17 Best Cenotes Near Cancun

by | Nov 11, 2020 | Mexico, Yucatan

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With its majestic Caribbean beaches, ancient Mayan ruins and easy access to some magnificent cenotes, Cancun is the perfect base from which to explore the Riviera Maya and beyond. From the nearby Ruta de los Cenotes in Puero Morales to the turquoise waters of Cenote Azul and Cenote Cristalino in Playa Del Carmen, there are some amazing cenotes near Cancun just waiting to be explored.

Cancun Cenotes tip: we’ve also included our favorite cenotes close to the Mayan ruins at Chichén Itzá, Coba and Ek Balam, all popular day trips from Cancun.

Cenotes Cancun

Cenote Zacil Ha

 

What are the Cenotes?

A cenote, pronounced seh-NO-tay, are water-filled sinkholes that naturally occur in limestone rock when an underground cave collapses in on itself and exposes the groundwater underneath. There are thousands of cenotes dotted around the Yucatan Peninsula. The water in the cenotes tends to be cool as the water comes from underground so they are great for a quick swim to cool off from the hot Mexican sunshine.

In Mayan times a number of the cenotes were used for sacrificial purposes and objects such as gold, pottery and even human and animal remains have been found at the bottom of some cenotes.

The cenotes in the Yucatan Peninsula are a mix of open, semi-open or underground:

  • Open cenotes:  caves which have completely collapsed in on themselves and are exposed to the sky. These are our favourite as you can swim in the open air. Some of our favourite open cenotes near Tulum are Cenote Azul, Cenote Zacil-Ha and Car Wash Cenote.

Cenote Car Wash

  • Semi-open cenotes: these cenotes are mostly underground but have small openings in the ceiling where light and fresh air come in.  These cenotes can be particularly beautiful as the light beams illuminate the crystal clear water below. Our favour semi-open cenotes were Cenote Suytun, Cenote Hubiku and Cenote Xkeken.
  • Underground cenotes: these cenotes are completely underground in a cave system and have no natural light to illuminate the cenote water. The three cenotes near the Coba ruins (Multum-Ha, Tamchach-Ha and Choo-Ha) are amazing underground cenotes you can easily visit.

 

17 Best Cenotes Near Cancun

Cancun is home to stunning beaches, Mayan ruins, sprawling resorts and an amazing party scene but visitors have to travel outside Cancun to experience a cenote. Exploring the nearby Cenotes is one of our favorite things to do in Cancun

Fortunately, there are many incredible Cenotes near Cancun which can be easily reached by rental car (check prices now!) – we rented a car in Cancun and used it to travel all around the Yucatan Peninsula. Other options include the small local buses known as Colectivo that run across the Yucatan or by joining a tour.

Cancun cenotes tip: In Cancun, the Colectivos leave from a parking lot near the ADO bus station.

There are many beautiful cenotes near Cancun

 

1 | Cenote Azul

Drive time from Cancun: 1 hour 15mins

Cenote Azul, which translates to the blue cenote, is a large open air cenote with sparkling turquoise waters, a fun cliff jump and multiple pools to explore. The main cenote has two swimming areas: the deeper pool has a cliff jump and the shallow waters of the second pool make Azul a popular cenote for families.

Located one hour south of Cancun, the entrance to Cenote Azul is just off the main highway from Playa Del Carmen.

Cenote Azul ticket cost: entry to Cenote Azul costs $120 pesos per person

If you are planning a visit, check out our detailed guide to Cenote Azul – click here to read!

How to get to Cenote Azul from Cancun: Cenote Azul is easily accessed by rental car  (check prices now!). If you are planning to travel by Colectivo then you will need to take a bus from Cancun to Playa Del Carmen and a second towards Tulum. Tell the driver where you want to get out.

Cenotes Cancun

Cenote Azul

 

2 | Cenote Ik Kil (Chichén Itzá)

Drive time from Cancun: 2 hour 45 minutes

The Mayan ruins at Chichén Itzá are an extremely popular day trip from Cancun and one of the most spectacular cenotes on the Yucatan Peninsula. The nearby Cenote Ik Kil is among the most spectacular cenotes on the Yucatan Peninsula.

The roof of Cenote Ik Kil has collapsed entirely and tree roots cascade into the cenote waters making for a spectacular scene. Both Chichen Itza and Cenote Ik Kil easily accessible from Cancun and, even if you don’t have your own transport, most tours include a stop at Cenote Ik Kil.

Cenotes Cancun

Cenote Ik Kil

Cancun Cenotes tip: Cenote Ik Kil can get very busy in the middle of the day with the many tours and individuals which arrive as part of a trip to Chichen Itza. We recommend arriving at Cenote Ek Kil early – it is best to arrive at 9am for the cenote opening. We stayed at the Mayaland Hotel and Bungalows in order to visit Chichen Itza at sunrise followed by a visit to Cenote Ik Kil which is a 5-minute drive from the hotel –book your stay now!

Cenote Ik Kil ticket cost: Cenote Ik Kil entry is $80 pesos per person.

How to get to Cenote Ik Kil: Cenote Ik Kil is easily reached by rental car  (check prices now!). It is also possible to take the dedicated ADO coach which travels from Cancun to Chicen Itza although be prepared for an almost 6 hour return journey time. Probably the easiest way (aside from a rental car) to visit Cenote Ik Kil is part of a tour to Chichen Itza. There are a number of tours from Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Tulum that include Cenote Ik Kil as part of a day trip itinerary – check prices now!

Book your tour now!

 

If you are planning a visit, check out our detailed guide to Cenote Ik Kil – click here to read!

Cenotes Cancun

Cenote Ik Kil

 

3 | Ruta De Los Cenotes

Drive time from Cancun: 30 minutes to the start of Ruta De Los Cenotes

More than 10 cenotes are dotted along the 20km road close to the fishing village of Puerto Morales. The route is just 30 minutes drive south of Cancun making these are the closest cenotes to Cancun.

Some of the highlights of Ruta De Los Cenotes include:

  • Cenote Kin Ha: a cave cenote with deep waters, can be entered via wooden steps or jumping from the wooden platforms above!
  • Cenote Las Mojarras: an open air cenote with ziplines and a diving platform.
  • Cenote Siete Bocas: its name translates to the 7 mouths in reference to the 7 entrances to the underground river.
  • Cenote La Noira: a cave cenote similar to Kin Ha with a zipline, jumping platform and resident bats.
  • Cenote Selvatica: located in Selvatica adventure park, combine a cenote swim with ATV rides and zip line adventures.

Ruta De Los Cenotes ticket cost: entry prices vary depending on the cenote and the activities chosen.

Cenotes Cancun tip: Many of the cenotes on Ruta De Los Cenotes have been transformed into eco adventure parks and offer a range of activities including zip lining, ATVs and even horse riding.

How to get to Ruta De Los Cenotes from Cancun: Ruta De Los Cenotes is easily accessed by rental car from Cancun  (check prices now!). Joining a tour from Cancun is another option and some even include ziplining and ATV adventures – check prices now

Puerto Morelos is the the starting point of Ruta de Los Cenotes

 

4 | Gran Cenote

Drive time from Cancun: 1 hour 45 minutes

The ever popular Gran Cenote is a collection of caves, caverns and an open-air cenote connected by meandering wooden boardwalks and surrounded by lush greens. 

The layout of the Cenote makes it easy to swim into the caves and check out the rock formations. Snorkeling is popular at Gran Cenote and it’s often possible to spot some of Gran Cenote’s resident turtles in its crystal clear water.

Cenotes Cancun

Gran Cenote

Gran Cenote ticket cost: entry to Gran Cenote costs $180 pesos per person

How to get to Gran Cenote: we traveled by rental car to Gran Cenote. If you are traveling by Colectivo you will need to take the Cancun to Playa Del Carmen Colectivo followed by the Playa Del Carmen to Tulum Colectivo. take a taxi or the Tulum to Coba Colectivo in the direction of Coba when you arrive in Tulum. 

Gran Cenote

 

5 | Cenote Yal Ku

Drive time from Cancun: 1 hour 30 minutes

The quiet beach town of Akumal is home to white sand beaches, a coral reef with resident turtles and the turquoise waters of Yal Ku Lagoon.

Leading straight to the Caribbean Sea, the large open air cenote has shallow waters and an abundance of marine life. Cenote Yal Ku is a great option for families and snorkelling.

Cenote Yal Ku ticket cost: entry to Cenote Yal Ku costs $300 pesos per person

How to get to Cenote Yal Ku from Cancun: Cenote Yal Ku is most easily accessed by rental car from Cancun (check prices now!) and is located at the end of the road to Akumal. If you are traveling by Colectivo ask the driver to stop at Akumal and then take a taxi from the town.

Cenote Yal Ku

 

6 | Cenote Zacil Ha

Drive time from Cancun: 1 hour 45 minutes

A neighbor of Gran Cenote, Cenote Zacil Ha is an open air swimming pool style cenote with crystal clear waters, hammocks to relax in and a zipline. There are good facilities at Cenote Zacil Ha including a small restaurant and regular swimming pools to lounge around.

Cenote Zacil Ha ticket cost: tickets cost $80 pesos

How to get to Cenote Zacil Ha:  It is easily accessed by rental car (check prices now!). If you are traveling by Colectivo you will need to take the Cancun to Playa Del Carmen Colectivo followed by the Playa Del Carmen to Tulum Colectivo. take a taxi or the Tulum to Coba Colectivo in the direction of Coba when you arrive in Tulum. 

Cenotes Cancun

Cenote Zacil-Ha

 

7 | Cenote Dos Ojos

Drive time from Cancun: 1 hour 45 minutes

Located between Playa Del Carmen and Tulum, Cenote Dos Ojos is one of the best diving cenotes on the Yucatan Peninsula.

Its name translates as Cenote Two Eyes in reference to the double sinkholes connected by a boardwalk which take the appearance of two eyes. The double sinkholes join to form an underground cavern. Many visitors opt to join a snorkeling tour down into the caves. With its deep cave system, Dos Ojos is very popular with divers.

Cenotes Cancun

Cenote Dos Ojos

Cenote Dos Ojos ticket cost: tickets are $450 pesos and this includes all cenotes in the Dos Ojos park – Sac Actun, Taaj Bi Ha and Nicte Ha are also incredible and worth a visit if you have time. Individual tickets for Dos Ojos only are $350 pesos.

Cenote Nicte Ha

How to get to Cenote Dos Ojos: Cenote Dos Ojos is most easily accessed by rental car (check prices now!). If you are traveling by Colectivo from Cancun then you will need to take a Colectivo to Playa Del Carmen and then a second in the direction of Tulum. The drop off point is on highway 307 at the entrance to the Dos Ojos park – be aware, it is a 30 minute walk along a dirt road to the cenote. There are also tours to Tulum which include a stop at Cenote Dos Ojos – check prices now!

Cenotes Cancun

Cenote Dos Ojos

 

8 | Cenote Cristalino

Drive time from Cancun: 1 hour  15 minutes

Cenote Crisatlino is located very close to previously mentioned Cenote Azul and is definitely worth a stop. This cenote is an open air cenote and home to some of the most beautiful crystal clear blue waters in Mexico.

Cenotes Cancun tip: Cenote Cristalino can easily be combined with a visit to the nearby Cenote Azul and Cenote Jardin Del Eden.

Cenote Cristalino ticket cost: entry to Cenote Cristalino costs $150 pesos per person

How to get to Cenote Cristalino: Cenote Cristalino is easily accessed by rental car (check prices now!) or a local Colectivo. If you are planning to travel by Colectivo then you will need to take a bus from Cancun to Playa Del Carmen and a second towards Tulum. Tell the driver where you want to get out.

Cenote Cristalino

 

9 | Cenote Suytun (Chichén Itzá or Coba)

Drive time from Cancun: 2 hour 45 minutes

Cancun Cenotes tip: Cenote Suytun is located close to Valladolid and is a great stop en route to either Chichén Itzá or Coba when traveling from Cancun.

If you want to combine a swim in a Cenote with an awesome Instagram shot then Cenote Suytun is a must visit. When the sun is directly above the Cenote the cave is lit up by beautiful light beams that stream down through the roof of the cenote onto the circular platform below.  

Cenotes Cancun

Cenote Suytun

Cenote Suytun ticket prices: entry is $120 pesos per person.

Cancun Cenotes tip: The light beams at Cenote Suytun mean that a late morning/afternoon visit is best – this is when the light beams are most likely to shine directly onto the circular platform creating a magical experience. 

How to get to Cenote Suytun: Cenote Suytun is easily accessed by rental car (check prices now!). Alternatively, take an ADO bus to Valladolid and, from there, a local Colectivo or a quick taxi ride will take you to the gate of the cenote. There are also a number of tours from Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Tulum that include Cenote Suytun as part of a day trip to Chichen Itza – check prices now!

Book your tour now!

 

If you are planning a visit, check out our detailed guide to Cenote Suytun – click here to read!

Cenotes Cancun

Cenote Suytun

 

10 | Cenote Jardin Del Eden

Drive time from Cancun: 1 hour  15 minutes

Together with the neighboring Cenote Azul and Cenote Cristalino, Cenote Jardin Del Eden is one of the most popular Playa Del Carmen cenotes.

The large open air swimming pool is surrounded by lush green vegetation and looks exactly as you’d imagine the Garden of Eden to be.

As well as swimming in its clear waters, Cenote Jardin Del Eden is great for cliff jumping and snorkeling. It’s cave system is very popular with scuba divers.

Cenote Jardin Del Eden ticket cost: entry to Cenote Jardin Del Eden costs $100 pesos per person.

Cenotes Cancun tip: Cenote Jardin Del Eden can easily be combined with a visit to the nearby Cenote Azul and Cenote Cristalino. 

How to get to Cenote Jardin Del Eden: Cenote Jardin Del Eden is easily accessed by rental car (check prices now!) or a local Colectivo. If you are planning to travel by Colectivo then you will need to take a bus from Cancun to Playa Del Carmen and a second towards Tulum. Tell the driver where you want to get out.

Cenote Jardin Del Eden

 

11 | Casa Cenote

Drive time from Cancun: 1 hour  15 minutes

Casa Cenote is one of the most unique cenotes near Cancun. The crystal clear turquoise waters are surrounded by lush trees and mangrove and it can be combined with a visit to the beach, a short distance away. Visitors can swim, kayak or paddle board in the cenote and, at only 6 meters deep, it is family friendly. Snorkeling is popular at Casa Cenote and it also attracts divers with its underwater cave system which leads directly to the ocean.

Casa Cenote ticket cost: entrance to Casa Cenote is $120 pesos.

How to get to Casa Cenote: Casa Cenote is easily accessed by rental car (check prices now!) or a local Colectivo (if you don’t mind the walk from the highway).or a local Colectivo. If you are planning to travel by Colectivo then you will need to take a Colectivo from Cancun to Playa Del Carmen and a second towards Tulum. Tell the driver you want to get out at Casa Cenote – it is about a 20 minute walk along a dirt road surrounded by jungle.

Casa Cenote

 

12 | Cenote Tajma Ha 

Drive time from Cancun: 1 hour 15 minutes

Cenote Tajma Ha was originally known as Cenote Taj Mahal by cave divers mesmerized by the natural wonder. It is most popular with divers as it’s one of the best cenotes near Cancun for scuba diving. There are a number of companies that run dive tours into the cenote and the fresh water dives are most suited to intermediate and advanced divers. If have a diving certification, Cenote Tajma Ha is the best cenote to visit.

How to get to Cenote Tajma Ha: Cenote Tajma Ha is easily reached by rental car (check prices now!) or a local Colectivo from Cancun. You will need to first take a Colectivo from Cancun to Playa Del Carmen and then a second towards Tulum. Just tell the driver you want to get out at Cenote Tajma Ha.

Cenote Tajma Ha

 

13 | Coba Cenotes (Coba)

Drive time from Cancun: 2 hours

For those who enjoy exploring the Yucatan’s incredible Mayan ruins then Coba, one of the most important ruins on the Yucatan, and its cenotes are a great day trip from Cancun. There are 3 great cenotes located close to the Coba ruins entrance: Cenote Choo-Ha, Tamcach-Ha and Multum-Ha are a series of small cenotes which are perfect for a refreshing swim after exploring the incredible jungle ruins.

Cenotes Cancun

Coba

Cenote Choo-Ha, Tamcach-Ha and Multum-Ha are all underground cenotes: two are caves while Multum-Ha has a small opening in the roof.

 Coba Cenotes ticket cost: a ticket covering all three cenotes is $100 pesos.

How to get to Coba cenotes: These cenotes are most easily reached by rental car from Cancun (check prices now!). Cenote Tamcach-Ha is included in this awesome tour from Tulum and Coba from Cancun – check prices here!

Cenotes Cancun

Cenote Choo Ha

 

14 | Cenote Sac Actun

Drive time from Cancun: 1 hour 45 minutes

Part of Mexico’s longest underground cave system, Sac Actun is an underground cenote close to Cenote Dos Ojos. In fact, the cave system connects the two cenote. where stalactites hang like icicles from its roof. 

Cenote Sac Actun ticket price:  tickets to Cenote Sac Actun cost $450 pesos and includes a guide, snorkelling equipment and a life jacket.

How to get to Cenote Sac Actun: Cenote Sac Actun is most easily accessed by rental car (check prices now!). If you are traveling by Colectivo from Cancun then you will need to take a Colectivo to Playa Del Carmen and then a second in the direction of Tulum. The drop off point is on highway 307 at the entrance to the Dos Ojos park – be aware, it is a 30 minute walk along a dirt road to the cenote.

 

15 | Cenote Xcanche (Ek Balam)

Drive time from Cancun: 2 hour 30 minutes

Ek Balam is a popular excursion with many visitors to Cancun wanting to experience a less well known Mayan ruin. A beautiful cenote, the Ek Balam Cenote Xcanche, is located in the same village and is accessed close to the entrance of the Ek Balam archaeological zone.

Cenotes Cancun

Cenote Xcanache

Cancun Cenotes tip: the cenote entrance is located before the ticket checks for Ek Balam so you can visit the ruins and the cenote independently.

Cenote Xcanche is a stunning open cenote with a waterfall streaming into the cenote. As well as swimming, zip-lining and swing jumps are also popular at this quiet cenote.

Xcanche is the perfect place to relax and cool off after a busy morning exploring Ek Balam ruins and we highly recommend taking the time to visit this cenote.

Ek Balam ruins

Cenote Xcanche ticket cost: a ticket to Cenote Xcanche is $70 pesos. It’s a bit of a walk to the cenote so you may want to hop in one of the waiting taxi bikes – the return taxi bike, including the entrance ticket, cost us $150 pesos in total.

How to get to Cenote Xcanche: Cenote Xcanche is located around 2 km from the entrance to the Ek Balam ruins. You can walk, cycle or take a bike taxi. We took a bike taxi over after exploring the Ek Balam ruins. From Cancun, Ek Balam is easily accessed by rental car (check prices now!) or by taking a bus to Valladolid and making the rest of the journey by Colectivo or taxi. There are tours to Ek Balam from Cancun (like this one) but we didn’t come across any which allow time for a visit to the cenote.

Cenotes Cancun

Cenote Xcanache

 

16 | Cenote Calavera

Drive time from Cancun: 2 hours

Cenote Calavera is a unique Tulum cenote. Its name translates as the ‘Skull’ Cenote in reference to the three sinkholes, resembling two eyes and a mouth, which open over the cenote. There is a 4 meter drop down into the water: use the ladder on the edge of the cenote or, if you prefer, you can launch yourself off the side and jump straight in!

Cenote Calavera ticket cost: tickets cost $100 pesos and it is an extra $100 pesos for a dive.

How to get to Cenote Calavera: Cenote Calavera is easily accessed by rental car (check prices now!). By Colectivo: from Cancun you will need to a Colectivo to Playa Del Carmen, another to Tulum and then take either a taxi or a Colectivo in the direction of Coba and tell the driver where you want to get out.

 

17 | Cenote Zaci

Drive time from Cancun: 2 hours

The charming and vibrant town of Valladolid is a popular stop between Cancun and both Coba and Chichén Itzá. Cenote Zaci, a semi open cenote where half the cenote is open to the sky, is located in the center of the town. Swimming under the sky and lush green vegetation is a lovely experience and, on the enclosed side, there are stalactites hanging down from the roof.

Cancun Cenotes tip: if you are planning on visiting Valladolid on an overnight trip there are some awesome Cenotes within easy of the city. Cenote Suytun, Cenote Oxman, Cenote Xkeken and Cenote Samula are among our favorite cenotes in Valladolid.

Cenote Zaci ticket prices: Tickets are $30 pesos. If you spend $100 pesos at the Restaurant Zaci at the entrance you receive free entry into the cenote.

How to get Cenote Zaci: Cenote Zaci is is located right in the center of Valladolid It’s easy to get to to by car  and there is a parking lot. Cenote Zaci is less than 10 minutes walk from Valladolid’s main square. 

Cenotes Cancun

Cenote Zaci

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