Skip to Content

17 best cenotes near Tulum within 10-minute driving distance

Cenotes are one of the reasons why people are drawn to visiting Mexico. We put together a list of the best cenotes near Tulum categorized by activities: swimming, diving, and adventure.

The word cenote is from the Mayan word dz’onot, which means a natural well or reservoir. Most cenotes in Mexico are found in the Yucatan Peninsula, which is really close to Tulum but bear in mind that Tulum is in the state of Quintana Roo.

When the limestone surface collapses, the water underneath is exposed, thus forming a cenote.

Cenotes were the major source of water in ancient times in Yucatan and up until today, the state still depends on them for a water source.

In ancient times, cenotes were associated with the Chaahk, the Maya rain deity. According to legends, the Chaahk would strike the clouds with his lightning ax producing thunder and rain as a result.

In Chichen Itza, it was customary to throw valuable objects such as jade, gold, copper, and incense into the cenotes as offerings.

The most common offerings are usually children as they believe that the surviving children bring a message from the Gods about their harvest and crops.

tulum

???? How to get to cenotes near Tulum

Each of the best cenotes in Tulum in this post has the travel time (by car and bus) so you will have a better idea of how to plan your Tulum cenotes adventure accordingly.

Another important thing to note: the distance of the cenotes near Tulum in this post is from the city center of Tulum, not Tulum beach.

These two are 14 minutes apart so the best way to use the Tulum cenotes map location is by putting directions from your hotel in Tulum.

Below are the ways on how to get to cenotes near Tulum:

Tulum cenotes by car

If your goal is to do a cenotes trip whilst in Tulum the best way to go is to rent a car at Cancun Airport. This is the airport that serves Tulum and from here, Tulum is an hour and 25 minutes drive.

Car rentals in Tulum start from US$25 per day but you need to put in a security deposit (around US$100 per day) so make sure you have a credit card for the deposit.

Tulum cenotes by bus or colectivo

During your trip to Tulum, you will come across the word colectivo which is a form of shared transportation in Mexico.

This is also a common terminology in other Latin American countries so make sure you know this word! You will use it a lot!

Colectivos are usually not pre-booked as you can hail them on the highway or are in bus stations. Bear in mind that some cenotes in Tulum are harder to reach by public transport so renting a car is still the best way to go.

best cenotes in tulum

Private taxi driver

This is the mode of transport that makes more sense if you want a driver to wait for you while you are exploring the Tulum cenotes.

Your accommodation will be able to arrange a private taxi driver for you but expect to pay higher prices. It’s better to have your hotel arrange it because they could haggle better.

Although Tulum is in the top 10 most popular destinations in Mexico visited by foreigners, some drivers in Tulum are still not equipped in speaking English well.

Meaning, you can find a good deal if you can expressively haggle in Spanish. Alternatively, we have many trusted drivers in the Cancun, Tulum, and Quintana Roo area that is fully vetted through our #SupportLocal project.

Just get in touch with us and we can arrange the private transport for you will full communication and arrangement with the local driver.

best cenotes in tulum

????️ Cenotes Tulum Map

Below is our free Cenotes Tulum map for you to see the distance of the cenotes near Tulum from your accommodation.

You can click on the image below to get a full view. Our maps are FREE and accessible on the web without a cost.

tulum cenotes map
Open this map in full view to see the distances of the best cenotes near Tulum.

You might also like:

best cenotes near Tulum
Pin this post to Pinterest and save it for your trip to Tulum!

???? 10-minute drive cenotes near Tulum

Cenote Calavera

???? Open on Google maps
???? 4 minutes from Tulum

Cenote Calavera is probably the famous cenote near Tulum. You can get here from Tulum center by car within 5 minutes!

Since it is very near the center of Tulum, a different way to come here is to rent a bicycle to explore Cenote Calavera. You will find many bike rental shops in the center as biking is a popular mode of transport for locals living in Tulum.

In English, calavera means skull which describes the skull shape Cenote Calavera. It also has one main hole and two smaller ones that look like eyes.

Essential information when visiting Cenote Calavera

  • Hours: Monday to Sunday, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
  • Admissions/tickets: US$5
  • Restaurant on site: N/A
  • Showers: YES
  • Parking: YES
cenotes tulum
Cenote Calavera is probably the most photographed cenote on Instagram. | Photo: Caroline Albanell

Cenote Cristal and Cenote Escondido

???? Open on Google maps
???? 10 minutes from Tulum

Cenote Cristal does not really appear on Google maps as Google maps use its other name, Cenote Naharon. So please don’t be surprised with the location link above – it is the same!

In English, cristal  means crystal (clear) which you will observe when you go to Cenote Cristal. The water is so clear that you can see everything from the jumping platform!

Cenote Cristal is often visited with Cenote Escondido, which has a more accurate location on Google maps so you may want to refer to this when visiting these two cenotes.

best cenotes in tulum
Photo: Rebecca Schijven

Essential information when visiting Cenote Cristal and Cenote Escondido:

  • Hours: Monday to Sunday, 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM
  • Admissions/tickets: US$7 (valid for both cenotes)
  • Restaurant on site: N/A
  • Showers: YES
tulum cenotes
Photo: @cenote_cristal_y_escondido

Gran Cenote

???? Open on Google maps
???? 6 minutes from Tulum

Gran Cenote is a popular cenote near Tulum so expect to see larger crowds here. Even with the number of tourists, you need to see Gran Cenote because this is one of the most beautiful in the country!

You can spend hours snorkeling here and admire the caves with stalactites. On some occasions, you can even swim with turtles if you are lucky!

The best time to go to Gran Cenote is early in the morning or at least 2 hours before it closes. This way, you can have it to yourself without battling huge crowds.

Essential information when visiting Gran Cenote

  • Hours: Monday to Sunday, 8:00 AM to 4:45 PM
  • Admissions/tickets: US$25
  • Restaurant on site: N/A
  • Showers: YES
  • Car Park: YES
cenotes near tulum
Gran Cenote is the most photographed cenote in Tulum on Instagram with over 100K posts. | Photo: Dani Alvares

????‍♀️ Best Cenotes near Tulum for swimming

Cenote Nicte-Ha

???? Open on Google maps
???? 18 minutes from Tulum

One of the less-visited cenotes near Tulum is Cenote Nicte-Ha. We don’t want to break your bubble but cenotes in Tulum are always crowded and Nicte-Ha is incredibly almost empty you can take pictures and enjoy swimming with fewer people.

This is a different cenote type compared to the rest of this list as it is above ground. But it is as equally beautiful with floating lilypads and plants for a perfect Instagram backdrop.

Essential information when visiting Cenote Nicte-Ha

  • Hours: Monday to Sunday, 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
  • Admissions/tickets: US$17
  • Restaurants: N/A
  • Showers: YES
  • Car Park: YES
cenotes tulum
Cenote Nicte-Ha is always peaceful and have fewer people. It’s definitely one of the most relaxing cenotes to visit. | Photo: Monika Kavaliauskaite

Cenote Caracol

???? Open on Google maps
???? 27 minutes from Tulum

Cenote Caracol is an underground cenote good for both swimming and diving. Swim in the dark underground cave but be mindful as this cenote is deep.

Essential information when visiting Cenote Caracol:

  • Hours: Monday to Sunday, 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
  • Admissions/tickets: US$25 with public tour (add US$25 more for a private tour)
  • Restaurants: N/A
  • Showers: YES
  • Car Park Fee: FREE
best cenotes in tulum
Photo: @cenotecaracol

Cenote Zacil-Ha

???? Open on Google maps
???? 10 minutes from Tulum

Cenote Zahil-Ha is a more popular Tulum cenote for with families traveling with kids. It is often combined with a tour of the Coba Ruins and some day trips to nearby towns like Playa del Carmen.

This is one of the less-crowded cenotes near Tulum as it is very family-oriented. It is, however, not as remote or rough as other virgin cenotes in Yucatan and Quintana Roo.

???? Tip: If you want to dive in Cenote Zacil-Ha, you need to be certified in underwater cave diving. You can also dive through the Cenote Carwash which is another popular cenote in Mexico.

Essential information when visiting Cenote Zahil-Ha

  • Hours: Monday to Sunday, 10:00 AM to 5:30 PM
  • Admissions/tickets: US$5
  • Restaurant on site: YES
  • Showers: YES
  • Parking: YES
cenotes near tulum

???? Best Cenotes near Tulum for diving

Cenote Dos Ojos

???? Open on Google maps
???? 4 minutes from Tulum

Cenote Dos Ojos is mainly for those who want to swim and relax. It is one of the most incredible sinkholes as popular as Cenote Calavera. This cenote has appeared in some international movies and documentaries!

Divers are fond of diving in Cenote Dos Ojos because of the crystal clear water which allows you to see the most amazing rock formations in the country.

This is not a single cenote as it is connected to another cenote system through a 400-meter-long passage. Cenote Dos Ojos is the deepest underworld passage (118 meters/387 feet deep) but this cenote is only 10 meters (32 feet) deep.

Essential information when visiting Cenote Dos Ojos

  • Hours: Monday to Sunday, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
  • Admissions/tickets: US$17
  • Restaurant on site: YES
  • Showers: YES
  • Parking: YES
cenotes tulum
Cenote dos Ojos, Mexico. | Photo: Roberto Nickson

Cenote Angelita

???? Open on Google maps
???? 17 minutes from Tulum

Cenote Angelita is a different experience because it is located in a jungle. The deepest dive here is 60 meters (200 feet) and is flocked by professional divers all over the world.

Cenote Angelita has two layers of water: freshwater until about 100 meters and saltwater underneath separated by hydrogen sulfide forming colorful hues underwater.

Essential information when visiting Cenote Angelita

  • Hours: Monday to Sunday, 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM
  • Admissions/tickets: Divers (US$17), swimmers (US$5)
  • Restaurant on site: N/A
  • Showers: YES
  • Parking: YES
best cenotes in tulum
Photo: Marissa Eckert

Cenote El Pit

???? Open on Google maps
???? 31 minutes from Tulum

Cenote El Pit is known internationally in the diving community that recommends diving here really early for the best light. This is a 40-meter (131 feet) maximum depth for diving with acid layers around 27 meters (88 feet).

This is close to Cenote Dos Ojos so you can definitely combine the two in one trip.

Essential information when visiting Cenote El Pit

  • Hours: Monday to Sunday, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
  • Admissions/tickets: US$15 (El Pit only); US$25 with Cenote Dos Ojos
  • Restaurant on site: N/A
  • Showers: YES
  • Parking: YES
cenotes near tulum
Photo: Aaron Poledna

Cenotes Sac Actun

???? Open on Google maps
???? 33 minutes from Tulum

Cenotes Sac Actun is also known as the Pet Cemetery cenotes because of the animal fossils that can be found in these cenotes.

This is an underground river cenote that is quite popular in Riviera Maya. This cenote has more than 248 sinkholes that serve as a passage through the underground cave system including Cenote Dos Ojos and El Pit.

Essential information when visiting Cenote Sac Actun

  • Hours: Monday to Sunday, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
  • Admissions/tickets: US$22 with snorkeling gear and a guided tour
  • Restaurant on site: N/A
  • Showers: YES
  • Parking: YES
cenotes near tulum
Photo: Angela Tobon

???? Best Cenotes in Tulum for adventures

Cenote Casa Tortuga

???? Open on Google maps
???? 12 minutes from Tulum

If this is your first time visiting Tulum cenotes, Cenote Casa Tortuga is a great starting point as there are multiple cenotes inside this area.

They are all connected but each cenote is way different from the other. You can easily spend 4-6 hours in Cenote Casa Tortuga as there are many things to do!

Essential information when visiting Cenote Casa Tortuga:

  • Hours: Monday to Sunday, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
  • Admissions/tickets: US$15
  • Restaurant on site: YES
  • Showers: YES
  • Car Park Fee: FREE
  • Tour Price: US$85 combined with Tulum Ruins (6h) – book it here
best cenotes near tulum
Dorca is one of the cenotes inside Casa Tortuga Tulum. | Photo: @cenotescasatortugatulum

Cenote Tankah

???? Open on Google maps
???? 9 minutes from Tulum

Cenote Tankah is another great park to visit (Caleta Tankah) with many activities to do not just swimming but also water activities like snorkeling and kayaking.

You will not only find cenote here but there are also beaches. This is a great cenote destination for families traveling with kids and you can easily spend a full day here!

Essential information when visiting Cenote Tankah:

  • Hours: Monday to Sunday, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
  • Admissions/tickets: US$5
  • Restaurant on site: YES
  • Showers: YES
  • Car Park Fee: YES
  • Tour Price: US$150 – book it here
best cenotes in tulum
Photo: Natalia Avellaneda

Cenote Aktun Ha (Cenote Car Wash)

???? Open on Google maps
???? 10 minutes from Tulum

Cenote Aktun Ha got its popular ‘Cenote Car Wash’ name because of the big carwash that was operating in the area many years ago.

You can add Cenote Zacil-Ha to your trip to Cenote Aktun Ha as they are very close to each other (a 4-minute walk).

You can snorkel at Cenote Car Wash until 5 meters (16 feet) deep while divers can enjoy the 15 meters deep (49 feet) dive.

To be honest, even if you don’t dive in this cenote, snorkeling is as equally beautiful as the water is so clear!

For those who want to dive Cenote Aktun Ha, you must have the following:

  • Diving certification card
  • Certified guide or dive company
  • Diving itinerary
  • Oxygen compressor registration
  • Emergency contact’s phone number

Essential information when visiting Cenote Car Wash

  • Hours: Monday to Sunday, 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM
  • Admissions/tickets: US$5 for snorkeling; US$10 for divers
  • Restaurant on site: YES
  • Showers: YES
  • Car Park Fee: YES
tulum cenotes
Photo: Chema Bal

Cenote Aktun Chen

???? Open on Google maps
???? 18 minutes from Tulum

Cenote Aktun Chen is often visited by families with kids because of the other activities that you can do in the Aktun Chen National Park.

Together with swimming in the cenote, you can do outdoor activities like caving and ziplining. Park visits also include packages with lunch and the minimum hours/tour duration is 3 hours but you can stay for more!

Essential information when visiting Aktun Chen

  • Hours: Monday to Sunday, 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM
  • Admissions/tickets: The park has different packages depending on what you want to do
  • Restaurant on site: YES
  • Showers: YES
  • Car Park Fee: YES
cenotes near tulum

⁉️ Tulum Cenotes FAQs

If you do not have a lot of time in Tulum, the nearest Tulum cenote is Cenote Calavera which is only a 4-minute drive to Tulum. It is also one of the most popular with diverse activities (swimming, pro diving, and snorkeling).

All cenotes in Tulum provide life jackets and safety gear. The tour operators and park managers will also inform you if it’s not swimmable but through the years, many of the Tulum cenotes are safe to swim in.

Good question! I thought about this while living in Mexico. Aren’t natural wonders supposed to be free of charge? But this isn’t the case with Tulum cenotes since it has become more popular and is only getting bigger. Cenotes in Tulum start at US$5 – US$35 and each of the cenotes raises its prices every year.

ABSOLUTELY! Visiting Tulum cenotes without a tour is commonly done by those who are backpacking in Mexico. There are many colectivos (from US$1-US$4) that you can take but you still have to pay the entrance fees (from US$5-US$35). Though we don’t want to keep your hopes up as most of these cenotes in Tulum are best visited with a rental car.

Think everything necessary for swimming like swimsuits, a GoPro camera (or any camera that is waterproof up to 5 meters), a waterproof phone case, sunblock, dry bag, and a foldable (and light) travel towel.

Also, make sure to bring enough Mexican pesos in cash as credit cards are not accepted for the entrance fees.

✈️ Ready for your trip to Tulum? If you need more information about the best cenotes in Tulum, we’d be happy to update this post – just leave your questions below or join our Facebook community where we answer questions without a cost.

🇲🇽 Tulum Travel Resources

  • ✈️ Flights to Cancun: use the code MXINSIDER to get discounts on flights to Cancun upon checkout on WayAway.
  • 🚕 Cancun to Tulum Airport Transfer (from US$50): the travel time from Cancun to Tulum is about an hour and 20 minutes but faster with a private transfer. Click here to see prices from local drivers.
  • 🚗 Cancun Airport Rental Cars: Rent a car and go around Riviera Maya for only US$35 per day (credit card required for car deposit). Check prices at Rental Cars Cancun.
  • 🚌 Tulum bus transportation: you can also book bus tickets online to get to and from Tulum and around Riviera Maya. BusBud Tulum is the best platform to use!
  • 🧭 Tulum Tours: find over 50+ things to do in Tulum including day trips, boat cruises, and more! Viator Tulum has activities from US$45
  • 🛏️ Tulum Hostels: backpackers and young travelers, you can stay in a dorm bed in Tulum for as low as US$25! Check Hostelworld Tulum for the best rates.
  • 🏨 Tulum Hotels: for those who are not fans of resorts or all-inclusive stays, hotels in Tulum start at US$55 (for 2 pax). Booking.com Tulum has many properties you’ll love!
  • 🏖️ Tulum Resorts: get resort deals in Riviera Maya for as low as US$350. There are many resorts to choose from and the great deals can be found on Expedia Tulum.
  • 🏘️ Tulum Airbnbs: we love this group of Airbnb in Tulum and most of them are under US$100! Check all available vacation homes here.
  • Tulum Travel Planner: we have local staff on the ground in Tulum who knows Riviera Maya well. Contact us and we will help you plan your trip for a fixed rate. No hidden fees, just simple charges.
  • 🏥 Mexico Travel Insurance: do not travel to Mexico without insurance. Check insurance plans on SafetyWing SafetyWing for as low as US$40 for full travel coverage.
  • 📧 Tulum Updates: subscribe to our newsletter and get honest and transparent updates about Tulum. You will love our monthly news in your inbox! NO SPAM. NEVER.
  • Buy us coffee: readers who support Mexico Insider help us continue bringing you the most honest content about Tulum. Consider donating to our coffee fund if you like the content that we do.

nine + 11 =

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

riviera maya tours

Monday 5th of September 2022

Good recommendations for walking around the route.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.