We all know Mexico has some of the best beaches and the most delicious food. But not everyone knows about the cenotes in Mexico. Yucatan in specific has over 6000 cenotes and more are forming every year. There are so many cenotes in the area that are worth exploring. So with the help of some friends we wanted to share 12 of the best cenotes in the Yucatan Peninsula. 

Pin for Pinterest of the best cenotes in Yucatan.

In this post, you can find the best cenotes in Tulum, Playa Del Carmen, Cancun, and everything else in the Yucatan. There’s something magical about each cenote because they’re all so unique in their own way. Some are super easy to get to like Gran Cenote near Tulum but then others are down these gravel roads that aren’t as easy to access but still absolutely worth it.

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12 Beautiful Cenotes you have to visit in Yucatan

So before we dive into which cenotes you should visit you might be left with the question: What is a cenote? A cenote is a sinkhole (or a natural pit) that occurs when the limestone foundation above it collapses. The result? A beautiful swimming hole with clear blue water.

The Mayans used to use these sinkholes for water supply and occasionally to make sacrifices to the Mayan Gods! Today, people travel from afar to visit these natural beauties and enjoy some time where they can cool off from the Mexican heat!

So with this list of cenotes in Yucatan, you’ll have enough day trips for your whole Mexico trip. You may even find some new cenotes popping up. Which wouldn’t be surprising because of the influx of tourists that want to explore these hidden underwater reservoirs that make a perfect day trip. 

#1 Cenote Choo-Ha near Valladolid

By Mayuri from ToSomePlaceNew

Cenote Choo-Ha near Valladolid.

Practical information about Cenote Choo-Ha
Location: Here are the directions from Tulum (1 hour by car/collectivo)
Price: $100 MXN pesos per person

Cenote Choo Ha is located near the famed Coba ruins in Yucatan Mexico. There are different types of cenotes in Mexico – open, semi-covered, and underground and Choo Ha is an underground cenote.

What we liked most about this cenote is how well preserved and unique the experience was here, unlike the many open cenotes like Ik Kil which are widely common and popular on social media.

Being underground cenotes they are located inside a cave, with little to no natural light. The faint light that shines through the cave roof then makes for a mesmerizing sight. All the cenotes located near the Coba ruins are underground cenotes, namely Multum-Ha, Tamcach-Ha, and Choo-Ha.

Cenote Choo Ha cave is delightfully filled with stalactites and stalagmites, inside. Its name, ‘choo ha’ means ‘water that drips’ which signifies the water dripping from its rock formations. The cenote has shallow waters and is very quiet at times, making it amazing for a visit.

You can easily explore Choo Ha from Tulum, Playa Del Carmen, or Cancun on a day trip. Or even a guided day tour as well.

The cenote is located about 6 km west of Coba ruins. You can grab tickets from the ticket booth situated just off the main road. To get to the cenote it is a short drive down a dirt road. You can swim at this cenote, and before getting into the water, you must take a quick shower and not apply any lotions, oils, etc. There are basic changing rooms and showers available nearby.

After a shower, you can head to the Cenote Choo Ha by walking down a wooden staircase, which leads down into the cave. It might feel eerie, but it is calming and beautiful inside.

Tickets to Cenote Choo Ha cost $100 MXN pesos per person. Which is quite a bit cheaper than lots of the more touristy cenotes in Yucatan.

#2 Cenote Xkeken near Valladolid

By Daphna from ATinyTrip

Cenote Xkeken near Valladolid.

Practical information about Cenote Xketen
Location: Here are the directions from Valladolid (15 minutes by car/collectivo)
Price: $80-125 MXN pesos per person

Cenote Xkeken is an underground cenote with large stalactites hanging down in a limestone cave. It is located in Dzitnup, together with Cenote Samula. Together they are known for the light beams that shine down into the cave creating a magical turquoise blue effect in the water.

To get to Cenote Xkeken from Valladolid it is only about 15 minutes driving time with a rental car. Although on our trip backpacking with kids in the Yucatan, we took a collectivo, a shared taxi, to get there inexpensively.

You can visit either one of the cenotes, or both, as they share a ticket office. Entry to only Cenote Xkeken is 80 pesos, whereas entry to both cenotes is 125 pesos.

What is nice about these cenotes, is that the tourist amenities are totally built out. There are designated changing rooms with showers and bathrooms.

They do ask that you shower before entering to protect the environment from man made chemical (sunscreens, lotions, etc). There is also a shopping center with stalls selling souvenirs, as with any tourist attraction.

Leaving the changing rooms, there is a clearly marked path to walk down to the cenote. Note that there are many steps to get down! These steps do get slippery when wet, so watch your step. (We carried our little ones down to be safe).

The steps lead down into the water. There is a small section that is not too deep, which is why we chose this cenote. That said, feel free to don a life vest and swim out into the cenote. There is a safety rope you can hang on to. The water is nice and cold, good for taking a refreshing break from the hot Mexican sun. We had a magical experience visiting this cenote Xkeken near Valladolid!

You can definitely make a day trip out of it and go from any of the major cities in the Yucatan. You will first take a bus, taxi, or car to Valladolid and then it’s only a short journey to the cenote.

#3 Cenote Oxman near Valladolid

By Julien from CulturesTraveled

One of the best cenotes in Yucatan is Cenote Oxman.

Practical information about Cenote Oxman
Location:
Here are the directions from Valladolid (10 minutes by car/collectivo)
Price: $70-150 MXN pesos per person

As you descend the winding staircase, the beauty of Cenote Oxman comes into view. Wide walls of limestone rock surround the water and rise up with an opening to the sky above. Tropical vines and tree roots descend from the top towards the deep blue water below to set an enchanting mood.

When you reach the platform, you’ll notice a fun way to enter the water – by rope swing! For those that find this entry a little scary, rest assured, there is a staff member present at all times to catch the rope as it swings back and to guide you on your way. He even yells when it’s time to let go. Alternatively, you can use the staircase on the left to gently enter the water.

Another reason Cenote Oxman is becoming a favorite in the Yucatan is the beautiful backdrop of Hacienda San Lorenzo, which was built in 1746. The grounds include a lounge-worthy pool with a moderately priced restaurant and bar on site. If you’re visiting Valladolid, this cenote should definitely be included on your list of things to do.

The entrance fee ranges from 70 pesos for the cenote and basic pool access to 150 pesos for full access and a credit to use in the restaurant/bar. The food is surprisingly good, so if you plan to make a day of it, this is a great option.

To get there, it’s a short drive from the center of town or a longer but manageable bike ride. A taxi should cost about 80 pesos but prepare for a higher price on the way back if you need to call a taxi from town to pick you up. Plan to arrive earlier in the day as tour buses have now discovered this gem as a late afternoon stop.

#4 Cenote Azul in Bacalar

By Annick From TheCommonTraveler

Cenote Azul is one of the most beautiful cenotes in Yucatan.
Photo by Leafar Perez

Practical information about Cenote Oxman
Location:
Here are the directions from Chetumal (30 minutes by car/collectivo)
Price: $25 MXN pesos per person

One of the deepest cenotes in the Yucatan Peninsula is the Cenote Azul in Bacalar. This cenote’s size resembles that of a small lake. Reaching depths of over 90 meters, it is a favorite with both snorkelers and divers alike. Local dive shops arrange cavern diving.

Entrance to the Cenote Azul is super cheap considering the facilities provided. A restaurant located on the shores provides a great spot to relax while enjoying this day trip. Popular with families, cenote Azul offers something for people of all ages. Whether sipping an alcoholic beverage on the benches provided, eating a full meal or simply swimming and playing in the water, Cenote Azul offers an all-day escape.

Surrounded by lush tropical vegetation, Cenote Azul highlights the natural beauty of the area. With clear water and a varied amount of fish, it is a snorkeler’s delight. Those seeking a more active experience can even kayak and paddleboard, away from the snorkelers and swimmers.

What differentiates this cenote from many other cenotes is the ease of access. With a parking lot, there is no fear of figuring out where to leave your car or whether you’ll be trespassing on private property. Admission costs only 25 pesos (about US $1.25) per person. Once at the Cenote Azul, metal ladders and rope guides delineate the safe areas to explore.

Visiting this cenote in Bacalar is one of the best things to do in Mahahual, a nearby cruise port. Time your visit to the Cenote Azul when the cruise ships are not in port to enjoy the best experience. That way it will be nice and quiet and you’ll have the place to yourself with only a handful of other people.

#5 Cenote Zaci in Valladolid

By Nicole From GoFarGrowClose

Cenote Zaci îs a beautiful cenote near Valladolid.

Practical information about Cenote Zaci
Location:
Here are the directions from Valladolid (10 minute walk from the center of town)
Price: $30 MXN pesos per person

Cenote Zaci is located in the town of Valladolid, a beautiful spot in Mexico. It has a pretty central plaza, fantastic restaurants, and amazing folk art. It is a fantastic place to walk, explore and learn about local life. If you are tired of visiting Mexico and staying at an all-inclusive resort, this would be an excellent alternative.

Cenote Zaci is just a few minutes walk from the central plaza. It is semi-open – part of it is under a natural rock roof while part of it isn’t which allows lots of natural light to come in.

Cenote Zaci is 100 meters or 300 feet deep with a little bit of shallow water on the sides. However, there are a couple of ropes across it to hang on to when you need a rest. There are lots of platforms for cliff jumping ranging in height from 2 meters up to 15 meters (6 ft to 45 ft).

It is open every day from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm, and it costs around $1.50. There isn’t a lifeguard on duty, but you can rent a life jacket for $1.50 There are two entrances down into the Cenote, one of which is stairs, both of which are slippery so be careful. There aren’t any lockers so don’t bring valuables. However, there are changing rooms and toilets that cost around $0.25.

The fact that it’s right in town and quite inexpensive compared to lots of the other cenotes around the Yucatan Peninsula makes this one quite appealing. If you’re staying a night or two in Valladolid it’s worth exploring.

#6 Cenote Dos Ojos in Tulum

By Daria From TheDiscoveryNut

Cenote Dos Ojos is a cool cenote in Yucatan.

Practical information about Cenote Dos Ojos
Location: Here are the directions from Tulum (30 minute walk from the center of town)
Price: $200 MXN pesos per person

Cenote Dos Ojos (or Two Eye Cenote) is considered one of the most beautiful cenotes in Yucatan. Located near Akumal between Tulum and Playa Del Carmen, it is one of the most popular cenotes for diving in the region.

As the name of the cenote suggests, it is divided in two caverns that are linked by a long underground system. The first one is home to a shallow area where all diving tours begin and that is also popular for swimming and snorkeling. For better experience, I suggest arriving early.

The second part of Cenote Dos Ojos offers a much bigger platform, and it doesn’t feel as crowded as the first one. However, it is much darker than the first cavern, so if you only want to do snorkeling, you might be better off going to the first cavern (which is located to the left as you enter), since more light enters the water and you will see all the cool stunning underground features through the crystal-clear water.

And if you look up, you will also see plenty of stalactites and stalagmites that are homes to bats!

A visit to this cenote provides a nice refresher from the hot and humid weather in Yucatan. The water temperature in Cenote Dos Ojos is normally between 75 and 80 degree Fahrenheit depending on a time of a year, which makes for a perfect refresher.

To enter the cenote, you will need to put on environmentally safe sunscreen, as cenotes are actually homes to many animals such as turtles and fish, and regular sunscreen can be extremely harmful for them if it gets in the water.

To get into the cenote, you have to pay a separate fee for the entrance located right off the highway and, if you also need snorkeling equipment, pay extra for that as well. Lockers and changing rooms are available on site.

Scuba diving tours at Cenote Dos Ojos can be purchased on site or online ahead of your visit.

The entrance to Cenote Dos Ojos costs 200 pesos.

#7 Cenote Suytun near Valladolid

By Shelley From TravelMexicoSolo

The amazing cenote Suytun in Valladolid.

Practical information about Cenote Suytun
Location:
Here are the directions from Valladolid (15 minute by car/collectivo)
Price: $120 MXN pesos per person

There is no shortage of beautiful cenotes to see when visiting the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. In fact, there are more than 6,000 cenotes, or swimmable sinkholes, in this part of Mexico — the largest concentration of cenotes on Earth.

If you’re wondering how to choose the best one(s) to see, it can be a daunting task because so many of the cenotes are incredibly beautiful and worth checking out. Cenote Suytun, however, is one of the most beautiful and unique cenotes of them all.

Located near the pueblo magico (magic town) of Valladolid, Cenote Suytun is located underground in a cave. There is a large circular platform in the center and also a hole in top so a ray of light gets in, making it the perfect place for photos and one of Mexico’s most instagrammable cenotes.

As with so many cenotes, if you want those Instagram worthy cenote photos, you have to get there early or even on a weekday rather than a weekend. For those staying in Valladolid, Mexico, this cenote is located just 15-minutes outside of the downtown area, so it’s easy to head there in the morning. 

Cenote Suytun is located just over one hour by car from Tulum, and about two hours from Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Riviera Maya and Merida. It is about 45-minutes from Chichen Itza Mayan ruins, and many combine these two popular places for a nice day trip.

However if you decide to visit Cenote Suytun, know that this is one of the best underground cenotes, and an experience you’ll never forget. It is open daily, from 9am-5pm, and costs $120 pesos ($6.50 / €5) to enter.

#8 Cenote Dzitnup near Valladolid

By Lori From TravlinMad

An underground cenote near Valladolid.

Practical information about Cenote Dzitnup
Location:
Here are the directions from Valladolid (15 minutes by car/collectivo)
Price: $59 MXN pesos per person

One of the very best is the beautiful Cenote Dzitnup (pronounced ZIT-nup) just 10 km south of the city of Valladolid. This largely enclosed cave is named for a bit of Mayan folklore.

Valladolid is central to both Cancun and Merida, but it’s actually closest to Tulum and makes a great day trip. From Cancun it takes over 2 hours via the Cancun-Kantanil, Route 180D. If you’re heading from Cancun to Tulum, this Cenote Dzitnup is a perfect stopover on your way there. The Chemax-Coba road / QROO 180 leads from Tulum to Dzitnup in under an hour.

Cenote Dzitnup is a huge domed cave with an opening in the center of the ceiling, complete with stalactites and resident bats. The small opening allows sunlight to enter illuminating the crystal clear turquoise water. With little air movement it can get hot and humid inside but the water is a constant pleasant 77°F and there is plenty of shade.

During the height of the tourist season Dzitnup can get a bit crowded, but there is plenty of room to swim or snorkel. Ropes stretch across the breadth of the deep water to allow swimmers to catch their breath and observe the formations around the cave. With a dive mask you can peak just under the surface to watch the incredible number of very small colorful fish. It’s mesmerizing, like swimming in a home aquarium.

Dzitnup has three entrances, and you can look into the cave from the steps outside the entrance. If you’re not a strong swimmer, swim vests can be rented before you enter. If you get hungry, the authentic Mayan food just outside is very good. The cenote is open daily from 8am – 5pm. The small admission fee is $59 pesos per person, just under $3 USD. A visit to Dzitnup should definitely be on your Yucatan travel itinerary.

#9 Gran Cenote near Tulum

By Dom and Jo From RedWhiteAdventures

Gran Cenote is the best cenote in Tulum.

Practical information about Gran Cenote
Location:
Here are the directions from Tulum (10 minutes by car/collectivo)
Price: $300 MXN pesos per person

Gran Cenote is one of the best cenotes to visit if you’re staying in Tulum. You can bike there or catch a taxi/collectivo and be there within 10 minutes. Because of its proximity to Tulum it is a bit pricier than most other cenotes around the Yucatan Peninsula. But don’t let the price discourage you. It’s well worth it if you can get there during the week and earlier in the day when it’s less busy.

Gran Cenote has two sinkholes where you can swim, and from what we noticed, more people spent time at the bigger one where the smaller one didn’t get as much attention and had lots of room for swimming (with turtles too). It’s a bit more hidden and towards the back of the property but it’s still easy to access and there are stairs down to the bottom of the sinkhole.

From there you’ll be able to swim through the bat cave to the bigger sinkhole. If you’re scared of bats like Jo then you can just use the main stairs and access the main (bigger) sinkhole. With 140 square meters of swimming you’ll have plenty of room to enjoy yourself in the water!

There are lockers, showers, and rental equipment if you need to use any of those services. The only thing we’d recommend is bringing cash. To pay taxis, collectivos, and the entry fee into Gran Cenote you will need cash. So it’s best to have a little bit on you! Otherwise bring some water, snacks, towel, and enjoy a full day at Gran Cenote. The price is 300 pesos.

#10 Cenote Ik Kil near Valladolid

By Allison From VivaLaTravelista

A beautiful cenote near Tulum is Ik Kil.

Practical information about Cenote Ik Kil
Location:
Here are the directions from Valladolid (45 minutes by car/collectivo)
Price: $150 MXN pesos per person

Located just minutes from the ancient Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza, Ik Kil Cenote is one of the largest and most magnificent cenotes in the Yucatan Peninsula.

Due to its close proximity to the ruins, it is most commonly visited on the Chichen Itza tour, or it is just a 45-minute drive from the quaint colonial town of Valladolid. If you are visiting Chichen Itza on your own, you can take a quick taxi ride to get to the cenote.

Ik Kil Cenote is a massive open cenote descending hundreds of feet underground with lush green plants and vibrant foliage cascading all the way down to the water’s surface. With a winding staircase leading to the bottom of the cenote, it truly feels like an underground fortress.

Upon arrival at the cenote, like most cenotes, you are required to shower first to remove any sunscreen, and then you’ll descend down to the bottom. At the base of the cenote, there are wide wooden ladders to enter the water or you can take turns jumping into the water from a few different levels.

The water is extremely deep so you’ll want to use a life jacket, or be prepared to tread water, or hang on to the floating ropes. It’s a really stunning place just to float and relax in such a natural setting.

Cenote Ik Kil is definitely a tourist attraction and offers very well maintained facilities including a restaurant, showers, bathrooms, and changing rooms.

If you choose to visit Ik Kil Cenote on your own, it’s best to get there early as it can get very crowded with tour visitors. It is open daily from 9:00am-5:00pm, and the entrance fee is $150 pesos (~$7 USD) which includes a life jacket rental. Lockers can also be rented for an additional fee.

#11 Casa Cenote near Tulum

By Karen From OutdoorAdventureSampler

Casa cenote has some of the most beautiful water in Mexico!

Practical information about Casa Cenote
Location:
Here are the directions from Tulum (20 minutes by car/collectivo)
Price: $120 MXN pesos per person

Casa Cenote is an off the beaten track cenote located in Tankah Tres, only 20 minutes away from Tulum. Casa Cenote differs from other cenotes by being connected to the ocean. It is also called Cenote Manatee because these gentle sea creatures used to swim into the cenote from the sea.

Casa Cenote is famous for the crocodile that resides there. Panchito, the croc, hangs out near the end of the cenote. He lounges in the sun and feasts on wildlife, not swimmers, so the guides assure you that he is harmless. Even so, it’s very exciting and scary to see a crocodile in the wild, especially so close.

The crystal clear cenote winds through the jungle for about one-half mile. There are hundreds of tiny fishes to see under the mangrove roots. Near the connection with the ocean, you can observe a variety of large fish not found in other cenotes.

The swim down the winding cenote is against a gentle current. It’s fun on the return trip to float back lazily and enjoy the fish and bird sightings. At one point, you dive under a cave-like section with a roof of mangrove roots to get to the other side.

At the end of the cenote, a cave made by the mangrove roots is full of
colorful fish. This cenote is a great place for beginning divers too. You need a car or a taxi to get to Casa Cenote as it is down a long dirt road off the 307 Highway.

Entry for swimmers was $120 pesos, You can hire a guide for $500 pesos each (about $25 USD) It included entry, locker, wetsuit, and snorkel gear.

#12 Casa Azul near Playa Del Carmen

By Victoria From GuideYourTravel

Casa Azul is such a wonderful cenote near Playa del Carmen.

Practical information about Cenote Azul
Location:
Here are the directions from Playa Del Carmen (15 minutes by car/collectivo)
Price: $70 MXN pesos per person

Cenote Azul is located around 15 minutes south of Playa del Carmen in Yucatan Mexico. This is one of the most popular cenotes around PDC and a great place for the entire family. It tends to get very busy around mid-day especially on weekends or public holidays so make sure you come early to get a good spot.

Due to its L-shape, this cenote has plenty of space and is great fun to visit even with a lot of other tourists around. Located right next to the Cenote Azul are the Cenote Cristalino and Cenote El Jardin del Eden both of which are well worth a visit as well.

The Cenote Azul is an open cenote and not located in a cave, like many others in this area. This means it is quite shallow with large rocks underneath the water. Towards the other end of the pool, the water gets a bit deeper so swimming and even cliff-jumping is possible. Definitely make sure to jump off the large rock at least once if you dare.

The entrance to this cenote is 70 pesos which is a reasonable price compared to some of the other cenotes in the area. You can rent a lifejacket if you require and there are both bathrooms and changing rooms available.

If you’re feeling tired after a long day of swimming why not grab a snack from the little shop at the entrance? Here are 18 more fun things to do in Mexico.

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Recap of all the best cenotes in Yucatan

There you have it. Our list has incorporated some of the best cenotes in the Yucatan. Specifically around Valladolid, Tulum, Playa Del Carmen, and Cancun!

Each cenote is different from the next. So every single cenote will give a different experience. Some are in caves and some erosion. Every single one is unique in it’s own way.

With over 6000 thousand though it’s hard to choose which one to go visit, but with this list, you’ll have some help figuring out which one looks more appealing for you.

We hope you enjoy exploring all these cenotes and if you find some new hidden cenotes in Yucatan that are worth exploring please let us know! We’re always ready to add another one to our list of must-visits!

Have fun!

Dom & Jo
Red White Adventures
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