Looking for the best cenotes near Playa del Carmen? Heck yeah, you are!
After all, Playa del Carmen is known the world over for its incredible Mayan ruins, stunning beaches, and luxurious resorts.
Add in some next-level ethereal Playa del Carmen cenotes and you’ll easily have the time of your life exploring one of Mexico’s most iconic tourist hot spots.
But, if you’ve never been to the area before then it can be difficult to know which of the best cenotes in Playa del Carmen are actually worth your time.
Well, luckily for you I have been to this amazing place more times than I can count. And I want to share all my insider picks for the best cenotes near Playa del Carmen.
This way you can quickly and easily plan an amazing getaway to famous spots like Cenote Azul, Zacil-Ha Cenote, and more.
This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure for more information. As an Amazon Associate, I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases.
If you’re booking a trip right now then I IMPLORE you to get travel insurance – even if it’s not from me.
After all, this past year has been a wild ride and I don’t want you to lose money because government regulations have changed.
Truth be told though, I’ve never traveled without travel insurance and don’t think you should either – especialy since I think we’ve all had plans drastically change because of the pandemic.
Therefore, find an insurance agency that covers travel changes related to COVID-19, like my two all-time faves World Nomads and Safety Wing. You can also read more about which policy is right for you in my full review here.
Best Hotels in Playa Del Carmen
Not sure where to stay while checking out some of the best cenotes near Playa del Carmen?
If so then check out my down-and-dirty list of the best hotels in the area. Because no matter what your budget is this list features an epic pick just for you.
Hotel Eurostars Hacienda Vista Real (budget) – Perfect for anyone on a budget, this delightful 2-star accommodation has sleek, Italian-style rooms with flat-screen TVs, free Wi-Fi, and even bottles of wine/ whirlpool tubs. There’s also a spa, an outdoor pool, and a complimentary breakfast buffet for guests to enjoy.
La Pasion Hotel Boutique by Bunik (mid-range) – This stunning 4-star hotel sits just five minutes from the beach and has an assortment of cozy/casual rooms with private balconies that look out over the outdoor pool. Other on-site amenities include a hot tub, a tropical garden, and massages too.
Andaz Mayakoba Resort Riviera Maya (luxury) – This lavish, 5-star hotel is ideal if you’re looking to relax at a high-end resort with a private lagoon/beach. Rooms also come fully outfitted with all the typical amenities and include access to an all-day buffet, two outdoor pools, a hot tub, a gym, a spa, and a kid’s club.
What is a Cenote?
Cenotes are naturally occurring sinkholes that are usually filled with water. They generally appear when a limestone cave collapses in on itself.
Now, the word cenote is actually pronounced “seh-no-tay” and means “sacred well” in English. And in Mayan culture, it is thought to be an opening into the underworld!
Additionally, Cenotes are scattered all around the Yucatan Peninsula in southeast Mexico and are regularly visited for swimming, snorkeling, relaxing, and scuba diving by both locals and tourists alike!
It’s also worth noting that there are three main types of cenote located near Playa del Carmen and these include:
- Open Cenotes – Open cenotes are open at the top where the cave has completely fallen in on itself. These are often the most popular cenotes near Playa del Carmen as the open air provides some warmth and makes it a great place to swim and cool off after a warm day.
- Semi-Open Cenotes – These types of cenotes are mostly underground but have some parts that are exposed or that let light through. Semi-open cenotes can be particularly magical looking as they let in beams of light into otherwise dark caves, lighting up the turquoise waters below.
- Underground Cenotes – Underground cenotes are usually completely hidden underground or in a cave and are much more difficult to reach. They are also popular among scuba divers who can go deep underwater and explore the dark waters.
Best Cenotes Near Playa del Carmen
1. Cenote Chaak Tun
One of the most beautiful caves in Playa del Carmen is Chaak Tun and it’s also definitely the most popular cenotes too…and for good reason!
See, Chaak Tun is located in Riviera Maya and actually consists of two caves and one giant natural pool.
Now, the largest of the two caves has a hole in its roof, providing the cave with a natural light source that illuminates the beautiful turquoise water below.
The second cave is up a unique spiral staircase and is equally stunning. Therefore, the best thing to do at Cenote Chaak Tun is to snorkel!
In fact, the center actually has snorkeling guides that will help you while you swim through the deep underground caves here.
Therefore, the best way to visit Chaak Tun is by booking a guided tour. Tours include entry, snorkeling equipment, water shoes, and a life jacket as well as access to a guide for the duration of your trip to one of the best cenotes near Playa del Carmen.
How to Get There: Cenote Chaak Tun is only about a 15-minute drive away from the center of Playa del Carmen so it is an easy drive or taxi journey.
Ticket Price: 596 pesos or $30 dollars for entry and 1192 pesos or $60 dollars for a guided tour.
2. Cenote Rio Secreto
Okay, so Cenote Rio Secreto is probably the BEST cenote near Playa del Carmen!
After all, It’s described on their website as a “crystal museum” that features a huge underground river cave with amazing rock formations, stalactites, and stalagmites.
In fact, this is one of the best cenotes near Playa del Carmen that was only recently discovered in 2007!
Now, to get the full experience out of this cenote, book a wild tour of the Mayan Underworld where you cycle through the jungle to reach the cenote, collect your gear before exploring the impressive labyrinth that is the caves, swim in the flooded cave, snorkel past some local fish and finish the day off with a complimentary Mexican lunch!
Just be aware that this cenote is a lot more commercialized than most of the other top cenotes near Playa del Carmen on this list, making ticket prices a bit steeper!
However, the tours are extremely well done and definitely worth the additional fee for the experience.
How to Get There: Book a tour that includes transfers, or via Colectivo.
Ticket Price: Around 2000 pesos or $100 for Wild Tour and around 1500 pesos or $80 dollars for Rio Secreto Tour.
3. Cenote Azul
Cenote Azul is a lot of people’s favorite cenote near Playa del Carmen and it is easy to see why.
Meaning blue cenote in English, Azul is famous for its beautiful colors that range from light green to deep blue.
And once you enter the cave itself, Cenote Azul is an open cenote with two main pools and a bridge that runs between the two of them.
Azul also has an assortment of different pools that sit at unique depths, making it one of the best cenotes near Playa del Carmen for the family.
Heck, there’s even a 3-meter cliff here that you can jump from if you’re brave enough to give it a shot!
And like a few of the other best Playa del Carmen cenotes on this list, Azul has some basic facilities to use during your visit. However, every trip to the toilet will cost you 5 pesos.
How to Get There: 25-minute drive from Playa del Carmen
Ticket Price: 120 pesos or $6 with extra 40 pesos or $2 for life jacket rental.
4. Cenote Zacil-Ha
If you are visiting Playa del Carmen as a family, Zacil-Ha is the best cenote for you.
Because while natural, untouched cenotes may be beautiful, if you are visiting with kids then they may not be as practical as Cenote Zacil-Ha.
Because the best thing about this cenote, other than how beautiful it is, are the amenities.
After all, this is one of the best cenotes near Playa del Carmen that has changing rooms, toilets, a restaurant, an awesome zipline, jumping platforms, lifeguards, and two swimming pools that are perfect for smaller children.
How to Get There: It’s right next to Cenote Carwash. So, you can visit both places as part of a day trip from Playa del Carmen.
Ticket Price: 200 pesos or $10 for adults and 50 pesos or $2.50 for children.
5. Cenote Tajma Ha
The Cenote Tajma Ha is famous for being the best cenote near Playa del Carmen for scuba diving!
However, it’s a bit more advanced than your average scuba diving spot so you do have to be experienced to really explore the underwater caves here.
Fear not though because if you are not a certified diver, you can still snorkel and explore the amazing deep waters and see some of the creatures living inside the cenote.
Plus, ticket prices include snorkel gear and the staff is happy to tell you all about the best spots to explore.
You also know that this has to be one of the best cenotes near Playa del Carmen since divers originally nicknamed this place after the Taj Mahal due to its natural beauty.
But, the name has now evolved and is named after the Mayan word for water, ‘Ha’.
Oh, and another must-see part of this cenote is a small opening in the cave roof that allows a stream of sunlight to shine down into the cave, revealing the true depth of the water – which can reach up to 30 meters deep!
How to Get There: 30-minute drive from Playa del Carmen or you can catch the Colectivo from 2nd street.
Ticket Price: 150 pesos or $7.50
6. Gran Cenote
Gran Cenote is a really popular cenote located near Tulum. However, despite its name (meaning ‘big cenote’), Gran Cenote is actually made up of several different smaller cenotes that are connected by a series of wooden walkways.
Now, a large portion of this cenote is open which makes it a great area for swimming and snorkeling.
Luckily the water is so clear that you can see fish and occasionally turtles even without a snorkel. Plus, you’ll love that this is one of the best cenotes near Playa del Carmen which also has caves with enclosed caverns too.
Just be aware that this cenote actually isn’t that big and unfortunately can get quite cozy when a lot of tour groups stop by.
Therefore, the best time to visit Gran Cenote is either early in the morning or late in the day, especially if you want to enjoy the best snorkeling in Mexico.
How to Get There: Either by car or take Colectivo from Playa del Carmen to Tulum and change Colectivo to towards Coba, hop off at Gran Cenote!
Ticket Price: 180 pesos or $9
7. Cenote Carwash
Probably the largest cenote on this list, Cenote Carwash is an open cenote that almost looks like one of the best lakes in Mexico.
In fact, it is located along the road between Coba and Tulum and gets its name from the fact that locals would regularly stop along the road and use it as a body of water to wash their cars!
So, Cenote Cashwash is a super popular spot due to its size and crystal-clear waters. It’s also surrounded by vegetation and is home to lots of wildlife, including a resident crocodile! Don’t worry though, I’ve heard he’s friendly.
Lucikly for you this cenote is less commercialized than a lot of the other larger cenotes here. So, it doesn’t have as many amenities.
Although, it does have some rope springs and a jumping platform that makes it a great cenote to visit with kids.
How to Get There: Because it is only located down the road from Tulum, you may want to book an overnight stay there. Alternatively, if you are traveling from Playa del Carmen, you can rent a bike or scooter and visit that way. If you’re visiting as a family it’s best to rent a car.
Ticket Price: 50 pesos or $2.50
8. Cenote Dos Ojos
Also located near Tulum, Dos Ojos is another very popular cenote. However, it is still close enough to Playa del Carmen that you could easily make a day trip here as part of your trip.
Now, Dos Ojos, or Two Eyes, derives its name from the fact that two cenotes are located next to each other and connected by a boardwalk – making them look like a pair of eyes.
And while this cenote is more closed off and located inside a cave, there is more than enough natural light to give the cave enough visibility for snorkeling and scuba diving.
Dos Ojos also has great facilities including changing rooms, toilets, lockers, and a deck area.
And while you can definitely visit this cenote to relax and get a massage, Dos Ojos is known for its amazing snorkeling.
So, book a snorkeling tour to see some of the incredible wildlife living inside the cenote with an expert instructor.
How to Get There: It is best to travel by car from Playa del Carmen as it is a 3km walk from the Colectivo stop at the entrance.
Ticket Price: The price of a ticket can vary but it is usually under 397 pesos or $20. But, it can only be paid in pesos and in cash.
9. Casa Cenote
This cenote is very unique in the fact that it is a completely open cenote with bright turquoise water that is surrounded by lush greenery.
Plus, Casa Cenote is lined with magnificent mangrove trees that are exceptionally cool to look at underwater.
Additionally, Casa is one of the lesser-known best cenotes near Playa del Carmen. So, it is a great option if you would rather avoid the crowds.
And then across the road from Casa Cenote is a beach which is a great place to relax after a nice day spent swimming or snorkeling in the cenote.
Just know that the facilities at this cenote aren’t as advanced as some of the others mentioned. But, there is a great lunch spot across the street that is reasonably priced and features beautiful views.
And if you are planning on hailing a taxi or using public transportation to get to Casa Cenote, you may hear locals referring to it as Cenote Manati.
This is because there used to be a group of manatees that were regularly spotted at Casa Cenote. Unfortunately, no one has seen them for a few years now.
How to Get There: You can get there via Colectivo from 2nd street Playa del Carmen, however, it is a bit of a walk from the Colectivo stop.
Ticket Price: 120 pesos or $6.
10. Cenote Cristalino
Located just up the road from Cenote Eden and Cenote Azul is Cenote Cristalino.
As you can probably tell from the name (Crystal Clear Cenote) Cristalino is famous for its beautiful and super clear turquoise waters.
This cenote is also completely open air and one of the main attractions is definitely a cliff-jumping area; which is super fun if that’s your thing!
Conversely, it’s maybe not as relaxing as some of the other best cenotes near Playa del Carmen on this list.
And if you visit, definitely bring your snorkel gear for your trip to Cristalino as the cenote is full of fish. Heck, you can even treat yourself to a free fish spa by dipping your feet into the water in one of the small ponds here.
Now, the best time to visit Cenote Cristalino is during the week as this cenote is popular with both tourists and locals, making Sundays the busiest day of the week.
Also, unlike some of the other cenotes on this list, Cenote Cristalino has both toilet and changing facilities – something that is a huge plus in my book!
How to Get There: Cenote Crisalino is a 25-minute drive from Playa del Carmen. So, it would make a great day trip as part of a visit to Eden and Azul cenotes too.
Ticket Price: Tickets cost 200 pesos or $10 and it includes a life jacket.
11. Cenote Jardin Del Eden
Cleverly named after the Garden of Eden, Cenote Jardin Del Eden is a stunning cenote surrounded by luscious green plants and beautiful trees.
Cenote Eden is also an open cenote that looks like a giant, all-natural outdoor swimming pool. However, It is actually an underwater cave with incredible rock formations that sit beneath water that gets extremely deep.
In fact, it gets so deep that you will regularly see people jumping from high branches into the cenote below; definitely an activity for all you thrill seekers out there!
But, if cliff jumping (or branch jumping) doesn’t sound thrilling enough to you, why not book a scuba diving session at Cenote Jardin Del Eden and see the cenote from a whole other perspective?
If you are lucky you might even spot a slider turtle! And because of how large this cenote is, it often doesn’t feel as busy as a lot of the smaller cenotes on this list, meaning that you shouldn’t have to worry too much about the crowds at one of the best Playa del Carmen cenotes.
How to get There: Cenote Eden is about a 20 minute drive from downtown Playa del Carmen, however, this cenote is best visited with its nearby cenotes: Azul and Cristalino.
Ticket Price: 200 pesos or $10 for adults and 100 pesos or $5 for children.
12. Cenote Xcanche at Ek Balam
Cenote Xcanche is the perfect cenote to unwind at after a long day of visiting the Mayan ruins of Ek Balam.
In fact, this is one of the best cenotes near Playa del Carmen that shares an entrance with Ek Balam. So. it’s easy to visit both as part if the same trip.
Once here you’ll find that Xcanche is an open cenote with a waterfall in the middle of the swimming area.
And one of the best parts of this cenote is the variety of hanging ropes, ziplines, and jumping platforms that are available for visitors to use.
Just know that there are a lot of steep stairs that you will need to descend to get to Cenote Xcanche. Therefore, it is not the most accessible of cenotes in Playa del Carmen.
And for the slightly more adventurous visitors out there, you can actually rent equipment and abseil down to the bottom of the cenote if you want to skip the steps completely!
How to Get There: Ek Balam is about a 2 hour drive from Playa del Carmen. So, you can book a tour of both Ek Balam and Cenote Xcanche.
Ticket Price: 170 pesos or $8.50. but you may want to add bike rental to your ticket to save yourself from the long walk from the visitor center!
13. Cenote Ik Kil at Chichen Itza
A must-do day trip from Playa del Carmen has to be Chichen Itza.
See, in English Chichen Itza means “at the mouth of the well of the Itza ” and it’s a famous archaeological site that is now known as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.
And while a trip to Chichen Itza is a great day out on its own, Cenote Ik Kil is right nearby and should definitely be part of your itinerary.
See, the roof of the cenote has now completely caved in on itself, creating an open cenote where you can look straight up at the mangrove trees above.
Plus, there are plenty of tours that will take you on a day trip to both Chichen Itza and Cenote Ik Kil. In fact, many tours also include a traditional buffet meal and are very highly rated.
But, ig you are planning on visiting Cenote Ik Kil at Chichen Itza without a guide, definitely get there early to beat the crowds from the tours.
And if you’re an early riser, sunrise at Chichen Itza is meant to be a spectacle in and of itself.
How to Get There: Book a tour with pickup or drive yourself. It is possible to get from Playa del Carmen to Chichen Itza by public transport but it can take several hours.
Entry Price: 1500 pesos or $79 USD
14. Cenote Suytun
Made famous by influencers, Cenote Suytun definitely wins the award for the most instagrammable cenote near Playa del Carmen.
See, Suytun is a semi-open cenote with an amazing beam of light that shines straight down into the middle of it.
There is even a stone walkway that leads into the middle of the light source, making for some truly stunning photographs.
Now, to get that perfect insta-worthy shot, you will need to go when the sun is high in the sky so that it shines straight through the ceiling and lights up the cenote.
And frustratingly enough, everyone else also wants this photo. So, you may have to wait in line to get yours.
Also, many people often get so excited by the main cenote that they forget that there are actually two cenotes at Suytun.
Yeah, the one close to the entrance is actually the lesser known of the two cenotes. In fact, this cenote is covered in foliage and is underground.
Unfortunately though, you can’t swim in this cenote but it is definitely still worth checking out as one of the best cenotes near Playa del Carmen.
How to Get There: You can catch the ADO bus to Cenote Suytun from Playa del Carmen and the ride only takes a couple of hours.
Ticket Price: 120 pesos or $6
15. The Coba Cenotes
Unlike a lot of the other cenotes on this list, the cenotes in Coba are enclosed underground to create a labyrinth of underground caves.
- Cenote Tankacha – Let your inner daredevil out and enjoy a series of jumping platforms that sit up to 10 meters in the air as you plunge into the waters below. Don’t worry though because this cenote is known for being very deep and safe to jump into. That being said, if you aren’t a strong swimmer, be sure to wear a life jacket as it can be up to 20 meters deep.
- Cenote Choo Ha – Cenote Choo Ha is probably the quietest of the three but is also the prettiest. And while there aren’t any cliff jumping opportunities, the ceilings are low and there are an assortment of stalagmites and stalactites to see. This is also one of the more shallow cenotes so it’s more popular among families and with people who want to relax. However, the clear water makes it a great place for some snorkeling.
- Cenote Multun-Ha – This cenote is a bit further away from the others. But, do not skip it since Cenote Multun-Ha is a lot further underground and around 30 meters deep. But if that’s too deep for you then you can always take the long stairs down and sit on the platform while admiring the cave and crystal clear waters.
How to Get There: If you are planning on seeing all of the Coba Cenotes in one day, it is best to have your own vehicle so you can see them at your own pace. There are also some tours that run from Cancun that will take you to the Cenotes and around Tulum and Coba too.
Ticket Price: 100 pesos or $5 per cenote. So, 300 pesos or $15 to see all three.
FAQ and Tips for Visiting The Best Cenotes near Playa del Carmen
How much are the cenotes around Playa Del Carmen?
Most of the cenotes located near Playa del Carmen cost under 200 pesos or $10 for entry. However, some of the best cenotes near Playa del Carmen that include other attractions, such as Chichen Itza, are a bit more expensive.
What is the Most Beautiful Cenote in Mexico?
All of the cenotes included on this list of the best cenotes near Playa del Carmen are unique and beautiful in their own way. That being said, a lot of people would say Cenote Dos Ojos is the most stunning cenote in Mexico.
However, If you are looking for the most picturesque cenote in Mexico, Cenote Sayun takes the cake!
How Deep is the Cenote at Chichen Itza?
In order to access Cenote Ik Kil, you have to climb down 26 meters of stairs. From there, the water at the cenote is around 35 meters deep, however, this does vary depending on the season.
Tips For Visiting the Best Cenotes Near Playa del Carmen
- Sunscreen is actually banned at all of the cenotes on this list, even the biodegradable kind! You are also expected to shower before entering to remove any residue. This is because the sunscreen can hurt the wildlife and create a film on top of the water.
- Wear water shoes when exploring the cenotes to protect your feet from sharp rocks.
- Cenotes get especially busy on Sundays! To avoid crowds it is best to go on weekdays, either in the morning or later in the afternoon.
Map of the Best Cenotes Near Playa del Carmen
Additional Mexico Resources You’ll Love
- Best Souvenirs from Mexico
- Best Beaches in Cancun
- Best Hot Springs in Mexico
- Best Bars in Tulum
- Best Breakfast in Tulum