Top 10 Cenotes in the Riviera Maya


Beside its fabulous beaches and natural parks, the Riviera Maya is well known for its wonderfull cenotes. Cenotes are swiming pools of fresh water.

All the water from the rain in Riviera Maya area is filtered through the limestone and transformed into underwater rivers. Cenotes are sinkholes or natural pits, result of collapsed limestone bedrock that expose the water that normally flows beneath the surface.

Since cenotes are surface connections to subterranean water bodies, they are very popular among intrepid divers who are not afraid to swim through small caves with little or non existing light.
In fact, to be able to dive in a cenote, you need an advanced diver certification since its a very different environment with specific safety rules.

This is the list of Cenotes in the Riviera Maya that we as locals think are the best ones to visit. If you are interested in visiting any of them, we’ll take you there! Some of them are also the best cenotes Cancun can offer.

1.-Cenote Cristalino. Puerto Aventuras, Riviera Maya

From Cancun International Airport, this cenote is right after Puerto Aventuras. Get the location pin. Altough is not a big cenote, is quite nice. The water is crystal clear and as an open-air cenote, you can enjoy a sunny day while having a refreshing dip into the cenote.

Cenote Cristalino, Riviera Maya

2.-Cenote Manatí. Tankah, Riviera Maya

From Cancun Airport, this cenote is right before Tulum around Tankah area. Get the location pin. This is one of our favorites. It is also an open air cenote but is barely distanced from the Ocean. Is not small, so you can rent a kayak to move around, enjoy the mangroves landscape and maybe even discover a new fish specie. The place has a charming restaurant  which gets to be very convenient in case you want to quench your thirst with a cold cerveza after swiming.

Cenote Manatí, Riviera Maya

3.-Cenote Samulá. Valladolid, Yucatán

This cenote is around 2 hours from Cancun Airport, near the beautiful small town of Valladolid. Get the location pin. Samulá Cenote is a splendid subterranean cavern; a few steps ahead you will enjoy a view full of tranquility and peace, where you can contemplate the roots hanging from the ceiling and dive into turquoise waters. Definitely, one of the ‘must visit’.

Cenute Samulá, Yucatán

4.-Cenote Suytun. Valladolid, Yucatán

This cenote is also 2 hrs from Cancun Airport, near Valladolid. Get the location pin. Suytun is one of the most important cenotes in terms of mayan ceremonies. In this cavern, there is a small stage surrounded by beautiful crystal waters, which despite of being shallow, will amaze you with the spectacular amount of fishes living in. Suytun is, so far, the only cenote counting with exterior huts. There is also a small museum where amazing pre-Columbian archaeological pieces are exhibit.

Cenote Suytun, Riviera Maya

5.-Gran Cenote. Tulum, Riviera Maya

This cenote is located between Tulum and the Coba Mayan Ruins. Get the location pin. Although is not as big as the name says (‘gran’ stands for ‘great’), it is a cool place to refresh after visiting the Coba mayan ruins.

Gran Cenote, Tulum. Riviera Maya

6.-Cenote Ik Kil. Chichén Itza, Yucatán

This cenote is located right next to Chichen Itza Mayan Ruins. Get the location pin. Talking about a big refresh after walking around Chichen Itza… this is the place! This marvelous cave  has many ‘lianas’ hanging from above rocks, giving it an unique ancient aspect.


7.-Cenote Dos Ojos. Tulum, Riviera Maya

From Cancun Airport, this cenote is right after Xel-Ha Park and before Tulum. Get the location pin. This is a great cenote for snorkelling. Get some equipment and wander around  or dive in the caves that connect to the underwater rivers. The name was given as a reference to the main two caves which give an impression of two eyes (‘dos ojos’).

Cenote Dos Ojos, Riviera Maya

8.-Cenote Dzitnup. Valladolid, Yucatán

This cenote is around 2 hours from Cancun Airport, in the surroundings of the beautiful small town of Valladolid. Get the location pin. Its beautiful turquoise waters and the amazing light beam reflection, make this cavern an unequaled natural treasure that you must know. Inside, it is possible to find a lot of stalactites hanging from the top. Although the water is not deep enough for diving, it is excellent for swimming and exploring its beautiful spaces.


9.-Aktun Chen Caves. Akumal, Riviera Maya

This park is on the other side of the road of Akumal bay. Get the location pin. Aktun Chen Park is a natural park in Riviera Maya. It has a nice cenote, caves and an underwater river. Zip lines are also available.


10.-Xplor, Riviera Maya

This park is right next to Xcaret in Riviera Maya. Get the location pin. Yes, this is a post about cenotes, yet, Xplor has very cool caves which deifitely count in. It is possible to swim or move in a kayak in its long underwater circuit. You will have to move carefully under the stalactites.


From our perspective, those are the Top 10 Cenotes in Riviera Maya.

Bearing in mind that most of these cenotes are either near Playa del Carmen or around Tulum, having transportation to Tulum could also be a good idea.

Do you know any other that should be on this list?

Leave your comment and let us know!

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