I spent 2 weeks traveling in the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico exploring the beautiful beaches, visiting ancient Mayan ruins and of course checking out the world-renowned Tulum Cenotes.
If you don’t know what a Cenote is, it’s basically a natural sinkhole filled with fresh groundwater which is typically a vibrant blue or crystalline color due to the surrounding limestone rocks.
In this guide, you will find my pick of the 9 Best Tulum Cenotes including where to find them, how much they cost and what to expect.
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TULUM CENOTES OVERVIEW
I have broken down this list of Cenotes into two sections:
1. Best Cenotes In Tulum
2. Best Cenotes Near Tulum (Valladolid)
• Grand Cenote
• Cenote Calavera
• Clan Destino Cenote
• Cenote Encantado
• Laguna Kaan Luum Cenote
CENOTES NEAR TULUM (VALLADOLID)
• Ik Kil Cenote
• Suytun Cenote
• Cenote Oxman
• Cenote Zaci
Suytun Cenote Tulum
TULUM CENOTE TOURS
BEST CENOTES IN TULUM
Without further ado, here is my complete guide of the 9 Best Tulum Cenotes with all the visiting info you need to know before you go plus lots of photos to go with!
Grand Cenote is arguably the most popular Cenote in Tulum which is why I have added it to the top of this list.
Grand Cenote is a short 10-minute drive, 25-minute bike ride or a 1-hour walk from the center of town.
The entrance fee for Grand Cenote Tulum is 200 MXN.
Grand Cenote Tulum is open 7 days a week, from 8:00 am to 4:45 pm.
WHAT TO EXPECT:
As I mentioned earlier, Gran Cenote is the most popular tourist attraction in Tulum and it gets VERY busy during the day. I recommend arriving before doors open to be the first in line and once inside, you’ll get around 30 minutes to 1 hour to enjoy swimming in this incredible Tulum cenote without hundreds of others around.
Believe me, it’s far more enjoyable with fewer people and your photos will turn out great!
There are two main swimming areas at Grand Cenote, one features a large open-air sinkhole and a wooden deck that is surrounded by crystalline waters. You can also spot freshwater turtles swimming around in the Grand Cenote.
The second area can be accessed by swimming through a natural tunnel that emerges in a smaller cenote filled with turquoise waters and a little island of palm trees sits in the middle. This was my favorite spot to go for a dip and it wasn’t too crowded.
If you would like to book a join-in tour to visit this Cenote Tulum and other attractions, see below for the most top-rated tour on Get Your Guide:
Gran Cenote Riviera Maya
Best Cenotes in Tulum
Cenote Calavera, in my opinion, is one of the best Cenotes in Tulum. Although it’s not as large as some of the other popular Tulum cenotes, Calavera is one for the thrill-seekers!
Cenote Calavera is located along the main highway in the same direction as the Grand Cenote. A short 10-minute drive, 25-minute bike ride or a 1-hour walk from the center of town, you’ll see a big white sign on the right-hand side of the road that reads CENOTE – you can’t miss it!
The Calavera Cenote entrance fee is 100 MXN.
The opening hours for this Tulum Cenote are 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, 7 days a week.
WHAT TO EXPECT:
Featuring an almost perfectly round sinkhole filled with fresh water, a wooden ladder, cliff jumps and a chair rope swing, these are just some of the things that make Cenote Calavera so epic and photogenic at the same time.
Again, if you arrive early enough you will get to enjoy Cenote Calavera all to yourself. It’s a great spot for cliff jumping from the edges of the cenote or pin-dropping into the pool below through one of the cracks in the top.
When I visited there were a few scuba divers gearing up to dive down into the cenote, so it must be quite deep.
If this is something you’d be interested in, it’s best to inquire at one of the dive shops in the main town. I believe the cost to go diving is around 200 MXN.
You could easily spend a couple of hours hanging out at this epic Cenote Tulum as it’s one of the more adventurous things to do in the area!
Full Blog Post: Cenote Calavera
Cenote Calavera – Tulum Cenotes
Inside the sinkhole – Tulum Cenotes
Scuba diving in the Tulum Cenotes
CLAN DESTINO CENOTE
Through word of mouth, I discovered the Clan Destino Bar and Cenote which turned out to be one of my favorite things to do in Tulum!
Clan Destino Cenote is situated right in the heart of it all, along Tulum’s south beach tourist area.
There is no entrance fee to swim in this epic Cenote, all they ask is that you purchase something from the bar or restaurant. The best seats in the house are the ones that are situated on the wooden deck on the very edge of the Cenote.
WHAT TO EXPECT:
Clan Destino features its very own Cenote surrounded by lush jungle. It truly is a little hidden gem that I highly recommend checking out while on your Tulum Cenotes mission!
I spent around one hour sipping on a Michelada and swimming around in the crystalline waters. I honestly could have spent an entire day at Clan Destino but there were more Tulum Cenotes to visit!
Find All → Hotels / Hostels / Resorts in Tulum
Clan Destino – Cenotes Riviera Maya
The tree swing – Tulum Cenotes
EL CENOTE ENCANTADO
One of the best Cenotes in Tulum is El Cenote Encantado because of its large size and fewer tourists at this epic spot hidden in the jungle.
El Cenote Encantado can be found at the very southern end of Tulum Beach, far away from the tourist areas and probably why it’s uncrowded most of the time.
There are several entrances to this Cenote Tulum as it’s shared between a number of accommodations.
I personally entered via Maya Cabanas and walked along the wooden boardwalk to the back of the property to where this Tulum Cenote is located.
I didn’t have to pay an entrance fee when visiting El Cenote Encantado because the receptionist was busy and I walked past unnoticed.
If you do end up having to pay, I believe it wouldn’t be any more than 75 – 100 MXN to enter.
WHAT TO EXPECT:
El Cenote Encantado features a large natural swimming pool surrounded by mangroves and the water is crystal clear. There were some kayaks tied up at the end of the wooden boardwalk so I took one out for a paddle and spotted a group of friends throwing themselves off of a diving board at the other end of the Cenote. Not a bad way to spend a few hours!
I decided to fly my DJI Mavic Drone to capture an aerial perspective and I was really happy with the shots I got. From above, El Cenote Encantado looks like the shape of South America and I could spot the other entrance trails leading through the jungle from the other accommodations.
If you’re up for an adventure-filled activity, be sure to include Cenote Encantado to your list of must-see Tulum Cenotes!
RELATED ARTICLE: 9 THINGS TO DO IN BACALAR
Drone shot – Tulum Cenotes
Hanging out at this epic Tulum Cenote
The diving board – Tulum Cenotes
El Cenote Encantado – Cenotes Riviera Maya
LAGUNA KAAN LUUM CENOTE
For all the drone pilots out there, Laguna Kaan Luum Cenote is drone heaven and seriously looks incredible from a birds-eye perspective! If you don’t have a drone, no worries, you can still visit the lagoon, go swimming and marvel at the grandeur size of this epic Tulum Cenote.
Laguna Kaan Luum Cenote is located 15km southwest of the main town, approximately a 20-minute drive.
The entrance fee for this Cenote in Tulum is 100 MXN and an additional 300 MXN if you wish to fly your drone.
WHAT TO EXPECT:
Kaan Luum Lagoon Cenote features an almost perfect circle, a long wooden pier that stretches out into a shallow-watered area for swimming and a drop-off into a very deep sinkhole that is around 80 meters deep. This particular area of the Cenote is roped off to swimming but it’s possible to go scuba diving down there.
This Tulum Cenote is not quite as popular as Grand Cenote but it is known to get quite busy during the middle of the day, so try to time your visit early in the morning when it opens at 9:00 am.
RELATED ARTICLE: 15 EPIC THINGS TO DO IN TULUM
Aerial shot – Tulum Cenotes
Kaan Luum Lagoon – Cenote Tulum
BEST CENOTES NEAR TULUM
So there you have a list of the best Cenotes in Tulum itself and now it’s time to move on to the best Cenotes near Tulum, more specifically in Valladolid.
The small city of Valladolid is approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes drive from Tulum. Your best options to reach Valladolid is to rent a car in Tulum or alternatively you can take the bus.
IK KIL CENOTE
Ik Kil Cenote is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful Cenotes in Yucatan! It is also known to be one of the more popular Tulum Cenotes so make sure you get there early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid the crowds!
From Valladolid, it’s approximately a 45-minute drive west to reach Cenote Ik Kil.
The Ik Kil Cenote entrance fee is 80 MXN.
Ik Kil Cenote is open Monday to Sunday, from 9:00 am till 5:00 pm.
WHAT TO EXPECT:
Personally, I think what makes Ik Kil Cenote one of the best Cenotes Yucatan is that it resembles a fairy tale scene! Featuring leaves and vines hanging beautifully down from the top of the Cenote and covering the walls until they reach the water.
Cenote Ik Kil itself forms an almost perfect circular shape and there is an internal concrete staircase making it very easy to access the inside. On the way down the steps, there are a couple of viewpoints worth stopping at to take photos.
Once you reach the bottom, simply set your belongings down in a dry area against the wall and jump on in for a swim. I highly recommend swimming out to the middle of the natural pool, floating on your back and marveling at the open-air circle above! I guarantee you will be in awe and it’s the perfect opportunity to simply take it all in.
The temperature of the water in this Tulum Cenote is quite fresh but once you get swimming around you will warm up in no time. There is also a wooden ladder built-in making it easy to get in and out of Ik Kil Cenote.
Full Blog Post: Ik Kil Cenote
The swimming hole – Tulum Cenotes
Aerial perspective of Ik Kil – Cenotes Riviera Maya
Ik Kil Cenote Tulum
Floating around Ik Kil Cenote Yucatan
Cenote Suytun is arguably one of the best Cenotes in Valladolid and perhaps the entire Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico! Featuring a monolithic cave filled with shallow turquoise water and an idyllic stone pathway that stretches out into the middle of this amazing Cenote!
Cenote Suytun is a short 15-minute drive from the center of Valladolid in the Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico. It’s pretty close to the city center and very easy to get to.
This awesome Cenote in Mexico is not that cheap but not overly expensive with an entrance fee of 120 MXN.
The opening hours are from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm – 7 days a week.
WHAT TO EXPECT:
The reason why Cenote Suytun is so unique is that it’s a cave cenote with a spark of natural light beaming down into the middle of the cave through a hole in the roof. The cave is pretty dark inside though there are a few hanging light bulbs lighting the way down the steps.
There’s an idyllic stone pathway that stretches out into the middle of turquoise waters that you can walk on and it makes for some great photo opportunities.
There are various different angles to admire Cenote Suytun from and the most popular perspective is from the top of the staircase. There’s also a little platform at the end of the staircase which will allow you to have the hole in the cave’s roof in your picture.
The best time to visit Cenote Suytun is in the early morning as soon as it opens at 9:00 am. It can get very crowded with tourists swimming in the water and everyone wanting to take photos on the platform in the middle.
Full Blog Post: Cenote Suytun
Suytun Cenote Tulum
Marveling at Cenote Suytun
Inside the cave – Tulum Cenotes
Cenote Suytun – Cenotes Riviera Maya
Cenote Oxman is another one of my favorite Cenotes in Yucatan and it is not to be missed during your visit! Featuring an enormous sinkhole with hanging vines, an epic rope swing and a natural freshwater pool, Oxman Cenote makes for an epic half-day adventure from Valladolid.
It’s a short 15-minute drive or a 40-minute bike ride from the center of Valladolid to reach Oxman Cenote. If you are driving or riding your bike, make sure to come from the highway because if you take the shortcut through the farmland you will have to ride through some unpaved and rocky dirt roads.
The entrance fee at this Tulum Cenote is 80 MXN.
Cenote Oxman opening hours are from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm – 7 days a week.
WHAT TO EXPECT:
I best recommend arriving early in the day to Cenote Oxman to avoid the crowds. You will also be able to take the best photos early in the morning before the sun hits the water inside as this tends to make it glary.
Once you make your way down the staircase, you’ll end up inside the sinkhole to what resembles an amphitheater that looks straight out into the Cenote Tulum.
The highlight at Cenote Oxman is without a doubt the rope swing. In fact, I didn’t see a rope swing in any of the other Tulum Cenotes that I went to. The rope swing is adequate for young and old, although the shorter kids had to be lifted up in order to reach the rope. But everyone that made the plunge into the water, climbed quickly back up the stairs and did it over and over again.
From the top of the wall, the drop into the Oxman Cenote is about 3 meters deep. You can either jump off the edge of the platform, enter the water via the rope swing or use the staircase.
The water is about 45 meters deep with great visibility, so if you have some goggles I highly recommend taking them along with you to Oxman Cenote to take a look underneath the surface.
Full Blog Post: Cenote Oxman
Oxman Cenote Yucatan
Rope swing at Cenote Oxman
Not a bad spot for a swim – Tulum Cenotes
Epic times at Cenote Oxman
Cenote Zaci, in my opinion, is one of the best Cenotes in Valladolid and I highly recommend adding it to your list of things to do! Featuring a cave-like cenote filled with freshwater, cliff jumps and an on-site restaurant, Cenote Zaci is a great place to hang out for a few hours during your visit!
Cenote Zaci is located in the middle of Valladolid which makes it one of the easiest Cenotes to visit while you are in town. It is so conveniently located within the city center that anyone can reach it easily.
The entrance fee to Cenote Zaci is 30 MXN which makes it one of the most affordable Cenotes Yucatan.
The opening hours are 8:00 am to 5:30 pm – 7 days a week.
WHAT TO EXPECT:
Once you’ve purchased your ticket at the ticket office you’ll be able to go down the stone staircase that leads into Cenote Zaci Valladolid. All along the staircase, there are great photo opportunities as Cenote Zaci is only half covered and there’s always sunlight coming in.
If you want to go for a swim you can simply leave your valuables on the ledge of Cenotes Zaci and dive on in. If you don’t feel like swimming then you can just sit by the ledge and dip your toes into the cool water.
Cenote Zaci is very unique because compared to other Tulum Cenotes because its shape resembles a massive cave, but only half of it is covered, this means that there is a lot of sunlight shining through.
If you’re up for an adrenaline rush then you can jump off the platform which is about 8 meters high. Otherwise, you can enter the water quite easily via the numerous staircases on the edges of the swimming hole. Beware that the staircase might be slippery when wet.
Feeling hungry? Grab a bite to eat at the Zaci Cenote restaurant and on the way out, you can go shopping for souvenirs at the market stalls located near the exit.
Full Blog Post: Cenote Zaci
Zaci Cenote Yucatan
Inside the cave at Cenote Zaci
Lush greenery – Tulum Cenotes
The incredible Cenote Zaci
FINAL THOUGHTS ON TULUM CENOTES
Some of the best adventures to be had in Mexico are visiting these awesome Cenotes in Tulum and I guarantee you will enjoy these natural beauties just as much as I have.
Just remember to try to visit these Cenotes in Tulum as early in the morning as possible to avoid the busy midday crowds.
If you have any questions at all about Tulum Cenotes, please drop a line in the comment section below and I will get back to you as soon as I can!
WHERE TO STAY IN TULUM
Luxury: The Beach Tulum
Receive the celebrity treatment at The Beach Tulum with this adult-only, beachfront resort in South Tulum. With an outdoor pool, a beach club, an onsite restaurant and even a spa. This really is the height of luxury and one of the best things to do in Tulum in itself. Each luxurious, beach-front room has stylish, minimalist décor, air-conditioning, free wifi and a seating area. These deluxe rooms come with large comfortable beds, private entrances, ensuite bathrooms and right on the shoreline in the South Beach area, surrounded by shops, cafes and restaurants. This Tulum resort is highly popular with couples. With the smaller, more intimate rooms this makes for the perfect couples getaway.
Mid Range: Playa Esperanza Hotel
This is eco-sensitive hotel and resort boasts unique cabins made from natural materials and is located right on the shoreline on Tulum’s North Beach. With 15 different styles of rooms to choose from, natural interiors, large comfortable beds and private bathrooms. Enjoy the free wifi, beach bar and ocean views. This is great for a group of friends traveling together or couples. Choose between a room with 2 single beds or one with a double bed. Book directly through the hotel and get every 3rd night free!
Budget: Che Tulum Hostel & Bar
One of the most top-rated hostels in Tulum! With an outdoor pool, a lively bar and a large green area to hang out. Free wifi available throughout and even lockers to keep your belongings safe. Each bedroom has been modeled to offer natural lighting and features private bathrooms, air-con, new beds and mattresses. With a huge range of rooms on offer, pick from one of the many dorm rooms or private rooms. This budget hostel in Tulum is great for travelers used to that hostel life.
FOR ALL OTHER PLACES TO STAY IN TULUM, SEARCH ON AGODA OR SEARCH ON BOOKING.COM
WHERE TO STAY IN VALLADOLID
Luxury: Mayan Majesty Boutique Hotel
Mayan Majesty is one of the only 5-star hotels in Valladolid. Featuring a cave pool with a swim-up bar, beautiful gardens and it’s centrally located in the heart of town. Choose from a Deluxe King Room, Superior Queen Room or the King Suite each with a pool view, private bathroom, flat-screen TVs, dining table, terrace and air conditioning. A free continental breakfast is also served for all guests. Great for couples, a group of friends and families.
Mid Range: Casa Del Mayordomo
I personally stayed at Casa Del Mayordomo and can’t recommend this place enough! Located ight in the center of Valladolid and just walking distance to the main square, shops and markets. Featuring a central courtyard and swimming pool, shared dining area and a shared kitchen. The rooms are spacious with air conditioning, free wifi, private bathrooms, large comfortable beds and pool views. Free bicycle rental is also available at this hotel as well as a continental breakfast for all guests. Great place to stay for couples and friends.
Budget: Hostal Tunich Naj
Hostal Tunich Naj is a favorite pick amongst backpackers and solo travelers with thousands of great reviews. Centrally located in the heart of Valladolid, this budget hostel is a simple yet effective accommodation featuring dorm rooms and private rooms with free wifi, shared kitchen, private and shared bathrooms, balcony terraces and coffee machines. There is also a tour desk at the hostel where you can organise and book day tours in Valladolid.
FOR ALL OTHER PLACES TO STAY IN VALLADOLID, SEARCH ON AGODA OR SEARCH ON BOOKING.COM
GETTING AROUND TO THE TULUM CENOTES
There a number of ways of getting around to the Tulum Cenotes and they are by car, taxi, bicycle or on foot.
In saying that, I highly recommend renting a car in Tulum to get around as taxis are very expensive and it also makes it easier to drive yourself to Valladolid to visit the other Cenotes there.
Search All ∼ Car Rentals in Tulum
BEST TIME TO VISIT TULUM
The best time to visit Tulum is during the winter season from December to April. During this time there is little to no rainfall and the temperatures are just perfect.
The rainy season in Tulum is typically between May and October which sees higher temperatures due to the humidity. The only plus side to visiting Tulum during these months is there will be fewer tourists and prices are less inflated.
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MY CAMERA GEAR
• DSLR Mirrorless Camera: Sony A7ii
• Drone Camera: DJI Mavic Pro 2
• GoPro: GoPro Hero 8 Black
• Everyday Lens: Sony F2.8 24/70mm
• Camera Bag: Lowepro Protactic 31L
• Selfie Stick: Sandmarc Metal Edition 1.2m
• Tripod: Joby Flexible GorillaPod
• GoPro Dome: Underwater GoPro Dome
• Power Bank: Anker Powerbank
• External Hardrive: WD Elements 4TB
WHAT TO PACK FOR MEXICO?
• Waterproof Phone Case: Universal Waterproof Case
• Reusable Water Bottle: Hydro Flask Water Bottle
• Rain Jacket: North Face Rain Jacket
• Water Shoes: Slip-on Water Shoes
• Day Bag: Nomatic 20L Day Bag
• Power Adapter: Universal Power Adapter
• Packing Cubes: 4 Set Packing Cubes
• Microfibre Towel: Quick Dry Travel Towel
• Travel Insurance: World Nomads Travel Insurance
• Money Belt: Hidden Money Belt