don’t worry if you don’t have an underwater camera like a GoPro or waterproof camera. Your trusty smartphone can do the trick too! Simply bring it along with a waterproof phone case, and you’ll be amazed at the remarkable results it can achieve!.

Cash

Most cenotes charge an entrance fee, typically ranging from 150 to 500 pesos per person. Only a few cenotes accept credit cards, so bring enough cash to cover admission fees for all the cenotes you want to visit. Fees typically include access to changing rooms, showers, bathrooms and parking. Don’t forget to budget for rental snorkeling gear or the option to hire a knowledgeable guide. Keep in mind that certain cenotes may also require a fee for bringing cameras along. So, get ready to capture unforgettable memories and make the most of your experience!

Coming prepared with these essentials will ensure you have a safe, enjoyable visit exploring the natural wonders of Tulum’s cenotes. Don’t forget your towel, a dry bag for your valuables and a sense of adventure!

Cenote Sac Aktun
Cenote Pet Cemetery

Cenote Safety

When swimming in cenotes, your safety should be a top priority. These natural limestone sinkholes can be dangerous if you’re not careful. Follow these tips to make the most of your cenote adventure.

Shower Before Entering

To keep cenote water pristine, always shower to rinse off any sunscreen, bug spray, or other products before jumping in. Your fellow swimmers and the environment will thank you.

Follow Instructions

Pay attention to any rules or warnings posted at the cenote entrance. They are there to ensure everyone’s safety and the protection of the site. Follow lifeguard instructions as well. They know the cenote best and can guide you to the most spectacular spots.

Wear a Life Jacket

Cenotes typically require visitors to wear life vests! At the entrances, you can easily get your hands on complimentary life jackets. They’ll give you peace of mind as you explore.

Don’t Touch Formations

The stalactites and stalagmites in cenotes are extremely delicate. Resist the urge to grab onto them for support or climb on them. Even the oils from your hands can damage these ancient formations. Admire them from a distance to preserve them for future visitors.

The artifacts, fossils, and natural formations in cenotes are an important part of Mexico’s history and ecosystem. Do your part to preserve them by leaving everything undisturbed.

By following these precautions, you’ll have an amazing experience exploring the cenotes of Tulum. Respect these natural wonders and they will reveal their beauty to you. Stay safe and enjoy!

cenote with limestone formation
Cenote with Limestone Formations
cenote snorkeling cave
Cenote Snorkeling

Frequently Asked Questions About Cenotes Tulum

Visiting the cenotes of Tulum is a must-do when in the area, but you likely have some questions about what to expect. Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about Tulum’s cenotes:

Do the cenotes have an entrance fee?

Most cenotes charge an entrance fee, typically ranging from 150 to 500 pesos ($7 to $25 USD) per person. It’s best to pay in pesos, as some cenotes charge more for paying in USD or simply don’t accept USD. The fees help maintain the cenotes and pay staff. Some of the larger cenote parks with amenities like restaurants or cabanas will charge on the higher end of that range.

What are the cenotes opening hours?

The majority of cenotes are open every day of the week from 8 or 9 am until 5 pm. Last entry is usually around 4 pm. It’s best to check with the specific cenote you want to visit for their hours to avoid being turned away.

Do I need to know how to swim?

Most cenotes require visitors to wear life vests, especially if you’re not a strong swimmer. Some cenotes rent life vests on-site for a small fee. The life vests will keep you safe while still allowing you to enjoy swimming and exploring.

What’s the water temperature like?

The water temperature in Cenote Tulum remains a consistent 75 F or 24 C degrees year-round. The water comes from an underground river system, so it stays cool and refreshing even in the hot summer months. Some cenotes may feel slightly warmer or cooler at times, depending on their depth and amount of sunlight exposure.

Can I bring my own snorkel gear?

Some cenotes will allow you to bring your own snorkel gear, masks and swimsuits, while others prefer you rent from them to avoid contamination.

Cenote Sac Aktun
Cenote Nicte Ha

The Best Cenote Tulum Tours & Excursions

Some of the best ways to experience the stunning cenotes of Tulum are through guided Cenotes tours and excursions. These tours provide round-trip transport from Tulum and your hotel, an experienced guide, and entrance fees to multiple cenotes are included in the price.

Cenote Tulum Tour

Experience the thrill of a Cenotes Adventure! Choose from a variety of 2 or 3 cenotes, allowing you to explore each unique type: open, semi-open, and cave cenotes. It’s the perfect opportunity to immerse yourself in the wonders of these natural marvels! Ensure that you secure a tour package encompassing complete snorkeling equipment, a knowledgeable guide for exploring cenotes, and culminates with a delectable lunch. Fuel up after embarking on these thrilling adventures!

Tulum Ruins and Cenote Tour

On this popular 6-hour tour, you’ll get to experience two of the top attractions in the Tulum area. Start with a guided tour of the stunning Tulum Ruins, the only Mayan site located right on the coast. After exploring the ruins, head to a scenic cenote for swimming, snorkeling or cliff jumping. A delicious Mexican lunch is included. This tour allows you to see the highlights of Tulum in one day.

Swim with turtles and Cenote Tour

This half-day tour combines snorkeling in the turquoise waters of the Mesoamerican Reef with floating in the crystal-clear waters of a secluded cenote. After a briefing, you’ll head out to the reef for about an hour of guided snorkeling where you may spot tropical fish and sea turtles.  Then it’s off to a cenote in the jungle where you can swim, cliff jump, or just relax!

Exclusive Cenote and Tequila Tasting

For a unique cenote experience, book a private tour to some of the most exclusive cenotes. You’ll get to swim in pristine cenotes with few other visitors and may even have some just to yourself. As a bonus, this tour includes a tasting of artisanal Mexican tequilas and mezcals. Don’t miss out on this incredible personalized tour! Availability is limited, so make sure to secure your booking in advance..

The cenotes of Tulum provide endless opportunities for adventure and exploration. Booking a guided Tulum snorkeling tour is a convenient way to visit multiple cenotes and experience all the area has to offer with knowledgable guides to show you the way. Whether you want to combine cenotes with the reef, ruins or tequila tasting, there’s a perfect cenote tour for you.

Cenote Tulum Guide

So there you have it, a complete list of all the cenotes in Tulum worth visiting. With so many unique cenotes to choose from, you’ll never run out of places to explore. Whether you’re looking to go cliff jumping, snorkeling with turtles, or simply floating in crystal clear waters, Tulum’s cenotes offer an adventure for everyone. What are you waiting for? Grab your swimsuit, hop in your rental car, and start checking these natural wonders off your bucket list. The Yucatan Peninsula’s underground aquifers await – dive in and enjoy!

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Mateo

Mateo

Meet Mateo: Your Tulum Insider Mateo, a passionate travel blogger, is your go-to source for all things Tulum. He uncovers the town's hidden gems and shares invaluable travel tips to make your Tulum experience extraordinary. Beyond his blog, Mateo collaborates with local experts to bring Tulum's culture and history to life. His passion for sustainable travel is evident, as he champions responsible tourism practices that protect the environment and support the local community. With Mateo as your guide, you'll unlock the secrets of Tulum and embark on a journey that transcends the ordinary and leaves you with memories to cherish for a lifetime.
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