EXPLORING THE BEST CENOTES IN TULUM

One of the main reasons I wanted to visit Tulum was to visit the quaint town and of course exploring the best cenotes in Tulum! The Yucatan Peninsula is known to have the longest underground river and cave system in the world with over 6000 cenotes. If you know where to look, you’ll discover the most surreal sinkholes in the world!

So what exactly is a cenote? Cenotes are sinkholes that have formed from collapsed limestone bedrock which exposed ground water underneath. The water is typically warm with natural fresh clear water and colorful marine life. These water pools are usually fully open or closed with a small opening. Many scuba divers explore the underground caves daily.

After some research and reading The Bold Brunette’s experience, I booked my tour with Adventure Tour Center. They also have amazing reviews on TripAdvisor! They offered a tour to 3 of the best cenotes in Tulum: Casa Cenote, Gran Cenote and Cenote Calavera.

Things to know before your tour

  • Tour is roughly 4 hours
  • Do not use any lotions or creams (this can poison the marine life)
  • Swimsuit (obviously)
  • Towel and a change of clothes
  • Waterproof camera but not necessary (tour guide will have a camera to capture your experience)
  • Snorkel equipment is provided
  • Do not necessarily need to know how to swim

When my boyfriend and I arrived at Adventure Tour Center we were greeted by the owner Jeff who did a great job in explaining our exciting day and introducing us to our guides. Our tour had a total of 12 people which provided us a very fun intimate experience!

During our drive to our first cenote, our guide gave us a quick history lesson of the cenotes. I had no idea that cenotes are a “sacred well”; also known as the “Well of Sacrifice”.

Cenotes have been developed throughout the years as a public swimming attraction. There are restrooms, lockers and changing rooms. Most also has a small entrance fee for scuba divers and anyone like me who was only going to be snorkeling and free diving.

GRAN CENOTE

Our first stop was Gran Cenote which is one of the most popular cenotes in Tulum. I jumped in immediately into the clear water and saw a few sea turtles right away! Our guide helped us explore Gran Cenote where we swam with colorful fishes and saw flying bats. They even had flash lights to help guide us through the caves.

CENOTE CALAVERA

Our second stop was Cenote Calavera, also known as Temple of Doom. The name comes from the three holes in the ground that appears to look like a “skull”. The biggest hole of the cenote provided us an opportunity to cliff jump.

CASA CENOTE

Casa Cenote was suppose to be first on our tour. Our guides explained that this cenote is connected to the sea, given the heavy rain we received the water was not clear due to the sand and it would not have been the best experience for us. We were hoping to visit this last but we decided to skip it and our guides took our group to lunch for the best tacos ever!

I had such an amazing experience visiting all three cenotes! If you also have time during your stay in Tulum, I recommend making a visit to Cenote Dos Ojos which is also one of the top three best cenotes in Tulum. I cannot wait to go back to the Yucatan and experience other cenotes! Thank you Adventure Tour Center for helping me explore the best cenotes in Tulum!

Book Now: Adventure Tour Center

This post was written in partnership with Adventure Tour Center.
As always, all honest opinions are my own.

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26 comments

  • Lydia@LifeUntraveled

    January 10, 2017 at 5:16 pm

    I also went to a cenote in Mexico but I had no idea they were sacred wells. It’s amazing how much nature never seizes to amaze us!

    1. Tour de Lust

      January 10, 2017 at 5:30 pm

      I totally agree! I can’t wait to go back to visit more cenotes!

  • Shem

    January 10, 2017 at 6:40 pm

    I’ve always wanted to dive into a cenote! I’m totally going to do it whenever I get to Tulum. I love the set up of this tour and how much time you get and how intimate the group is! I’ll have to check it out when I go to Cancun in May.

    1. Tour de Lust

      January 10, 2017 at 9:16 pm

      You are going to love it when you go!! I’m seriously obsessed with cenotes now.

  • izzy

    January 10, 2017 at 8:57 pm

    These are soooo on my list now! I’ve just been hearing about them as of late because of all the travel bloggers writing about them. Can’t wait to see them for myself, hopefully soon and great information about skin creams being toxic to marine life! I would’ve never known that!

    1. Tour de Lust

      January 10, 2017 at 9:17 pm

      Yes Izzy!! Cenotes are seriously amazing!

  • Iuliana Marchian

    January 11, 2017 at 1:44 am

    I swam once in Samothraki Island in some similar place but these one seems far more interesting. And that photo with a swing into the water is thrilling. Unfortunatelly Mexico is a bit far from Romania for me to go there now.

    1. Tour de Lust

      January 11, 2017 at 1:09 pm

      That sounds amazing though! I’m sure you can visit Mexico one day!

  • Jo

    January 11, 2017 at 2:19 am

    My My these cenotes are so pretty. How deep are they generally? Are there any shallow ones too? They look so pretty but as a non-swimmer I feel intimidated – well, I can float though, maybe I can still take a dip 🙂

    1. Tour de Lust

      January 11, 2017 at 1:10 pm

      They can start out shallow but they go pretty deep, more then 20 feet! There’s life vests so that helps =)

  • Katie @ The Katie Show Blog

    January 11, 2017 at 5:31 am

    Wow I had no idea about this so thank you for sharing! I’m now adding it to my bucket list. It looks like a nature lovers dream & must be handy to have the tour take care of getting you there so you are free to just relax and enjoy the experience.

    1. Tour de Lust

      January 11, 2017 at 1:11 pm

      No problem Katie! I’m glad you know about them now because it’s truly magical!

  • Patricia

    January 11, 2017 at 6:49 am

    I have never heard of a cenote before reading this, and now I just want to go exploring (and visit Tulum, of course)! The photos area gorgeous, and it seems like you had a range of people with different skill levels in your group. I wouldn’t be diving, but I’d love to try to snorkel in one. So very cool!

    1. Tour de Lust

      January 11, 2017 at 1:12 pm

      Thanks Patricia! Glad you found out about them, they are truly an experience you must do!

  • Shane

    January 11, 2017 at 12:24 pm

    Oh wow I’ve been to Tulum before but honestly have never heard of Cenotes! How neat it would be to relax in the water!

    1. Tour de Lust

      January 11, 2017 at 1:13 pm

      Shane you must go back and visit the cenotes!!

  • Hallie

    January 11, 2017 at 6:38 pm

    So since it’s collapsed bedrock I’d be worried that more would collapse. I’d gather since it’s touristy and built up for swimming, someone is consistently checking for safety? Or… no? Looks beautiful though I know my husband would be questioning the safety of it all haha

    1. Tour de Lust

      January 11, 2017 at 10:16 pm

      That’s a good question Hallie! I think they have likely checked for safety in order to let tourists visit.

  • Stephanie

    January 11, 2017 at 9:51 pm

    Cenotes are so beautiful. I am hoping to visit Tulum in the near future to visit one. Such a natural beauty. It’s a shame you missed out on that one, but sounds like the tacos made up for it. Locals always know the best spots.

    1. Tour de Lust

      January 11, 2017 at 10:17 pm

      Locals totally know the best spots! Hope you get to visit Tulum soon!

  • Veronica

    January 12, 2017 at 9:51 am

    What an experience! How did you get to make those shots when you are swimming alone?

    1. Tour de Lust

      January 12, 2017 at 9:53 am

      I had the tour guide take the photos for me! =)

  • Maya

    January 13, 2017 at 2:14 am

    Looks gorgeous. I’ve been to a couple but had no idea there were so many. Sounds like I need to go back!

    1. Tour de Lust

      January 13, 2017 at 10:23 pm

      I want to go back too! There is just so many to explore

  • Margot Laskowska

    April 25, 2017 at 8:13 am

    Christine,
    We will be staying in Beach Tulum. Would you suggest rather to take the tour, or we can simply take a taxi to Dos Ojos or Gran Cenote? Thanks!

    1. Tour de Lust

      April 25, 2017 at 2:49 pm

      Hi Margot! You can take a taxi to do them on your own easily but if you want the convenience of the tour doing it for you then the tour is a good option. You can also have more time at the cenotes if you go on your own.

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