The Cenote Guide: Explore Cenotes Near Playa del Carmen

    If you’re looking for an adventurous and memorable swimming or diving experience, look no further than the cenotes near Playa del Carmen, Mexico. These natural wonders offer visitors a chance to cool off and enjoy some of the most beautiful scenery in the area. This guide will tell you about some of our favorite cenotes near Playa del Carmen, Mexico. So pack your swimsuit and get ready to explore!

    What is a cenote?

    A cenote, pronounced seh-NO-tay, is a water-filled sinkhole, typically found in tropical climates. Caused by the collapse of limestone bedrock, cenotes are often connected to underground rivers and aquifers, making them popular spots for swimming and diving. The word cenote comes from the Maya word meaning “sacred well“, and the caves and sinkholes have been an important part of Maya mythology and religion for centuries. According to legend, the god of rain, Chaac, would travel through the underworld using cenotes as gateways. Today, cenotes are popular tourist attractions, and many people enjoy swimming in their refreshing waters. However, it is important to remember that these natural wonders are also fragile ecosystems.

    4 Types of Cenote

    Open to the Ground Cenote

    Open cenotes are the most common type and are characterized by a large opening that lets in plenty of sunlight

    Semi-Open Cenote

    Semi-open cenotes are smaller than open ones, often have a narrow opening, and often feature a cave-like setting. They typically don’t have as much water as open cenotes, but they are still great for swimming and snorkeling.

    Closed Cenote

    Closed cenotes are the least common type of cenote in Playa del Carmen. They are completely enclosed underground, making them ideal for spelunking (exploring caves). However, closed cenotes can be very dark because they don’t have any natural light; they can only be accessed by descending through a small opening. 

    Deep Open Cenote

    Deep cenotes are often called “blue holes” because of their deep blue waters. These cenotes are popular tourist destinations, as they offer visitors the chance to swim, snorkel, and scuba dive in their clear waters.


    Entrance Fees

    Arriving at a cenote, you’ll usually find a pay station where you’ll pay a small entrance fee ($50-500 pesos, which is about ~$5-$25 USD). You might also be able to rent life jackets, snorkel gear, or lockers here, although not all cenotes offer this service. Then, you’ll follow a natural path through the woods until you reach the cenote itself. Be careful when descending the stairs into the water— they can be slippery!


    Once you’re in the water, you can swim around and explore. The water is refreshing and invigorating, and it’s the perfect temperature for swimming. You’ll want to spend hours swimming in the cenote, but be sure to take breaks so you don’t get too tired. There’s plenty to explore at a cenote, so take your time and enjoy the experience.

    What to Bring to a Cenote

    Swimming and diving in a cenote are truly unique. The water is crystal clear and refreshingly cool, and the surrounding cliffs create a sense of isolation from the outside world. In some cenotes, you can even see fish swimming in the depths below. However, I recommend bringing towels and a rashguard because the water in some cenotes can be a little chilly. Dive gear if you dive, obviously. You may also want to bring snacks and a picnic lunch to enjoy by the water’s edge. After a long day of exploring, you’ll be happy you chose to visit a cenote.

    Recommended Items to Pack:

    Vegan and Reef Friendly Sunscreen

    GoPro HERO8 Black Waterproof Action Camera

    Quick-Dry Oversized Beach Towel

    Quick-Dry Water Shoes

    The Best Local Cenotes Near Playa del Carmen

    Cenote Azul

    Cenote Azul is a family-friendly swimming hole located a short drive from Playa del Carmen. The cenote is famed for its clear blue waters, which make for a refreshing swim on hot days. Visitors can also relax on the nearby beach or take a stroll through the jungle to explore the area. To avoid the crowds, it is best to visit Cenote Azul in the early morning or late afternoon. So whether you’re looking for a place to cool off or just want to kick back and relax, Cenote Azul is the perfect spot for a day trip from Playa del Carmen.

    Cenote Jardin Del Eden

    Cenote Jardin Del Eden is a family-friendly destination that offers a unique day trip experience. It is located approximately an hour from Playa del Carmen and provides a great opportunity to explore the area’s natural beauty. The cenote is perfect for swimming and cliff jumping, and the clear waters offer an excellent opportunity to see a variety of fish and other marine life. Snorkeling gear is available for rental, and there are plenty of shady areas to relax in between swims. Cenote Jardin Del Eden is a great place to spend a day with family or friends, and the experience is sure to create lasting memories.

    Cenote Zacil-Ha

    Cenote Zacil-Ha is a family-friendly cenote located just a short drive from Playa del Carmen. This cenote is perfect for swimming, with crystal clear waters that are refreshing and invigorating. The natural setting is also beautiful, with towering cliffs and lush vegetation providing a stunning backdrop. Best of all, Cenote Zacil-Ha is relatively uncrowded so that visitors can enjoy a more relaxed experience. There are also several platforms where you can jump into the water, making it a great place for an adventurous day trip. The Cenote Zacil-Ha property also has two swimming pools on-site and a restaurant, making it great for families with kids. Whether you’re looking for a family-friendly activity or an adrenaline-filled adventure, Cenote Zacil-Ha is the perfect place to visit on a day trip from Playa del Carmen.

    Cenote Cristalino

    Cenote Cristalino is located in Playa del Carmen, just a short drive from the city center. This cenote is a great place to visit as a day trip, and it’s perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and relaxing in the water. There are also a number of platforms and rope swings that make it a great place to spend the day. Cenote Cristalino is best visited during the week when it is less crowded. Cenote Cristalino is a must-visit for anyone visiting Playa del Carmen and will provide an unforgettable experience. Whether you are looking for a place to cool off or just want to explore the underwater world, Cenote Cristalino is a great option.

    Cenote Chikin Ha

    Cenote Chikin Ha is a diving and snorkeling paradise located just a short 30-minute drive from Playa del Carmen. The cenote is surrounded by lush jungle, and the clear turquoise water is teeming with fish. There are two cenotes on the property and several caves perfect for diving, snorkeling, and exploring. The staff is very friendly and helps to regulate the number of divers who enter each cenote to prevent overcrowding and to ensure you have the best underwater experience. 

    Cenote Chaak Tun

    Cenote Chaak Tun is the most beautiful cenote in all of the Riviera Maya regions. The cenote has two different caves, and each has crystal-clear water that is perfect for diving and snorkeling. Tours are available that will take you to both caves, and you can even see some ancient fossils and Mayan artifacts that have been preserved in the caves. Cenote Chaak Tun is a must-see for anyone visiting the Riviera Maya region.

    Cenote Tours

    VIP Cenotes Private Tour

    Discover the cenotes that dot the Yucatán Peninsula on this day-long VIP tour from Playa del Carmen. Offering an adventurous alternative to a day at the beach, the tour is led by a professional snorkel guide to help you get the most out of your underwater swimming time. Snorkel equipment and entrance fees to the cenotes are all included.

    • Save time with a hotel pickup and drop-off from Playa del Carmen
    • Avoid any surprise fees at the cenotes with prebooked entry
    • See more beneath with water with tips from a pro snorkel guide
    • Keep cool on the road in an air-conditioned vehicle with chilled water

    Click HERE for more information on booking!

    Private Dream Underground World (Off the beaten path Cenote cavernous exploring)

    Explore Sistema Sac Actun, an underwater cave system on the Caribbean coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, during this half-day guided tour. Swim and snorkel in the underground waters at your own pace while learning about its rock formations and the geological history of the area.

    • Discover this underground world with the help of a guide
    • Pickup and drop-off from accommodations is included

    Click HERE for more information on booking!

    Hidden Cenote exploration in Playa del Carmen

    The Yucatan Peninsula is rife with cenotes, many of which can be crowded. On this private excursion, visit a hidden, underground cenote near Playa del Carmen and enjoy a swim in its refreshing waters. Walk through the underground cave system and learn about the geological history from your guide.

    • Discover a hidden gem near Playa del Carmen
    • Upgrade to include a local meal cooked on site
    • Snorkeling equipment and lunch are included
    • A private tour ensures a personalized experience

    Click HERE for more information on booking!

    Tulum, Cenote and Playa del Carmen

    Explore the ancient walled city of Tulum and discover the Mayan culture through its vestiges. Cool off by swimming in the crystal waters of the Cenote Butterfly to later recharge your energies with the exquisite buffet that we have prepared for you. At dusk you will visit the famous fifth avenue of Playa del Carmen where you can go and visit its shopping centers.

    What’s included:

    • Lunch
    • Bottled water
    • Air-conditioned vehicle
    • Life jacket in the cenote
    • Soda/Pop

    Click HERE for more information on booking!

    Tour Xenotes

    Xenotes is the only Cancun tour that takes you to visit the four types of cenotes (sinkholes) that exist in nature: semi-open, the open gran cenote, ancient, and the cavern blue cenote.

    Have fun with activities such as assisted rappel, zip-lines, kayaking, exploration swimming, or cliff jumping. To replenish energy, a delicious picnic will be waiting for you. Enter the heart of the Mayan jungle at the best cenotes in Cancun.

    Jump In!

    There's nothing quite like a dip in a cenote to cool off on a hot day. And with GoSmart Travel, booking a trip to one of these amazing natural swimming holes is easier than ever.

    Call (813) 591-5971 now and start planning your cenote getaway!

    Check out our blog on travel horoscopes to see if this destination is in the stars for you.



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