Traveling to the Yucatán Peninsula can be a dream come true for any adventurous explorer who longs to experience a unique blend of culture and nature. While many people flock to Tulum, Mexico, searching for ancient Mayan ruins, clear blue waters, or delicious food – there is one treat that few are aware of – Cenotes!
Cenotes are unique geological formations that can be found throughout the Yucatan Peninsula. They are deep sinkholes filled with crystal-clear water and offer some of the best swimming and exploring opportunities in Tulum. Whether you’re looking to take a refreshing dip on a hot day or you’re looking to explore the intricate underwater caves, there is a cenote for everyone.
Haute Retreats selected some of the best cenotes in Tulum to check out:
1. El Gran Cenote
The Gran Cenote is one of the most famous cenotes in Tulum, thanks to its beautiful open design and impressive caverns. This is a perfect spot for swimming, snorkeling, or diving as you make your way through the underground cave system. You’ll be surrounded by stunning natural beauty, and the best part is that it’s well-preserved to ensure the ecosystem remains intact. Pristine waters, amazing views, and wildlife await you at the Gran Cenote.
2. Cenote Dos Ojos
Another incredible cenote to check out in Tulum is Dos Ojos, which got its name from the two magical sinkholes that stare up at the sun. This is another excellent place for snorkeling and diving, with a deep underwater passageway leading to 387 feet below – the deepest passage of any cenote! This is a perfect spot for beginners, thanks to the clear waters and easy-to-follow snorkel lines that mark out the cave system. You’ll be able to spot schools of fish, rock formations, and more as you explore this fascinating cenote near Tulum.
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3. Cenote Carwash
The Carwash cenote is a hidden spot that many people miss, but it’s an absolute must for anyone looking to escape the crowds and explore Tulum in peace. This deep sinkhole
is tucked away on a quiet road, surrounded by lush greenery and impressive rock formations. The best part is that this cenote is rarely crowded so you can enjoy a peaceful swim or dive in complete privacy. Named for its history as a washing site for taxi drivers, Carwash cenote is the best spot to unwind and explore.
4. Cenote Angelita
When it comes to cenotes in Tulum, one of the best and most unique is Cenote Angelita. As you delve into the depths, you’ll discover that this cenote is set in a jungle oasis – with no tunnels or routes connecting to other areas. This makes for an awe-inspiring diving experience as you go through this cenote’s deep, dark depths. Experienced divers know that Angelita is a prime spot to explore, where the salt and freshwater layers meet. Its hidden beauty lies beneath its surface, creating an undiscovered landscape for those who dare to dive in and marvel at its splendor.
5. Cenote Zacil Ha
A favorite among travelers and locals alike, Zacil Ha is a cenote known for its brilliant blue waters and natural beauty. This cenote is one of the more developed ones in Tulum, making it perfect for traveling families or adventure-seekers who want to take advantage of its amenities. You’ll be able to explore underwater, take a dip in the calm waters, or hop on the zip line and soar between the cenote’s trees. In addition, you can treat yourself to a refreshing smoothie or authentic Mayan lunch – making it the perfect place for an afternoon escape.
6. Cenote Calavera
One of the unique cenotes in Tulum is Calavera, aka the Temple of Doom. Translated to “skull,” this dramatic sinkhole has a vast opening that makes it easy to enter and explore. You’ll be able to venture far into the depths of this cenote, with a large hole in its roof and three different spots to jump in. Calavera earned its nickname due to its unique rock formations that resemble skulls – perfect for an adventurous day exploring this Mexican gem. With crystal clear waters and a dramatic entrance, this cenote is one of the most popular in Tulum.
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7. Kaan Luum Lagoon
The Kaan Luum Lagoon is the perfect spot to unwind and take in the Tulum beachfront. This lagoon is ideal for a family getaway, with its pristine waters, shallow areas, and easy access. The best part is that Kaan Luum doesn’t experience the massive crowds you’ll find at some of the area’s other cenotes and lagoons, making it an excellent choice for a quiet day in nature. You’ll be able to lie back, swim, and admire this oasis’s idyllic jungle setting.
8. Cenote Sac Actun
This cenote is part of one of the world’s longest underwater cave systems and a must-see for any Tulum adventure. Sac Actun offers a range of activities, from exploring its underground tunnels to snorkeling amongst schools of fish and lush greenery. You’ll be able to marvel at impressive stalactites, swim through rocky passages, and view the pristine blue waters that make this cenote so unique. Experienced divers can explore this cenote’s full range of depths – making it a top choice for aquatic explorers.
Possibly the most beautiful of all the cenotes in Tulum, Yax-Muul is a hidden gem that should be on everyone’s list. This underwater cave system has thousand-year-old stalactites and grand rock formations. Not only is this cenote perfect for diving, but it also offers plenty of other activities to explore. You can swim, float in its shallow waters, or marvel at the light display as it reflects off of the cave walls. With a serene setting and stunning natural beauty, Yax-Muul is one of the best cenotes in Tulum.
10. Escondido Cenote
Mesmerizing and mysterious, Escondido Cenote is one of the best spots to explore Tulum’s underwater world. Both beginners and experts can dive into this cenote, which features deep rock formations, clear waters, and an awe-inspiring hidden oasis. With no tunnels or routes connecting it to other areas, this cenote is one of the only isolated ones, making it an excellent choice for adventurers and explorers. You’ll be able to dive in and explore Escondido’s depths, marvel at its beauty, or climb the rock wall for a different view.
The cenotes of Tulum are some of the most beautiful and unique in all of Mexico. You can soar between the trees, dive into deep rock formations, and explore hidden underground passageways when you visit these cenotes. Whether you’re looking for an adventurous day trip or a peaceful afternoon escape, Tulum’s cenotes have something for everyone.