The 9 Best Cenotes In Riviera Maya

You Can’t Afford To Miss

The 9 Best Cenotes In Riviera Maya

You Can’t Afford To Miss

Chasing cenotes is one of the most popular things to do in the Riviera Maya, and with more than 6000 known cenotes in the Yucatan Peninsula, you’ll have quite a list to choose from.

Despite what many believe, Mexico is not all beaches and partying. In fact, these subterranean limestone lagoons are some of the most beautiful places to see while you are in the Riviera Maya. However, with such an extensive list of Riviera Maya cenotes, trying to find the best of the bunch can be quite the challenge.

Therefore, in order to help you on your next adventure, we’ve assembled a list of all the best Riviera Maya cenotes to hunt down during your next trip to Mexico. 

cenote cristalino most instagrammable places in the riviera maya


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What Is A Cenote In Riviera Maya?

 Considered to be sacred by the Mayan people, cenotes are natural sinkholes that are created once the ground collapses to reveal the underwater system below.

In fact, cenotes were considered to be the only source of water for the Mayans, which is why they are indeed so sacred.

Interestingly enough most of the sinkholes on this list are connected to each other through either one of two subterranean water systems called Sac Actun (219 miles long) and Ox Bel Ha (270 miles long). 

Read More About The History Of Mexican Cenotes Here

The Best Cenotes In Tulum

Dos Ojos

Opening Hours: 9 am – 5 pm
Entrance Fee: 200 Pesos

To whet your appetite and formerly introduce you to the vast legion of Riviera Maya cenotes, Dos Ojos seems like a proper place to start. 

Known as one of the best Riviera Maya cenotes for diving, Dos Ojos in fact, has one of the biggest and most complex underwater cave systems in the region. 

Interestingly enough, the name Dos Ojos (which means two eyes in Spanish) comes from the two different cenotes that are located a whopping 230 feet apart but are surprisingly interconnected through a 1312-foot subterranean waterway. 

This complex underwater passageway is one of the most unique diving experiences found anywhere in the Riviera Maya, however, divers will need a guide to avoid getting lost in this intricate submerged labyrinth.

In addition, despite most of the beauty of the Dos Ojos cenote being found under the surface, there is still plenty to see topside.  The flourishing foliage and translucent aquamarine waters make this Riviera Maya cenote a pleasure to visit no matter if you are diving or not. 

Find Dos Ojos Cenote Riviera Maya Here On Google Maps


dos ojos cenote dive

Cenote Calavera

Opening Hours: 8 am – 4 pm

Entrance Fee: 50 Pesos 

Aside from having an obscure name that literally translates to skull in Spanish, cenote Calavera is hands down one of the most unique Riviera Maya cenotes.  Almost deliberately created by nature to eventually be one of the most popular cenotes in Tulum, this famous Instagram spot is the perfect little sinkhole for any cliff jumpers, divers and photographers. 

Cenote Calavera is located in Tulum, just a short drive away from the extremely popular Gran Cenote.

However, despite Gran Cenote stealing most of the attention, cenote Calavera still manages to attract quite a crowd.  Therefore, if you are a photographer who wants to capture this top Riviera Maya cenote without hordes of other tourists in your shot, then I suggest you arrive quite early in the morning before the big tour buses arrive. As you can clearly see from the picture below, I failed quite miserably to do so myself.

Although, even with the ridiculous amounts of tourists I did enjoy myself at cenote Calavera, because of its extremely small size

Find Cenote Calavera Here On Google Maps

cenote calavera best instagram spots in tulum

Gran Cenote

Opening Hours: 8 am – 5 pm

Entrance Fee: 180 Pesos

As the name most certainly implies, Gran Cenote is one of the top cenotes in the Riviera Maya. In fact, part of what makes this cenote so “grand” is that it features a little something for everybody.

Great for families and less confident swimmers, Gran Cenote offers plenty of shallower sections that provide the perfect place for a refreshing dip or snorkeling session. 

On the other hand, with its slew of interconnected subterranean passageways that make up one of the largest underwater cave systems in the world, Gran Cenote is an absolute favorite among those interested in doing some Riviera Maya cave diving.    Add in the aquamarine blue water tones, vibrant marine life, surrounding colorful vegetation and the utterly Instagrammalble interconnected wooden walkways that take you from one lagoon to the next and it’s easy to understand why no Riviera May cenote tour wouldn’t be complete without a visit to this tropical paradise. 

Find Gran Cenote Here On Google Maps

gran cenote best instagram spots in the riviera maya 

Cenote Zacil-Ha

Opening Hours: 10 am – 5:30 pm

Entrance Fee: 80 Pesos 

Stunningly beautiful yet fairly simple, cenote Zacil-Ha though not quite as popular as other cenotes in the area, remains one of the best cenotes in the Riviera Maya. 

With crystal clear water much like its nearby neighbors of Gran Cenote and Cenote Calavera, Cenote Zacil-Ha is a perfect way to escape the heat. Though, keep in mind this is one of the smaller cenotes, so it can feel quite crowded at peak times throughout the day. 

In addition, Cenote Zacil-Ha features a distinguishing zipline that you won’t find at any other cenote in the Riviera Maya. 

Find Cenote Zacil-Ha Here On Google Maps

Cenote Zacil-Ha tulum cenotes

Car Wash Cenote

Opening Hours: 9 am – 5 pm

Entrance Fee: 50 Pesos For Swimmers and 120 Pesos For Divers

 Can you ever say you’ve swum with a baby crocodile? Well, if not this may be your chance. Whether it be the peculiar name, the underwater garden or the single shy resident baby crocodile that calls this sinkhole home, Car Wash Cenote is one of the most intriguing Cenotes on this list.

To begin, its original name is Cenote Aktun Ha, however, the more common name of “Carwash” comes from the carwash that was previously located on the way to this cenote. Despite, the origin of its peculiar name what most visitors find even more intriguing about this place is the underwater garden that grows beneath the surface of the water. Creating unapparelled snorkeling conditions, the underwater garden adds a nice scenic view as you explore the submerged areas of this sinkhole.

In addition, if you’re extremely lucky enough, you may even lay eyes on the true star of the Carwash Cenote, the baby crocodile.  Recognized as a bit of a mascot, the elusive baby crocodile is no doubt the belle of the ball and the reason most tourists come to visit this lake. If you are lucky enough to come across him, even though it is “supposed” to be harmless, please remember it is a wild animal so act accordingly. 

Find Car Wash Cenote Here On Google Maps


The Best Cenotes In Playa Del Carmen

Cenote Azul 

Opening Hours: 8 am – 5 pm

Entrance Fee: 120 Pesos

Located in Playa Del Carmen, cenote Azul is highly regarded as one of the best cenotes in Riviera Maya. As the name implies cenote Azul is famous for its shimmering emerald blue water that guarantees the perfect place to chill out and cool off from the relentless Mexican sun.

In addition to that, the surrounding flourishing green foliage and daring 20-foot cliff jump only add to the allure of this top Riviera Maya cenote. 

Must Read | Cenote Azul Playa Del Carmen {The Ultimate Guide}


cenote azul tulum _ best instagram spots in tulum


Cenote Azul playa del carmen mexico 

Cenote Cristalino

Opening Hours: 8 am – 5 pm

Entrance Fee: 150 Pesos

Conveniently located just around the corner from Cenote Azul, travelers will discover the delightful lagoon known as cenote Cristalino. Similar to Cenote Azul, Cristalino is classified as an open type cenote which basically means that it resembles a small pond or lake. 

Touting translucent aqua blue waters, cenote Cristalino (which in Spanish translates to crystal-clear), certainly lives up to its illustrious name.  Take your snorkeling to the next level as you swim through these exceptionally translucent waters and witness all the beauty of this famous Riviera Maya cenote. 

Woah, almost forgot to tell you that similar to its nearby cousin cenote Azul, cenote Cristalino also features an awesome 20-foot cliff jump that is always the center of attention at the park. 

Find Cenote Cristalino Here On Google Maps

Must Read | Cenote Cristalino Riviera Maya {The Ultimate Guide}


cenote cristalino


cenote cristalino girl smiling


The Best Cenotes In Yucatan

 Cenote Ik Kil

Opening Hours: 9 am – 5 pm

Entrance Fee: 80 Pesos

Cenote Ik Kil, located in the Yucatan region nearby the famous Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza is touted to be the most beautiful cenotes in Riviera Maya. Although experiencing it up close and personal requires quite a bit of effort considering that you will have to drive around 2 hours outside the Riviera Maya in order to see it, Ik Kil cenote is most definitely worth the journey.

This enormous cave cenote is garnished with visually suspended vines and long hanging tree roots, most of which droop all the way down into the subterranean lagoon below. Ik Kil’s undeniably eye-catching appearance is even further enhanced by the lush green vegetation covering the walls of this nearly perfect circular sinkhole. 

In consideration of its widespread popularity, Ik Kil cenote does get quite crowed throughout the day so I recommend you either visit first thing in the morning when it opens or a couple of hours before it closes. 

Find Cenote Ik Kil Here On Google Maps

Must Read | Cenote Ik Kil Yucatan Mexico {The Complete Guide}

cenote ik kil mexico



Cenote Suytun

Opening Hours: 9 am – 5 pm

Entrance Fee: 120 Pesos

 Resembling a scene out of an Indiana Jones movie, the Suytun cenote will blow your mind. Touted by many visitors to be one of the most Instagrammable places in Riviera Maya, cenote Suytun is arguably the most aesthetically stunning cenotes you will ever lay eyes upon.

This distinctive fairytale-like cave cenote flaunts an immaculately placed break in the ceiling allowing for a beam of sunlight to perfectly shine through onto the center of the cave. Thus, creating one of the best cenotes in Riviera Maya along with one majestic piece of eye-candy.

Although cenote Suytun is located quite far from the Riviera Maya, it is conveniently situated directly on the way to both cenote Ik Kil and the world-famous Chichen Itza, allowing visitors to potentially tackle all three major attractions on the same trip. 

Find Cenote Suytun Here On Google Maps

Must Read | Cenote Suytun Valladolid {The Most Stunning Riviera Maya Cenote}

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the best riviera maya cenotes

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