Cenotes in Mexico are everywhere in the Yucatan Peninsula. A few decades ago you would need to drive deep into the jungle to discover some, but these days you explore them effortlessly as there are signs and cenote eco-parks built around them.
Some of Mexico’s cenotes are open like a lake, others are almost completely underground with only a small opening. There are more than 6000 cenotes in the Yucatan, so you have plenty of options to choose from.
There are also many great cenotes near Cancun, Tulum, Coba, Valladolid, Puerto Morelos, or Merida, so you can easily find a number of cenotes to visit during your trip to Mexico. Here are my recommendations for the best cenotes in Playa del Carmen & best cenotes in Puerto Morelos.
IMPORTANT: At the cenotes in Mexico, you’ll be asked to swim without any lotions or creams on your skin at all, as can poison fish, sea plants, and other delicate marine life.
You will live after being exposed to the sun for a bit, but sadly other creatures will not survive if you infect their natural habitat with sunscreen. However, you can get biodegradable sunscreen at some cenotes.
Please note: all prices are in Mexican Pesos (MXN). Prices increase all the time, so please keep in mind that it might be slightly higher. Be prepared.
Best Cenotes in Playa del Carmen
1. Cenote Azul
Cenote Azul is one of my favorite cenotes. It’s 26 meters deep and has crystal clear water perfect for swimming in. You can also meet some iguanas living in the bushes around.
Although the place can get quite crowded everyone can find a spot to either relax or jump from a cliff. Get there as early as possible after 12pm on some days there’s no parking at all.
There are plenty of fish that will swim around your legs, so be prepared to be tickled a lot. If you can hold your breath for long enough there is a small underwater cave passage that you can free dive through.
Here is my full guide to visiting Cenote Azul.
Cenote Azul Entrance Fee: 200 MXN.
Cenote Azul Opening Times: 9 AM to 5 PM daily.
How to get to Cenote Azul?
All three cenotes (Azul, Eden, Cristalino) are just 20 minutes away from Playa by public transportation. In order to get there, you need to jump on a colectivo – a Mexican minibus. You can take them from a stand located on Calle 2 Norte between Avenida 15 and 20 and ask the driver to drop you off at one you want to go to.
2. Cenote Jardin del Eden
Considered one of the most beautiful cenote near Playa del Carmen. You can jump off the climb or even a tree and chill on a terrace right above the cenote. The water is clear and you can find huge rocks in the center where you can swim to and rest.
While you sit there little fish will come to you and eat the dead skin – just like at the “fish spas” on 5th Avenue in Playa del Carmen.
Cenote Eden Entrance Fee: 150 MXN.
Cenote Jardin del Eden Opening Times: 9 AM to 5 PM daily.
3. Cenote Cristalino
Cenote Cristalino is one of the groups of three cenotes next to each other, along with Azul and Jardin del Eden. This cenote has a half-cave you can swim through and see a contrast between the lightened-up water and the one from the cave.
Cenote Azul Entrance Fee: 130 MXN.
Cenote Azul Opening Times: 9 AM to 6:30 PM daily.
4. Cenote Chac Mool
It’s a fantastic diving-only cenote that offers breathtaking stalactites and stalagmites illuminated by the rays of the sun.
Keep in mind that cameras aren’t permitted inside the cenote, but you can get professional photos for 60USD extra.
5. Rio Secreto
Technically not a cenote, but it’s a perfect cave experience. It’s a semi-flooded limestone cave system that you swim and walkthrough. The place is dark, as it’s entirely underground but don’t worry – you’re given a headlamp.
While Rio Secreto may seem commercial I highly recommend this experience.
Rio Secreto Opening Times: Daily, by guided tours only.
Sunday 1st of August 2021
We are going to Playa del Carmen in November to do some cenotes mainly. We have been before and did some. We got there by colectivo and we loved it. Since that time my walking any big distance is diminished. Wondered if you know of any along the highway from Playa to Tulum that are very close to the highway?
Thanks for any help.
Monday 2nd of August 2021
The closest ones would be Azul, Eden, Cristalino, Yax-kin (relatively close because you need to walk through the jungle). Once you get to Tulum on the way to Coba you'd find Grand Cenote and Carwash very close to the highway.
Friday 26th of July 2019
Thanks a lot for writing this blog. I didn't have a courage to rent a car in Mexico but after reading this blog, we rented a car and drove around place. We had kids with us so couldn't explore much but I am happy we got to stop by in villages on the way to see how people live in this area. We stayed in Cancun for 4 days and was able to cover as much as we could. Your blog gave me lot of ideas. Everywhere I went in Mexico, I met very nice and loving people. I would say that ticket price of all the Cenotes have gone up. Next time I will read your blog before I book my trip. :).
Saturday 27th of July 2019
May I ask which spots you couldn't explore because of the kids? I'm wondering as so far I haven't had issues taking my baby anywhere.
Zane Matthew Patterson
Wednesday 1st of May 2019
Anna, Thank you for your response. My concern is with Jardin del Eden being slightly off the main highway than connects Cancun with Tulum. Do you think that a collectivo is a reliable mode of transport to get from this cenote to, say, Tulum or the Tulum ruins? Are collectivos plentiful at Jardin del Eden?
Also, where exactly in Playa del Carmen does one catch the collectivo? Perhaps it would be easier to take the from Cancun?
Thank you very much for your help, and I really enjoy your blog!
Thursday 2nd of May 2019
Yes, colectivo is best for getting there. I've always taken colectivo to get there actually :) In Playa del Carmen you can catch the colectivo very easily. Here's a more detailed post from my friend https://everythingplayadelcarmen.com/how-to-take-the-colectivos-to-tulum-or-cancun/ - just tell them you want to go to cenote Jardin del Eden :) There's no colectivo that goes all the way from Cancun to Tulum. You can take an ADO bus from Cancun to Playa and then change into colectivo. There's also another big ADO bus from Playa to Tulum, but it doesn't stop at cenotes - its first stop is Tulum Ruins.
Tuesday 31st of October 2017
I will be traveling to Riviera Maya in November 2017 and the dive shop suggested Chikin Ha or Jardin del Eden. We have 2 that will be cavern diving since they are open water certified only and 2 that will be snorkeling only. Would these be cenotes you would suggest and if so which one would be better for our group? If there are other options that may be better I would appreciate that advise as well.
Tuesday 31st of October 2017
Yes, these are great for both diving and snorkeling :)
Friday 20th of October 2017
Hi Anna! Great article. I'm traveling in December and plan to do a group excursion with a bunch of people in my party. At least 20 people. We love to see a Cenote and get some nice pictures. We are in Playa Del Carmen is there one that you would recommend that's not very busy, pretty and adventurous?
Friday 20th of October 2017
The closer to Playa the busier the cenotes will get ;-) I guess with such a big group any cenote might feel slightly busy, so I wouldn't even know which one to recommend. Maybe Verde Lucero since there are activities there so everyone can have fun.