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The Most famous Cenotes in Riviera Maya
The Most famous Cenotes in Riviera Maya

Cenotes located close to Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Tulum,

Updated over a week ago

Exploring the Enigmatic Beauty of the Cenotes

The Riviera Maya, nestled along the stunning Caribbean coastline of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, is a paradise renowned for its pristine beaches, turquoise waters, and ancient Mayan ruins. However, beneath the surface lies an awe-inspiring natural wonder that captures the imagination of visitors from around the world—the cenotes. These mystical sinkholes, formed by the collapse of limestone bedrock, hold a mesmerizing allure that beckons adventurers to explore their hidden depths. In this article, we will take you on a journey to discover the most famous cenotes in Riviera Maya, where you can experience the unique beauty and tranquility of these subterranean marvels.

1. Ik Kil Cenote:

Nestled near the iconic archaeological site of Chichen Itza, Ik Kil Cenote is a breathtaking natural wonder that leaves visitors spellbound. Often referred to as the "Sacred Blue Cenote," this expansive sinkhole is adorned with lush green vegetation, cascading vines, and crystal-clear waters. Descend the stone steps that lead to the cenote's turquoise pool, and you'll feel as though you've entered a hidden paradise. Here, you can swim in the refreshing waters or admire the mesmerizing stalactites that hang from the cave's ceiling, adding an ethereal touch to this magical place. Perfect to combine with a visit at Chichén Itzá Ruins.

Distance by Car

2h and 49min from Cancun

2h and 20min from Playa del Carmen

2h and 2 min from Tulum

2. Dos Ojos Cenote:

Translating to "Two Eyes" in Spanish, Dos Ojos Cenote is an extraordinary system of underwater caves located near Tulum. Considered a diver's paradise, Dos Ojos offers a unique experience for both beginners and experienced cave divers. As you delve into the subterranean realm, you'll witness a labyrinth of interconnected passages adorned with mesmerizing rock formations and clear water. Snorkelers can also marvel at the stunning beauty of the cenote from the surface, where rays of sunlight pierce through the water, illuminating the hidden wonders beneath.

Distance by Car

1h and 50min from Cancun

50 min from Playa del Carmen

28 min from Tulum

3. Gran Cenote:

A short distance from Tulum lies the Gran Cenote, a natural marvel that lives up to its name. Enclosed by lush greenery and towering trees, this cenote is a captivating sight. As you step into the clear turquoise waters, you'll encounter an underwater world teeming with stalactites, stalagmites, and schools of tropical fish. Snorkeling or diving here provides a glimpse into an enchanting realm filled with intricate formations and serene beauty.

Distance by Car

1h and 58min from Cancun

56 min from Playa del Carmen

10 min from Tulum

4. Cenote Azul:

Situated along the coast between Playa del Carmen and Tulum, Cenote Azul is a hidden gem known for its stunning natural beauty. The vibrant blue waters and the surrounding lush jungle create a postcard-perfect setting. Whether you're diving, snorkeling, or simply enjoying a leisurely swim, Cenote Azul offers a serene escape from the bustling world above. Admire the underwater rock formations, encounter tropical fish, or relax in the shallows while basking in the sun-dappled waters. Cenote Azul is probably the best cenote for children in Playa del Carmen : large, with very clear water, shallow water areas, several places to rest (pier, rocks, etc.), with a platform to jump into the water ( 4 m) and a picnic area, ideal for taking a lunch or snacks.

Distance by Car

1h and 40min from Cancun

25 min from Playa del Carmen

30 min from Tulum

Other Cenotes close to each area.

Playa del Carmen

1. Cenote Chaak Tun

It is the only cenote in the middle of Playa del Carmen (10 minutes from downtown), but also because it is one of the most beautiful caves in the Riviera Maya!

The 2h30 guided tour allows you to visit 2 flooded caves and 1 dry cave : Pixan, Xibalba and Aluxes.

Snorkeling in the crystal clear waters and walking around with a flashlight, you will see a multitude of stalactites, stalagmites, fish and ceramic offerings.

But, of course, this is only a small part of this huge underwater world, since Chaak Tun is part of Sac Actun , the largest flooded cave system in the world

It is mandatory to take a guided tour , for conservation and safety reasons.

2. Crystal Cenote

The Cristalino cenote is an ideal cenote for families in Playa del Carmen, but also for groups of friends who come to spend the day.

It is a very touristic cenote in the Riviera Maya thanks to its beauty and accessibility, since it is very close to the main road (so it can also be reached by public transport).

Luckily it never feels too crowded as there are different areas and a small cave so you can swim and snorkel in your own space. Although it is better to arrive before 10 am to be quiet.

In addition, it is next to the Jardín del Eden and Cenote Azul cenotes , which are also among the most beautiful cenotes in Playa del Carmen , and the beach... so you can spend the whole day there!

3. Secret River

Rio Secreto has won the award for the best nature reserve in Mexico and Central America at the World Travel Awards.

Here you follow the guide with a helmet with a flashlight, a wetsuit, water shoes and a life jacket.

The tour lasts 1h30 and you discover 600m of caves and underground rivers with transparent waters where you can bathe.

The place is beautiful, clean, well organized and safe, so I would recommend it for both couples and families (although I would avoid going with small children).

4. Garden of Eden

Jardín del Eden -also known as Cenote Ponderosa- is one of the most beautiful cenotes in Playa del Carmen , just 20 minutes from downtown.

It is an open-air cenote, surrounded by beautiful vegetation where some iguanas hide, with transparent water where small fish come to tickle your feet in search of dead skin. 😆

This is one of the largest cenotes in the Riviera Maya , so even on Sundays when there are more visitors, there is enough room for a leisurely swim.

Perfect for swimming, diving and relaxing, with several accesses to the water, jumping platforms and shaded areas.

It is also possible to snorkel from the entrance of the El Edén cenote to the Coral cenote (around 1 hour), where you will see many roots, fossils and even remains of Mayan ceramics.


1. Zacil-Ha

Its name means "clear water" in Mayan and it is a magnificent natural pool that they transformed into a small ecotourism complex.

You will be able to swim, snorkel and even dive in “Las Lagrimas”, a cave from 8 to 35 m deep that connects with the Aktun-Ha cenote and the Calavera cenote .

It is an ideal cenote for families since it has all the comforts: swimming pool, rest areas, changing rooms, restaurant, cabins, bathrooms, parking, rental of snorkeling equipment.

There is even a little zip line in the cenote!

However, it is not very big and can fill up quickly. It is best to arrive when it opens at 10 in the morning, since the groups arrive around 11 am.

2. Calavera Cenote

The skull cenote owes its name to its access, which is made through 3 holes in the ground that (with a little imagination) form the 2 eyes and the mouth of a skull.

It is seen very often on Instagram because it offers a very good photo with its unusual access, its wooden ladder and its rope.

The most fun is jumping directly into the water, as it is deep enough to do it safely, but there is also a ladder if you prefer to enter more calmly.

Once in the water, look at the ceiling and you will see bats.

The Calavera cenote in Tulum is not very touristy since it is not included in the tours and it is not very practical for families either since there are no services except a very simple bathroom.

3. Casa Cenote or Cenote Manatí

Casa Cenote , also known as Cenote Manatí , is located near the sea, between Tulum and Playa del Carmen .

It is so big that it looks like a clear water lake where you can swim, dive and even kayak.

This is one of the best cenotes to snorkel in Tulum because the space is quite wide and you can do the whole tour in half an hour.

Almost in front of the cenote, there is an access to the beach and a restaurant with sea views : it can be a good option after swimming!

4. Enchanted Cenote

The Enchanted Cenote is not well known because it is located at the end of the Tulum hotel zone , just before the Sian Ka'an reserve.

It is actually a fairly large lake with fresh water (5-10 m deep) surrounded by mangroves where you can see iguanas, crabs and even raccoons.

You can swim, snorkel (carrying your own equipment) and kayak (rent for 50 pesos).

There isn't much space to sit around the cenote, but there is a small tower with a dock.

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