Top 7 cenotes near Tulum (2020)

Looking for the best cenotes near Tulum? Here we give you a list of the 7 most recommended cenotes by divers and travelers in general.

Gran Cenote

It consists of several cenotes meandering along the verdant jungle floor, connected by wooden walkways and surrounded by lush greens. Get your snorkel equipment or water visors to see the fish, turtles, stalactites, and the cavern below the water. There are beautiful rest areas to lie down on the grass, which is in very good condition. Food can be brought. The whole ecosystem works perfectly. Protected turtles and crystal clear waters. Sanitation protocols are followed.

Touching turtles, stalactites, or hanging roots is not allowed. Located less than 10 minutes from Tulum center. A big part of the underwater life can be seen without going in a deep dive. Mandatory shower before entering the water to protect the ecosystem. Open from 8:00 to 17:00. It has shallow areas for snorkelers and swimmers and deeper depths for cave divers. Deep down, breathtakingly decorative walls, geology, and underwater wildlife can be seen. The water temperature is around 20°C.

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Dos Ojos

Two neighboring cenotes connected by a large cavern, which also connects to a subterranean river. One of the most interesting cenotes to dive-in. You will find stairs to go down in the water (watch out for the rocks). A bit expensive compared to most other cenotes, but definitely worth it. It is located 22 km north of Tulum, between Playa del Carmen and Tulum. Open from 8:00 to 17:00. Life jackets are available on-site. There is a snack shop on site and hammocks to relax. You will also find a washroom.

The fresh, cool water is crystal clear, the light strong enough to see fish and cool rock formations while snorkeling, and the water is deep enough. If you want to discover the underground cave system linking the two caverns together, get to the second entrance. When the water level is just right, you can snorkel to a bat cave, accessible by swimming through a dark, narrow cavern. The Bat Cave represents a much more preserved environment since it hasn’t collapsed yet and all the formations around it are in very good shape.

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Located on the northeast side of Tulum pueblo. It is a hole in the ground with a 10-meter circumference. The walls of the cave offer rock shelves where it’s possible to rest, meditate or just take in the feeling of being inside an underground cave filled with fresh spring water.

Numerous fish seem to enjoy the visitors. Open from 9:00 to 16:00 the whole week. Its name comes from the shape of the cenote with one large hole that looks like a mouth and two smaller holes that look like eyes (hence, the “skull”). It’s not the fanciest you’ll find, since it’s a bit isolated. There are no lockers. It’s recommended to bring all of the necessary gear on your own. However, it remains to be one of the Riviera Maya’s hidden gems. Some say it takes bravery to jump off to the clear water 3 meters below. How brave are you?

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Casa Cenote

Located around 14 minutes from Tulum. This 100% family-friendly cenote’s water is so clear that you can see the bottom of it. Surrounded by mangroves and trees, is located in the Tankah area. Set in the heart of a mangrove forest, it makes you feel as if you are swimming beneath the jungle. A unique peaceful spirit and exotic scenery with emerald green crystal waters. It is known for the hundreds of little fish that can be seen swimming between the mangrove roots and fronds.

The combination of salty and freshwater led to an incredible diversity of marine life. Blue swimming crabs, green moray eels, barracudas, snapper, and tarpon fish had been spotted here. It can be snorkeled, swam, or even kayaked along its entire 250-yard length. Deep diving isn’t really possible but open water diving is a wonderful experience. It is one of the Aktum system output of freshwater to the Caribbean sea. Divers can navigate through passages and fissures in the limestone.

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Aktun Ha (Carwash)

Aktun Ha stands for “cave filled with water” in Mayan. This easily accessible cenote is a large open-air one located alongside the road, 8 km from Tulum pueblo. It has a beautiful underwater botanical garden with rock formations where fish and turtles meander that makes it different from other cenotes. Interesting caves for scuba diving. It is one of the fewest low-crowded cenotes.

The entire cenote is like a large crystal clear swimming pool, sparkling with a lush green bottom. 185m of underwater space. Tunnels of rock lead to underground and underwater caves such as “The Room of Tears”. This is an easy cavern dive, and the cavern spaces are very large. The way-in seems dark, but sunlight is always visible.

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Sac Actun

Sac Actun is an underground cave system measured at 347.7km long. It is the longest underwater cave system in Mexico and the second-longest in the world. It is completely underground, the entrance is open and provides a small area where you can float in the beautiful turquoise water. The light from the flashlight illuminates the icicle-like stalactites dangling from the ceiling of the cave, making them sparkle as if it had tiny diamonds on it. Locals say there is some greater power present at the cenote keeping visitors safe. It is believed to date back to the Pleistocene period, around 2,6 million years ago.

The deepest point is 101,2 meters. It’s also homes to many archaeological discoveries, some dating as far back as 2,6 million years ago. It is not one of the main tourist cenotes and it’s located on privately owned property, so it won’t be as crowded as others. Water temperature stays around 20°C.

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El Pit

Named after its topography, The Pit Cenote is 22km north of Tulum, after a bumpy dirt road. A deep and rugged gash on the jungle floor. You will find basic restroom facilities and wooden steps all the way down to the entrance, which is steep and narrow. Sunbeams, formations, and a hydrogen sulfide cloud. Tree branches can be seen from above the cloud. After the cloud, what seems to be the cavern floor becomes visible. You can see the layer made of bacteria that dissolve the organic material, which is harmless for humans. Beautiful light beams light up this deep cavern dive. There is a weird but interesting sensation when diving into the fog. The deepest part of this cenote is around 40 meters. It is also the deepest part of the huge Dos Ojos System.

Temperature is around 26 °C. Entering small underwater cameras are free of charge, but if you want to bring professional gear, you might need to pay. In the depth, it’s possible to see ancient human remains from the time there was no water. Scary but amazing.

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Recommended post: Top 10 Cenotes in Riviera Maya

If you are looking for a cenotes circuit, you can book a transportation open service and set yourself the route including the cenotes of your choice.