72 INCREDIBLE CENOTES IN MEXICO
By Justin Carmack
Last updated on Feb. 12. 2019.
My goal here is to not only point out the (deservedly) most popular cenotes in the Yukatan, but to also highlight some new ones that you might not have heard about yet!
Nearly all cenotes are located in the Yukatan Peninsula, so if you want to browse them by location, just scroll down to the right section, listed below.
- Cenotes near Tulum
- Cenotes near Playa Del Carmen
- Cenotes near Cancun
- Cenotes near Coba
- Cenotes near Merida
- Cenotes near Valladolid
- Cenotes near Bacalar
- A few Cenotes on Cozumel
- Bonus Cenote
Since I am covering about 72 different cenotes, I can’t go into too much detain about each.
Because of that, I also put together separate, individual informational guides for a lot of the cenotes below, so if you want to learn more about them or see more photos, click the link I will provide for each.
Lets get started!
Cenotes closer to Tulum
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.
1. Dos Ojos Cenote
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.
Read more about Cenote Dos Ojos
2. Casa Cenote
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.
Entrance to Casa Cenote is 100 pesos
Read more about Casa Cenote
3. Cenote Nicte Ha
This is one of the lesser known cenotes, but popular with the locals. It more resembles a open lake instead of underground cenote, and is nice and relaxing for swimming.
Read more about 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.
Read more about Cenote Car Wash
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.
Read more about Cenote Cristal
7. 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.
Entree fee for both cenotes together: 120 pesos for snorkelers, 200 for divers.
Read more about Cenote Escondido
8. 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 hte 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.
9. Mosquito Factory
10. The Pit Cenote
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.
Read more about Cenote Pit
11. Cenote Yak Muul
This cenote is part of a private system run mainly by the Alltournative Snorkeling Adventure Company. Their tours usually start at Cenote Yak 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
12. Gran Cenote
This is probably the most popular cenote in Tulum, and maybe all of the Yukatan, and is great for both divers and snorkelers. the views are amazing, and like the others can give you chances to see stalagmites and more underwater.
Read more about Gran Cenote
13. 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.
Read more about Cenote Pet Cemetery
14. 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.
Entree fee to Zacil-Ha is 80 peso unless you have a local ID.
Read more about Cenote Zacil Ha
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.
Read more about Kantun Chi
18. 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.
Cost for swimming, 100 pesos, diving 200 pesos.
Read more about Cenote Calavera
21. 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 facitlities, and is also called Cueva de las Golondrinas, or cave of swallows.
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.
Read more about Cenote Encantado
24. Laguna Kaan Luum
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 closer to Playa Del Carmen
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.
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.
Read more about Cenote Akumal
27. 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.
Read more about Cenote Tajma Ha
29. 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.
Entree fee to Cristalino is 100 pesos
Read more about Cenote Cristalino
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.
Read more about Cenote Kukulkan
31. Cenote Jardin del Eden (Ponderosa)
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.
Read more about Chikin Ha
34. Cenote Xunaan Ha
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.
Read more about Chikin Ha
Cenotes closer to Cancun
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.
35. 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.
Read more about Cenote Zapote
37. 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.
Read more about Cenote 7 Bocas
38. Cenotes K’aak (Fire), Lu’um (Earth), Lik’ (Wind) and Ha (Water)
Cenotes closer to Coba
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.
39. 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.
Read more about Cenote Tankach Ha
40. 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.
Read more about Cenote Multum Ha
41. 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.
Read more about Cenote Choo Ha
42. 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.
Cenotes closer to Merida
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!
43. 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.
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.
Read more about Cenote Kankirixche
45. 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.
Read more about Cuzama Cenotes
46. Cenote Ucil
47. Grutas de Loltún
Loltun caves are located 115 km south of Merida, closer to the city of Oxkutzcab. Believe it or not, these are actualy caves, not cenotes, and are completely dry. They are also the biggest dry caves in the Yukatan. So no diving here, but still beautiful.
Read more about Grutas de Loltún
48. 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.
Read more about Homun Cenote
50. 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.
Read more about Cenote Xlacah
51. 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.
Read more about Cenote X Batun
52. 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
53. 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.
Cenotes closer to Valladolid
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.
54. Cenote Dzitnup
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 Xkeken.
Read more about Cenote Dzitnup
55. 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.
Read more about Cenote Samula
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.
Read more about Cenote Agua Dulce
57. 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.
Read more about Cenote Zaci
58. 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.
Read more about Cenote Sagrado
59. 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.
Read more about Cenote Oxman
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 infrustructure added to this beauty, to accommodate tours and groups visiting the ruins.
Entree fee is 70 pesos, and you can also rent life jackets.
Read more about Cenote Fantasma
63. Cenote Hubiku
Flickr credit: Willie Medina Santiago
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.
Read more about Cenote Hubiku
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 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.
Read more about Cenote Xcanche
66. Cenote Chihuán
This pretty and artificially lit, mostly covered, cenote is about 30 minutes from Chichen Itza, so if you were hot and dissapointed that you couldn’t swim in Sagrado, you can give this one a try.
67. 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.
69. 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.
Entree fee is 80 pesos. Read more about Cenote Ik Kil
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.
Read more about Cenote Yokdzonot
71. 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 Tres Potrillos
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.
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.
72. 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.