April 6, 2024
Today´s Paper

Tulum’s Best Cenotes Await Your Unforgettable Adventure

Tulum, renowned for its relaxed ambiance, pristine white-sand beaches, and enchanting cenotes nestled amidst its lush jungle surroundings, is a true gem in the Riviera Maya. Yet, with an astonishing count of six thousand cenotes scattered across the Yucatán Peninsula, the task of selecting which ones to explore can seem quite daunting.

However, fret not, as Tulum boasts some of the most breathtaking and distinctive cenotes in this region. From Cenote El Pit, a scuba diver’s paradise, to Cenote Zacil-Ha, complete with its exhilarating zipline experience, Tulum offers an array of natural wonders waiting to be discovered.

So, without any further delay, allow us to introduce you to a curated selection of the ten most exceptional cenotes near Tulum. These hidden gems promise not only adventure but also a profound connection with the natural beauty that defines this captivating destination. Join us on this journey as we unveil the secrets of Tulum’s cenotes.

Tulum's Best Cenotes Await Your Unforgettable Adventure

Curious about what exactly a cenote is?

Well, allow us to unravel this natural wonder for you. A cenote, pronounced as “suh-NO-tay,” is essentially a geological phenomenon in the form of a sinkhole. These captivating formations come into existence when limestone bedrock undergoes a collapse, unveiling an underground cavern or river beneath it. What makes cenotes all the more fascinating is the presence of crisp, refreshing groundwater coursing through these subterranean marvels, maintaining a temperature no higher than 75°F. This makes them the perfect refuge for cooling off under the scorching Mexican sun.

The Yucatán Peninsula, owing to its distinctive geological composition, is home to an abundance of cenotes. In fact, while cenotes can be found in various corners of the globe, including places like Zimbabwe and Canada, it’s here in the Yucatán that you’ll discover the highest concentration of these natural wonders anywhere on Earth. Now, let’s delve deeper into the extraordinary cenotes that grace the Tulum region, each with its own unique allure waiting to be explored.

Tulum's Best Cenotes Await Your Unforgettable Adventure

Cenotes held immense significance for the ancient Mayans who once thrived in this region. They served not only as a vital source of freshwater but also carried profound spiritual importance, being regarded as the gateway to the underworld. In fact, cenotes occasionally played a role in solemn sacrificial rituals. Archaeological excavations have unearthed treasures such as gold and jade, as well as human remains bearing injuries consistent with sacrificial practices, all retrieved from the depths of these sacred pools.

In the contemporary era, cenotes have transitioned into sources of joy and recreation. Hundreds of these mystical formations have been transformed into enchanting swimming holes, offering a delightful experience for both locals and visitors. It’s a testament to the enduring allure of cenotes, where the echoes of Mayan heritage harmonize with the laughter of those who now revel in their crystal-clear waters.

Tulum's Best Cenotes Await Your Unforgettable Adventure

Cenotes come in three distinct varieties: open-air, semi-open, and underground.

Open-air cenotes represent the grand spectacle of nature’s artistry. These cenotes have undergone complete collapse, revealing vast underground caverns open to the heavens above. While we try not to play favorites among these natural wonders, open-air cenotes tend to be the crown jewels. They often boast larger dimensions than their counterparts, and thanks to their sun-kissed exposure, the waters within tend to offer a slightly warmer and more inviting swim.

Semi-open cenotes, on the other hand, reside primarily underground but possess small apertures that allow air and dappled sunlight to filter in. The interplay of light and shadow in these cenotes can create breathtaking scenes, reminiscent of the captivating beauty found in the globally famous Cenote Suytun (more on that later!).

Lastly, underground cenotes are precisely as the name suggests. These hidden gems remain shrouded in darkness, devoid of natural light. Consequently, they offer the coolest and most refreshing dip among the trio. Each type of cenote offers a unique experience, inviting you to explore the diverse wonders of Tulum’s subterranean world.

Tulum's Best Cenotes Await Your Unforgettable Adventure

Getting to the enchanting cenotes near Tulum is a breeze, and here’s your guide on how to do it:

Bicycle Adventure: Many of the cenotes on our list are conveniently located just a short bicycle ride away, typically taking you anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes to reach. Tulum offers a bicycle-friendly environment, and you’ll find that most hotels and hostels in the area readily provide bicycles for their guests. Alternatively, you can explore the numerous rental outlets in town, ensuring you have the perfect two-wheeled companion for your cenote explorations. So, pedal your way to adventure and immerse yourself in the natural wonders that await you.

Tulum's Best Cenotes Await Your Unforgettable Adventure

For those of you who intend to extend your stay and explore the captivating Yucatan Peninsula (and why wouldn’t you? It’s one of the best places in the world for remote work!), or if you have your sights set on visiting cenotes or other extraordinary destinations like the Coba ruins, which may be a bit farther afield, renting a car could be a savvy choice.

Having your own set of wheels bestows the invaluable gift of flexibility, enabling you to embark on your adventures at your own pace and on your own schedule. What’s more, navigating the roads in this region is a safe and straightforward experience. So, consider the option of car rental as it unlocks boundless opportunities for exploration, allowing you to uncover hidden treasures and create your very own Yucatan odyssey.

Best Cenotes Near Tulum

And now, without further ado, let’s plunge right into the heart of our cenote exploration – pun fully intended!

1. Cenote Calavera

  • Location: Tulum, Quintana Roo (2.8 km north of downtown Tulum)
  • Entrance fee: 250 MXN
  • Amenities: There are limited amenities here, like a bare-bones changing facility and some snacks, drinks, and beer for purchase.
Tulum's Best Cenotes Await Your Unforgettable Adventure

Allow us to introduce you to “Calavera,” a name that aptly translates to “skull” in Spanish, and as soon as you lay eyes on this cenote, you’ll instantly grasp why it carries such a bone-chilling moniker. Picture this: you have not one, not two, but three entry points resembling the eyes and mouth of a grinning skull. A word of caution for those brave souls who opt for the “eye” entrances – it’s a snug fit!

But fear not, fellow adventurers (raising our hand here too), for there’s an alternative for the less intrepid among us. A sturdy ladder awaits, offering a less dramatic but equally thrilling entry into the cenote’s refreshing waters.

Once you’ve descended into the embrace of the cenote’s cool depths, prepare for a sensory symphony. Above you, bats rest in slumber, their presence adding an eerie yet enchanting touch to the experience. Tiny fish may give your toes an inquisitive nibble, while a centrally suspended swing beckons for a moment of relaxation amidst this aquatic wonderland.

For those with a keen eye for photography, prepare to be mesmerized. Sunshine streams through the cenote’s two smaller openings, casting ethereal light rays that dance upon the water’s surface, creating a visual spectacle begging to be captured.

While Calavera may be smaller in scale compared to some of its cenote counterparts, its allure remains undeniable, making it an indispensable highlight for any Tulum travel itinerary. So, whether you’re a thrill-seeker or a casual explorer, don’t miss the chance to uncover the secrets of Calavera Cenote.

Tulum's Best Cenotes Await Your Unforgettable Adventure

Due to its convenient proximity to Tulum, Calavera Cenote tends to draw quite a crowd, particularly as the day progresses. If you’re yearning for a more serene and private experience, we have a pro tip for you. Aim to be among the first to arrive when Calavera Cenote opens its gates at 9 AM. This early bird approach offers you a precious window of opportunity to savor the cenote’s magic in tranquil solitude before the midday rush ensues. So, set your alarm, seize the day, and make the most of your exclusive rendezvous with Calavera Cenote!

2. Gran Cenote

  • LocationTulum, Quintana Roo (5.0 km north of downtown Tulum)
  • Entrance fee: 500 MXN, which includes a snorkeling set and life jacket rental
  • Amenities: There are showers and tiny bathroom stalls where you can (uncomfortably!) change into your swimsuit. While you can’t get food or drinks onsite, there’s usually a small snack stand right outside the cenote’s gates.
Tulum's Best Cenotes Await Your Unforgettable Adventure

Prepare to be mesmerized by the allure of Gran Cenote, a cenote that has rightfully earned its place as one of Quintana Roo’s most illustrious natural wonders.

This extraordinary cenote is, in fact, a harmonious fusion of two open-air marvels, interconnected by an underground cavern that beckons the adventurous spirit within you. One of these cenotes presents a vast and deep pool adorned with majestic underwater stalactites and stalagmites, showcasing the geological artwork carved by millennia of nature’s craftsmanship. Meanwhile, the other cenote offers a more intimate experience, with a smaller and shallower pool that invites you to bask in the glorious Mexican sunshine.

To truly immerse yourself in the splendor of Gran Cenote, we recommend donning a snorkel set. Beneath the water’s surface, a surreal world unfolds before your eyes, with dazzling light rays piercing through the mesmerizing rock formations. While you explore, keep a keen eye out for the cenote’s captivating wildlife, including endearing tiny turtles, graceful blue crabs, and a colorful array of small fish.

Gran Cenote is not just a destination; it’s an invitation to witness the harmonious coexistence of nature’s artistry and life’s vibrant tapestry. So, make it a point to include this cenote on your Tulum itinerary, and prepare to be captivated by the magic of Gran Cenote.

Tulum's Best Cenotes Await Your Unforgettable Adventure

The enchantment of Gran Cenote extends beyond the underwater realm. As you navigate the cavern that links the two cenotes, you’ll be greeted by a mesmerizing sight. Hundreds of bats gracefully flit overhead, their gentle chirping forming a harmonious chorus. Fear not, for these bats are not foes but rather friendly companions of this natural wonder. They have no interest in bothering you as you explore their habitat.

For those intrepid souls embarking on a solo adventure, timing your visit can enhance your experience. To enjoy a more tranquil and solitary encounter with Gran Cenote, consider arriving either bright and early at 8 AM when it first opens or in the serene hours after 3 PM when the day’s groups have concluded their explorations. This strategic timing allows you to relish the cenote’s beauty in a quieter and more intimate setting, ensuring that your visit is nothing short of magical. So, plan accordingly and create your own unforgettable moments in the embrace of Gran Cenote.

Tulum's Best Cenotes Await Your Unforgettable Adventure

3. Cenote Car Wash

  • LocationRancho Viejo, Quintana Roo (8.9 km north of downtown Tulum)
  • Entrance fee: 200 MXN (cash only). There are also additional fees if you want to scuba dive- or even just use your trusty GoPro!
  • Amenities: Facilities here are simple but clean– just the way I like it! There are changing rooms, restrooms, lockers, picnic tables, and a booth to rent lifejackets or snorkel gear and purchase snacks. 

Just a stone’s throw away from Tulum, Cenote Car Wash emerges as the perfect destination for an unforgettable day trip. And if your itinerary includes a visit to the awe-inspiring Coba Ruins, you’re in for a double treat, as you’ll drive right past Cenote Car Wash en route. To sweeten the deal, consider a twofer by also exploring the adjacent Cenote Zacil-Ha, a gem we’ll delve into shortly.

Officially known as “Aktun Ha,” which translates to “water cave” in the Mayan language, Cenote Car Wash earned its unique nickname through a rather intriguing twist of fate. Situated just a few hundred feet from a major road in the area, this open-air cenote became an unconventional hotspot. Taxi drivers, in their quest to rid their dusty cabs of grime and dust, frequently halted at this natural oasis to give their vehicles a refreshing wash. Thus, Cenote Car Wash was born, blending history, convenience, and Mother Nature’s splendor into a singular experience.

So, as you journey through Tulum’s enchanting surroundings, don’t miss the chance to make a pit stop at Cenote Car Wash. It’s a testament to the unexpected treasures that can be discovered along the way, adding an extra layer of adventure to your exploration of this remarkable region.

Tulum's Best Cenotes Await Your Unforgettable Adventure

In a remarkable transformation, Cenote Car Wash has shed its unconventional past and now gleams with pristine, crystal-clear waters. Beyond its curious history, this cenote has evolved into a haven of natural wonders that beckon adventurers of all kinds.

Underneath the water’s surface, a captivating world unveils itself, adorned with intricate rock formations that beg exploration. Here, an abundance of wildlife thrives, offering encounters with vibrant fish, graceful turtles, and yes, even a completely harmless crocodile, adding an exciting dimension to your visit. For those seeking an underwater adventure, Cenote Car Wash stands out as a premier choice in the Yucatán Peninsula, especially beloved by snorkelers and divers alike. In fact, it ranks high among the preferred destinations for scuba divers in the early stages of their cave diving training.

But the appeal of Cenote Car Wash extends far beyond thrill-seekers. Families will find it an ideal destination, thanks to its wide wooden platforms that offer the perfect spot for basking in the glorious Mexican sun. And for those with an adventurous spirit, a rope swing awaits, inviting you to take a thrilling plunge into the refreshing waters.

So, in the remarkable transformation of Cenote Car Wash, what more could you ask for? Pristine waters, captivating wildlife, underwater exploration, family-friendly amenities, and even a touch of daring with a rope swing – it’s a cenote experience that promises something for everyone.

4. Zacil-Ha Cenote

  • LocationRancho Viejo, Quintana Roo(9.2 km north of downtown Tulum)
  • Entrance fee: 200 MXN. You can rent a life vest for an additional fee.
  • Amenities: This cenote offers some of the most amenities of any of the options in the area, including outdoor showers, bathrooms, a restaurant, a pool, and plenty of places to chill, like lounge chairs and picnic tables. 
Tulum's Best Cenotes Await Your Unforgettable Adventure

Cenote Zacil-Ha, though compact in size, offers an extraordinary experience that’s nothing short of exhilarating. With its remarkably clear waters, this open cenote casts a spell of enchantment upon all who venture here.

What it may lack in size or depth, Zacil-Ha more than compensates for with its delightful quirks. Picture this: a thrilling zipline that invites you to take a daring plunge into the refreshing waters. Or, if you’re in the mood for exploration, hidden caves beckon along the cenote’s perimeter, promising exciting discoveries.

One of the true gems of Cenote Zacil-Ha lies in its accessibility. Tulum is renowned for its charming but often pricey attractions. However, this cenote stands as a testament to inclusivity, catering more to the local crowd and thus offering a more affordable option compared to some of the more touristy cenotes in Quintana Roo.

But here’s the real secret: if you’re looking to escape the crowds and relish a cenote all to yourself, Cenote Zacil-Ha is your golden ticket. With only one tour bus making an appearance around 2 p.m. and departing an hour later, the rest of the time, you can virtually have this hidden gem all to yourself. So, seize the opportunity to experience the magic of Cenote Zacil-Ha, where small size meets big adventures, and tranquility reigns supreme.

5. Casa Cenote

  • Location: Tulum, Quintana Roo (11.1 km from downtown Tulum)
  • Entrance Fee: 150 MXN
  • Amenities: Other than a parking lot, basically none!
Tulum's Best Cenotes Await Your Unforgettable Adventure

Prepare to be enchanted by the singular beauty of Casa Cenote, a natural wonder that stands apart from the rest. Here, emerald waters cradle an open pool, surrounded by lush green mangroves that paint a vivid backdrop to this aquatic paradise. From an aerial perspective, Casa Cenote meanders like a snake, winding its way into the pristine Yucatán wilderness.

This cenote boasts a generously proportioned and elongated pool, offering ample space for a wide array of water adventures. For those seeking an active day out, kayaks are readily available for rent, providing an excellent means to explore the cenote’s serene waters. Snorkeling enthusiasts will also find their paradise here, as Casa Cenote unveils a mesmerizing underwater world that begs to be explored.

But the allure of Casa Cenote extends beyond its surface. In fact, it ranks among the best scuba diving spots in the Riviera Maya, making it an ideal destination for both beginner and experienced divers. Below the water’s surface, a realm of captivating beauty and marine life awaits, beckoning all who dare to descend.

Perhaps owing to its unique proximity to the ocean, Casa Cenote is teeming with wildlife. Here, you might encounter yet another “friendly” resident crocodile, affectionately named “Panchito.” Additionally, it earned the endearing nickname “Cenote Manati” due to the occasional presence of manatees. While these gentle giants have been elusive in recent times, the possibility of spotting them adds an air of excitement to your visit. Who knows, you might just be the lucky one to witness their majestic presence.

Casa Cenote is more than just a cenote; it’s a sanctuary where nature’s beauty unfolds in all its glory, beckoning you to explore, discover, and marvel at the wonders of the Yucatán Peninsula.

Tulum's Best Cenotes Await Your Unforgettable Adventure

6. Cenote Caracol 

  • LocationTulum, Quintana Roo (16.7 km north of downtown Tulum)
  • Entrance fee: 300MXN
  • Amenities: Cenote Caracol is much less developed than some of the neighboring cenotes and, thus, the only amenities it really has are a multi-purpose room (you can rent life jackets here! Change your swimsuit! Store your belongings!) and an outdoor shower.
Tulum's Best Cenotes Await Your Unforgettable Adventure

Chikin Ha Cenote, a true off-the-beaten-path treasure, offers a thrilling adventure for those who are willing to go the extra mile—literally. To discover this hidden gem, you’ll embark on a rugged dirt road adventure that branches off from Highway 307, winding through the dense jungle for a few miles. While the journey may require a bit of effort, rest assured that the reward is well worth it, as there’s a good chance you’ll have this cenote all to yourself.

Chikin Ha Cenote reveals itself in two distinct parts: a captivating cave system adorned with awe-inspiring stalagmites and the cenote itself. Begin your journey with a stroll through the caves, where a wooden walkway guides you through the mysterious underground passages. Here, you’ll find yourself gazing in wonder at the remarkable stalagmites that adorn the cavern’s ceiling.

When you’ve quenched your thirst for cave exploration, it’s time to descend into the cenote itself. At the entrance, you’ll be provided with a life jacket to ensure your safety as you embark on a descent down a lengthy ladder, leading you to the cenote’s refreshing waters below.

Once you’re immersed in the water, prepare for a world of discovery. Chikin Ha Cenote beckons with an array of fascinating attractions. Fish gracefully swim around you, caves invite you to explore their secrets, and tiny fruit bats dangle from the cave’s ceiling, adding a touch of enchantment to your adventure.

Chikin Ha Cenote is a testament to the wonders that await those willing to venture off the beaten path. It’s an opportunity to connect with nature in its raw and untouched beauty, a place where the thrill of discovery is matched only by the tranquility of isolation. So, gear up for an unforgettable experience, where the effort of reaching this hidden cenote is richly rewarded with the marvels that await within.

7. Cenote Dos Ojos

  • Location: Tulum, Quintana Roo (22.2 km north of downtown Tulum)
  • Entrance fee: 200 MXN for entry. You can also rent snorkel gear for an additional 100 MXN.
  • Amenities: Cenote Dos Ojos has all the necessities- think bathrooms, changing rooms, lockers, and even a snack shop!
Tulum's Best Cenotes Await Your Unforgettable Adventure

For those venturing through the Yucatán, Dos Ojos Cenote stands as a shining gem in the crown of Tulum’s natural wonders. The name “Dos Ojos” translates to “two eyes,” an apt description for this cenote, as its underground cave system splits into two distinct tracks once you plunge beneath the water’s surface.

But what truly sets Dos Ojos apart is the grandeur of its underwater realm. It boasts one of the largest and most intricate underwater cave systems in the entire Yucatán Peninsula. For scuba divers, Dos Ojos is nothing short of a paradise, offering a multitude of opportunities for cave diving in the mesmerizing turquoise blue waters. The allure of these submerged chambers draws divers from around the world, making it one of the most sought-after spots in the region.

Even if you’re not a certified diver, fret not, for Dos Ojos is still an enchanting destination. Snorkeling enthusiasts will discover a wealth of natural beauty beneath the cenote’s surface, with vibrant fish and mesmerizing cave formations to explore.

However, there’s a catch. In order to protect the delicate ecosystem of this stunning cenote, the use of cameras in the water is strictly prohibited. So, while you may be tempted to capture the breathtaking beauty with your GoPro, you’ll have to leave it behind for this adventure. It’s a small sacrifice to preserve the pristine allure of Dos Ojos for generations to come.

In the heart of the Yucatán, Dos Ojos Cenote invites you to delve into its depths, offering a glimpse into an enchanting abyss that captivates divers and snorkelers alike. It’s a place where the wonders of nature reign supreme, and the mysteries of the deep beckon you to explore.

Tulum's Best Cenotes Await Your Unforgettable Adventure

8. Cenote El Pit

  • LocationQuintana Roo (25.0 km north of downtown Tulum)
  • Entrance fee: $25. Since most visitors come here for diving, the entrance fee is usually included in your dive package (usually around $150 for a two-tank dive).
  • Amenities: There are pretty minimal amenities here, with just basic toilets, changing rooms, and a table to assemble your dive gear.
Tulum's Best Cenotes Await Your Unforgettable Adventure

Cenote El Pit beckons adventurers to its depths, offering an underwater experience that is nothing short of extraordinary. While you can certainly take a leisurely swim here, this cenote is primarily celebrated for its fantastic scuba diving opportunities. However, it’s not for the faint of heart; due to its extreme depth, an advanced scuba certification is a prerequisite for exploration.

As you descend into the enchanting abyss of El Pit, prepare for a journey like no other. The underwater caverns reveal a mesmerizing world adorned with spectacular light rays that pierce the water’s surface from the ceiling above. Stalactites hang like ancient chandeliers, adding an ethereal touch to the surroundings.

But what truly sets El Pit apart is the surreal sensation of diving through a halocline. Picture a layer that resembles smoke in the water, a phenomenon created by the refraction of light passing through water layers with varying salinities and densities. This optical illusion adds to the eerie yet breathtaking experience of navigating El Pit’s crystal-clear waters.

For scuba divers, Cenote El Pit offers a journey into the unknown, a voyage into the heart of the Earth, where the wonders of geology and nature converge in a symphony of beauty and mystique. It’s a place where advanced divers can immerse themselves in an aquatic wonderland, exploring the depths of El Pit’s hidden secrets beneath the surface.

9. Cenote Choo-Ha

  • LocationCobá, Mexico (53.4 miles northwest of downtown Tulum)
  • Entrance Fee: 100 MXN
  • Amenities: There are the basic necessities here, like restrooms, changing rooms, and life jackets.
Tulum's Best Cenotes Await Your Unforgettable Adventure

Nestled near the Coba ruins, Cenote Choo-Ha stands as a hidden gem, waiting to be discovered. This cenote is of the closed variety, meaning that to access its pristine waters, visitors must descend into a relatively small opening in the ground.

The enclosed nature of the Choo-Ha cenote creates an atmosphere that feels utterly otherworldly. Within this subterranean chamber, you’ll encounter vast stalactite formations that hang dramatically from the ceiling, casting eerie and captivating shadows. These magnificent rock formations are bathed in an ethereal light, courtesy of the strategically placed illumination installed to aid visitors in exploring this mesmerizing environment.

Given its proximity to the Coba ruins, Choo-Ha cenote offers the perfect post-adventure respite. After a day of traversing the incredible ruins amidst the lush jungle, you can retreat to the cool and serene waters of this underground oasis.

However, a word of advice for those seeking tranquility: Cenote Choo-Ha’s popularity can lead to crowded afternoons. To increase your chances of enjoying the cenote in peace, consider planning your visit for the early hours of the morning or arriving shortly before it closes. This strategic timing ensures a more serene and personal encounter with the magic of Cenote Choo-Ha, where history, nature, and adventure converge in captivating harmony.

10. Cenote Suytun

  • LocationValladolid, Yucatan (94.5 km northwest of Tulum)
  • Entrance fee: 150 MXN for adults and 100 MXN for kids, which includes a complimentary life jacket to wear if you want to swim in the cenote. 
  • Amenities: There are quite a few amenities here, from toilets, showers, and changing room facilities to gift shops and eateries.
Tulum's Best Cenotes Await Your Unforgettable Adventure

While Cenote Suytun may require a bit of a trek from Tulum, it undoubtedly ranks among the world’s most Instagram-worthy cenotes today. This cenote has earned its reputation for a reason, thanks to its jaw-dropping cavern that boasts a mesmerizing spectacle—a single, ethereal beam of light that gracefully descends upon a small platform at the cenote’s heart. You know the one we’re talking about!

The sheer epicness of Cenote Suytun has made it a must-visit attraction, drawing visitors from near and far. However, this popularity does come with a caveat: it can get quite crowded, especially during peak hours. To capture that perfect shot with minimal crowds, consider an early start to your day. Arriving at the cenote as soon as it opens its gates at 9 AM grants you the best chance of enjoying this natural wonder in serene solitude.

Furthermore, if you’re a photography enthusiast, come prepared with the right gear. Cenote Suytun’s low-light conditions demand a camera that excels in such settings, like the trusty Sony Alpha. A tripod can also be a valuable companion, ensuring that your shots of this captivating cenote are nothing short of extraordinary.

Cenote Suytun is more than just a cenote; it’s a journey into the heart of enchantment, a place where light and shadow dance upon the canvas of nature’s creation. So, make your way to this Instagram sensation and seize the opportunity to capture its mystical beauty for yourself.

Tulum's Best Cenotes Await Your Unforgettable Adventure

While many visitors flock to Cenote Suytun in pursuit of that perfect photo, it’s important to know that this cenote offers more than just a picturesque backdrop; it invites you to take a refreshing swim as well. However, a word of caution is in order. The limited natural light in this cenote creates an environment where visibility beneath the water is quite restricted. As a result, you won’t be able to see what’s lurking beneath you, and the waters are home to decently sized black fish. This makes it an adventure better suited for those with more adventurous spirits.

It’s worth noting that while you take a dip in the cenote, you might encounter a few disapproving glances from fellow visitors waiting their turn to capture the iconic shot. The desire for the perfect photo is a common sentiment here, and the line can be long, so be prepared for some patient wait times.

But here’s a hidden gem within the hidden gem: Cenote Suytun actually boasts two cenotes. The lesser-known one lies to the left of the ticket booth. To access it, you’ll descend a staircase into an underground cenote, where an otherworldly view awaits you. It’s a well-kept secret that adds an extra layer of enchantment to your visit.

If you find yourself with extra time on your hands after exploring Cenote Suytun, consider taking a 15-minute drive to the nearby town of Valladolid. Here, you’ll discover even more cenotes, as well as a plethora of cultural and culinary delights that promise to enrich your Yucatán adventure further.

Things to know before visiting a cenote

You can’t use sunscreen. While sunscreen is typically a go-to essential for sun-soaked adventures, cenotes present a unique situation where you’ll need to leave your sunscreen bottle at home. The reason behind this seemingly counterintuitive advice lies in the fragility of cenote environments.

Cenotes are delicate ecosystems, and the oils found in many sunscreens, as well as other types of sprays and lotions, can cause harm to both the cenotes themselves and the wildlife that inhabit them. To ensure the preservation of these natural wonders, it’s crucial to abstain from using sunscreen when visiting cenotes.

For those who are prone to sunburn or concerned about sun exposure, consider planning your cenote visit during times when the sun is less intense. Early mornings or late afternoons are excellent choices. Additionally, incorporating a rashguard with built-in SPF into your Mexico packing list is a wise move. This garment not only provides sun protection but also adds an extra layer of comfort during your cenote adventure.

By following these guidelines and showing respect for the delicate balance of cenote ecosystems, you can enjoy the wonders of these natural treasures while contributing to their preservation for future generations to enjoy.

Tulum's Best Cenotes Await Your Unforgettable Adventure

When embarking on a cenote adventure, it’s essential to come prepared with the right gear to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable experience. Here are some must-haves for your cenote excursion:

  1. Quick-Dry Towel: Most cenotes feature rocky ledges or platforms where you can leave your towel. Given the likelihood of splashes and drips, it’s wise to bring a quick-drying towel. This ensures that you’ll have a warm and cozy wrap as soon as you emerge from the chilly cenote waters.
  2. Travel Insurance: Cenotes offers a range of adventurous activities, from ziplining to cliff jumping and scuba diving. To ensure peace of mind during your cenote escapades, consider investing in travel insurance. Companies like World Nomads Travel Insurance often cover a wide range of adventurous activities, including scuba diving. Be sure to review the specific coverage terms to understand the extent of your protection.
  3. GoPro: Cenotes present unique and captivating vistas, both above and below the water’s surface. A GoPro camera is a fantastic companion for capturing the magic of your cenote adventure. These compact cameras are versatile and capable of shooting great videos in diverse conditions, including underwater. With features like in-camera image stabilization, a GoPro is a must-have tool to document your cenote exploration conveniently.
Tulum's Best Cenotes Await Your Unforgettable Adventure

By arming yourself with these essential items, you’ll be well-prepared to make the most of your cenote experience while ensuring comfort, safety, and unforgettable memories.


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