If you are a fan of snorkeling or cave diving, or just want to immense yourself in crystal clear waters, visiting a cenote in Tulum is one of the best activities you can do on your next getaway to this incredible beach town.
What is a cenote?
Cenotes are natural wells of clear water with a very important significance among Mayan tribes. These wells were considered to be the point of entrance to Xibalbá; the spiritual world. In the present day, the magic continues as each cenote offers its visitors unique lush green landscapes and the opportunity to coexist with aquatic species and birds while snorkeling.
What we love the most about cenotes in Tulum is that almost all of them are suitable for both swimming and diving, offering magnificent views of Caribbean jungle.
The cenotes, which we mention below, are located just a few kilometers away from Tulum, so there is no excuse for missing them if you are visiting or having your condo in Tulum.
Here are the top 7 cenotes that you must visit on your next trip to Tulum:
Cenote Calavera (Skull Cenote, also known as the Temple of Doom) is one of the most popular cenotes for diving in Tulum and the Riviera Maya.
This cenote owes its scary sounding name to the shape of a human skull, which is revealed when the daylight passes through openings of the caves. It is easy to locate this cenote, since at its entrance you will find some decorative skulls, which are considered folk art and are used in the Mexican celebration of the Day of the Dead.
Cenote Calavera is preferred by many visitors for its large underground caves and the depth of 19 meters; a perfect combination for diving enthusiasts. The diving experience becomes even more interesting when you pass through separate layers of fresh and salt water.
Gran Cenote is located just 5 kilometers away from Tulum on the same highway, as the cenote Calavera. It is one of the most popular and famous cenotes in the state of Quintana Roo. One of the main reasons for its popularity is its lush Mayan jungle, which brings you to the state of immediate relaxation.
Furthermore, the water temperature is very comfortable throughout the whole year, since it does not drop lower than 24º, so you should not worry about waiting for the best season to visit it.
In Gran Cenote it is allowed to practice cave diving, which gives you a chance to dive in its underwater caverns and witness their aquatic landscape. It is also quite common to see people swimming and snorkeling in this cenote as it reaches the maximum depth of 10 meters; but if you don’t know how to swim, don’t worry, as you will be able to rent a life vest.
This cenote is not very deep, as it has shallow parts of 3-meter depth and deeper ones of up to 6 meters deep. Keep in mind that to enter this cenote (and the majority of cenotes in Tulum) it is important not to use creams and sunscreens that are not biodegradable, since they alter water’s chemical composition, damaging the flora and fauna of the area.
The best thing about Cenote Cristalino is that it is very safe as the lifeguard is present on site the whole time. Nevertheless, it is recommended to use life jackets, especially in cenote’s deeper parts.
Cenote Dos Ojos
Cenote Dos Ojos is a true spectacle for diving enthusiasts, willing to explore the great variety of underwater rocky formations and fossils. This cenote gets its name from its physical appearance: two water openings connected by underground caves, resembling two large eyes.
Cenote Dos Ojos is located 20 kilometers from Tulum and is 118 meters deep, being one of the 10 deepest cave systems in the world.
Cenote Kaan Luum
Kaan Luum lagoon is your entrance to one of the most impressive cenotes in Tulum; the 82 meters deep open natural pit with dark blue waters – a piece of heaven, which has no comparisons. It is an excellent option for a visit with the family, as the lagoon itself is not deep and lets you immense yourself in its crystalline turquoise waters.
Cenote Chikin Ha
In the ecological park of Chikin Ha, located on the highway Cancun – Tulum, you will find an incredible semi-open crystalline cenote, with the optimal depth for snorkeling, rappelling or diving. The interesting fact is that different Mayan ceremonies are organized in this cenote, so that visitors can learn a little more about Mayan culture.
Arriving to Cenote Escondido (English: Hidden Cenote) is quite an adventure, since you must first cross a stretch of dense jungle. As its name indicates, this cenote is surrounded by or hidden among such a thick jungle, that discovering its whereabouts becomes an adventure.
Cenote Escondido is located 3 kilometers south of Tulum and is an ideal place for those who prefer to swim and to enjoy the views and the landscapes of cenote’s surroundings.
Nevertheless, for those who prefer to dive, this cenote offers a depth of 17 meters - ideal to enjoy its aquatic flora and fauna.
Keep in mind that it is important to preserve cenote’s bio integrity, avoiding using non-biodegradable sunscreens or repellents. In addition, it is prohibited to hang from the mangroves of this cenote as they play the vital role in the area’s ecosystem.