A Guide to Exploring the Cenotes in and Around Tulum

The Gran Cenote near Tulum is popular with swimmers, snorkelers and divers
The Gran Cenote near Tulum is popular with swimmers, snorkelers and divers | © Helmut Corneli / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Stephen Woodman
15 April 2021

The Yucatán Peninsula is known to have the world’s largest number of underwater sinkholes, or cenotes. Once revered as sacred by ancient Mayans, they now draw travelers and adventurers alike. Formed when limestone is gradually eroded over hundreds of years, cenotes are an excellent place to swim, snorkel or dive. Here is our guide to the most beautiful cenotes in and around the Mexican town of Tulum.

Gran Cenote

Natural Feature
Map View
Gran Cenote de Tulum in Yucatan Peninsula, Quintana Roo, Mexico. There are thousands of cenotes dotted all over Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, and their
© Sergi Reboredo / Alamy Stock Photo
Just 3mi (5km) from central Tulum, the Gran Cenote is very popular with swimmers and snorkelers of all ages. Partially submerged tunnels connect the cenote’s open-air sections. The location is also a draw for divers, as it provides access to the world’s second-largest cave system. With its sandy bottom and sunbathing decks, the Gran Cenote is also a favorite with swimmers and those looking to relax in the sun. Keep an eye out for bats and even occasional toucans.

Cenote Dos Ojos

Natural Feature
Map View
Tourist relaxing in Two Eyes Cenote (Cenote Dos Ojos), Yucatan, Mexico.
© Jan Wlodarczyk / Alamy Stock Photo
One of Mexico’s most well-known cenotes, Dos Ojos is a magnet for tourists. The name translates as “two eyes” and refers to the fact that the cenote itself is split in two – one half is clear and shallow, making it perfect for snorkeling, while the other half is deeper and is best for scuba divers.

Cenote Choo-Ha

Ruins, Natural Feature
Map View
A short car ride from the Cobá ruins, the Cenote Choo-Ha is an impressive underground cenote. Accessed via a small opening in the ground, a narrow wooden staircase leads into a huge round cavern. A great place to visit with children or young adults, the high rock ceilings boast thousands of stalactites and stalagmites. There are two other cenotes in the immediate area. Tankach-Ha is loved by dare-devil cliff divers, and Multún-Ha is best for scuba divers.

Cenotes Labnaha

Natural Feature
Map View
Around 15 minutes from central Tulum, the Cenotes Labnaha site is widely regarded as one of the best sinkholes in the Riviera Maya. Unlike most cenotes in the region, Labnaha maintains a strict maximum limit on the number of daily visitors, therefore reducing the impact on the local environment. Qualified and professionally trained guides from the local area provide excellent tours of the site, and the organization is also committed to working with and helping local Mayan communities.

Cenote Ponderosa

Natural Feature
Map View
Also known as Cenote Jardín del Edén, this is a stunning destination for swimmers. With fresh, crystal-clear water, the vast open cenote is also home to all manner of wildlife, including brightly colored motmots, turtles and freshwater eels. Thrill seekers will also enjoy making a daring jump from the edge of the cenote into the water.

If you’re considering a trip to Tulum, read our comprehensive guide to the best hotels in Tulum, bookable with Culture Trip.

These recommendations were updated on April 15, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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