If you planning to visit the Yucatan Peninsula, you will have to visit at least one Cenote in the region. Cenotes are basically large sinkholes or caves, that have filled with cool, clear groundwater and rainwater over time. These natural swimming holes were sacred to the Mayans and are open to the public for visitors to discover unique landscapes. You can just go for a swim and enjoy the stunning scenery and surroundings or snorkel or even scuba dive the wonderful sinkholes. This blog post is about my top 10 Cenotes in Yucatan.
There are two types of Cenotes: open-air Cenotes or cave Cenotes. Most Cenotes are home to various fish, plant life and turtles what makes the diving and snorkel experience even more unique. The Yucatan Peninsula is home to over 6000 Cenotes – though less than half of them have been registered and studied. Visit Cenote Finder to find more hidden cenotes in Yucatan!
Here are my top 10 Cenotes in Yucatan:
Cenote Azul is located a little bit south of Puerto Aventuras and is a 30 minute drive from Tulum and 20 minute drive from Playa del Carmen. It was one of the largest Cenotes we visited and there are several pools to swim at. There is even a cliff you can jump from which is super fun. The fun part about this cenote is that there so many fishes that love to nibble on your feet. If you are interested in a free fish spa, make sure to visit Cenote Azul.
Price: 140 pesos (7 US $)
Gran Cenote is probably one of the most famous Cenotes in the Tulum area and got super popular because of Instagram and travel bloggers. This Cenotes has two main areas that are connected through a cave which is pretty cool. Before entering the water you will need to take full body shower to remove sunscreen and bug repellent. This makes sure that you don’t destroy the ecosystem of the Cenote.
Gran Cenote gets very crowded super quickly which is why I would recommend coming super early in the morning as soon as it opens. Then you can enjoy this place for a bit before it gets hit by the crowd. Gran Cenote is probably one of the most picturesque Cenotes I have seen which is why it is so popular along bloggers. The water is unbelievably blue and clear. Another reason why I loved this Cenote is because there are so many turtles swimming around.
Price: 180 Pesos (10 US $)
Another very popular spot amongst bloggers is Cenote Calavera and also one of the top 10 cenotes in Yucatan. It is a semi-open Cenote that has a robe swing and a latter to climb down the sinkhole. But on top of that, it has another small hole where you can directly jump. I personally did not like the water in this cenote since it was not really clear and did not have the intense turquoise color. It is still a unique cenote to visit.
Price: 150 Pesos (about 7 US$)
Cenote Dos Ojos
Cenote Dos Ojos has appeared in many documentaries and movies and is super popular for that reason. I did not have the chance to visit yet but would love to in the future. This Cenote is about a 20-minute drive from Tulum and is located 22 km north of Tulum. If you want to avoid the crowds, definitely come in the early morning as probably for all popular cenotes.
Price: 350 Pesos (18 US $)
Cenote Casa Tortuga
Casa Tortuga might is still kind of a hidden gem in Tulum. It is newly opened so not too many people actually know about this one which is why you need to put it on your list before it gets too popular! Casa Tortuga can only be visited with a tour guide who will lead you through several cenotes: two cave cenotes and an open cenote.
Price: 350 Pesos (including guide and snorkel gear) (18 US $)
This cenote is about 20 minutes from Playa del Carmen and is a lovely one to visit. There are actually 3 cenotes located in this area: El Jardin, Cenote Azul and Cenote Cristalino. This is an open-type cenote that looks like a natural swimming pool but some parts of the cenote are concealed beneath a rock and form mini caves. You can buy a combined ticket or tickets for a single one depending on how much time you want to spend there. One of the main reasons to visit is that this Cenote is less crowded and also a bit cheaper than Gran Cenote or Cenote Calavera.
Price: 150 Pesos (about 7 US $)
This is one of my top 10 cenotes in Yucatan and probably one of the most photographed and instagrammable cenotes in Yucatan – Cenote Suytun. The stone pier built in the center of the cenote has made the cenote unique and one of the most photographed cenotes ever. I have seen pictures on Instagram many times and always knew I have to visit one day. I finally did and must say I loved it. I was afraid it would be overrated but I really liked it.
Maybe because it was not as crowded as usual, maybe because the stone pier was underwater from a lot of rainfall and thus the water looked crystal clear too. It was simply stunning and I have enjoyed swimming there a lot. The light ray coming through the hole is only shining on the center of the stone pier 7 days a year. You can actually check that on the website and visit the cenote during that time.
Price: 130 Pesos (about 7 US $)
Cenote Ik Kil
Cenote Ik-Kil is located at a close distance to the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza and is usually one of the stops that you make when booking Chichen Itza. In order to reach the water, you have to climb down 26 meters. There are vines and roots that hang down into the water and verdant plants around the lip of the entrance to this cenote – and that looks pretty amazing and makes the cenote a tropical oasis. I visited in 2012 and even back then this cenote was very popular. There were so many people that I actually did not want to swim there. I am pretty sure that this cenote looks beautiful without the crowds. I would love to visit again one day, hopefully with fewer people.
Price: 70 Pesos (about 3.5 US $)
The slightly more recent ruins of Hacienda Mucuyche are home to a cenote of the same name. This cenote is close to Merida and I wish we did have the time to visit. Unfortunately, we did not have enough days in Merida and had to skip this one. But next time for sure! The 19th Century stairs lead to the cenote, which is semi-open and has an incredible array of rock formations. It looks so stunning!
Meaning ‘yellow tree fruit’, Cenote Kankirixche is a semi-open cenote, with the water half-covered with a rock shelf. A staircase leads down to a platform on the water, which varies in-depth, from 2 meters to 50 meters. If you are looking for a beautiful cenote close to Merida, make sure to put this one on your list!
If you are interested in other blog posts in Mexico, make sure to check out this one about Tulum!