Cenote Cristalino

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Cristalino Cenote Playa del Carmen - 2023 Visitors Guide

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Cenote Cristalino Guide

Ready to uncover why Cenote Cristalino near Playa del Carmen should be your list of things to do? Its crystal-clear water, natural beauty and mystical atmosphere will for sure captivate you. The word cenote actually means “sacred well” in the Mayan language – so this spot is truly living up to its name! Taking a dip in one of these Yucatan Peninsula marvels will make for an unforgettable experience, especially at Cenote Cristalino located between Tulum and Playa del Carmen. 

Cenote Cristalino Pool
Cenote Cristalino Pool

Make Cenote Cristalino, located between Tulum and Playa del Carmen, your top choice for a memorable swimming experience that you won’t soon forget. Unlike other crowded cenotes of Playa del Carmen like Cenote Azul or Jardin de Eden, this one serves as an oasis of privacy while still offering plenty to explore. Not only is it the best option if you’re looking to take a dip but also provides unmatched natural beauty – making it perfect for anyone’s bucket list when visiting Mexico!


🇲🇽 Mexico Travel Resources We Use:


Cenote Cristalino Family-Friendly
Cenote Cristalino Family-Friendly

What Is a Cenote?

If you already know what a cenote is, feel free to skip this paragraph! Cenotes have become increasingly popular over the past few years. However, many people are still unaware of what they are and why they were so important to the Mayans. In my opinion, it’s essential to understand their history and meaning.

 Through centruries of limestone cave collapse, a natural pool forms and is filled with rainwater. The sinkhole further connects to underground rivers for an even greater awe-inspiring effect – behold your very own cenote!

Derived from the Mayan word Seh-no-teh which means well, cenotes are extraordinary bodies of water that come in a variety of shapes and sizes. In fact, there’s four distinct types to explore!

  • Open Cenotes – Open cenotes are beautiful, natural pools that can range in depth. Amazingly, some of these open cenotes even lead to an underground river system – making them perfect for diving! If you’re looking for great examples of open cenotes, take a look at Cenote Nicte Ha & Cenotes Cristal and Escondido near Tulum as well as the wonderful Cenote Cristalino.
  • Semi-open Cenotes – These cenotes are aptly named as some sections of them are visible, and others remain concealed by a cave. The renowned Cenote Calavera is one such example which happens to be my personal favorite!
  • Cave Cenotes – Make your way in through a land-level entrance, and behold the underground pool of Cenote Dos Ojos–an example of a cave cenote. Once you’re there, you can dive into its shallow and deep areas for an unforgettable experience!
  • Underground CenotesThe most difficult cenotes to reach are the ones that are underground. In order to access these cenotes, you need to be an experienced diver. For example, the Pet Cemetery Cenote near Tulum is an underground cenote.

Cenotes In Ancient Mayan History

The ancient Mayans utilized cenotes as natural wells for their water supplies since the Yucatan Peninsula has few rivers and lakes. In fact, renowned cities such as Chichen Itza were constructed around cenotes because of this dearth of freshwater sources.

The Mayans saw cenotes as gateways to the afterlife and a crucial role in their rituals. They would offer up valuable items, even human sacrifices, in order to appease their deities – evidence of which has been discovered by divers inside these sacred sinkholes from centuries ago. Such offerings were made with hopes of unlocking divine fortune for themselves or those around them.

Cenotes are incredibly dear to the ancient Mayans, for they saw them as portals to the underworld. Consequently, these sacred sites were used for worshipping and other spiritual rituals. Therefore, we must approach cenotes with reverence too – be conscious of your actions when visiting a cenote! Refrain from littering or leaving any kind of waste behind you; instead bring back anything that doesn’t belong there with you. Moreover, if swimming in a cenote make sure it is only done after applying biodegradable sunscreen on yourselves!

Cenote Cristalino Pool
Cenote Cristalino Pool

About Cristalino Cenote 

Seconds away from Playa del Carmen lies the wondrous Cenote Cristalino. Tourists flock here for its breathtakingly clear waters and serene atmosphere, especially when they visit during weekdays – it’s an oasis of tranquility! Best of all, you won’t need to break your bank account just to experience this charming sight – admission fees are quite reasonable.

What is Cenote Cristalino like?

At Cenote Cristalino, you will find three unique natural pools that provide an unparalleled experience. Upon entering the cenote, there is a small cave-like pool to explore. The second area contains a large open-air basin and connects with a smaller section via an inviting little cave surrounded by mangroves for added charm. As each of these pools offer something special in their own right, it’s easy to understand why this destination remains so popular!

A great tip is to bring snorkeling gear so you can see the mangroves from underwater- it’s a pretty neat perspective.

The third pool is smaller and located in the midst of trees. It’s not too deep, making it ideal for children or beginners who are practicing their snorkeling skills.

In addition to swimming and snorkeling, another popular activity at Cristalino Cenote is cliff jumping.

Cenote Cristalino The Jump
Cenote Cristalino The Jump

The cenote provides visitors with many amenities that can be enjoyed throughout their stay. This open-air oasis looks like a natural swimming pool, complete with rock formations and cliffs to jump off of into the refreshingly clear water below. And while you may want to dangle your feet in the crystal-clear waters, beware of the fish that swim around — there are plenty! Cristalino is aptly named for its beautiful clarity; it will surely leave an impression on all who visit this magical place.

If you’re looking to beat the sweltering summer heat in Mexico, then this cenote is your perfect oasis! The refreshingly cold water temperature and average depth of 4 meters (reaching 6 meters at its deepest) provide a unique swimming experience that can’t be found anywhere else.

Cenote Cristalino Cave

How to Get to Cenote Cristalino

Nestled near the stunning Cenote Azul, Kantun Chi and Jardin del Eden is the beautiful Cenote Cristalino. Whether you prefer to drive or take public transportation, there are numerous ways to reach this incredible destination!

Rent a Car

Renting a car is the most convinient way to visit the cenote. Don’t stress about where to park when you arrive at Cenote Cristalino – there are ample parking spots available. You can find the cenote just a few miles away from Playa del Carmen; head south on Highway 307, in the direction of Puerto Aventuras, before taking a left towards Barcelo Hotel’s entrance. In no time, you will have reached your destination!

Cenote Cristalino Pool
Cenote Cristalino Pool


If you want to explore Cenote Cristalino, taking a taxi is a great option. However, depending on where your starting point is – if it’s Tulum Beach or beyond – this could be quite costly due to the distance. For instance, traveling from Playa del Carmen or Tulum center would take around 25-35 minutes by taxi.

Is there Uber in Cancun, Tulum, Valladolid or Playa del Carmen?

Unfortunately, no. Even though the app is functional there has been a lot of push-back from the local taxi-mafia and some violence so for your safety, we would suggest against using it.


If you’re looking for an inexpensive journey to this mesmerizing cenote, take a colectivo from Playa del Carmen! It is just 40 MXN and all you have to do is head over to 2nd Street in the city. Every 8-10 minutes a van passes by; it’s quick, easy and incredibly economical. Plus, when your ride ends at the highway near the entrance of said cenote – where breathtaking views await – it’s only a short jaunt away before you can begin exploring its beauty!


A relaxed option would be to take a tour of Cenote Cristalino where you will be picked up and dropped off at your hotel with lunch provided. You’ll also get to visit two additional cenotes, a gorgeous lagoon, and Tulum’s best beach- all in one day!

Swimming in Cristalino Cenote

Cenote Cristalino Snorkeling

The pristine, crystalline waters of Cenote Cristalino make it perfect for snorkeling and swimming alike. What’s more – you can clearly observe the fish gliding in its depths!

Cenote Cristalino Diving

Unfortunately, this cenote is not suitable for diving due to its lack of depth.

The clarity of the cenotes’ water creates a precious ecosystem for the Yucatan peninsula, so it is crucial to preserve Cenote Cristalino and others. To ensure its preservation, we must keep these natural swimming holes free from any trash or waste—including sunscreen, mosquito repellent, and other body lotions.

Facilities Available at Cenote Cristalino

Unlike some other cenotes in the area, Cenote Cristalino is not overly crowded and commercialized. Yet that doesn’t mean there are no services or amenities on offer – quite the opposite!

Those traveling in their own car needn’t worry about parking because there are plenty of spots available right outside the cenote. Additionally, should anyone’s appetite be stirred up or they crave a snack, then food and refreshment stalls await to satisfy your needs (unfortunately its just snacks and no actual food like tacos)!

The path to the cenote is beautifully maintained and clearly marked, making it a breeze for you to find your way. Plus, there are plenty of sanitized toilets and showers should you wish to freshen up or get ready before diving in. If desired, locker rentals can be easily accessed in order to store any personal items during your swim (life jackets inclusive with entrance fee). Preferring more relaxation? You can rent sun loungers for only around 70 MXN and make use of the numerous shaded areas available – perfect for an afternoon nap!

Read Next our favorite cenotes in Mexico:

And don’t forget to stay up to date with the latest safety updates on Mexico.


How much does Cristalino Cenote?

As of right now, the admission fee for Cenote Cristalino is 200 MXN ($15 USD). Although life jackets are not mandatory to wear at this cenote, they are included in the entrance cost. In contrast, a few popular cenotes near Tulum require an additional charge if you’re bringing more advanced cameras such as DSLRs or GoPros (anything other than a phone). Hopefully that won’t change with regard to Cenote Cristalino!

Where is Cenote Cristalino?

If you’re looking for an amazing cenote experience and are located in or near Playa del Carmen, Cenote Cristalino is only a 20 minute drive away. You’ll be glad you made the trip to this beautiful natural wonder.

Here below you can see it in the map: Google Map

Cristalino Opening Hours

Cenote Cristalino opens its doors for exploration from 8 in the morning until 6 at night.

Best time to visit Cenote Cristalino?

Cenote Cristalino in Playa del Carmen is a renowned destination that sees huge crowds, especially during the high season. This popular cenote operates daily from 9 am till 5 pm with the last entry at 4 pm. To fully enjoy your visit and avoid busy rushes of tourists arriving late in the morning and lingering after lunch, it’s best to come shortly when it opens or later in the afternoon before closing time; this way you can really savor its beauty without any rush!

For those looking to take advantage of photo opportunities or prefer a less crowded experience, the best time is during the morning hours. Additionally, prior to closing time in late afternoon you will find that the crowds have significantly thinned out. Yet make sure to arrive before 4 pm for entry! Visiting mid-week often proves more peaceful as Mexican tourists usually need return back to work after their weekend getaways – so travel off season and avoid competing with other travelers if possible!

Can I Wear Biodegradable Sunscreen At Cenote Cristalino?

The answer is No! Sunscreen and other lotions or sprays that we apply on our skin contain chemicals that are damaging to the environment. Even biodegradable sunscreens can still leave a residue in the water which ultimately end up polluting crystal clear cenote water. Therefore, at Cenote Cristalino as well as many other swimming spots you must shower your body before entering the pool so all products will be removed from your skin for everyone else’s safety.

What we liked about Cenote Cristalino:

  • Perfect for families with kids
  • This cenote offers a peaceful atmosphere unlike many of the other crowded sites in the area.
  • This cenote is conveniently located near Cenote Azul and Jardin del Eden, so you can easily visit those other cenotes as well.
  • Easy access to this open cenote. Getting here is breeze
  • It is cheap

What we didn’t like:

  • No diving in this cenote
  • It’s not the biggest cenote. Cenote Dos Ojos or Gran Cenote are much bigger

What to Pack for Cenote Cristalino

For a successful and comfortable experience at the stunning Cenote Cristalino, don’t forget to bring along these essential items!

  • Swimwear: Without a doubt, this is an essential item to bring when you explore the cenotes!
  • Snorkel Mask or Goggles: The cenotes’ pristine waters will tempt you to explore the depths of these alluring sinkholes. To realize this, you will need some snorkeling gear.
  • Water Shoes: Although not required for this particular cenote since it is an open one, I always suggest investing in a pair of water shoes if you want to explore Mexico’s various cenotes. These grottos can be full of sharp rocks, so having some comfortable footwear will make your journey much safer and enjoyable. Additionally, these waterproof shoes are also ideal for snorkeling on the coral reef!
  • Water Bottle: If you’re planning a visit to Mexico, make sure you’re prepared for its tropical climate – hot and humid! To reduce your plastic waste, bring along a refillable water bottle. Remember though that the tap water in Mexico isn’t safe to drink – ensure that wherever you are refilling it is with clean drinking water or invest in a LifeStraw filter bottle so that any tap water is filtered before consumption.
  • Camera: The unique beauty of these cenotes is simply irresistible and begging to be captured in photos. If you have a waterproof camera or GoPro, you can take the pictures even further by bringing them into the water with you for some truly extraordinary shots!

Other Things to Do Near Cristalino

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

    • 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!

Traveling to 🇲🇽 Mexico soon?

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

🏨 Hotels: I have found that Expedia and Booking.com 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.