Best Cenotes Cancun

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Best Cenotes Cancun: 2023 Instagram Guide

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Cancun is located on the Caribbean coast of the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. It is known for its beautiful beaches, clear blue waters, and warm weather. Cancun is a very popular tourist destination with many resorts, great nightlife and many cultural attractions.

Cancun beach Mexico
Best Cenotes near Cancun: Cancun Beach

The city is also home to several Mayan ruins and is a gateway to other popular destinations in the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, such as Tulum and Playa del Carmen. Cancun is known for its diverse range of activities, including swimming, snorkeling, diving, fishing, and exploring the nearby Mayan ruins.


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What is a Cenote?

Cenotes Cancun
Best Cenotes near Cancun : Seytun Cenote

Cenotes (pronounced seh-no-tay in Spanish) are natural sinkholes that are filled with water and are found throughout the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. They are formed when the roof of a limestone cave collapses, exposing the water that was previously underground.

Cenotes were an essential source of water for the ancient Maya civilization. Today they are used for swimming, snorkeling, and diving. 

Some of the cenotes were used as sacrifice sites by the ancient Mayans, and this is why artifacts like gold, ceramics, and even human and animal bones, have been discovered at the bottom of some of those cenotes.

Different Types of Cenotes

There are several different types of cenotes found in the Yucatan, including:

  1. Closed cenotes: These are cenotes that are completely underground and are only accessed through a cave or tunnel system. The water in closed cenotes is often dark and can be cold.
  2. Open cenotes: These are cenotes that are open to the sky and are typically large, circular pits. The water in open cenotes is usually clear, and the color is turquoise.
  3. Semi-open cenotes: These are cenotes that are partially open and partially underground. The water in semi-open cenotes is often a mix of clear and dark water.
  4. Cave cenotes: A cave cenote is located in underground caves and are only accessible through a series of tunnels. The water in a cave cenote is usually clear, making it very popular for diving and snorkeling.
  5. Freshwater cenotes: These are cenotes that contain fresh water and are suitable for swimming and diving.
  6. Saltwater cenotes: These are cenotes that are connected to the ocean and contain salt water. They are typically found along the coastline of the Yucatan Peninsula.

On Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, there are a variety of open, semi-open, and underground cenotes.

Cenotes on Instagram

Perhaps you’ve always wanted to see some of those spectacular sinkholes you’ve seen on Instagram or other social media. We have put together a list of our favorite 10 cenotes near Cancun, and we are absolutely certain that you will adore these cenotes just as much as we have.

10 BEST Cenotes Cancun – 2023 Guide

1. Suytun Cenote

Activities: Swimming, pictures

Cenote Suytun is one of Mexico’s most Instagrammed and beautiful cenotes . Its also one of the most famous cenotes in the Yucatan Pensinsula. Cenote Suytun has a stone path leading to a circular platform that sits in the very middle of the water pool.  This is one of the most famous cenotes in Mexico and the Yucatan.

The creamy grey cave walls create a nice contrast with bright blue waters of the cenote and the towering stalactites. Cenote Suytun is excellent for swimming and of course photos (your Instagram followers will love the photos), but it can get crowded at times. Try to be here really early in the morning for some alone time, even though the sun will shine through the hole in the roof later in the day. 

Cenote Suytun is close to Valladolid and even though it is a 3-hour trip from Cancun, Tulum, and Play del Carmen, we believe that it’s definitely worth it, as this massive Cave Cenote is for sure the most beautiful of the bunch. 

Getting to Cenote Suytun : Taxi or rental car. It’s a 2 hour 15 minute drive from Cancun.

Entrance Fee Cenote Suytun : 200 pesos ($10 USD)

Cenotes Cancun
Best Cenotes near Cancun : Cenote Dos Ojos

2. Cenote Dos Ojos  

Great for: swimming, snorkeling, and diving

Cenote Dos Ojos is a truly magnificent diving cenote in the Yucatan Peninsula that welcomes travelers to explore its two eyes-shaped sinkholes that are connected by an underwater boardwalk and through the deep cave system.

There is no doubt that cenote Dos Ojos has some of the most breathtaking vistas above and below the surface and is a magnet for professional and amateur scuba divers.

How to get to Dos Ojos: Taxi or rental car. It’s a 1 hour 45 minute drive.

Entrance Fee: 450 pesos ($22 USD) for all Cenotes in this park or 350 pesos ($18 USD) for just the DOs Ojos Cenote

El Gran Cenote Cancun
Best Cenotes near Cancun : El Gran Cenote

3. El Gran Cenote 

Great for: swimming, snorkeling and diving

Gran Cenote is a must-see. The breathtaking scenery is sure to leave you in awe. The cenote’s enormous pool is filled with crystal blue water. This natural wonderland is surrounded by lush and rich vegetation. Wooden boardwalks connect the caves and caverns of this open-air cenote.

Swimmers, divers, and snorkelers come from far and wide to witness and experience the Gran Cenote’s spectacular splendor.

The two snorkeling sections of this gorgeous open-air cenote are filled with fish and turtles that are swimming in the calm waters of the cenote.

How to get to Gran Cenote: Taxi or rental car. It’s a 1 hour 45 minute drive

Entrance Fee: 500 pesos ($25 USD)

Cenote Zacil-ha Tulum Mexico
Cenote Zacil-ha is on Ruta de los cenotes on the way from Playa del Carmen to Tulum

4. Cenote Zacil-Ha 

Great for: families with kids, swimming pool style cenote

Zacil-Ha is a stunning open-air cenote with water that is so transparent that it cab rivals any swimming pool you have ever visited. Its also very conveniently located close to the breathtaking Cenote Carwash.

We were literally astonished by everything about this place! You can jump from the sides into the beautiful pool waters or zipline across the cenotes!

If you are looking for a more relaxed experience, Hammocks and traditional swimming are conveniently waiting for you when you arrive at the cenote.

How to get to Zacil-Ha: Taxi or rental car. It’s a 1 hour 45 minute drive.

Entrance Fee: 200 pesos ($10 USD) and 10 pesos ($0.5c USD) for the zipline

Cenote Carwash
Best Cancun Cenotes : Cenote Carwash is on Ruta de los cenotes on the way from Playa del Carmen to Tulum

5. Cenote Carwash, Tulum 

Great for : swimming, diving, easy access and relaxed cenote experience

Cenote Ak Tun Ha, is also known as Carwash Cenote since it used to be used as car washing.

Get ready for an unforgettable experience as you immerse yourself in this underwater world that is filled with rock formations and aquatic species like fish, turtles…and a small resident crocodile who might make a surprise appearance during your visit also! The swimming area of the cenote is very accessible. The water in the cenote is 50 feet deep.

Don’t forget to explore the cave section of the cenote.

How to get to Cenote Carwash: Taxi or rental car. It’s a 1 hour 45 minute drive.

Entrance Fee: 300 pesos ($15 USD)


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Cenote Azul
Best Cancun Cenotes : Cenote Azul is on Ruta de los cenotes on the way from Playa del Carmen to Tulum

6. Cenote Azul (Blue Cenote)

Great for: swimming, families and kids, easy access and relaxing in the blue water and fun jumps

Cenote Azul is an expansive open-air setting cenote that is divided into two distinct swimming areas that are separated by a wooden boardwalk. The cenote will appeal to both thrill-seekers and families alike. On one side of the cenote children can splash around safely in the shallow waters, while on the other, divers can leap over a cliff into the deep cenote waters!

Don’t forget to use your snorkeling equipment to explore the amazing depths of the cenote. Cenote Azul is very popular and is usually crowded throughout the year and especially on weekends.

How to get to Cenote Azul: Taxi or rental car. It’s a 1 hour 15 minute drive. Cenote Azul is usually very crowded due to its close proximity to Cancun, Tulum and Playa del Carmen

Entrance Fee: 150 pesos ($8 USD)

Cenote Jardin del Eden Tulum Mexico
Best Cancun Cenotes : Cenote Jardin del Eden is on Ruta de los cenotes on the way from Playa del Carmen to Tulum

7. Cenote Jardin Del Eden 

Great for: swimming, snorkeling and diving

Cenote Jardin Del Eden is also known as Cenote Ponderosa and it stands out in our list for its unmatched splendor.

The moment you step into this cenote you understand why it has been so popular with Instagram with travelers and influencers.  The lush vegetation and the crystal blue waters of the pool frame the Garden of Eden-like open-air pool.

You can do cliff jumping, enjoy a refreshing swim or just use your snorkel gear to explore the pristine depths. Cenote Jardin Del Eden’s cave system is one of the best in the Yucatan peninsula especially if you are a skilled diver.

How to get to Jardin Del Eden: Taxi or rental car. It’s a 1 hour and 15 minute drive. Cenote Jardin is usually very crowded due to its close proximity to Cancun, Tulum and Playa del Carmen

Entrance Fee: 200 pesos ($10 USD)

Best Cenotes in Cancun : Cenote el Pit
Best Cenotes near Cancun : Cenote el Pit is on Ruta de los cenotes on the way from Playa del Carmen to Tulum

8. Cenote Sac Actun, Cenote Nicte-Ha & Cenote El Pit 

Great for: swimming, snorkeling and diving

Dos Ojos Park is a magical place. We fell in love with the extraordinary collection of cenotes in the park, including the deepest cenote in Yucatan Pensinsula, El Pit, the “pet cemetery” Cenote Sac Actun and cenote Nicte-Ha surrounded by lily pads that will just leave you in awe.

Cenote San Actun: Instagram

How to get to Cenote San Actun, El Pit and Nicte-Ha: Taxi or rental car. It’s a 1 hour and 15 minutes drive.

Entrance Fee: 450 pesos ($22 USD) for all Cenotes in this park or 350 pesos ($18 USD) for just the Dos Ojos Cenote

Cenote Crystal - Cenote Cristal
Best cenotes near Cancun : Cenote Crystal – Cenote Cristal are on Ruta de los cenotes on the way from Playa del Carmen to Tulum

9. Cenote Cristal & Cenote Escondido

Great for: swimming, relaxing and laid back experience

If you are looking for a really serene and relaxing cenote experience then we have just the right cenotes for you in Cenote Cristal and Cenote Escondido!

These two open-air cenotes, are situated on the opposite sides of the road, are connected by an underwater tunnel, and are surrounded by lush vegetation.

You can enter both locations with the same entrance fee, but Cristal is unquestionably our favorite because of its fantastic wooden leaping platforms.

How to get to Cenote Cristal and Escondido: Taxi, rental car. It’s a 1 hour and 50 minute drive.

Entrance Fee: 150 pesos ($8 USD)

Cenote Calavera Cancun
Best cenotes near Cancun : Cenote Calavera is on Ruta de los cenotes on the way from Playa del Carmen to Tulum

10. Cenote Calavera

Ideal for: swimming, diving and fun jumps

Cenote Calavera is a truly special and unique cenote near Tulum. It is also known as the ‘Skull’ Cenote because its three sinkholes look like two eyes and a mouth. 

To enter the cenoteyou can use a ladder or make your own grand entrance by jumping off the edge of the cliff! 

Despite its proximity to Tulum, the cenote is a relatively quiet and peaceful cenote making it one of Tulum’s best-kept secrets.

How to get to Cenote Calavera: Taxi or rental car. It’s a short trip

Entrance Fee: 250 pesos ($13 USD) for entrance and another $200 pesos ($10 USD) for photos

Are the Cenotes safe from bacteria?

In 2022, authorities in Tulum have issued a safety and health warning for three of Mexico’s most well-known cenotes after finding a notably very high concentration of bacteria in the water, one of those bacteria being particularly dangerous to tourists (E-coli).

Tourists have been advised to stay away from the popular cenotes altogether or refrain from swimming in specific regions. The bacteria has been discovered in at least three Cenotes near the very popular cities and towns of Cancun, Tulum and Playa del Carmen.
The three Cenotes are:

  • Cristal Cenote
  • Calavera Cenote
  • Casa Cenote

The water was found to contain a variety of bacteria, but the one most likely to cause health problems is the aforementioned E- Coli. People who experience contamination describe a wide range of symptoms, from severe stomach cramps to vomiting, moderate fever, and, in severe cases, bloody diarrhea.What to bring when you visit Cenotes

Here are some tips for exploring Cancun’s Cenotes:

  1. Cash (pesos): Since many cenotes do not accept credit cards, bring Mexican Pesos. 
  2. Towel: Although some cenotes provide towel rentals, it is simpler, cheaper and more hygienic to carry your own towel.
  3. Swimming suite: You are going to be swimming after all.
  4. Water shoes: The inside of the cenotes is usually slippery and rough. Water shoes can help you navigate them securely
  5. No Sunscreen:  When visiting cenotes, you cannot apply any type of sunscreen, including eco-friendly and reef-safe sunscreen, as the oils and chemicals in the sunscreen can damage the sensitive ecosystem of the Cenote. Most cenotes require you to take a shower and wash off before entering. If you have sensitive skin, choose a bathing suit with long sleeves to avoid a suburn. 
  6. Follow the rules: Make sure to abide by these guidelines to protect the environment.
  7. Guided Tours: A guided tour with one of the local guides can help you learn more about the amazing history and geology of the cenotes
  8. Bring a Camera: Cenotes are stunning natural wonders, so you’ll want to take some pictures to document your trip…and also post on Instagram.
  9. Respect: Because the ecosystem of the cenote is delicate, always make sure you leave them in the same condition as when you found them.
  10. Cant Swim?: Don’t worry. Most Cenotes have life jackets for free or a small price for guest


Most frequent questions and answers

Cenote is pronounced seh-No-tay in Spanish. It refers to a natural sinkhole with water .The Mayan word “d’zonot,” which meaning “well,” is the root of the word “cenote.”

Cenote Sol y Luna, is the closest Cenote to Cancun. It is 45 km from Cancun which is a 40 minute drive.

Mexico has around 6,000 big and small cenotes in the Yucatan Peninsula!

A fantastic alternative to renting a car is to hire a driver for the day who will take you to any and all cenotes you desire for a set charge.

You can do this by asking a staff member at your lodging for a driver referral or by haggling a day pricing with a Cancun taxi driver.

There are many Cancun taxis, however, there is no Uber in Cancun. By explaining to the driver where you want to go and how long you want to spend at every cenote, you may work out a very good day rate with them.

If you like the driver, you can get their phone number and use them all the way back to Cancun.

Either very Early or very Late! You’ll need to carefully organize your trip if you wish to spend some time in a Mexican cenote alone (or among a small group of people).

Cenotes are best visited on weekdays (weekends can get very crowded) and in the morning, within 1-2 hours of their opening, or in the afternoon, within 1-2 hours of their shutting.

The majority of cenotes see their peak visitation during the day, particularly those that are “on” the beaten route and well-liked by tour groups.

Yes! Absolutely safe. In fact, Cenotes are enclosed within caverns that shield the tranquil waters from the weather, unlike the ocean where there may be large waves or a strong undertow.

They are often the perfect location for a peaceful swimming experience because of this.

Yes! You can travel freely and independently visit a cenote if you want to save money and be flexible with your plan. However, you need to take into account that the best cenotes are located in scenic but distant places, so you’ll need to rent a car to go to them.

Yes. The entrance fees to all the large cenotes near Tulum, Cancun, and Playa del Carmen range from 100 pesos ($5 USD) to 600 pesos ($32 USD).

In addition to being incredibly unique and gorgeous, cenotes can also a lot of fun.

If you’re looking for adventure, spending the day at a cenote is a fantastic option given the many things you can do there.

Some cenotes have both shallow and deep waters, being great options for children also.

Use your snorkeling gear to see the fish and turtles swimming in the cenote waters.

It’s really easy to see underwater life because the water is so clear.

Another common activity at cenotes is scuba diving. Some of the cenotes are actually very deep, making them perfect for exploring their uncharted waters.

Some of the cenotes have natural cliffs that you can jump off if the water is deep enough and you’re feeling brave.

Traveling to 🇲🇽 Mexico soon?

I recommend these travel resources for Mexico that I personally use:

🏨 Hotels: I have found that Expedia and consistently have the best deals on hotels and resorts in Mexico. If you prefer to stay at a vacation rental, check VRBO that is usually cheaper than AirBnB’s added fees!

✈️ Flights: To find the best flight deals to Mexico, I always use Kayak. Remember to subscribe to their price alerts for the travel dates you want. Another great alternative for flight deals is Expedia.

🚗 Rental Cars: I always use and highly recommend Discover Cars because it allows me to compare several car rental companies and view ratings on various factors such as overall value, pick-up procedure, agent efficiency, car condition, and total time taken.

🚙 Cancun Airport Transportation: For the fastest and easiest way to travel, I suggest arranging a private transfer with Cancun Airport Transportation. Honestly, no better way to travel from the airport to your hotel or resort.

🤿 Tours & Activities: For tours and activities in Mexico, I highly recommend using either Viator or GetYourGuide. These websites offer a full refund if you cancel your booking 24 hours before the start of the tour, and they also provide excellent customer service in case of any issues.

🚨 Travel Insurance: I always suggest purchasing travel insurance as a precaution before traveling, especially after a recent accident in a taxi in Mexico. For short trips, I recommend Travel Insurance Master, whereas for digital nomads, Safety Wing is a better option.

📷 Best Camera for your trip: I always carry with me a GoPro, It’s light, compact, takes great video and pictures, and most importantly, it’s waterproof! You just can’t go wrong with one. If you are interested in higher quality video and photography, I always carry with me on my trips and highly recommend the Sony A7IV which I think is the best travel DSLR Camera out there.

☀️ Biodegradable Sunscreen: Remember to include a good sunscreen to protect yourself from the summer sun. I always use and suggest Sun Bum Sunscreen, which is vegan, reef-friendly, and cruelty-free.