75 Best Cenotes in Mexico

Updated June 25, 2019  –  by Justin Carmack

I am standing in Tulum, and I started wondering to myself, where are the best cenotes in Mexico? There are so many to choose from, how do I know what ones are the most interesting, least crowded, and fun to visit?

There is only one way to find out: Visit them all! In this article I will give you all the information I could find, in this ultimate cenote guide!

So here are all the cenotes in Mexico you should put on your list!

IN THIS GUIDE:

10 most popular cenotes
Cenotes near Tulum
Cenotes near Cancun
Cenotes near Playa Del Carmen
Cenotes near Merida
Cenotes near Vallodolid
Cenotes near Coba

Cenotes on Cozumel
Bonus Cenote
Frequently asked questions
Best cenote tours
Getting around
Where to stay

What is a cenote anyway?

A cenote is similar to an underground and underwater cave or cavern, that is partially or completely full of water. Thought to have started to form after the great meteor impact in the Gulf of Mexico, over 12,000 years ago, the Yukatan is pocked with over 6000 known cenotes.

If you want to get into the scientific theories, once the meteor hit, the icecaps melted, flooding the lands. Over-time the ice reformed, and the waters rescinded from the lands. The Yukatan, being many layers of compact sandstone, started eroding away underground rivers, passageways, caves, and cenotes, as the water levels dropped.

An actual cenote is formed when an underground cavern’s ceiling becomes too thin and collapses, partially opening it to the open air, and letting us in.

what is a cenote

“Cenotes” only refer to the open air sinkholes, and for the most part can be visited by non-divers. A “cavern” is the off-shoot or wide opening from the cenote, with what divers call an over-head environment.

“Caves” are just passages, huge or tiny, that are the underground riverways or streams that connect the cenotes, on their way to the ocean. Only highly trained cave divers should enter those.

There are other cenotes and sinkholes around the world, in places like Bahamas and Belize, but the cenotes in Mexico are the most famous, mostly due to their huge network of connected passageways, that has given divers infinite opportunities for underground exploration.

Quick Answer: Most popular cenotes in Mexico

I am about to give you an overload of information, on the top 75 cenotes in Mexico, because they all have their own unique features and attractions.

But if you just want the quick answer of a few that can’t be missed, here they are.

You can’t go wrong for any of the above, both for swimming or diving. Click the names for more information on each.

For more options, lesser known cenotes, and maybe fewer crowds, keep reading below!

Cenotes closer to Tulum

Dream Gate Cenote
Dream Gate Cenote

Tulum is probably the most popular location to be based if you want to explore cenotes, so let’s start here.

Tulum is kind of a smaller, quieter version of the nearby Playa Del Carmen, and that makes it attractive to many who prefer less hustle and bustle.

But don’t worry, if you want to stay in Tulum, you can still visit any cenotes in the Yukatan easy enough, as distances are not real great here.

ALSO READ – Guide to Scuba Diving Tulum  |  21 Cool Things to do in Tulum

1. Cenote Dos Ojos

Dos Ojos doesn’t have too much for snorkelers, but it is one of my favorite cenotes for diving by far. It has 2 areas to dive, and each is shallow and weaves through some awesome formations, and even letting you surface in some dark caves.

  • Opening hours: 9 AM to 5 PM
  • Entrance fee: 200 pesos
  • Good for Scuba diving: Yes
  • Good for swimming: Yes
  • Facilities: Yes
  • Car parking: Yes

Read our full guide to Cenote Dos Ojos

2. Cenote Casa

Casa is really popular for snorkelers and swimmers, with all the trees and roots extending into the water making it look pretty. It is actually pretty long, winding through the jungle, so seems more like a lazy river. No guide needed.

  • Opening hours: It is open from 9:00am to 5:00pm daily.
  • Entrance fee: The entrance fee is only 150.00 pesos per person and the life jacket is included but snorkel gear is an additional charge.
  • Good for Scuba diving: Yes, very good.
  • Good for swimming: Yes
  • Facilities: Yes
  • Car parking: Yes

Read our full guide to Casa Cenote

3. Cenote Nicte Ha

Cenote Nicte Ha is one of the lesser known cenotes in Mexico. It is beautiful, quiet, and located off-the-beaten path. But for those who dare to explore it, or for those seeking to avoid the crowd, you will be rewarded by the breathtaking beauty of this cenote.

  • Opening hours: 8 AM to 5 PM
  • Entrance fee: 100 pesos
  • Good for Scuba diving: Yes
  • Good for swimming: Yes
  • Facilities: Yes but basic
  • Car parking: Yes

Read our full guide to Cenote Nicte Ha

4. Cenote Carwash

Carwash isn’t my favorite dive, but it’s definitely worth doing at least once. It has a large pool, and to one side a underwater medium size cavern extends out where divers can explore with a partial over-heard environment around stalagmites and formations.

  • Opening hours: 9 AM to 5 PM
  • Entrance fee: 50 pesos (or 120 pesos for divers)
  • Good for Scuba diving: Yes
  • Good for swimming: Yes
  • Facilities: Yes, but basic
  • Car parking: Yes

Read our full guide to Cenote Carwash

5. Cenote Jailhouse

Cenote Jailhouse has beautiful Picasso-like surrealist passages lined with stalactites & stalagmites on one side and smoothed by time on the other.

If you are a cave explorer, this is one of the best cave systems you will ever get to visit.

6. Cenote Cristal (Naharon)

Cenote Cristal and Cenote Escondido are two cenotes you can visit near Tulum. These two cenotes have the same entrance and ticket booth but are on opposite sides of the 307 Highway. Of the two cenotes, Cenote Cristal is probably the more popular. Cenote Cristal is a beautiful cenote with space around it to lay out  in the sun after swimming.

  • Opening hours: 10 AM to 5 PM
  • Entrance fee: 50 pesos (inclusive of entrance to Cenote Escondido)
  • Good for Scuba diving: Yes
  • Good for swimming: Yes
  • Facilities: Yes (there is even a camping site and restaurants near the cenote)
  • Car parking: Yes

Read our full guide to Cenote Cristal

7. Cenote Caterpillar

This cenote is part of the Sistema Caterpillar, which also includes Cenote La Bajada, Cenote Bobcat, Cenote Escamas, and Cenote Dzulo, all connected by beautiful cave passages (for cave explorers only).

To get there drive south of the village of Muyil on 307, and look for a road to the right and follow it half a kilometer, where there is a abandoned rock quarry. Cenote Caterpillar is really only for cave and tec divers, but if that’s you, you can see some amazing formations, and even the remains of an ancient bear.

You must pay the entry fee that the Diconca supermarket, located across the street from the Muyil ruins entrance.

8. Cenote Escondido

Since you have to pay one entry fee for both Cristal and Escondido, you might as well visit both. They are both good for diving, swimming, snorkeling and just lazing around.

  • Opening hours: 8 AM to 5 PM
  • Entrance fee: 120 pesos for Cenote Escondido (inclusive of Cenote Cristal – 200 pesos for divers)
  • Good for Scuba diving: Yes
  • Good for swimming: Yes
  • Facilities: Yes
  • Car parking: Yes

Read our full guide to Cenote Escondido

9. Cenote Mosquito Factory

There is very little information out there about this cenote, the Mosquito Factory, as it is still being explored by cave divers. So don’t expect to be able to easily make a visit to this cenote, but advanced cave divers and sidemount trained divers should definitely put this one on the list of caves to explore!

10. Cenote Yax Muul

This cenote is part of a private system run mainly by the Alltournative Snorkeling Adventure Company. Their tours usually start at Cenote Yax Muul, and then move on to Cenote Nohoch Nah Chich.

There isn’t much info out there for these cenotes, but if you want to check them out you can call 1-877-437-4990 from the USA or +52 (984) 803-9999 from Mexico. Or email them at customerservice@alltournative.com.

Read our full guide to Cenote Yax Muul

11. Cenote Pit

El Pit is probably my all-time favorite for diving. There isn’t much for snorkelers here, and not much of a opening, but the diving in awesome. Huge light shafts beam through the crystal clear waters all the way to the bottom. It’s incredible.

  • Opening hours: 8 AM to 5 PM
  • Entrance fee:
  • Good for Scuba diving: Yes, great
  • Good for swimming: Yes, but really limited
  • Facilities: Yes, limited
  • Car parking: Yes

Read our full guide to Cenote Pit

12. Gran Cenote

Gran Cenote is one of the chief cenotes in the Mayan Riviera. The name of the cenote could be a misnomer, though, as it is not just one massive cenote. As the most popular cenote in everyone’s bucket list, discover what makes this cenote popular and why it should be on your bucket list, too.

  • Opening hours: Gran Cenote can be visited daily between 8AM–5PM
  • Entrance fee: 150 pesos
  • Good for Scuba diving: Yes
  • Good for swimming: Yes, one of the best
  • Facilities: Yes. Lockers, tables, restrooms, restaurants and more
  • Car parking: Yes

Read our full guide to Gran Cenote

13. Cenote Zacil Ha

The crystal clear blue waters could make you think they built an in-ground swimming pool in the middle of the Yucatan jungles. It is a cool and refreshing cenote that was left here naturally and the water will cool you down on those hot days.

  • Opening hours: Open daily from 10AM to 6PM.
  • Entrance fee: The entrance fee is 80 pesos (per person).
  • Good for Scuba diving: Yes
  • Good for swimming: Yes, and cliff jumping
  • Facilities: Yes (restaurants, snack bars, and rustic cabins)
  • Car parking: Yes

Read more about Cenote Zacil Ha

14. Pet Cemetery (Sac Actun)

If you want to snorkel or dive in some caves and underground streams and channels, this is the perfect spot. This is definitely the most unique cenote, and one not to miss. This is a really shallow dive, and winds through stalagmites and cool formations.

  • Opening hours: 8AM until 5PM daily.
  • Entrance fee: Entrance fees are about less than 400 pesos per person, includes everything.
  • Good for Scuba diving: Yes, very good.
  • Good for swimming: Yes
  • Facilities: Yes
  • Car parking: Yes

Read our full guide to Cenote Pet Cemetery

15. Sistema Doggi

There are two cenotes located inside this beautiful and intricate cave system: Cenote Doggi and Cenote Style (hey I didn’t name them).

These cenotes and caves are not for swimmers or snorkelers, and it is required that you have a cave diving certificate, and only side mount diving is allowed.

The Cenote Doggi entrance is located in the village of Muyil, across the street from the ruins entrance. Cenote Style has a different owner, and supposedly can only be accessed through (and entrance fee paid), Protec Dive Center in Tulum.

16. Sistema Dos Pisos

There are five cenotes located within this cave system, some of which can be swam in, others that you can only cave dive in.

They are Cenote Balam, Cenote Dos Pisos, Cenote Dos Pisos II, Cenote Monkey Dust and Cenote Zooz.

The main entrance for the system is Dos Pisos II, and it is about 5km south of Tulum at Rancho Campesino on the west side of highway 307.

17. Kantun Chi Ecopark

There are 5 cenotes here – they are all pretty to look at but cenote 4 and 5 were the best for swimming. There are lots of options, with cave cenotes, to open lagoon cenotes.

  • Opening hours: Open daily from 08:00AM – 06:00PM.
  • Entrance fee: Entry fee is 29MXN pesos for adults and 14.50MXN for children; if you reserve tickets online, you’ll save 20 percent.
  • Good for Scuba diving: Yes, very good.
  • Good for swimming: Yes
  • Facilities: Yes
  • Car parking: Yes

Read more about Kantun Chi

18. Cenote Angelita

This cenote is completely open-air, and can be swam in. It’s not the most picturesque to snorkel in, but the scenery is nice. This is a deep dive, and there is a Holocene layer you can descend through that is a awesome experience.

  • Opening hours: 8 AM to 5 PM
  • Entrance fee: 250 pesos
  • Good for Scuba diving: Yes
  • Good for swimming: Yes
  • Facilities: Yes but very limited (no restaurants or snack bars)
  • Car parking: Yes

Read our full guide to Cenote Angelita

19. Cenote Calavera (Temple of doom)

This cenote is beautiful to both dive or just swim in, and I highly recommend a visit. Calavera has a small opening where the roof caved in on the cenote, and a latter has been installed so you can enter the water.

  • Opening hours: Open daily from 9AM to 4PM.
  • Entrance fee: The entrance fee is 100 pesos (per person).
  • Good for Scuba diving: Yes
  • Good for swimming: Yes, and cliff jumping
  • Facilities: Yes, but limited
  • Car parking: Yes

Read our full guide to Cenote Calavera

20. Cenote Xulo

Cenote Xulo is one of the more recent explorations south of Tulum in the Muyil area. This incredibly beautiful cave offers a stunning and diverse array of huge, highly decorated rooms, smaller restricted areas filled with delicate white formations, phreatic featured passageways and long, low bedding planes.

Xulo has an entry fee and bathroom facilities, and is also called Cueva de las Golondrinas, or cave of swallows.

21. Cenote Dream Gate

Dreamgate was the location for much of the underwater footage used in the filming for the BBC Planet Earth Documentary Series “Caves” episode as well as the BBC Natural World Documentary “Secrets of the Maya Underworld”. This you need to see.

  • Opening hours: 8:00AM – 5:00PM daily.
  • Entrance fee: Entrance fee for divers is 15 USD.
  • Good for Scuba diving: Yes, very good.
  • Good for swimming: Yes
  • Facilities: There are no toilets, changing facilities or equipment tables.
  • Car parking: Yes

Read our full guide to Cenote Dream Gate

22. Cenote Tak Bi Ha

This cenote is locate about 250m from the more famous Dos Ojos, and is open for both snorkel tours as well as cavern divers. It actually has no natural sunlight, so might not be for everyone.

But the cavern is beautiful, and has been the filming location for numerous movies and documentaries such as The Cave, Imax film Journey into Amazing Caves, and the Caves episode of the award winning BBC Planet Earth.

To get here, just go to the Dos Ojos entrance to pay the fee, and ask them for directions.

23. Cenote Encantado

Cenote Encantado is a lesser know cenote in Tulum. This is because it is not on the Tulum-Coba road and is near the edge of town. This is a good thing. You can find yourself as one of the only people here. This is a rather large and deep cenote where you can relax, snorkel, kayak, and swim.

  • Opening hours: 8:00AM – 5:00PM daily.
  • Entrance fee: If you would like to stay at one cabins or are camping the entrance is free. There are not posted prices, which means this might change. It is usually 50 pesos per person and 50 pesos to rent a kayak.
  • Good for Scuba diving: Yes, very good.
  • Good for swimming: Yes
  • Facilities: Yes
  • Car parking: Yes

Read our full guide to Cenote Encantado

24. Laguna Kaan Luum

This giant cenote is popular with the locals, especially on holidays, for swimming, picnics, stand up paddle-boarding, and outdoor fun.

There is a barrier fence in the water so that poor swimmers do not get into deeper waters. Cenote Kaan Luum has also gotten popular with technical deep dive training. There are different entry fees for divers or swimmers.

Cenotes near Playa Del Carmen

Xcaret Park & Xplor Adventure Center
Xcaret Park & Xplor Adventure Center

Playa Del Carmen is also a good place to be based, while checking out cenotes in the area. You can still visit the ones closer to Tulum, as well as Cancun, Merida and so on, but have your hotel be in a more happening city.

There are a lot more shopping areas and clubs and restaurants than in the much smaller Tulum, but still with great diving and beaches. So Playa is not a bad choice.

Here are a few of the cenotes I have found, that are closest to Play Del Carmen.

ALSO READ – Guide to Scuba Diving Playa Del Carmen  |  21 Cool Things to do in Playa Del Carmen

25. Xcaret Park & Xplor Adventure Center

This adventure park has over 50 attractions, including a few cenotes and much more. This is a more expensive way to check out some cenotes, and is oriented more for families, but its an option if you are in to that.

26. Cenote Akumal (Yal Ku)

This cenote could also be in the Tulum section, as it is right between there and Playa. it is located in Akumal and is more of a lagoon than anything. There are toilets and changing facilities, and is a nice place to visit.

  • Opening hours: 9 AM to 5 PM
  • Entrance fee: 200 pesos
  • Good for Scuba diving: Yes, very good
  • Good for swimming: Yes
  • Facilities: Yes
  • Car parking: Yes

Read our full guide to Cenote Akumal

27. Cenote Chac Mool

This is a great dive site, but cameras aren’t allowed. They try to preserve the walls and formations, so buoyancy is important. You can still purchase photos from the company when you leave however.

  • Opening hours: 10 AM to 5 PM
  • Entrance fee: 200 pesos
  • Good for Scuba diving: Yes
  • Good for swimming: Yes
  • Facilities: Yes
  • Car parking: Yes

Read our full guide to Cenote Cha Mool

28. Cenote Cristalino

Cristalino is the first in the line of three cenotes, along with Azul and Jardin del Eden. Cristalino is probably the most set up, as it not only has dedicated toilets, snack shop and gear rental, but also has changing rooms close by.

  • Opening hours: 8 AM to 5 PM
  • Entrance fee: 100 pesos
  • Good for Scuba diving: Yes
  • Good for swimming: Yes
  • Facilities: Yes
  • Car parking: Yes

Read our full guide to Cenote Cristalino

29. Cenote Tajma Ha

If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to spot one of the most spectacular light shows of all cavern diving adventures! From March to September, thanks to the position of the sun, laser beams of light enter the Points of Light room in the cavern and this is something you must see to believe! An amazing cenote for diving.

  • Opening hours: 8 AM to 5 PM
  • Entrance fee: 232 Pesos
  • Good for Scuba diving: Yes
  • Good for swimming: Yes
  • Facilities: Yes
  • Car parking: Yes

Read our full guide to Cenote Tajma Ha

30. Cenote Kukulkan

Part of the Chac Mool System, the entrance is a couple of hundred feet away from Cenote Chac Mool. This is a good cenote for diving, and has a Halocline layer starting at 10m. The layer along with the huge cavern make for amazing views.

  • Opening hours: 8 AM to 5 PM
  • Entrance fee: 250 pesos
  • Good for Scuba diving: Yes
  • Good for swimming: Yes
  • Facilities: Yes
  • Car parking: Yes

Read our full guide to Cenote Kukulkan

31. Cenote Jardin del Eden (Ponderosa)

Located about 18 minutes from Playa Del Carmen, and reachable by colectivo van, Cenote “Garden of Eden” is one of the most popular and famous cenotes in the area. It is also much less crowded then others such as Gran Cenote.

  • Opening hours: 8 AM to 5 PM
  • Entrance fee: 100 Pesos for Adults and 50 Pesos for Children
  • Good for Scuba diving: Yes
  • Good for swimming: Yes, cliff jumping
  • Facilities: Yes, but limited
  • Car parking: Yes

Read our full guide to Cenote Jardin Del Eden

32. Chikin Ha Park

Chikin Ha is located 10 minutes south of Puerto Aventuras on Highway 307 very close to the entrance of Kantun Chi. Chikin Ha itself is a very large half moon cenote with a massive undercut ceiling and crystal clear water.

Other cenotes in the park include Cenote Arcoiris (Cenote Rainbow) and Xtabay.

  • Opening hours: 8 AM to 5 PM
  • Entrance fee: 232 pesos
  • Good for Scuba diving: Yes
  • Good for swimming: Yes
  • Facilities: Yes
  • Car parking: Yes

Read more about Chikin Ha

33. Cenote Azul

The beautiful little path on the way to this cenote is pretty on its own, and then you arrive at the main pool. It is split down the middle by a wooden path, with a swimming area no one side and a nice pool on the other.

  • Opening hours: Open daily from 08:30AM – 05:30PM.
  • Entrance fee: The entree fee is 80 pesos per person.
  • Good for Scuba diving: Yes, very good.
  • Good for swimming: Yes
  • Facilities: Yes
  • Car parking: Yes

Read more about Cenote Azul

34. Cenote Xunaan Ha

Located in the small town of Chemuyil, between Playa Del Carmen and Tulum, this cenote is not very well known and can make for a quiet dip in a beautiful scene. There is a small trail from the parking lot to the cenote and a small gravel path around one side.

  • Opening hours: Open every day except Sunday from 08:00AM – 05:00PM.
  • Entrance fee: Entree fee is 70 pesos per person.
  • Good for Scuba diving: Yes, very good.
  • Good for swimming: Yes
  • Facilities: Yes
  • Car parking: Yes

See our full guide to Cenote Xunaan Ha

35. Cenote Chak Tun

For some reason Cenote Chak Tun goes under the radar for most people in Playa, and the tour guides and hawkers don’t promote it much. But this beautiful cenote with 2 caves is actually one of the best! Get there early because the cruise ships do promote it to passengers.

Cenotes near Cancun

zapote cenote
Flickr credit: cenotes zapote ecopark – Zapote

If you are heading to the Yukatan by air, then you will be spending at least a little time in Cancun. Although most travelers and divers like to head out to other locations right away, you also might want to spend a few days exploring the cenotes nearest to Cancun.

ALSO READ – Guide to Scuba Diving Cancun  |  21 Cool Things to do in Cancun

36. Cenote Zapote

This Cenote is located on the “Ruta de los Cenotes” the old road from Puerto Morelos to Valladolid.

After following this road for exactly 20km you will see a large sign marking the turn off for “Kin Ha”. Divers are going to see some amazing formations as well as tree roots and more.

  • Opening hours: 8 AM to 5 PM
  • Entrance fee: 100 pesos
  • Good for Scuba diving: Yes, great
  • Good for swimming: Yes
  • Facilities: Yes
  • Car parking: Yes

Read our full guide to Cenote Zapote

37. Cenote Verde Lucero

Cenote Verde Lucero is a open type of cenote that is located in between Playa del Carmen and Cancun. It is a natural wonderland that offers calm and tranquil waters. If you are looking to experience the most beautiful cenotes in Mexico, it is recommended that you add this cenote to your itinerary.

  • Opening hours: 8 AM to 5 PM
  • Entrance fee: 200 pesos
  • Good for Scuba diving: Yes
  • Good for swimming: Yes
  • Facilities: Yes
  • Car parking: Yes

See our full guide to Cenote Verde Lucero

38. 7 Bocas (7 mouths)

This cenote is located on the highway that joins Puerto Morelos and Leona Vicario. Its name, 7 Bocas, comes from the seven entrances into it. Siete Bocas is popular for divers and swimmers, with many of the pools connected and able to swim between.

  • Opening hours: Open daily from 08:00AM – 06:00PM.
  • Entrance fee: Entree fee is 250 pesos per person.
  • Good for Scuba diving: Yes, very good.
  • Good for swimming: Yes
  • Facilities: Yes
  • Car parking: Yes

Read our full guide to Cenote 7 Bocas

39. Cenotes K’aak (Fire), Lu’um (Earth), Lik’ (Wind) and Ha (Water)

These four cenotes are great for swimming, with plenty of tour companies offering guided trips. You can have fun with zip-lines, repelling, kayaking and semi-covered caverns.

Cenotes near Coba

Tankach Ha
Photo credit: lomastravel.com

Coba is located a little inland, in the middle of the triangle of Playa Del Carmen, Tulum and Valladolid. It is popular for its spectacular Mayan ruins, but few know about the lesser-visited cenotes in the area, that you should be checking out.

40. Cenote Tankach Ha

The three cenotes mentioned here are all close to each other (and obviously connected underground), and are great to visit while visiting the Coba Ruins. They are of the lesser known cenotes in the Yukatan, with nary a mention in guide books.

  • Opening hours: Open daily from 08:00AM – 06:00PM.
  • Entrance fee: The entry fee for each cenote was 55 pesos or 165 pesos for a ticket to all three.
  • Good for Scuba diving: Yes, very good.
  • Good for swimming: Yes
  • Facilities: Yes
  • Car parking: Yes

See our full guide to  Cenote Tankach Ha

41. Cenote Multum Ha

This is probably the most undeveloped and rustic of the three cenotes, and you will probably have it all to yourself.  When you arrive you will think there is nothing there, just a rock circle with a old latter in the middle.

But once you descend the latter through the skinny passage, you emerge into a giant round cavern with a pool. Beautiful.

  • Opening hours: Open daily from 08:00AM – 06:00PM.
  • Entrance fee: Entry fee is 55 pesos per person and it’s always worth every penny.
  • Good for Scuba diving: Yes, very good.
  • Good for swimming: Yes
  • Facilities: Yes
  • Car parking: Yes

Read our full guide to Cenote Multum Ha

42. Cenote Choo Ha

Cenote Choo-Ha is accessed via a small opening in the ground surrounded by a low stone wall, and wooden steps going in. As you can see from the photo above this beautiful cenote has tons of stalagmites and a nice fresh water pool to chill in.

Entree fee is 55 pesos for each cenote or 165 pesos for entrance to all three.

  • Opening hours: 9AM to 5:30PM daily.
  • Entrance fee: Entree fee is 55 pesos for each cenote or 165 pesos for entrance to all three.
  • Good for Scuba diving: Yes, very good.
  • Good for swimming: Yes
  • Facilities: Yes
  • Car parking: Yes

Read our full guide to Cenote Choo Ha

43. Cenote Muul Ich

Most people have not been to Cenote Muul Ich let alone heard of it. This cenote is tucked away in a small village near Coba. That is the good news because this is a hidden paradise.

  • Opening hours: Open daily from 10:00am-5:00pm
  • Entrance fee: 60 pesos
  • Good for Scuba diving: no
  • Good for swimming: Yes
  • Facilities: Yes
  • Car parking: Yes

Cenotes near Merida

Cenote X-Batun
Cenote X-Batun

Merida is in the far north of the Yukatan, near some of the less frequented cenotes and ruins. It is becoming quite popular for expats, and is a little less touristy than Cancun. Be sure to take some time to visit the cenotes in the area!

44. Cenotes of Cuzama

Chelentun, Chak-zinik-che and Bolom-chojol are the three cenotes in Cuzama, and are a little hard to find. But once you do, they offer you a horse and cart tour from the entrance, to all three cenotes, which can take a few hours. These are great to see, and really uncrowded.

Fee for the three cenotes and the horse and cart tour is about 300 pesos.

  • Opening Hours: Open daily from 8AM to 5PM
  • Entrance fee: 300-400 Pesos (for the horse cart and inclusive of entrances to the cenotes)
  • Good for Scuba Diving: Yes
  • Good for Swimming: Yes
  • Facilities: Yes (toilets and snack bars)
  • Car Parking: Yes

Read our full guide to Cuzama Cenotes

45. Cenote Xoch

This is definitely one of the little known cenotes, so take a map to show the taxi driver where to take you. It is located near the little town of Cenotillo, and you might have it all to yourself. There is even a little wooden platform in the middle of the pool to hang out on.

Read our full guide to Cenote Xoch

46. Cenote Kankirixche

Located 49 kilometers south of Merida, Kankirixche has a 15 m drop to water level down a slope that can be negotiated with a handline. Large tree roots penetrate down into the cave and hang in large clumps just below the water surface. The cavern area of this cave system is one of the largest in Mexico.

  • Opening hours: Open daily from 8AM to 5PM.
  • Entrance fee: The entrance fee is 30 pesos (per person).
  • Good for Scuba diving: No
  • Good for swimming: Yes, and cliff jumping
  • Facilities: Yes (there are also camping and campfire facilities for those who are interested)
  • Car parking: Yes

Read more about Cenote Kankirixche

47. Cenote Ucil

This beautiful cavern is one of the deepest cenotes around, reaching depths over 110 meters. This is a good place for both swimming as well as diving.

 

48. Grutas de Loltún

Loltun caves are located 115 km south of Merida, closer to the city of Oxkutzcab. Believe it or not, these are actually caves, not cenotes, and are completely dry. They are also the biggest dry caves in the Yukatan. So no diving here, but still beautiful.

  • Opening hours: Open daily from 09:00AM – 04:00PM.
  • Entrance fee: 124 pesos per person for non-Mexican citizens, 92 pesos per person for Mexican citizens.
  • Good for Scuba diving: Yes, very good.
  • Good for swimming: Yes
  • Facilities: Yes
  • Car parking: Yes

Read more about Grutas de Loltún

49. Homun Cenotes

There are 5 different cenotes you can visit near the little town of Homun; Tza Ujun Kat Cenote, Santa Rosa Cenote, Santa Maria Cave and Cenote, Yaxbakaltun Cenote and  Cenote Balmil.

These are far off the tourist paths, and worth a visit.

Fees are 20 pesos for each cenote, or you can hire a tour guide for around 100 pesos.

  • Opening hours: Open daily from 08:00AM – 06:00PM.
  • Entrance fee: Fees are 20 pesos for each cenote, or you can hire a tour guide for around 100 pesos.
  • Good for Scuba diving: Yes, very good.
  • Good for swimming: Yes
  • Facilities: Yes
  • Car parking: Yes

Read more about Homun Cenote

50. Cenotes Hacienda Mucuyche

Xcaret group bought this property. It opened to the public in late November 2017 and it is expected to grow for big tour groups, with guest rooms and restaurants.

  • Opening hours: Open daily from 09:00AM – 05:00PM.
  • Entrance fee: The entree fee is 400MXN pesos for adults, 350MXN pesos for children – including the tour in the hacienda, cenotes entrance, life vest and snorkel gear.
  • Good for Scuba diving: Yes, very good.
  • Good for swimming: Yes
  • Facilities: Yes
  • Car parking: Yes

Read more about Hacienda Mucuyche Cenotes

51. Cenote Xlacah

Offering something for everyone, this cenote is located inside the Mayan archeological site of Dzibilchaltún. You can visit a pyramid and swim – all on the same day. The waters in this cenote sit at ground level, making it easy to access for old and young alike.

  • Opening hours: Open daily from 8AM to 4PM.
  • Entrance fee: The entrance fee is 80 pesos (per person).
  • Good for Scuba diving: yes
  • Good for swimming: Yes
  • Facilities: Yes
  • Car parking: Yes

Read more about Cenote Xlacah

52. Cenote X-Batun

Near San Antonio Mulix there is two nice cenotes, X-Batún and Dzonbacal (listed below). X-Batun is considered the prettiest and more accessible between it and Dzonbacal, but for sure visit both since they are so close together.

  • Opening Hours: Open daily from 8AM to 5PM
  • Entrance Fee: 50 Pesos
  • Good for Scuba Diving: Yes
  • Good for Swimming: Yes
  • Facilities: Yes
  • Car Parking: Yes

Read more about Cenote X Batun

53. Cenote Dzonbacal

As I said this cenote is just down the road from the more accessible and open aired X-Batun, but since you are making such a long journey you definitely should be visiting this one as well.

Entree fee is 50 pesos for both cenotes

54. Cenote Yáx Há

On the way in to San Antonio Mulix, a couple of kilometers before arriving, you will notice a sign for Cenote Yáx Há to the left. Not part of the main complex, it is an additional $10 per person, and a torturous two kilometer dirt road to access it. The good thing is, you’ll have it to yourself.

See our full guide to Cenote Yax Ha

Cenotes near Valladolid

Cenote Dzitnup
Cenote Dzitnup

Valladolid is further inland, and is a good hub for Chichen Itza and other ruins, as well as plenty (less visited/crowded) cenotes. There are straight and direct highways to Valladolid from both Cancun and Tulum, with plenty of buses and transportation options.

ALSO READ – Guide to Scuba Diving Valladolid

54. Cenote Yáx Há

On the way in to San Antonio Mulix, a couple of kilometers before arriving, you will notice a sign for Cenote Yáx Há to the left. Not part of the main complex, it is an additional $10 per person, and a torturous two kilometer dirt road to access it. The good thing is, you’ll have it to yourself.

See our full guide to Cenote Yax Ha

55. Cenote Xkeken

There isn’t much light, or things to see underwater, so this isn’t the best place for diving or snorkeling. But swimming and hanging out here makes it one of the most frequented cenotes around. There is even a life guard. It is also called Cenote Dzitnup.

  • Opening hours: Open daily from 9AM to 5PM.
  • Entrance fee: 80 Pesos for Adults and 50 Pesos for Children
  • Good for Scuba diving: Yes
  • Good for swimming: Yes
  • Facilities: Yes
  • Car parking: Yes

Read more about Cenote Xkeken

56. Cenote Agua Dulce

A few miles to the east of Valladolid toward the town of Yalcobá you will find the more unknown Agua Dulce or Ch’ujuk Ja. There is a narrow spiral staircase descending into the cenote, and once there you will see a beautiful pool with shafts of natural light coming down, as well as artificial lighting showing the cave.

  • Opening hours: Open daily from 08:00AM – 06:00PM.
  • Entrance fee: Entry fee is 100MXN pesos per person and it’s always worth every penny.
  • Good for Scuba diving: Yes, very good.
  • Good for swimming: Yes
  • Facilities: Yes
  • Car parking: Yes

Read more about Cenote Agua Dulce

57. Cenote Sagrado de Chichen Itza (Sacred Cenote)

Thousands of objects have been removed from the bottom of the Sacred Cenote, including material such as shell, gold, jade, wood, obsidian, cloth, as well as skeletons of men and children. Although diving and swimming is prohibited here, you can visit the cenote along with Chichen Itza.

  • Opening hours: 8 AM to 5 PM
  • Entrance fee: 100 pesos
  • Good for Scuba diving: Yes (but must obtain special permit from authorities)
  • Good for swimming: Yes
  • Facilities: Yes
  • Car parking: Yes

Read more about Cenote Sagrado

58. Cenote Oxman (San Lorenzo)

This is a beautiful hacienda with a swimming pool and a giant cenote, with changing rooms and facilities. When visiting Valladolid, we highly recommend a visit to this incredible cenote.

  • Opening hours: Open daily from 08:00AM – 05:00PM.
  • Entrance fee: The entree fee of 30 pesos/person (less than $2).
  • Good for Scuba diving: Yes, very good.
  • Good for swimming: Yes
  • Facilities: Yes
  • Car parking: Yes

Read more about Cenote Oxman

59. Cenote Samula

Samula is near Dzitnup (or Xkeken), and is the bigger of the two. These two are popular cenotes, and are well developed with good facilities. Samula is famous for it big light shaft beaming into the water, as well as lot of tree roots and formations.

Entrance to both Cenote Xkeken and Cenote Samula is 125 pesos for adults and 80 pesos for children.

  • Opening hours: 8 AM to 7 PM
  • Entrance fee:80 Pesos (or 125 Pesos for two cenotes, which includes access to Cenote Xkeken)
  • Good for Scuba diving: Yes
  • Good for swimming: Yes, but shallow
  • Facilities: Yes
  • Car parking: Yes

Read more about Cenote Samula

60. Cenote Ixtlan

This can be incredible to dive or swim in, but you probably need a tour company to take you.

 

61. Cenote Fantasma

Fantasma is one of the newest cenotes opened to the public, being finished and open mid 2017. There has been a lot of infrastructure added to this beauty, to accommodate tours and groups visiting the ruins.

  • Opening hours: Open daily from 09:00AM – 05:00PM.
  • Entrance fee: Entree fee is 70 pesos, and you can also rent life jackets.
  • Good for Scuba diving: Yes, very good.
  • Good for swimming: Yes
  • Facilities: Yes
  • Car parking: Yes

Read more about Cenote Fantasma

62. Cenote Zaci

Cenote Zaci

Not to be confused with Zacil Ha, Cenote Zaci is right in the city of Valladolid. There are thousands of cenotes in Mexico, but Zaci might just be the only one right in the middle of a city. This is a mostly open air cenote, so you claustrophobic people can enjoy it more.

  • Opening hours: Open daily from 08:30AM – 05:30PM.
  • Entrance fee: The entrance is 30 pesos
  • Good for Scuba diving: No
  • Good for swimming: Yes, and cliff jumping
  • Facilities: Yes
  • Car parking: Yes

Read more about Cenote Zaci

63. Cenote Saamal

Saamal, located in the Hacienda Selva Maya, is another lesser visited cenote that makes for a popular stop for people visiting Chichen Itza and Balam.

  • Opening hours: Open daily from 08:00AM – 06:00PM.
  • Entrance fee: The entry fee is 50MXN pesos for adults and 35MXN pesos for children.
  • Good for Scuba diving: Yes, very good.
  • Good for swimming: Yes
  • Facilities: Yes
  • Car parking: Yes

Read more about Cenote Saamal

64. Xux Ha Cenote

This cenote is near the colonial town of Valladolid and is a much less visited cenote than many in the area. This cenote has not been open to the public for long and is just visited by people looking to explore the area a little more and have a car.

 

65. Cenote Hubiku

This small but beautiful cenote complex can be crowded, because it is set up for groups and tours as part of ruin trips, but it is still worth a visit, and you can do it on your own.

  • Opening hours: 8 AM to 5 PM
  • Entrance fee: 100 Pesos for the entrance (250 Pesos if it includes buffet meal)
  • Good for Scuba diving: Yes
  • Good for swimming: Yes
  • Facilities: Yes
  • Car parking: Yes

Read more about Cenote Hubiku

66. Cenote Xcanche

After exploring and climbing the ruins at Ek Balam, just north of Valladolid, head to the gorgeous Cenote X’Canche for a refreshing swim at this natural and serene cenote. It’s located about 1.5 km into the jungle via a gravel path stemming from Ek Balam’s entrance area and parking lot.

  • Opening hours: 8 AM to 5 PM
  • Entrance fee: 100 pesos for the cenote (additional 25 pesos for park admission)
  • Good for Scuba diving: Yes
  • Good for swimming: Yes
  • Facilities: Yes (there is even a camping site and restaurants near the cenote)
  • Car parking: Yes

Read more about Cenote Xcanche

67. Cenote Chihuán

This pretty and artificially lit, mostly covered, cenote is about 30 minutes from Chichen Itza, so if you were hot and disappointed that you couldn’t swim in Sagrado, you can give this one a try.

68. Cenote Suytun

The name Suytun means center stone and that is fitting for this cenote as it has a shaft of light beaming down from the small opening to the water. This is getting to be a popular stop for people visiting Chichen Itza and Balam.

  • Opening hours: Open daily from 9AM to 5PM.
  • Entrance fee: The entrance fee is 70 pesos (per person).
  • Good for Scuba diving: No
  • Good for swimming: Yes, and cliff jumping
  • Facilities: Yes (Cabins, gift shops, and restaurants)
  • Car parking: Yes

Read more about Cenote Suytun

69. Cenote Lol Ha

Surrounded by ancient endemic trees, this cenote is in Yaxunah town, located 15 miles from the archeological site of Chichen Itza. Here, you’ll find an ancient Mayan settlement of the same name and a considerable amount of cenotes.

Cenote Lol Ha has clear waters with a depth of eight to sixteen yards, ideal for swimming and snorkeling.

Read more about Cenote Lol Ha

70. Cenote Yokdzonot

Once you descend the 18 meters on a staircase to a wooden platform, you’ve reaches the beautiful Yokdzonot cenote’s waters. There are various tours and activities on offer, including ziplining and bike rentals.

  • Opening hours: 9 AM to 6 PM
  • Entrance fee: 40
  • Good for Scuba diving: Yes
  • Good for swimming: Yes
  • Facilities: Yes
  • Car parking: Yes

Read more about Cenote Yokdzonot

71. Cenote Ik Kil

No doubt you have seen photos of Cenote Ik Kil. This is one of the most photographed cenotes in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. It is well liked because it looks like some deep tropical hidden paradise. This is one of the most recognizable cenotes on Instagram, along with Temple of Doom and Pit.

  • Opening hours: 8 AM to 5 PM
  • Entrance fee: 70 pesos
  • Good for Scuba diving: Yes
  • Good for swimming: Yes
  • Facilities: Yes
  • Car parking: Yes

Read more about Cenote Ik Kil

Cenotes near Bacalar

Cenote Azul

Well I’ve only found one cenote in Bacalar so far, so let’s get to it! Bacalar is in the far south of the Yukatan, nearly to the Belize border, but well worth the trip.

72. Cenote Azul

This is by far the biggest cenote I have visited, and looks more like a big lake. There is a restaurant and lounge area on the edge, where you can hang out before swimming or diving, or even renting kayaks.

This is a hot spot of Mexican families, but at the time I did not see a single tourist, and was the only diver.

You will need to find a local dive shop to take you here, or get permission first. They do not have the equipment on hand there themselves. I was diving out of a shop in Mahahual, and they took me to dive here.

Cenotes on Cozumel

Although Cozumel does have some great dives sites off shore, it is not a great place for cenote exploring. In fact, they are barely worth mentioning.

For such a small island there are actually a lot of  cenotes in Cozumel. Obviously since the cenotes are lesser known and there aren’t tours and the like, they aren’t as great to visit as their main-land counterparts.

Here are a few of the cenotes in Cozumel:

Cenote Cocodrilo
Cenote Chu-Ha
Cenote Tres Potrillos
Cenote Bambu

There are a few more, but don’t expect to be able to visit many of them, and there is little info online about them.

Unfortunately most of the cenotes are on private land and closed to the public, but there are some that cave divers and explorers can get permission to enter. Most are closed because ancient artifacts are still being found in them.

I found this list of Cozumel cenotes and information about each that you can check out HERE.

ALSO READ – Guide to Scuba Diving Cozumel  |  21 Cool Things to do in Cozumel

Bonus Cenote

Cenote el Zacaton
Flickr credit: Elpidio Garza

Here is one more, just for kicks. I thought I’d throw in a curve-ball. A cenote completely different than all the rest on this list, and nowhere near the Yukatan.

73. El Zacatón

Zacaton is not a cenote, and not even in the Yukatan, but needed a mention anyways. Sure, most vacationers aren’t going to head to Tamaulipas in Northern Mexico to see it, but its noteworthy none the less.

This is actually one of the world’s biggest sink holes, and popular for scuba diving and freedivers and record breakers. The depths exceed 300 meters and is ripe for exploration.

Common Questions

cenotes in cancun

Q: What SCUBA qualifications do I need to dive in a cenote?

A: Technically, only the basic, PADI Open Water certification (or equivalent) is needed to dive in a cenote, with has a visible opening overhead at all times.

However, a PADI Advanced certification, or at least a lot of practice, is recommended for some of the cenotes, where there is danger of crashing into delicate stalagmites if your buoyancy is not good. But don’t worry, your guide/dive shop will take you to the cenote that is best suited for you.

Q: Where should I be based if I want to explore the most cenotes possible, without lots of long road trips?

A: Luckily for us, the Yukatan where all the best cenotes are located, is not really a huge area. That said, Cancun is the furthest east, Bacalar west, and Valladolid north, so if you want to be centrally located, with the most cenotes around, you would be best off in Tulum or Playa Del Carmen.

Each has it’s fair share of local cenotes, and also near the main highway to get to any of the rest pretty easily. So the only question from there is what you prefer.

Playa Del Carmen is a much bigger city, which means much more to do such as shopping and nightlife. Tulum being the smaller of the two, is much more quiet and relaxed, but with still plenty to do. So you decide.

Q: What gear do I need to dive/swim the cenotes?

A: If you are diving, you really don’t need to provide your own gear, as the dive center you go with will provide you with anything you need. If you really want your own gear however, we do have guides for the following:

If you aren’t diving, you obviously wont need all that gear, and you also don’t need a guide pr dive shop to take you to the cenotes. You can visit them each on your own. Here are a few things that will make your trip even better:

Q: How Cold are cenotes in Mexico?

A: The nice fresh waters of the cenotes are a perfect 77f year round. Although its perfect for swimming, most people are recommended to use a wetsuit for diving, just so you don’t get a chill after prolonged submersion.

Q: Are cenotes only in Mexico?

A: NO. Mexico just seems to have the most prevalent cenotes, but that system does keep going into Belize and beyond. Those cenotes are much less discovered or explored however. There are also some cenotes in places like Bahamas, Egypt and Samoa, to name a few.

Q: How deep are the cenotes?

A: Most of the cenotes you can visit, are super shallow, especially ones like Gran Cenote, Dos Ojos and Pet Cemetery. Others, usually the open air ones like The Pit and Cenote Angelita, can be very deep, exceeding over 40 meters.

Q: Are cenotes in the Yukatan safe?

A: Always use your own discretion, but if you always use a reputable dive operator, or when swimming stay in designated areas, cenotes are perfectly safe. The ones that usually get hurt are the deep cave explorers, but unless thats you, you wont be visiting those places.

Q: When is the best time of year to miss the crowds?

A: The crowds are always in the Yukatan, considering how warm it is year round. So if you really want to escape the crowds while checking out some cenotes, just hit up the less common ones. Ones around Merida or Coba are not as visited as they are in Tulum or Playa Del Carmen.

Q: If I could only choose a few, what are the must see cenotes in Mexico?

A: You should CLICK HERE to see our top 10 must-sees. That will answer that.

Cenote tours

cenote tours

See the remarkable pyramids and monuments of the ancient Mayan city of Chichen Itza and swim in the underground swimming hole of Ik Kil. Learn more about the Mayan civilization and their culture and then go to the colonial city of Valladolid.

Enjoy a full-day tour that takes you to the Tulum archeological site and also to the Dos Ojos cenote. Explore the ruins and swim in the cenote.

Travel to the Cascabel, Chaksikin and Pool Cocom cenotes on this full-day tour by truck. Enjoy a swim at each stop and end with a tasty lunch.

Getting around the Yukatan

Getting around the Yukatan is pretty easy and straightforward, with options for any budget. There are also just a few main highways, so you will probably not get lost, going from city to city.

The bus system

You can catch the ADO bus at one of the stations in any of the main cities, and there are multiple routes per day. You can even use these for your whole trip, as you can catch one right from the airport, to any city in the Yukatan.

Taxis and collectivo vans

If you are already settled in your hotel and just want to get to one of the cenotes, I usually just grab a taxi from the street, or an Uber. They are cheap and will get you there without hassle.

The collectivo vans or buses are the ones that go up and down the main highway, and stop when waved down. These are real cheap options, like when going from Play to Tulum or Akumal etc.

Rental cars

When you fly in you are most likely landing in Cancun, so if you want to rent a car or bigger van, it works just like the US or Europe, and is easy. Just rent one at the airport, or book ahead and have them deliver it to you when you land.

Guided tours 

There are a lot of guided tours to cenotes and other landmarks in Mexico, and we named a few in the section above, but if you are looking for a guide to remote cenotes that tour companies don’t cover, hit us up at justin@artofscubadiving.com and we might be able to hook you up.

Dive centers

If you are wanting to dive some cenotes, just hit up your nearest dive shop. They will plan everything, and if your hotel is far from the shop, they might even be able to pick you up in the morning before the dive.

Where to stay while you play

Cancun

Playa del carmen

merida

cozumel

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