Tulum is famous not only for its ancient Mayan ruins or pristine beaches but also for being home to the largest network of cenotes in the Yucatan, making it a must-see destination for anyone interested in exploring these unique geological formations.
There are over 100 cenotes in the Tulum area, which form a vast network of interconnected underground rivers and caves. These cenotes range from small, shallow pools to massive underground caverns that experienced divers can only access. Some of the most famous cenotes in the area include Gran Cenote, Dos Ojos and Cenote Azul, and Calavera, all within a short drive of Tulum.
Gran Cenote is rightfully one of the most famous cenotes near Tulum. This amazing cenote, a massive underground cave, has clear water, intricate rock formations, and abundant fish and other marine life, including fish, turtles, and even small freshwater crocodiles. It is an excellent place for snorkeling and diving, with several underwater caves and tunnels to explore.
Dos Ojos is a paired-cenote well-known in the Tulum area for its clear water and intricate rock formations. In Spanish Dos Ojos” means “two eyes” It is so named as it consists of two separate sinkholes connected by a long underwater tunnel, making it a popular place for diving and snorkeling. There are also many underwater caves and tunnels to explore, including a section known as the “Bat Cave” due to the large number of bats that live there.
Famous in the Tulum area, Cenote Azul is a large, open-air cenote surrounded by lush greenery and towering cliffs. The water here is so clear, and plenty of rocks and underwater formations exist to explore. It is excellent for swimming and snorkeling, and nearby there are a couple of restaurants and cafes.
Casa Cenote or Manatee Cenote stretches out as a long, narrow formation surrounded by mangroves and lush vegetation. The water here is slightly brackish but still extremely clear, with abundant marine life to admire. Casa Cenote is a great spot for snorkeling and diving, but also popular for kayaking or stand-up paddle boarding, and you can rent them on-site.
Calavera is a genuinely unique cenote found inside an underground cave system. It is different because you have to jump off a platform to get inside, which is why it’s also known as the “Temple of Doom.” But once here, you will be amazed by the clear water, many rock formations, and underwater tunnels.
Cenote Cristalino is a small, open-air cenote an eye of crystal clear water and stunning rock formations. It is a beautiful place for swimming, snorkeling, and relaxation; nearby, you will find an area with hammocks and sunbeds, which is just right for admiring the beauty of the surroundings.
Aktun Ha, also known as the “Car-Wash Cenote,” is located off the Tulum-Coba highway. In the past, this place was used by locals as a car washing spot, hence the name, Today, however, Aktun Ha is a popular spot for swimming, snorkeling, and diving. The water here is crystal clear and surrounded by plenty of rock formations and underwater tunnels to explore.