El Gran Cenote Guide
If you are visiting Tulum, Cancun, Playa del Carmen, or any other town in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico, then visiting Gran Cenote in Tulum is a must!
El Gran Cenote is a truly one-of-a-kind experience, and we can confidently tell you that this cenote will for sure take your breath away… it is truly stunning!
Just a few miles from Tulum, and the Tulum archeological site this iconic cenote offers an unforgettable experience. Whether you’re seeking a day of adventure or just some time to relax and take in Mexico’s beauty, make sure you make a stop at the Gran Cenote.
Let’s start with the cenote itself. Gran Cenote is famous for being a dreamy paradise of crystal clear water, ideal for swimming, snorkeling, and diving.
You can find out about the other cenotes (cenote Zahic-Ha, cenote Dos Ojos, cenote Azul, cenote Cristal, cenote Carwash etc) you can visit in the Riviera Maya in our Tulum Best Cenote guide of the Yucatan Peninsula.
Prepare to feel like you are swimming in a massive aquarium as large fish will swim right up to your face and be willing models for your photographs! Make sure you bring along your underwater camera, as you will want to capture the remarkable marine life that swims under the surface of the pool.
Gran Cenote is a paradise of smaller interconnected cenotes linked together by winding walkways. The water here is so pristine and clear that you can observe much of the aquatic life without having to dive too deep. But if scuba diving or snorkeling is more your style, don’t worry – we’ve got you covered!
After swimming with the beautiful fish, take a leisurely stroll around the Gran Cenote. It is nested in lush greenery, and you will get many opportunities to spot colorful birds and monkeys.
Now let’s get down to the nitty-gritty! The get access to the Gran Cenote, you need to pay a small fee at the entrance. The site is one of the most organized cenotes, with changing rooms, bathrooms, and even a small shop for souvenirs.
We highly advise bringing your own snorkeling gear, but there is also snorkeling gear for rent at the cenote, as well as lockers if needed (with friendly staff who will help out in case you forget your locker key!).
For our readers who love diving, we have good news, the majestic Riviera Maya is home to many great diving spots, and the Gran Cenote is definitely one of them.
To conclude, Gran Cenote is a must-see destination for travelers to Tulum, Cancun, and Playa del Carmen. Not only does it boast the unique and stunning beauty of its natural features, but it also gives visitors a chance to dive or snorkel in refreshingly clear waters – surrounded by lush jungle vegetation! And if energy levels start running low while exploring the Yucatan Peninsula wonderland, I’m always available with my signature humor to give you that much-needed boost!
Picture a very vast river-like cenote, open to the skies and flanked by two snorkeling pools on both sides. Start out by swimming in the crystal clear waters of the large open-air pools of the Gran Cenote.
If you are feeling more adventurous, then it’s time to explore the interconnected caverns. If you want to fully explore the captivating caves of the Grand Cenote, then be sure to sign up for a dive. However, if diving isn’t your thing – no worries! Snorkeling at the Gran Cenote is just a majestic experience with all the marine life and rock formations.
Once your group or family has spent enough time in the blue waters, make your trek to the lush vegetation around the cenote and bask in the warm sunshine and dry off after your swim. There are also hammocks available for rent, but they rent out very fast! If you are not lucky with the hammocks, then the lown is an ideal opportunity for relaxing and unwinding.
Expert Tip: While exploring the caverns, you will probably encounter bats (some large) that live in the caves. If you are comfortable swimming around these winged friends, then go for it. If not, then we advise against exploring the caverns.
Maximize your experience at Grand Cenote with these helpful tips!
Gran Cenote is only 3 miles (5 km) from the beautiful town of Tulum Mexico and makes for an excellent addition to any day trip from Tulum or on your way to the magnificent Coba.
Exploring the cenotes is made simple with a taxi or rental car.
We traveled around the Yucatan Peninsula in our own vehicle and would highly recommend it to anyone considering a trip there – we truly enjoyed our experience! Moving around with own set of wheels, you’ll have no trouble discovering all that these incredible sites offer.
Taxi is the most efficient way to get to the Gran Cenote from Tulum. Just ask one of your hotel staff for a taxi driver recommendation.
It’s a 30 minute journey by bike from Tulum to Gran Cenote
The entrance fee to the Gran Cenote in 2023 is 500 pesos or $25 USD. The fee included rent for a lifejacket and snorkeling equipment.
Usually, 2-3 hours at the Gran Cenote gives you enough time to enjoy all the cenote has to offer and spend some to relax on a hammock. You can, of course, spend more time if you feel like it.
The best time to visit any popular cenote (and the Gran Cenote is very popular) is early in the morning or late in the evening. Weekends also tend to be much more crowded.
Leave your sunscreen and mosquito repellent at home. The ecosystem of the cenote is very sensitive, and no chemicals are allowed. Before you take the plunge into a cenote, you need to also take a shower. If you feel you are going to get a sunburn, wear a long sleeve top.
You can’t swim? No problem, as there are life jackets for rent (50 pesos) at the cenote
The good news is that the parking spot is very large and you will be able to find a spot even on a busy day.
Food and Drinks
At Gran Cenote, there is an on-site stall with delicious snacks, drinks and beer for guests. Visitors are also allowed to bring their own food onto the grounds, where comfy picnic tables await them. That way, you can enjoy a meal with friends while taking in the beautiful scenery!
Read Next our favorite cenotes in Mexico:
And of course if you are up for a road trip make your way to Chichen Itza and the magical cenotes of the Chichen Itza park. We have also put together guides for the best cenotes for families in Tulum.
And don’t forget to stay up to date with the latest safety updates on Mexico.
After you’ve explored the majestic Gran Cenote, why not take part in some thrilling activities?