The Yucatan Peninsula has thousands of cenotes and Tulum has some of the best. They are underground freshwater caves formed by limestone. The cool part is all of the cenotes are the same temperature because they are all connected underground and eventually to the ocean. Skip the cheesy overpriced tours, grab a snorkel, and go exploring on your own! Here is our guide of the best cenotes in Tulum.
Casa Cenote: Great for Snorkeling
We road our bikes to Casa Cenote but it was pretty far on the side of a busy highway so taking a cab or the collectivo is probably a better idea. Read more about transportation in Tulum here. The entry fee is around $4 with your own gear. Casa Cenote is also called Cenote Manati because there are sometimes manatees here! This would have been incredible since they are my favorite animal but unfortunately we did not see them.
We brought our own snorkels but they are available to rent. We rented a locker to put our belongings in and jumped in! I recommend using a lifejacket even for strong swimmers since the entire first half is upstream. The water is super clear and there are surprisingly large fish. This cenote is popular for scuba divers and there were a few kayakers here when we visited too. Casa Cenote is definitely one of the best cenotes in Tulum for snorkeling.
My favorite part of this cenote is the mangrove. The cenote runs right through it and it is beautiful. Casa Cenote is a U-shape so you have to turn around. Beware: there is an alligator who hangs out at the end! We thought the man we bought tickets from was joking when he mentioned it but sure enough he was not! The alligator isn’t huge and fortunately it was on land but it was super scary nonetheless. The return trip is much quicker as you are going with the flow and can float effortlessly.
Grand Cenote: Great for Snorkeling
I was hesitant to visit this one since it is the most popular and most expensive and while this is true, I am still glad we went. We took a cab from Pueblo to Grand Cenote for 80 pesos. The entry fee is $10 USD which is super expensive for cenotes. Snorkels, life vests, and lockers are available to rent. We brought our own snorkels so we just got the locker. They make you take a super freezing shower before entering the cenote to keep it pure from sunscreen, bug spray, and lotions.
There are a few small turtles in the cenote and some tiny fish. I totally recommend snorkeling because once underwater it is a different world. There are some large stalactites and stalagmites and caves that seem endless. It has a mostly sandy bottom and is pretty shallow in most parts. The best part is the big lawn for sunbathing after swimming. There are also some hammocks and a snack shop so you can make a picnic out of it!
Cenote Multun-Ha: Great for a Cave Experience
We visited Cenote Multun-Ha on our second trip to Tulum. There are three cenotes near Coba that are perfect for a detour on the drive back to Tulum. You buy a ticket for around $2 USD and choose your cenote (or you can go to all 3.) We chose Multun-Ha and it was super cool. Drive down a dirt road and then you see a little tiki hut with a spiral staircase inside. It seems a little sketch at first but at the bottom of the staircase you enter a huge cave-like open space with crystal clear freshwater. Be sure to bring a snorkel, there aren’t any fish but there are some cool rock formations.
Cenote Dos Ojos: Great for Scuba Diving
Meaning two eyes, Dos Ojos has two above ground points for snorkeling but the real magic is below the surface. This was our first cave dive and it was amazing. We did two tanks to dive “The Barbie Line” (named so because there is a creepy Barbie doll being maimed by an toy alligator tied to a rock) and “The Bat Cave” (named so because you get to surface mid-dive in a cave full of bats!) The rock formations are beautiful. There is age-old stalactite and stalagmite everywhere! It is dark dive so you use lights but the water is so clear causing good visibility. Dos Ojos’ ethereal beauty will leave you amazed. Dos Ojos is one of the best cenotes in Tulum for diving but it is super popular so make sure you get there early.
Cenote Calavera: Great for Jumping
We brought our snorkels but we didn’t need them for this cenote. Meaning skull, Calavera is literally three holes in the ground in what appears to be someone’s backyard. They have signs that say “jump here” pointing at very narrow holes in the earth. Sure enough we jumped! Grant tried all three, but I only tried two. The water is crystal clear and refreshing, perfect to cool off on a hot day. There were several scuba divers here as well, however this one appears a little more intimidating than Dos Ojos. The only downside is the $5 entry fee. It seems a little overpriced, so try to haggle.
Cenote Dos Osos: Great for Full Moon Parties
While it sounds like Dos Ojos, this one means two bears. Zamna Tulum, which is a trendy hotel, hosts full moon parties at their private cenote. This made for a super rad experience. Leave the snorkel and grab your face paint. DJs spin all night underneath a huge teepee. Apparently they have parties on other occasions as well and their website claims they have the best parties on the planet! Read more about Tulum’s full moon parties here. There is also a cenote with a chandelier at a beach bar, called Clan-Destino.
Any Cenote: A Must-Do when in Tulum
On our first visit to Tulum we were running low on time so we went to a quick cenote on the side of the road. It was super cheap and appeared to be a locals only spot. It was more of a freshwater pond than a cave but still cool. Unfortunately I don’t remember the name, but there are tons of cenotes like this all over Tulum. Try to visit as many a possible on your trip!
- An underwater camera. We love our go pro! We saw a girl at Casa Cenote using this cool attachment to shoot under water and above ground at the same time!
- Sunscreen. Don’t let your back get sunburnt while snorkeling.
- Bug Spray. It is the jungle after all.
- Snorkel and Mask. It’s way cheaper to bring your own than rent everywhere.
|Cenote||Price (USD)||Accessibility||Best For|
|Casa Cenote||$4||Bike or Car||Snorkeling / Scuba Diving|
|Grand Cenote||$10||Bike or Car||Snorkeling|
|Cenote Dos Ojos||Unsure||Car||Scuba Diving|
|Cenote Calavera||$5||Bike or Car||Jumping / Scuba Diving|
|Cenote Dos Osos||$20 – for party||Car||Parties|