Best Cenotes Playa del Carmen

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Best Cenotes Playa del Carmen: 2023 Instagram Guide

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Where is Playa del Carmen?

Playa del Carmen is a city located in the Quintana Roo state of Mexico. It is a popular tourist destination located on the Caribbean Sea, and is known for its beautiful beaches and warm weather.

Playa del Carmen street
Playa del Carmen Street

Playa del Carmen is located approximately 40 miles south of Cancun and is easily accessible by car, bus or taxi as the city currently only has a very small airport. The city is also home to a number of restaurants, shops, and nightlife options, as well as a number of cultural and historical attractions. Some popular activities in Playa del Carmen include snorkeling, diving, and visiting the nearby cenotes and Mayan ruins.

Playa del Carmen
Playa del Carmen Beach

In addition, the city is home to a number of amazing Cenotes and Mayan ruins and serves as a starting point for travel to other well-known Yucatan Peninsula sites like Cancun and Tulum.


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Swimming, snorkeling, diving, fishing, and seeing the neighboring Mayan ruins are just a few of the varied activities available at Playa del Carmen.

What are the Cenotes?

The Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico is home to a very large number of cenotes. Cenotes are naturally occurring sinkholes that are filled with water. The water that was once underground is exposed when the roof of a limestone cave collapses on itself.

Cenotes Playa del Carmen
Playa del Carmen Cenotes

The Maya society in antiquity relied heavily on cenotes for the supply of water. Today the cenotes are popular sites for diving, snorkeling, and swimming. 

The ancient Mayans used some of the cenotes as grounds for sacrifice this is why items like gold, ceramics, and even human and animal bones have been found at the bottom of some of these cenotes.

What are the different types of Cenotes?

Cenotes come in a variety of shapes and forms, including:

  • Open Cenotes: These cenotes are often big and elliptical pits that are exposed to the open sky. Open cenotes typically have clear, turquoise-colored water
  • Closed Cenotes: These cenotes are completely underground and are only accessible through a cave or tunnel system. Water here is frequently dark and chilly
  • Semi-open Cenotes: These are just partially underground and partially open cenotes. Semi-open cenotes usually have a combination of clear and dark water
  • Cavern Cenotes: These are underground caverns that can only be reached by a network of tunnels. Cavern cenotes usually have clear water that is excellent for diving and snorkeling
  • Fresh-water Cenotes: These cenotes contain fresh water and are excellent for swimming and diving
  • Salt-water Cenotes: These cenotes have saltwater in them as they are connected to the ocean

There are numerous open, semi-open, and underground cenotes on the Yucatan Peninsula.

Instagram Cenotes

Maybe you’ve always wanted to see some of those breathtaking cenotes you’ve seen on social media like Instagram. To get amazing Instagram photos and have a nice time, we’ve put together a list of our top 9 Cenotes in Playa del Carmen for you to visit! We’re confident that you’ll appreciate these locations as much as we have.

Playa del Carmen’s 9 BEST Cenotes – 2023 Guide

Cenote Dos Ojos Playa del Carmen
Playa del Carmen Cenotes : Cenote Dos Ojos

1. Cenote Dos Ojos

Excellent for diving, snorkeling, and swimming

Cenote Dos Ojos is roughly an hour and a half’s drive from beautiful town of Tulum.

The cenote is formed by a two eyes-shaped sinkholes connected by an underwater boardwalk. This stunning Yucatan Peninsula cenote offers an extensive underwater cave system ideal for diving and exploring with snorkeling gear.

Whether you are a professional diver or an amateur diver, there is no denying that Dos Ojos features some of the most breathtaking views below the surface.

How to get to Dos Ojos: Taxi or rental car. It’s a 30 minute drive.

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

El Gran Cenote Playa del Carmen
Playa del Carmen Cenotes : El Gran Cenote

2. El Gran Cenote

Excellent for diving, snorkeling, and swimming

The Gran Cenote is a must-see. The breathtaking cliff backdrop and the gigantic cenote’s pool filled with blue water will leave you speechless. Wooden boardwalks weave through the lush surrounding flora of this natural wonderland to link the caves, caverns with the big open-air cenote.

Swimmers, divers, and snorkelers from far and wide stop by to visit the Gran Cenote and witness firsthand its breathtaking grandeur.

Gran Cenote has two snorkeling areas. You can also see many turtles enjoying the serene waters of the cenote.

How to get to the Gran Cenote: Taxi or rental car. It’s a 30 minute drive.

Entrance Fee: 500 pesos ($25 USD)

Cenote Zacil-ha Tulum Mexico
Playa del Carmen Cenotes : Cenote Zacil-ha

3. Cenote Zacil-Ha

Excellent for: families with children, cenotes with pools

Zacil Ha is a magnificent open-air cenote that is also very close to the beautiful Cenote Carwash. Its water is so stunningly transparent that it rivals any conventional swimming pool you have been to.

Everything about this locations amazed us! There are lots of chances to leap into the crystal-clear water or even zipline across the cenote!

If you’re searching for more of relaxing experience, hammocks and conventional swimming pools are waiting for you when you get there.

How to get to Cenote Zacil-Ha: Taxi or rental car. It’s a 30 minute drive.

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

Cenote Carwash
Playa del Carmen Cenotes : Cenote Carwash

4. Cenote Carwash, Tulum

Excellent for: diving, swimming, ease of access, and a laid-back cenote experience

Another must-see is Cenote Ak Tun Ha, also known as the Carwash Cenote since it was once used as an actual car wash.

Prepare yourself for a once-in-a-lifetime adventure as you immerse yourself in this rich underwater universe filled with rock formations, fish, turtles, and a small resident crocodile that just might scare you by making a supprise appearance. 

Do not forget to explore the cave system by diving into these lovely blue waters.

How to get to Cenote Carwash: Taxi or rental car. It’s a 30 minute drive.

Entrance Fee: 300 pesos ($15 USD)


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Cenote Azul Playa del Carmen
Cenote Azul

5. Cenote Azul

Excellent for: swimming, families, and children; simple access; unwinding in the clear water; and enjoyable jumps

Both thrill-seekers and children will enjoy Cenote Azul‘s spacious outdoor environment, which is divided by a wooden boardwalk into two separate swimming areas. On one side of Cenote Azul divers can jump over a cliff, while kids can splash around safely in the shallow waters of the opposite side.

make sure you use your snorkeling gear to explore what’s below. Cenote Azul is very popular all year round.

How to get to Cenote Azul: Taxi or rental car. It’s a 30 minute drive. Cenote Azul can get very crowded due to its close proximity to Cancun, Playa del carmen and Tulum.

Entrance Fee: 150 pesos ($8 USD)

Cenote Jardin del Eden Tulum Mexico
Cenote Jardin del Eden

6. Cenote Jardin del Eden

Excellent for diving, snorkeling, and swimming

The Cenote Jardin Del Eden, also known as Cenote Ponderosa, is  halfway between Tulum and Playa del Carmen and stands out from the rest of the cenotes for its unrivaled grandeur.

As soon as you enter the cenote entrance the open-air swimming pool that resembles Eden’s Garden, you will notice that it is surrounded by lush foliage and azure waters. This cenote is very popular with Instagram celebrities.

You can swim or snorkel in its pristine depths and also engage in some cliff jumping. If you’re a skilled diver then the cave system in Cenote Jardin Del Eden will definitely reward you.

How to get to Jardin Del Eden: Taxi or rental car. It’s a 25 minute drive. Cenote Jardin del Eden can get very crowded due to its close proximity to Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Tulum.

Entrance Fee: 200 pesos ($10 USD)

7. Cenotes Sac Actun, Nicte-Ha, and El Pit

Excellent for diving, snorkeling, and swimming

Dos Ojos Park is an amazing collection of cenotes, which includes the deepest cenote in Yucatan Peninsula, El Pit, and the pet cemetery Cenote Sac Actun.

Cenote San Actun Instagram page

Cenote Nicte-Pond Ha is also part of the same park. This cenote entrance is surrounded by lily pads that are surely going to take your breath away.

How to get to Cenote San Actun, El Pit & Nicte-Ha: Taxi or rental car. It’s a 30 minutes drive.

Entrance Fee: 450 pesos ($22 USD) for all the Cenotes in this amazing park

Cenote Calavera Playa del Carmen
Cenote Calavera

8. Cenote Calavera

Excellent for: Diving, swimming, water jumps 

Cenote Calavera is one of the most famous cenotes in Tulum thanks to its three sinkholes which resemble two eyes and a mouth. It is frequently called the “Skull” Cenote.

You can get down to the cenote deep pool by using the ladder or make your own big entry by jumping off the edge of this natural wonder.

Cenote Calavera is one of Tulum’s best-kept secrets because, while being close to lively Tulum, it maintains a fair amount of peace, quiet and tranquility.

How to get to Cenote Calavera: Taxi or rental car. It’s a 25 minute drive.

Entrance Fee: 250 pesos ($13 USD) for entrance. If you wanr to take photos in the Cenote you need to pay an extra $200 pesos ($10 USD) 

Cenote Crystal - Cenote Cristal
Cenote Crystal – Cenote Cristal

9. Cenote Escondido & Cenote Cristal

Excellent for swimming, relaxing, and having a good time

If you’re looking for a calm atmosphere and gorgeous greenery, just head to Cenote Cristal and Cenote Escondido!

These two open-air cenotes, which are located on the opposite side of the road are just south of Tulum Town and are joined by an underwater tunnel.

With a ticket purchase at the entrance of the cenote, you can visit both places. The Cristal cenote is undoubtedly our favorite because of its excellent wooden leaping platforms.

How to get to Cenote Cristal and Escondido: Taxi, rental car. It’s a 30 minute drive.

Entrance Fee: 150 pesos ($8 USD)

Are the Cenotes free from bacteria?

Authorities in Tulum, Mexico, have issued health and safety warnings for three of Mexico’s most popular cenotes in 2022 after discovering a noticeably high percentage of bacteria in the water—the kind that is actually most harmful to tourists (E-coli).

Tourists are now instructed to avoid these cenotes altogether or to desist from swimming in these particular areas.

At least three Cenotes close to the well-known tourist destinations of Cancun, Tulum, and Paya del Carmen have been found to contain the bacteria.

There are three Cenotes:

  • Cristal Cenote
  • Calavera Cenote
  • Casa Cenote

Numerous bacteria were discovered in the water, but the aforementioned E. Coli is the one tourists and visitors should be worried about. A wide variety of symptoms, from “evere stomach cramps, to vomiting, and, in some cases, bloody diarrhea, are reported by those who encounter contamination. Additionally, mild fevers of less than 101F have been reported.What to pack for a trip to a Cenote

Here are some tips for exploring the cenotes in Playa del Carmen:

  • Bring cash (Mexican Pesos), as many cenotes do not take credit cards. Even cenotes that do accept cards its just for the entrance fee; they do not accept cards for purchases of alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverages and food.
  • Bring Towels: Although some cenotes provide towel rentals, it is easier, cheaper and more hygienic to bring your own.
  • Swimming suit: Since many cenotes have swimming areas, it’s a good idea to dress appropriately.
  • Water shoes: Cenotes’ flooring can occasionally be uneven and slippery, thus water shoes can help you navigate them safely.
  • No Sunscreen: Because the oils and chemicals in your sunscreen could harm the delicate ecosystem of the cenote, you cannot use any kind of sunscreen, including reef-safe or eco-friendly sunscreen. The majority of the cenotes require you to shower before entering. Select a bathing suit with long sleeves and a wide brim if you are prone to burning easily.
  • Follow the cenote rules and guidelines: To safeguard the environment, be sure to follow these rules.
  • Guided Tours: Take advantage of the guided tours that some cenotes offer. It is a great way to learn more about the geology and history of sinkholes.
  • Bring a camera: Cenotes are breathtaking natural wonders, so you’ll want to capture some images to share on Instagram as well as to document your journey.
  • Respect: Always leave cenote ecosystems in the same state that you found them in, as they are delicate ecosystems.
  • You don’t know how to Swim: Just relax! The majority of cenotes provide visitors life jackets for no cost or a nominal fee.

Other Things to Do Near Playa del Carmen

After you’ve explored this majestic Cenote , why not take part in some thrilling activities near Playa del Carmen?

  • Take off on an intrepid expedition to uncover Tulum’s wealth of awe-inspiring cenotes! With such a plethora of stunning locations, you and your closest companions will have days full of unforgettable memories. 
  • Unwind and relax at the gorgeous Tulum Beach, and don’t forget to try one of the many amazing restaurants in town (try the tacos and local beer)
  • Take a trip to the ancient Tulum ruins, National Parks and, if you find yourself with extra time, venture even further to ruins of Chichen Itza – a stunning location and one of the 7 Wonders of the World!
  • Enjoy an unforgettable day trip to the magnificent Sian Ka’an Biosphere breathtakingly blue waters and get up close with dolphins and even some crocodiles!
  • The Beaches, Beach Clubs, amazing food and nightlife are just of the many things to do in Tulum


Most frequent questions and answers

In Spanish, cenote is pronounced seh-No-tay. It alludes to an aquatic natural sinkhole. The source of the term “cenote” in Mayan is “d’zonot,” which means “well.”

Cenote Cristalino is just a 6 miles (9 km) north of the Playa del Carmen town center. It is easy accessible by car, taxi and bus.

You can find around 6,000 Cenotes of different shapes, types and sizes in Mexico. The vast majority of the Cenotes are found in Yucatan Peninsula close to the popular tourist destinations of Cancun, Tulum and Playa del Carmen !

Hiring a driver for the day who will take you to any and all cenotes you wish for a set fee, is actually an excellent alternative to renting a car.

You can actually ask for a driver referral from a staff member at your hotel or by bargaining a day rate with a Playa del Carmen taxi driver.

Playa del Carmen has a large number of cabs. You can negotiate a day pricing with the driver by telling specifying where you want to go and how long you want to stay there.

You can use the driver all the way back to Playa del Carmen if you get their phone number and get along with them.

You want those amazing pictures for you Instagram? Make sure you visit the Cenote of your choice on a weekday (weekends can get crowded) and either very early in the morning or very late in the evening!

To spend some time alone in a Mexican cenote, you’ll need to properly plan your vacation (or among a small group of people).

The optimum times to visit cenotes are early in the day, within 1-2 hours of opening, or late in the day, within 1-2 hours of closing.

The majority of cenotes, especially those that are popular with tour groups and “on” the beaten path, have their peak daytime visitation.

Yes! Totally safe. Contrary to the ocean where there could be big waves or a strong undertow, cenotes are actually encased within caverns that protect the calm waters from the elements.

Because of this, they are frequently the ideal setting for a tranquil swimming session.

Do you need to book a tour to visit a cenote? No! If you want to save money and be flexible with your itinerary, you can travel freely and independently to a cenote. The best cenotes are found in gorgeous but remote locations, so you’ll need to rent a car to get there. This is something to keep in mind.

No. All the main cenotes close to Tulum, Cancun, and Playa del Carmen have entrance fees that range from 100 pesos ($5 USD) to 600 pesos ($32 USD).

Cenotes are not only extraordinarily rare and breathtaking, but also a lot of fun.

Spending the day at a cenote is just wonderful if you’re searching for adventure because there are lots of fun things to do.

In some cenotes you swim wherever it feels most comfortable because they have both shallow and deep waters.

Bring your snorkeling equipment and explore the cenotes if you wish to see the fish that reside there.

The water is so clean that it’s so easy to view undersea life.

Suba diving is anothe popular activities at cenotes. Some are fairly deep, making them ideal for venturing into undiscovered waters.

Some cenotes feature natural cliffs that you can leap from of if the water is deep enough and you’re feeling daring, depending on how the cenotes is formed.

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