Cenotes, Cenotes, Cenotes

Cenotes are unique for the Yucatan Peninsula and we highly recommend visiting at least one. Along the coast, near Tulum, you will find cenotes with crystal clear waters and with amazing visibility which are ideal for snorkeling year round. Some are with open waters, some are in caverns and others are in dark caves.  We have highlighted and provided details about the most popular places. Some of them are accessible by bike, but getting to most would require transportation. A rental car, taxi or a collectivo are the available options if you have an adventurous spirit and like to explore by yourself. If you prefer the comforts of a guided tour, you can choose one of the multiple companies and private guides that offer excursions to the cenotes.

 

Gran Cenote

Gran Cenote_Tulum_Mexico
Photo by By Ken Thomas, CC 0

One of the most famous and crowded cenotes in the Tulum area. A beautiful cavern with crystal waters, it is great for snorkeling. Some turtles could be spotted too. Grand Cenote is easily accessible from Tulum by bike or a taxi.

Distance: 3.5 km from Tulum town

Entrance fee: 180 pesos

Gear rentals: snorkeling equipment on site

How to get there:

  • By bike or car: At the lights at the San Francisco Supermarket (North end of Tulum) take the road towards Coba (opposite direction of the beach and Boca Paila). The cenote entrance is on the right side of the road after only 3.5 km.
  • By Taxi – 120 pesos from Tulum Center, 200 pesos from Tulum beach

TIP: Get there early in the morning (9 am) before it gets crowded. Bring your own water and food.

Casa Cenote

Casa Cenote Tulum Mexico
Photo by EvangelinaRangel, CC BY 2.0

Casa Cenote is one of the top choices for the people staying in the Tulum area. Only 11 km from the center of Tulum, this cenote is very easy to get to. It is very close to the beach and is directly connected with the sea through a cave passage which goes under the beach. The water is mixed fresh&salt and this makes Casa Cenote quite a unique environment. It is an open water cenote which is surrounded by mangroves. Around 250 meters in length and with varying depth, it is usually with clear waters ideal for snorkeling. Lots of different fish species are hiding in the mangrove roots and around the beautiful rocks at the bottom. The cenote is popular among dive instructors and often Open Water courses and refreshers are conducted there.

Distance: 9km on the highway  + 2km dirt road

Entrance fee: ps 80

Gear rentals: snorkeling equipment, life jackets, kayaks, paddle boards

How to get there: From Tulum center head north on HW 307 towards Play Del Carmen. After 9 kms you will see a billboard saying “Casa Cenote”. Turn right there and follow the dirt road until you get to the cenote. There is a parking lot just before the entrance which tends to fill quickly in the high season.

  • By Taxi – 350 pesos one direction, 700 pesos round trip from Tulum with 2 hr wait time.
  • By bike – not a pleasant ride on the highway, not recommendable.
  • By collectivo – get a collectivo that goes to Playa del Carmen from the main street in Tulum center and ask the driver to drop you at Casa Cenote. Then walk 2 km on the dirt road to get to the cenote.

TIP: You might be offered a snorkeling “tour” at the parking lot or the entrance of the cenote. Absolutely no need to take a tour. The cenote is very easy to snorkel and explore without a guide.

Food is available in the small beach restaurant across the street. Water can be bought in the small tienda at the parking lot.

Dos Ojos park

Very very famous among snorkelers and divers, Dos Ojos is a nature park with numerous different cenotes open to the public. Some are caverns, some caves, some are open water cenotes. The park is run by the JacintoPat ejido – a Mayan community and all decisions are taken by the counsel of the elders and the incomes are distributed among the families in the ejido. There are separate entrance fees for all cenotes and separate tickets need to be bought at the ticket office at the entrance. The entrance of the park is just off the HW307 15kms North of Tulum on the left-hand side. There is a big billboard which says “Dos Ojos”.

Cenote Dos Ojos

Cenote Dos Ojos Tulum Mexico
Photo by Oswaldo Rubio, CC BY 2.0

The most popular cenote in the park. “Two eyes”, as the name of the cenote is translated, features two caverns next to each other which are part of a single collapse. The water is crystal clear and both caverns are spectacular for snorkeling and diving. For divers and snorkelers, there is guided access to a dark cave called “bat cave” where lots of formations and bats can be observed.

Distance: 15 km on HW307 + 2.5 km dirt road

Entrance fee: 350 pesos for snorkeling (additional fees are applicable for a guided visit of the Bat Cave)

Gear rentals: Snorkeling gear, life jackets.

How to get there: Follow the dirt road from the ticket office for 2.5 km. Dos Ojos is on the left-hand side.

  • By Taxi – 450 pesos one direction, 1000 pesos round trip from the center of Tulum with 2 hrs wait.
  • By collectivo – get a collectivo that goes to Playa del Carmen from the main street in Tulum center and ask the driver to drop you at Dos Ojos. Cross the highway to the entrance of the park. Then walk 2.5 km on the dirt road to get to the cenote.
Other cenotes you can visit in Dos Ojos park: 
NikteHa, Jaguar, Dos Palmas, ThePit

 

 

Cenote Sac Actun

Cenote_Sac_Actun_Tulum
Photo by Guillén Pérez, CC BY-ND 2.0

Sac Actun means “white river” in Maya language and is the name of one of the longest underwater cave systems in the world. Cenote Sac Actun is part of that system. The whitish color of the cave is what gives its name. The bigger and more spectacular part of this cenote is completely underground. The cave is very beautifully decorated with lots of natural cave formations. It is one of the better preserved and less crowded cenotes. The access for snorkeling is only possible with a guide. Snorkeling guides are available on site.

The cenote is only accessible through the Dos Ojos Park but tickets are purchased at the cenote and not at the Dos Ojos ticket office.

Distance: 15 km on HW307 + 4 km dirt road

Entrance fee: 450 pesos or $35 for guided snorkeling visit

Gear rentals: Snorkeling gear, life jackets (included in the entrance fee)

How to get there: Follow the dirt road from the ticket office for 3 km and then turn left for 1 km more.

  • By Taxi – 400 pesos one direction, 900 pesos round trip from the center of Tulum with 2 hrs wait.
  • By collectivo: get a collectivo that goes to Playa del Carmen from the main street in Tulum center and ask the driver to drop you at Dos Ojos. Cross the highway to the entrance of the park. Then walk 4 km on the dirt road to get to the cenote.

 

 

Casa Tortuga

Cenotes Casa Tortuga
Photo by Sol Luna, CC 0

Casa Tortuga is a small nature park with 4 cenotes. The cenotes are close to each other and exploring them on foot makes for a pleasant hike in the jungle. Guided visits and gear rental are available on site. Casa Tortuga is a good economical option for those who want to see both open water and cavern cenotes in one trip.

Distance: 12 km on HW307 + 2 km dirt road

Entrance fee: 350 pesos for guided snorkeling

Gear rentals: Snorkeling gear, life jackets

 

How to get there: Follow the dirt road behind the billboard saying “Casa Tortuga”

  • By Taxi – 350 pesos one direction, 800 pesos round trip from the center of Tulum with 2 hrs wait.
  • By collectivo: get a collectivo that goes to Playa del Carmen from the main street in Tulum center and ask the driver to drop you at Casa Tortuga. Cross the highway and follow the dirt road to the park.

 

Zacil-Ha

Cenote Zacil Ha, Tulum
Photo courtesy by TripAdvisor

One of the popular open water cenotes in the Tulum area. It is easily accessible from Tulum by bike or a taxi.

Distance: 8 km from Tulum

Entrance fee: ps 150

Gear rentals: snorkeling equipment on site

How to get there:

  • By bike or car: At the lights at the San Francisco Supermarket (North end of Tulum) take the road towards Coba (opposite direction of the beach and Boca Paila). The cenote entrance is at the left side of the road after 8 km.
  • By Taxi – ps 200 from Tulum Center, ps 250 from Tulum beach

TIP: bring your own water and food. There are no vendors at the cenote.

Other Cenotes near Tulum:

Cenote Calavera, Cenote Carwash, Cenote Cristal, Cenote Dos Osos

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