8 of the most amazing cenotes near Cancun
Anyone who has been to Cancun knows that it is a beautiful place with many things to do (like ziplines), places to see (like Mayan ruins) and experiences (like delicious food). Fantastic beaches with turquoise seas, spectacular natural attractions that fall in love with those who see them and exclusive resorts are just some of the reasons why Cancun is so unforgettable. For those who enjoy exploring nature, swimming in freshwater pools and discovering fascinating places, one of the best activities you can do is explore the incredible cenotes near Cancun.
THE cenotes are pits or huge cave systems that form when the roof or floor of a cave collapses in on itself, filling it with clear, cold fresh water.
There are different types of cenotes, but the most common are open cenotes (when the roof collapses in on itself, revealing the sky), or cavernous cenotes (when most of the roof remains almost intact). When you explore cenotes, you will be amazed by everything you see, such as multiple species of fish or turtles.
Thousands of cenotes have become hot spots for those who want to experience adventure and unite with nature. Some cenotes have a small entrance fee, but it’s totally worth it.
Here is a list of the best cenotes in the Yucatan Peninsula where you must go to feel like Indiana Jones, explore the majestic jungle and discover the secrets it hides!
Cenote Zaci, Valladolid
Cenote Zaci is very accessible since it is located in the very center of Valladolid, where you can practice many activities, such as diving. It is a semi-open cenote that has a lot of natural light because several parts of the cave ceiling have partially collapsed, and it has a large pool suitable for all kinds of activities.
Inside this cenote you can find a wide variety of fauna such as bats, lizards, fish of all colors and other animals. You can also admire the imposing stalactites of the cave, as well as the lush vegetation (exclusive to Zaci). A big advantage is that it has an elevated path, perfect for diving off the cliffs and feeling the adrenaline.
It is perhaps one of the central cenotes you can find, as it is only three blocks from the historic center of Valladolid.
Cenote Zaci is about 2 hours (round trip) from Cancun, but it is a very rewarding experience. To access it, you can rent a car in Cancún.
Cenote Dos Ojos, Tulum
There are many cenotes near Cancun, but Cenote Dos Ojos is one of the most beautiful that can be found. It has a large ring-shaped opening that provides enough space for exploration and many other activities. One amazing thing about cenotes is that the afternoon sun illuminates the water giving a spectacular view of the water and the site.
The best things about Cenotes Dos Ojos are the beautiful cave formations, the large variety of amazing stalactites and stalagmites, the lighting throughout the area and the depth of the water.
This is a perfect place if you want to snorkel, as you will find many friendly fish and turtles there. After swimming, there are plenty of places to dry off and relax in hammocks located at the water’s edge. The cenote is one of the most accessible cave diving destinations.
Cenote Dos Ojos is approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes from Cancun.
Cenote Azul, Playa del Carmen
Cenote Azul is located south of Playa del Carmen, very close to the coastal highway. It is very famous because it has no roof.
Its opening receives a large amount of sunlight that spills through the jungle canopy at the top, and it also has a large variety of freshwater pools of incredible turquoise color, making this cenote one of the most beautiful cenotes near Cancun.
The combination of beautiful shallow and deep pools makes it a perfect place for children and non-swimmers. In addition, if you like adrenaline, have the option of cliff jumping or watching the beautiful jungle scenery, there are activities that will keep everyone entertained.
If you get hungry, there are several restaurants and picnic areas around Cenote Azul, making it a lovely place for those going with the family.
Cenote Azul is approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes from Cancun.
Cenote Jardin del Eden, Playa del Carmen
Cenote Jardín del Edén was named after the biblical Garden of Eden.
The cenote is hidden in the jungle, but when you find it, you will see a beautiful open space full of diverse vegetation and animals, and colors. It’s a great place to swim or lie down while relaxing in the hot sun. It has a large outdoor pool, surrounded by lush green vegetation.
Cenote Jardin del Edén is approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes from Cancun.
Cenote Cristalino, Playa del Carmen
Cenote Cristalino is a beautiful cenote located above ground; it has a half-cave with shallow pools, which are great for exploring and swimming because the water is shallow.
The area is open and surrounded by lush green jungle, making cenotes a wonderful place to hang out with friends or family and relax while watching the clouds.
The cenote offers many activities, such as snorkeling or paddling in the cold water. If you’re feeling very adventurous, you can jump off the cliff into the deeper parts of the cenote and get your adrenaline pumping.
A big advantage is that the area where Cenote Cristalino is located is close to Jardín del Edén and Azul cenotes, making it an ideal day to explore the cenote.
Cenote Cristalino is approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes from Cancun.
Cenote Siete Bocas, Puerto Morelos
Cenote Siete Bocas has seven small entrances to its labyrinth-like caves that flow into a beautiful turquoise pool.
Siete Bocas offers several activities, such as cliff jumping, swimming in turquoise pools, picnicking in the area or exploring the caves. You can do whatever you want!
It is surrounded by a huge jungle, but the cenote is very quiet and filled with shady areas suitable for resting.
If you have a good sense of direction, you can walk through the jungle and admire the surroundings.
Cenote Siete Bocas is about 1 hour from Cancun.
Gran Cenote, Tulum
Gran Cenote is considered one of the best outdoor cenotes to visit near Cancun. Known for its vast and colorful surrounding jungle and crystal clear blue waters, it has many caves and grottoes to discover.
Gran Cenote is a very picturesque and beautiful place. It has two large swimming pools, connected by a cave.
There are numerous activities such as swimming in underground paths, diving between underground stalactites or free diving in the cenote cave system.
Gran Cenote has amenities like outdoor showers and private bathrooms, making it a top destination for visitors to Tulum. It is always spotless and clean.
Gran Cenote is approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes from Cancun.
Cenote Suytun, Valladolid
The amazing Cenote Suytun is one of the most beautiful and best cenotes to visit nearby Cancún.
Cenote Suytun has a famous stone path that leads to a circular platform surrounded by a large blue pool. You will experience a unique and incredible moment when you see the sun shining directly on the cenote. The cave is illuminated by the rays of the sun that pass through the roof of the cenote to the circular platform below, making it a completely magical moment.
There are tall stalactites, high walls are cream gray and the pools are blue, making it a great place to swim.
You’ve most likely seen Cenote Suytun on Instagram because everyone wants to take a photo standing on the famous stone platform in the middle of the water.
Cenote Suytun is approximately 2 hours and 45 minutes from Cancun.
If you want to experience a great adventure, have fantastic fun with your family or friends and explore the incredible jungle and beautiful cenotes, Cancun is the right place for you.
To make your trip an amazing experience, Garza Blanca Resort & Spa Cancun is one of the best places to stay. It is located near several cenotes and only a two-hour drive from many others.
If you are eager to explore the beautiful cenotes, pack your snorkel and mask, towels, waterproof camera and flashlight, snacks, water and lunch and get ready to dive into the cenotes of beautiful Mexico!
Once you see the cenotes, you’ll fall in love and want to discover more about all the wonders Cancun has to offer. So what are you waiting for?