The Best Tulum Cenotes

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Tulum is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Mexico. With a world-famous archeological site right on the shores of the Caribbean Sea, and idyllic beaches of powdery white sand, it’s easy to see why it’s a favorite of travelers. Yet, there’s more to Tulum than Mayan sites and beaches.

Close to the city you’ll fine some of the most beautiful cenotes in Mexico. These sinkholes filled with freshwater are fun to see and even more fun to swim in, so you definitely should not miss an opportunity to check out one – or more! – when you are in Tulum.

Curious to discover the best Tulum cenotes, then? I have you covered! Continue reading this post for a selection of the nicest cenotes in Tulum – complete with information that will help you plan your visit.

cenotes in Tulum
Cenote Tankach Ha – photo by Luis Miguel Bugallo Sánchez, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Best Tulum Cenotes

Cenote Choo Ha

Part of the series of three small cenotes that includes Tankach Ha (more about it below), Cenote Choo Ha may also be compact, but that doesn’t make it any less beautiful. Here you’ll find invitingly crystal-clear water in a cave surrounded by strange and striking rock formations, all made up of stalactites and stalagmites. It’s rather fitting then that the name means “Water that Drips”!

If you’re visiting this collection of three Tulum cenotes, Choo Ha will be the first you’ll come across. It makes for a great introduction, as the waters are shallow and you can stand up without having to swim (making it great for families).

OPENING HOURS: 8:00 am – 6:00 pm

For a guided tour of this and other cenotes in Tulum, click here.

Cenote Tankach Ha

If visiting cenotes is one of the most fun things to do in Yucatan, you have to start with this one!

The entrance to this particular cenote is part of the fun. To get down to the glimmering blue waters of Cenote Tankach Ha, you have to descend into the cave system itself with a spiral staircase going into the water. Part of a collection of three cenotes in the nearby jungle, it’s situated near to Coba.

Tankach Ha is made up of one large, circular pool set inside a cave. Thankfully, there’s a lifeguard on duty here which makes you feel safe when swimming – you can even rent life jackets at the entrance.

OPENING HOURS: 8:00 am – 6:00 pm

Cenote Multum Ha

Cenote Multum Ha is also part of the same three collection of cenotes that includes Choo Ha and Tankach Ha. Multum Ha is the least visited of the three, but it’s still very charming. Here, you’ll find a large cave which is accessible by a spiral staircase that leads into water itself, so you can wade into the cenote without having to enter it awkwardly.

Here, there are vines hanging down from above giving the place an extra Indiana Jones sort of atmosphere. Even though it’s in a cave, it’s illuminated from above with light from the small hole in the roof of the cavern allowing the water to look its gleaming blue best.

OPENING HOURS: 8:00 am – 6:00 pm

Best cenotes in Mexico

Gran Cenote

Possibly one of the most popular cenotes in Tulum, Gran Cenote is usually busy with tourists, and it’s not hard to see why. Situated close to town, it consists of a collection of smaller caves and pools rather than one large, single cenote (as the name might suggest).

Here, surrounded by jungle, the emerald pools are connected by wooden boardwalks that weave through the lush flora. The water at Gran Cenote is famously clear – so clear, in fact, that you can see turtles swimming without even wearing a snorkel.

OPENING HOURS: 8:10 am – 4:45 pm (last entry 4:15 pm)

For a guided tour that follows the Ruta de Cenotes, click here.

Cenote Caracol

One of the most unique cenotes near Tulum, Cenote Caracol is part of an underground cave system that’s a little bit different to other Tulum cenotes. Here, before you take a dip in the cenote itself, you get to explore a beautiful, complex set of subterranean tunnels with eye-catching stalactites. This place wasn’t even discovered until 2002 when divers happened upon it.

Even if you don’t feel like taking a dip, you can explore a lot of the cave system on foot making for an enchanting day out.

OPENING HOURS: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm

Tulum cenotes

Cenote Escondido

Cenote Escondido is situated close to Cenote Cristalino, and actually closer to Playa del Carmen. This large, open-air cenote is particularly beautiful, thanks, in part, to its status as a lesser visited location. If you want to relax somewhere surrounded by nature without having to share the natural beauty with crowds of other people, this is a good option!

There’s a rope swing here, so you can jump into the water and splash around. With lots of fish swimming around, it’s also great for snorkeling and diving. You should make sure to bring mosquito repellent though – with the jungle location comes many bugs that may well bother you!

OPENING HOURS: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm

Tulum Cenotes

Cenote Dos Ojos

Named for its two pools that look like gleaming emerald eyes (the name means “Two Eyes”), you’ll see why this place is so popular as you descend down to the caves where they are located. This is one of the most famous Tulum cenotes.

The two cenotes that make up Dos Ojos are both 70 meters (229.6 feet) in diameter, and they’re connected by a 400-meter-long (1,323 feet) passageway. Make sure to bring your snorkel – there is plenty of eye-catching underwater life to spot here.

OPENING HOURS: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm

For a diving experience in Cenotes Dos Ojos and other cenotes in Tulum, click here.

cenotes in Tulum

Cenote Nicte Ha

Situated close to Cenote Dos Ojos, around 22 kilometers (13.7 miles) north of Tulum, Cenote Nicte Ha is a striking cenote that is perfect for nature lovers. A serene and peaceful spot, it lacks the crowds of more popular cenotes allowing you to simply lay back, float around, and soak up the tranquil atmosphere.

Nicte Ha is a large open-air cenote with lily pads and other jungle foliage growing on the surface and the banks of the water. It really is the most really dreamy spot. For a touch of adventure without having to explore a cave filled with animal bones, there’s one part of this cenote that’s partly in a cavern, so you can don your snorkel and see what lies beneath the surface.

OPENING HOURS: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm

For a guided tour that goes to Cenote Nicte Ha and Casa Cenote, click here.

Cenote Taak Bi Ha

One of the prettiest Tulum Cenotes, about 20 minutes drive from town, Cenote Taak Bi Ha is located close to Cenote Dos Ojos and its clear waters make it a perfect place for snorkeling and also diving. You will find impressive underwater formations so it’s a lot of fun to explore!

OPENING HOURS: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
ADMISSION FEE: MXN350 ($17.8 USD); MXN400 ($20.3 USD) for a guided tour

best cenotes in Mexico

Cenote Angelita

Cenote Angelita (meaning “Little Angel” in Spanish) is aptly named. The waters are green, and the surface of the water is covered in brown leaves and other jungle foliage. It famously has a cloud of gas at 27 meters (88.5 feet) below the surface. Called halocline, this is a thick layer of hydrogen sulfide, a product of decomposing plant matter – it’s amazingly trapped between the fresh upper water and lower salt waters of the cenote.

Once you’re below the “cloud”, it’s an eerie space of dead trees below and strange light from the cloud above. This awesome cave cenote is definitely one for all the scuba divers out there. The best part? All of this only 4.5 kilometers (2.8 miles) from Tulum!

OPENING HOURS: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm

Cenote El Pit

At 119 meters (390 feet) in depth making it the deepest cenote in the Yucatan Peninsula, Cenote El Pit is another adventurous spot for divers. Even though it’s deep, the water here is crystal clear making for incredible visibility. Similar to Cenote Angelita, there’s another halocline gas layer at around 30 meters (98.4 feet) below the surface making it an amazing place to explore.

Once past the gas cloud, divers can see strange rock formations – in fact, animal, and even human, bones can be seen. You can definitely see why it’s called “El Pit”!

Note that only experienced divers are allowed to dive here.

OPENING HOURS: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm

To book your diving experience in Cenote El Pit, click here.

Zacil Ha Cenote

Cenote Zacil Ha

Cenote Zacil Ha is located just northwest of Tulum. Far from being the adventurous cave diving experience with human bones at the bottom, Zacil Ha is a developed, family-friendly hangout – so one of the best Tulum cenotes for anyone traveling with children. This open-air pool has steps, lifeguards, and is only around 3 meters (9.8 feet) deep.

Not only that, but here you’ll also find a zipline which is super fun. Plus there’s a small snack bar and other facilities. You’ll also be sharing this place with local families, not a whole host of tourists, so you get to soak up some local life, too.

OPENING HOURS: 10:00 am – 5:30 pm

Cenote Suytun

Cenote Suytun

Cenote Suytun is an Instagram favorite. Just a quick drive from Tulum, it’s really not hard to see why people come here to snap photos. This semi open-air cenote with the cave walls, jungle overflowing above, sun beaming in, turquoise waters, the waterfall, and the all-important (though manmade) walkway really is quite something – all of it adds up to a must-visit cenote in Tulum.

If you want to swim in the cenote itself, you’ll be required to wear a life jacket (which you can hire there) even if you are able to swim. There’s a well-paved staircase leading from the entrance right into the bright blue water itself.

OPENING HOURS: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm

Casa Cenote

Casa Cenote

Also known as Cenote Manati, Casa Cenote is strikingly beautiful. Situated near the coast, it’s a large, open-air cenote that’s more like a river than a round pool, and it connects to a subterranean river that flows out to sea.

As a result of this, the water here is a mix of freshwater and seawater, and there’s a diverse array of fish that live in the cenote. Due to its size, this cenote is not only good for swimming and snorkeling, but it’s also ideal for kayaking to explore its mangrove and jungle shoreline.

You’ll find Casa Cenote conveniently located near Tulum Ruins too, making them easily accessible.

OPENING HOURS: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm

For a paddleboarding and snorkeling tour of Casa Cenote click here. If you’d like to dive there, you may want to check out this tour.

Cenote Calavera

Cenote Calavera is a pretty adventurous place to visit. Calavera means “Skull” in Spanish – a name that comes from the eye socket-like sinkholes that lead into the cenotes themselves. To get down to the cenote, you’ll have to descend a wooden ladder into the water where you’ll find a swing and a jumping platform, kind of like a mini playground.

Inside the cenote, there’s further exploring to do beyond just swinging around. This is mainly just for scuba divers who can delve down to glimpse rainbow-colored rocks and even fossils.

OPENING HOURS: 8:00 am – 4:00 pm

Casa Tortuga

Cenotes Casa Tortuga

The Cenotes Casa Tortuga is made up of not just one but four cenotes. These pools of shimmering turquoise water are situated around a cavern – there are two open pools and two situated within the cave themselves.

Only able to be visited as part of a tour, you’ll be given a life jacket and be led through the various cenotes. You’ll also be told about the interesting rock formations and interesting animal life that makes its home in the cave. It’s a deep, dark cave that’ll be a memorable experience for sure. The outdoor pools are much more family-friendly and great for relaxing.

OPENING HOURS: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm

Tulum Cenotes

Cenote Sac Actun

Cenote Sac Actun is also strangely sometimes referred to as the “Pet Cemetery Cenote”. This is because of the various animal bones that can be found inside the pool, thought to have been part of Mayan rituals (or simply a rubbish pit).

Despite the potentially spooky history of Sac Actun, it’s also particularly beautiful and very impressive. In fact, Sac Actun is actually part of the longest underground river system in the world. As a result of this, it’s very popular with scuba divers and snorkelers. However, there are also some shallower areas with rock formations for more casual exploration.

OPENING HOURS: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm

Cenote Arco Maya

For an off-the-beaten-track cenote in Tulum that has not been commercialized whatsoever, you should make a beeline for Cenote Arco Maya. This incredible cenote is secluded without any other crowds nearby, and it’s completely edged by green jungle and mangroves.

Actually a part of the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, you reach Arco Maya via a series of boardwalks through the jungle. There is a wooden deck for sunbathing, but there aren’t any other amenities or staff on hand. Being a nature reserve, there’s abundant wildlife to spot – there’s even rumored to be a caiman that lives here, so it is not recommended that you swim after dark (which is dangerous anyway!).

OPENING HOURS: 24 hours a day

Clan-Destino Cenote Bar

Clan-Destino Cenote Bar is situated just off Tulum’s main beach strip. It’s the perfect (some would say) combination of a beautiful cenote and a bar – yes, a bar. Here, you can cool off in the crystalline waters of the cenote itself before grabbing a burger and something to drink, and soaking up the sunshine.

This is actually a free cenote, but even though it’s free, you should make sure you spend at least some money on food or drinks. You’ll be glad you did – it’s a cool, relaxed sort of place with upbeat music playing and a young crowd. It’s a little bit of a hidden gem among the Tulum cenotes.

OPENING HOURS: 24 hours a day
ADMISSION FEE: free (you have to buy something from the bar though)

Further Readings

Make sure to read my other posts about Mexico:

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Discover where the nicest cenotes in Tulum are - via @clautavani

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