There aren’t any famous cenotes in the actual towns of Cancun, Playa del Carmen or Puerto Morelos, but you can find plenty within 20–40 minutes driving. One of the – you can find the Route of Cenotes (Ruta de Los Cenotes). Peppered along dirt roads, you can

Prices may vary depending on the tourist, and compared to the cenotes in Tulum, the prices are steep for rustic facilities. But unlike Tulum’s famous cenotes, you get more of an ‘off-the-beaten-track’ adventure, and typically less people.

There are many tour options, but you can just as easily rent a car and do it yourself. It is also affordable to hire a taxi, whether for the day or to drop

There aren’t any famous cenotes in Cancun, but nearby in Puerto Morelos – around 45 minutes south – you can find the Route of Cenotes (Ruta de Los Cenotes). Peppered along dirt roads, you can

Prices may vary depending on the tourist, and compared to the cenotes in Tulum, the prices are steep for rustic facilities. But unlike Tulum’s famous cenotes, you get more of an ‘off-the-beaten-track’ adventure, and typically less people.

There are many tour options, but you can just as easily rent a car and do it yourself. It is also affordable to hire a taxi, whether for the day or to drop you off – just make sure you arrange a time for them to pick you up as the cenotes are remote and don’t have good signal (and no internet). There is a colectivo that passes from Puerto Morelos to Leona Vicario, but it’s not overly regular. or not?

Many also offer picnic areas, camping, jungle walks, plus a bunch of other activites, like AVs,

This route has a variety of cenotes: open, semi-open and underground. It is different from other cenote routes in the sense that many of the cenotes here offer ziplining, cycling, abseiling, horseback riding, and AV rides. They function as eco-parks. This makes them more expensive but also more adventurous, for those thrill seekers. The most popular cenote on this route is Selvatica but it is pretty expensive (up to 200 USD if you come here with a tour). Las Mojarras, Cenote Siete Bocas, Cenote Boca del Puma, Chilam Balam, La Noria, Kin Ha, Zapote, to name a few.


Many offer camping,
Many cenotes don’t permit photos in lieu of selling you their photo packages. They may even go as far as following you around the cenote. The prices are steep, and some people report they ended up with empty disks, although by contacting the cenote they could recover them. You are not obliged to buy them.

Best Cenotes Near Cancun and Puerto Moreleos

Cenote La Noria / Kaat-Ha

This semi-open cenote lets in just enough light to make the water glow bright blue. From the small openings above, you don’t expect to descend into a cenote that’s almost 50m wide with a depth of 18m. Combined with impressive, thick stalactites, you can take plenty of social media worthy photos.

Inside is a hanging swing, a zipline, and a wooden platform. When you need an adrenalin kick, you can jump several meters from the rocks above into the cenote.

It is best reached by taxi or rental car; the last part of the road is dirt but your car will make it. It’s got that off-the-beaten-track vibe and you’ll be rewarded with fewer visitors. Sometimes, you’ll find a local lady cooking up hot empanadas.

It is inside the larger Parque Recreative Kaat-Ha, where you can pay extra for a tour to zipline, cross a hanging bridge, cycle or drive ATVs in the jungle, relax on hammocks, scuba dive or swim in the pool. The park sometimes permits camping in the jungle as well.

Best Cenote near Cancun for: swimming and jumping
Ruta de los Cenotes Km. 20, Road between Puerto Morelos – Leona Vicario
Facebook, 9am–5pm, Closed Monday
, 100300 MXN

Verde Lucero

Lush jungle hides this wide-open cenote, complete with tree roots dripping down to drink the water. The name translates to ‘bright green’ and the emerald-colored water lives up to its name. Take the adventurous route by jumping off the rocks or the zipline. There are also caverns under the rocks, plus some resident vultures and a few cheeky monkeys who love to steal food. If you bring a snorkel, you can see fish, lilies, and if you’re lucky, a turtle.

If you want it to yourself, arrive early or late; it’s on the tour route, which start rocking up from around 10–11am. If you’re not taking a tour, it is best reached by taxi or rental car, which allows you to see a few more places along the Ruta de los Cenotes. Life jackets, ziplining and paddleboards are included in the price. Bring food and drinks if you stay for the day.

There’s also a temazcal, and if you want a guided session with a shaman, you just need to arrange it beforehand.

Best cenote near Cancun for: swimming, snorkeling and jumping
Ruta de los Cenotes Km. 19, Puerto Morelos–Leona Vicario Road
Facebook, 9-5pm, 100300 MXN, open cenote

Siete Bocas near Puerto Morelos

This cenote system is unique for its seven openings – as the name translates, ‘seven mouths’ – hidden by the surrounding dense jungle. You can explore the cenote aboveground or swim through the connecting caverns underground. Some entrances have staircases, and others you just jump right in, from up to 4m high.

Once in, you swim under big stalactites while dramatic light effects play on the water. It’s darker than other cenotes, so bring a torch if you have one, or ask to borrow one from the owners.

It’s reached by a dirt road, so it’s off the beaten path and less touristy. It is pricey but it includes a life jacket and, so far, it isn’t visited by mass bus tours. You’ll need to bring your own food and drink, but you will find picnic tables, grills, palapas, hammocks, jungle trails and snorkel equipment. There’s also a temazcal on site.

Advanced divers can explore the cave and cavern systems, with the average diving depth at around 30–40m and a hydrogen sulfate cloud.

Best cenote near Cancun/Puerto Morelos for: swimming, jumping and snorkeling, spending the day
Ruta de los Cenotes Km. 15.5
Facebook, 8am–5pm, 250–400 MXN

Cenotes Zapote Ecopark

For an easy and well-rounded experience, this ecopark includes three cenotes, ziplines, bicycle and ATV hire, jumping platforms at 10m and 14m, traditional food, snorkeling equipment, and hotel transfers. You pay more for the convenience but you get the variety of two clear-water cenotes (Cenote Zapote and Palmas), plus an underground cavern (El Abuelo Che Che) for snorkeling.

It’s most famous for its unique bell-shaped rock formations – called “Hells Bells” – which can be reached by divers at around 30m underwater. They also found the fossils of a ground sloth dating more than 10,000 B.C at the very bottom.

You can visit just one cenote, or opt for a package to visit all three cenotes (around 700MXN; with activities and food, 1700MXN).

Ruta de los Cenotes km. 19
Website, 9am–6pm, 250 MXN depending on which cenotes
and activities you book

Selvaticva Cenote

If you’re looking for a rustic local cenote, this is not it. But if you’re looking for a jungle adventure and theme park rolled into one, you’ll find it all in spades.

You can zipline across the canopy, drive ATVs through dirt, balance on hanging bridges, bungee swing on ropes, ride the jungle rollercoaster – and, finally, cool down in a cenote. The Superman Zipline will give you an adrenaline rush: at 50m high and 350m long, you can reach up to 50mph.

Added to the mix is the intriguing story of its founder, Carlitos, an American multi-millionaire. He came to manage gum syrup exports, and reportedly supplied more than 60% of the worldwide chewing gum production. Years later, Carlitos wanted to save his beloved jungle from deforestation, so he faked his death and erased everything from the maps. The jungle grew back, and it wasn’t until Cancun started to develop that they came across the basecamp and landing strip – that explains the plane you’ll see there.

At USD 200 for a full tour, it’s significantly more expensive than the other cenotes on this list. It’s USD 60 cheaper if you book online, and there are other promotions. You can also choose fewer activities (the cheapest package – ziplining and a cenote swim – is USD 70).

Best cenote in Riviera Maya for: adventure and families
Ruta de los Cenotes Km. 18, Carretera Puerto Morelos–Leona Vicario

Website, 8am–7pm, 1,3500 MXN –2,700 MXN (online prices)

Best cenotes near Playa del Carmen

There are no swimming cenotes in Playa del Carmen, but similar to finding cenotes in Cancun, you can find a bunch of cenotes around 45minutes south.

The three next cenotes are located near each other, and form part of the Ponderosa cave system. Eden, Azul, and Cristalino Cenotes are all around 20 minutes from Playa de Carmen.

Alux Cave Cenote Restaurant

Not up for swimming? You can eat dinner in a cenote in Playa del Carmen. This is now a dry cave that has been converted into a restaurant, dating more than 10,000 years old for a truly unique dining experience. You will be surrounded by rock formations, flickering candles and chandeliers, while listening to the sounds of a waterfall and occasionally live music.

The menu is a mix of modern Mexican and international food. It will be among the more expensive meals you eat in Mexico, but you pay for the atmosphere and bragging rights of eating in a cenote. You can also just go for the bar and cocktail menu. It can also get warm in the cave as there is no AC only fans, so dress in cool clothes.

Av. Juarez between 65th Av & 70th Av, west of Highway 307
Website, 5.30pm–11pm, 500–1000 MXN

El Jardin de Eden / Cenote Ponderosa

Here you can spend the day chilling on huge rock slabs in the middle of the cenote – once the cave’s roof – surrounded by transparent water and lush jungle. Some say it’s one of the most beautiful open cenotes – although everyone has a different favorite. Certainly, it is larger than the other three in the area, so you can escape the crowds when it gets busy.

It’s great for snorkeling, and there is a cliff jump at one end, and a tree jump that’s even higher. Little fish will come along to nibble at your dead skin, and save you a trip to the spa. Divers can also explore the caves that extend underground, and a thick halocline with interesting light effects in the morning and afternoon.

It’s only around 20 minutes south of Playa Del Carmen, across the road from Barceló Hotel, and it includes palapas and bbq grills if you want to bring a picnic. You can hire life jackets and snorkel gear.

Nearby, you can also visit the Tajma Ha Cenote. It’s a semi-open cenote that is better explored by diving, although swimmers have a small opening to snorkel in.

Best cenote near Playa del Carmen for: swimming, snorkeling, families
Carretera 307 Playa del Carmen–Tulum, 26.3 km (16.3 miles)
Facebook, 9am–5pm, closed Saturdays, 200MXN, open cenote

Cenote Azul

This cenote gets crowded but there’s plenty to entertain you during a lazy day. There’s a ledge to jump off, curious rock slabs to snorkel around, plenty of fish to nibble your toes, and the odd iguana. There’s also a small underwater cave passage that can be reached if you can hold your breath long enough.

The large boulders in the water create shallow areas to lounge in the water, especially ideal for kids. The path through the cenote takes you on a journey through the jungle and crystal pools of water.

It gets packed with tours by around midday and with locals on Sunday, so go early on the weekdays for a peaceful visit. You can take a colectivo (minibus) and ask them to drop you off. If you drive, make sure you put ‘Playa del Carmen’ so you don’t confuse it with the one in Bacalar.

Best cenote near Playa del Carmen for: swimming, snorkeling and families
Carretera 307 Cancún–Tulum Km. 266

Facebook, 8am–5pm, 120MXN

Cristalino Cenote

This cozy cenote fills up quickly with locals and tourists alike, especially on Sundays. It’s one of the smaller cenotes in this area, but there are nooks and crannies to explore.

You can float alongside mangroves – bring a snorkel to see the fish hiding in the roots – and there’s a ledge for a high jump. Then you can swim through a cave passage to see the contrasting light and dark water.

Divers can also explore the cave that links Cristalino and Azul Cenotes. It’s not a well-known diving spot, which means you might even get it to yourself.

Best cenote near Playa del Carmen for: swimming and snorkeling
Carr. Cancún – Tulum Km. 269
9am–6.30pm, 150 MXN

Yal-Ku Lagoon / Cenote Akumal

Just 20 minutes south of Playa del Carmen, you can kick back and chill in the low-key beach town of Akumal. It’s renown for snorkeling with turtles just off its shores, but the nearby open cenote is another snorkeling hotspot. You can see turtles, stingrays, and tropical fish, worth a couple of hours of snorkeling. As it’s protected, it stays calm when the ocean gets rough, although the mix of salt and sweet water can affect visibility. On the ocean side it’s deeper and you can find larger animals, while the interior boulders hide colorful fish.

There are two entrances run by different companies: the first one is smaller with fewer amenities and people; the second one has palapas and hammocks to rent and is more centrally located on the lagoon, however, life jackets are also mandatory.

Many agencies offer tours, but it’s just as easy to arrive yourself and pay the entrance fee. It’s big enough that even with tours you can still find your own space to snorkel or sit. Some scammers try to ‘sell’ parking on the road leading up to it; just keep going until you enter the lagoon entrance.

Best cenote near Playa del Carmen for: snorkeling and families
At the north end of the road that passes through Akumal
9am–5pm, 280 MXN / 15 USD

Kantun Chi Ecopark

If you’re short on time but want to get a few stunning cenotes under your belt, try this ecopark. You can visit five cenotes, including caves and an underground river.

Each cenote gives you something a little different; two cenotes are open, two are semi-open, and one is in a cavern. There is an impressive swim under stalactites, which you reach by horse and cart on rail tracks. You can also kayak, then lounge in sunbeds for the rest of the day.

There are various packages, some of which also include lunch. The price is higher than your typical cenote and has a commercial touch, but if you’re looking for better amenities and a guided tour, it’s perfect for you.

Best cenote near Playa del Carmen for: swimming, guided tours
Carretera Cancún–Tulum Km. 269
Website (you can book in advance), 9am–5pm, USD 25–80