Best Cenotes for Snorkeling in Cancun and Riviera Maya

18 August, 2021

When you think of snorkeling, coral reefs and the ocean are what comes to your mind right? But when you arrive to the Mexican Caribbean, you might also want to consider snorkeling in Cenotes!

First of all, cenotes are natural pools of fresh water very common in the Yucatan Peninsula,. You may find open, semi-open, and closed cenotes. These sinkholes are deep and you can find several shades of blue, and emerald green. Most of them are surrounded by beautiful vegetation, and some fish. You can also be able to explore stalactites and stalagmites there. To get to some cenotes you have to go many meters downstairs, which means that the walls of the cenote will be high, and the roots of the trees will fall from above, creating a beautiful view. Just check out the next image, and see what we’re talking about.


Open Cenote in Yucatan


Caves and cenotes have been settings of great importance for the Mayans since ancient times, since they were considered portals or windows to the world of the dead. As is known, the Mayans, like many Mesoamerican groups, believed that when they died, they traveled a long way to the world of the dead, for them called Xibalba. This mythical place, where the gods, ancestors and other supernatural beings dwelled, it was physically located in the subsoil of the earth and under water, for which it is also known as the underworld. Close to the cenotes, the Mayans built various types of structures, such as temples, platforms, stairs, etc.

Since this activity is a must do for our dear travelers coming to Cancun or the Riviera Maya, here you have a list of the best cenotes in our opnion you might wanna give a try:


Best Cenotes for Snorkeling in Cancun and Riviera Maya


Cenote Azul

cenote azul riviera maya


The Cenote Azul is one of the most popular cenotes in the Riviera Maya, Cancun and the Yucatan Peninsula. Its location between Playa del Carmen and Tulum, its turquoise blue waters, the number of shallow areas, being an open-type cenote and its facilities, make it one of the must-see cenotes to visit.

This natural pool offers a stunning natural environment and both shades of water; blue and emerald green. You can find some spa fish in the waters, perfect for exfoliation. There is also a small cave to explore, and many corners full of vegetation. 

The top of this cenote is that there are mini pools in the surroundings, making it the perfect tropical scenery, so you will be able to have your own private natural pool surrounded by nature. 



It costs $150 - 200 MXN foreigners and it is open from Monday to Sunday. If you don’t have snorkeling equipment, you can rent it there. There is no restaurant, you can bring your own snacks, or buy them at the entrance. 



Cenote Taj Maha

A diving sanctuary is located in this place, if you want to have this unforgettable experience this should be the cenote. It is a semi-open cenote with unbelievable blue turquoise waters. It seems that the cenote is small, however, it's actually huge, but it can be only explored by diving. Nevertheless, there is a great snorkeling area in this cenote, enjoy an incredible day exploring a natural pool surrounded by majestic typical limestone halls and more. If you want to experience diving you can get a tour right there. This cenote is 12 meters or 40 feet deep at its bottom.


Cenote Tajma ha


If you go at the perfect time of year, the light display is amazing. But at any other time, the limestone rock formations, labyrinth of tunnels, and enormous chambers of this series of connected caves are a wonderful sight, even if you're an experienced cave diver. You'll discover rocks that glow when light reflects off them, fossils, a mesmerizing halocline effect, and much more on this challenging dive.

The entrance fee is about 300 MXN, and it is located again near Puerto Aventuras, 20 minutes away from Playa del Carmen. 



Casa Cenote 

This place looks more like a beautiful lagoon thanks to its beautiful emerald green tone, but it is considered a cenote. Casa Cenote is home to a particular friend, Panchito is a swamp crocodile. Its diet is based on small mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fish, so humans are not its food. So you can be sure you will be back home safe and sound. 


casa cenote channels


The cenote is surrounded by mangroves and lots of vegetation, birds, and fish. The place is directly connected with the sea, you can go to explore through the channel until you reach the beach.


casa cenote snorkeling


Snorkeling in this cenote will be the perfect experience for you, you can swim in those clear waters with a depth of 6 meters. Another popular activity on this cenote is Kayaking through the channels, and it is a popular place for diving. It is common to find divers while you snorkeling in the cenote.

This cenote is located just 15 minutes away from Tulum, and it costs $150 - 200 MXN, it is open from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. There is a restaurant next to the cenote in case you want to have lunch. 



Cenote Dos Ojos


Dos Ojos is a park located 30 minutes away from the Tulum Mayan Ruins. It is a semi-open cenote in the Riviera Maya with beautiful tones of blue on its waters. Exploring this cenote will be a unique moment on your Cancun trip. Find a true paradise in this amazing place, and relax by swimming as much as you want. It is named like that because of the two sinkholes 70 meters in diameter connected by a 400-meter long passageway. There is an excellent restaurant at the cenote where you can have a delicious meal, or you might want to bring some snacks, it is allowed. There is also a rest area where you can lay in a hammock and lounge chairs while you enjoy the natural environment. 


woman enjoying cenote dos ojos


This cenote is ideal for diving and snorkeling, accompanied by a guide you can immerse yourself in its wonderful crystal clear waters, observe its rock formations and fossil remains, which have been submerged for millions of years. 

Open every day from 08:00  to 17:00.



Gran Cenote


One of the top cenotes in Tulum, Gran Cenote is full of natural corners and beautiful crystal clear waters. It has caverns and open parts where the sunlight reaches, making it perfect to explore. A fun fact about this place is that you will be able to see some turtles swimming next to you, they are harmless so you don’t have to worry about them.

There is a stunning flower on the cenote's surface, known as Nicte-Ha in Maya, Lily in our language. Gran cenote provides rest areas with palapas and hammocks, there is also a small store where you can get some food, or if you prefer you can bring your own. 


gran cenote tulum vegetation


Grand Cenote is a place to snorkel and swim, in a natural environment; the cenote consists of a large cave, a cavern and open parts, to facilitate the visit and enjoy the place it has wooden platforms to walk and enjoy nature.



Cenote Cristalino


Cenote Cristalino


This cenote is located about 26 kilometers from Playa del Carmen. It is considered one of the most visited cenotes in this region. And it adjoins Tulum, as well as other cenotes such as El Cenote Azul, Cenote Jardín del Edén, among other natural pools. Similarly, this body of water is surrounded by great vegetation, huge rocks and various tree roots.


The Cenote Cristalino has an area that the bravest can enjoy to the fullest: a place where you can dive into this natural well that reaches 6 meters deep. And those who decide to launch from this area can do so wearing the life jacket or dive without it. Likewise, it has the surveillance of a lifeguard in order to safeguard the integrity and well-being of the people who are inside the cenote.


Cenote Cristalino


The entrance fee to the cenote is $150 MXN for adults; children under 11 years old $100 MXN; divers and models pay $200 MXN (each of these prices already includes the rental of life jackets). And you can visit it from Monday to Sunday from 8:00 in the morning to 6:00 in the afternoon. 



Cenote Ik Kil


This is one of the top cenotes in the Yucatan Peninsula, although this cenote is not located in the Riviera Maya is very close to it. If you are on your way to  visit one of the 7 wonders of the world; Chichen Itza, this cenote its on your way, right after the small town of Valladolid. You will be able to do snorkeling in this cenote, but due to its depth and color there is not much visibility, however, it is still a unique experience and it totally worth it to visit. 


cenote ik kil yucatan



Things to consider

  • The water is very cold in the cenotes, but you get used to
  • Any type of sunscreen, makeup, and creams aren’t allowed (you won’t need it, most of the cenotes are cover with vast vegetation that makes nice shadows)
  • Bring a mosquito repellent, but only if is biodegradable
  • Water shoes could be a great idea, some rocks are very slippery
  • You can bring your own snorkeling equipment
  • Bring your own snacks some cenotes don’t offer restaurant service
  • The common opening hours are from 9 am to 5 pm
  • Keep in mind that some cenotes are far from the main highway, so make sure you have the proper transportation, otherwise, you will have to walk
  • All cenotes rent life vests and snorkel in case you don’t have yours

Now you are prepared to explore as many cenotes as you want!

Thanks for reading, see you around!

Our Rating
4.9 / 5 17 Reviews View all Reviews