Want to find your next Tulum cenote tour quickly?
With over 5,000 cenotes in the Yucatan Peninsula, it isn’t easy to decide. And in the end, do you really need to book a tour for that?
I stayed more than 2 months between Cancun and Tulum to visit many cenotes and test tons of tours.
After many hours of research, I settled on this tour. And I was not disappointed!
Will you like it too? Perhaps.
I have analyzed the best cenote tours from Tulum to help you make better decisions. And you will also find many tips to avoid making the same mistakes I did!
Grab your snorkel, and let’s go!
👉 Don’t hesitate to read our Tulum guide to plan your vacation and not make any more mistakes. You will find all our articles about this destination.
Plan your trip around Cancun
In 2 months, I’ve spent more than 10,000 USD to test the best activities in the Riviera Maya. Stay with me to quickly decide which experiences you should do and learn how to make the most of your trip.
Best Cenotes tours from Tulum: Our Map
I placed on this map the best cenotes tours from Tulum (with the different stops).
Compare The Best Tulum Cenote Tours
Here is an overview of the best Cenotes tours from Tulum. You will discover their advantages and disadvantages.
Best group tour to explore the cenotes around Tulum
I did this cenote tour, and I loved it. A departure in the early morning to arrive at the opening of Gran Cenote, then direction the incredible cenote Taak Bi Ha (superb for the photos) before venturing into a cave cenote (private) near Akumal. The visit ends with a traditional Mayan lunch. The guide is excellent, as usual, with this agency.
✋ The first two cenotes are ideal for snorkeling, and the last one allows you to see the stalactites and stalagmites up close.
- Max Pers: 10
- Price: Approx. 129 USD/pers
- Starting time: Leave Tulum around 7h30 am
- Where are the cenotes: 3 different cenote locations (Tulum, Dos Ojos Park, Akumal)
- Duration: 6-7 hours (including 2h30 hours driving)
- What’s included: Transportation (with hotel pickup), snacks, drinks, snorkeling gear, life vest, entrance fees, and lunch.
- Difficulty: 1.5/5
Tour to visit the most famous cenotes in Tulum
The tour proposed by Martin will allow you to visit some of the most famous cenotes of Tulum. After a few jumps (one of which is 12 meters high!) in the latest trendy cenote (Zemway), you will visit Gran Cenote and Casa Cenote. The latter offers a 250m swim through the jungle, and a harmless caiman (pacho) likes to spend time with tourists.
✋ The best way to visit famous cenotes near Tulum in half a day.
- Max Pers: 20
- Price: Approx. 116 USD/pers
- Starting time: Leave Tulum around 9h00 am
- Where are the cenotes: 3 different cenotes near Tulum
- Duration: 4 hours (including 1-hour driving)
- What’s included: Transportation from Tulum downtown (no hotel pickup), snacks, drinks, snorkeling gear, life vest, and entrance fees.
- Difficulty: 2/5
Best cenote tour + Tulum ruins
Discover the remains of a 13th-century Mayan city overlooking the Caribbean Sea and then go into a private cenote cave surrounded by lush vegetation. Do you like the idea? It’s what this private tour proposes. You start with the ruins of Tulum at the opening (to escape the crowd), and you stay there as long as necessary to satisfy your thirst for knowledge (your guide will be a master on the subject). You will then visit a fascinating cenote filled with stalactites and stalagmites.
✋ Learn about the Mayans by visiting the Tulum ruins and then discover one of their sacred cenote far from the crowds.
- Max Pers: Private tour
- Price: Approx. 193 USD/pers
- Starting time: 8h00 am from your hotel
- Where are the cenotes: 1 cenote near Akumal (40 min from Tulum)
- Duration: 4-5 hours (including 1h30 driving)
- What’s included: Transportation (with hotel pickup), snacks, drinks, snorkeling gear, life vest, lunch, and entrance fees.
- Difficulty: 2/5
Best cenote tour + Chichen itza
You only have a little time in Cancun and would like to combine an expedition to Chichen Itza with a cenote? I’m sure you’ll love this tour as much as I did. Leave Tulum with a small group and discover Chichen Itza’s secrets before having lunch in one of the best restaurants in Valladolid. On the way back, you will stop at the X’ux Ha cenote. It is a cenote off the tourist trail, lit only by a small hole in the rocky vault. The blue and transparent water is magnificent, and there is even a small jump of 4 meters to end the day in style.
✋ If Chichen Itza is on your list of must-see Mayan ruins and you want to add an impressive and secret cenote
- Max Pers: 10
- Price: Approx. 159 USD/pers
- Starting time: around 7h00 am at your hotel
- Where are the cenotes: 1 cenote near Valladolid
- Duration: 11-12 hours (including 5h driving)
- What’s included: Transportation (with hotel pickup), snacks, drinks, lunch, and entrance fees.
- Difficulty: 2/5
Free diving in crystal-clear water
If like me, you love the feeling of holding your breath underwater, then this introduction to free diving should interest you. After an hour and a half of explanation and practical advice, follow your instructor to the Laguna de Kaan Luum or El Pit cenote. During more than 2 hours, you will be able to test your limits and go lower and lower in transparent and not salty water!
✋ For travelers who want to learn to spend more time underwater without breathing.
- Max Pers: private tour
- Price: Approx. 260 USD/pers (if a group of 2 people)
- Starting time: 9h00 am in Cancun Downtown
- Where are the cenotes: near Tulum or at Parque Dos Ojos.
- Duration: 5 h (including 1h driving)
- What’s included: Transportation (no hotel pickup), equipment, underwater videos, and entrance fee.
- Difficulty: 3/5
Best private cenote tour from Tulum
It’s the ideal private cenote tour to enjoy the different types of cenotes at your own pace and avoid the crowd of tourists. Start by visiting Grand Cenote (the most touristic one) at the opening (8 am) to swim with the turtles and catfish. Then head to the Taak Bi Ha, a cave cenote, where the lighting and turquoise water are ideal for taking great pictures. By the way, don’t hesitate to ask your guide to be the photographer :). After a traditional Yucatecan meal, you will end this day with a visit to a small open cenote called Xunaan Ha, surrounded by green plants.
✋ Discover 3 beautiful and different cenotes with a private guide who will do everything to make this day unforgettable.
- Max Pers: private tour
- Price: Approx. 170 USD/pers (if a group of 2 people)
- Starting time: Around 7h40 am from your hotel
- Where are the cenotes: 3 cenotes (near Tulum, Xcacel beach, and Parque 2 Ojos)
- Duration: 6 h (including 2h30 driving)
- What’s included: Transportation (with hotel pickup), snorkeling equipment, lunch, water, and entrance fees.
- Difficulty: 1.5/5
Best snorkeling adventure in Tulum
This snorkeling tour is expensive, but that’s because the spots included in this itinerary are uncommon. And believe me, they are worth it! First, you will approach the ruins of Tulum by boat from the sea to discover the corals and marine life of the Caribbean. Then, enjoy the incredible Casa cenote and its 250m circuit in the middle of the mangroves. The last stop will be at Cenotes Saac Actun to discover an underground river and its extraordinary rock formations.
✋ snorkel in 3 different incredible ecosystems.
- Max Pers: 6
- Price: Approx. 220 USD/pers (if a group of min 2 people)
- Starting time: 8h45 am at the agency
- Where are the cenotes: 2 cenotes & 1 stop in the ocean (near Tulum and at the Parque 2 Ojos)
- Duration: 6-7 h (including 2h driving)
- What’s included: Transportation (no hotel pickup), snorkeling equipment, lunch, water, and entrance fees.
- Difficulty: 2.5/5
Best cenote diving tour in Tulum
The cenotes are also a paradise for scuba divers. This tour allows you to choose two different cenotes, depending on your experience level—from recreational to advanced— and your tastes. Do not hesitate to ask the agency to advise you. The two dives last, on average, 40 minutes each.
✋ Explore the underwater caves that connect the cenotes.
- Max Pers: 4
- Price: Approx. 220 USD/pers (if a group of min 2 people)
- Starting time: 8h30 am at the agency
- Where are the cenotes: more than 10 cenotes are available
- Duration: Approx. 5 h
- What’s included: Transportation (no hotel pickup), diving equipment, snack, water, and entrance fees.
- Difficulty: 2/5
Best Tulum cenote tour by bike
Nothing better than to cool off in a cenote after exercise. This fun bike tour allows you to discover three different cenotes (Grand cenote, Escondido, and Cristal) while crossing the jungle of Tulum. While you don’t need to be Lance Armstrong on steroids to do this experience, it is better to be in good physical condition to survive the 20 km (on a flat road, fortunately). On the way, a delicious lunch with a local family will help you regain your strength.
✋ The best option for enjoying the refreshing water of the Tulum cenotes and skipping the boring transportation time.
- Max Pers: 10
- Price: Approx. 94 USD/pers
- Starting time: 7h30 am at the agency
- Where are the cenotes: 3 cenotes near Tulum
- Duration: Approx. 5 h
- What’s included: MTB bikes, snorkeling gear, lunch, snacks, water, and entrance fees.
- Difficulty: 4/5
The best Cenote Tours from Tulum: What you can expect
After weighing the pros and cons of the different cenote tours from Tulum, I settled on this one. Here is how it went.
Everything is ready for the adventure
A few days before, I received a confirmation from the agency for the organization of the visit. Being in Tulum Downtown, I prefer to meet them at their office. It allows me to skip the guest pickup and go directly to our first cenote.
At 7:45 am precisely, the air-conditioned van arrives, and Martin, our guide, opens the door with a big smile.
Martin is a sociable chap who will make you laugh even if you wake up grumpy. Besides, bartending was his last profession. By working in the most swanky bars of Tulum, he polished his English. Then he decided to calm down from this crazy lifestyle a few years ago.
Gran Cenote: let’s go early to the most famous cenote in Tulum
The advantage of leaving Tulum is that there is no need to get up at dawn to visit the first cenote.
After a quick 10-min drive, we are already at the Gran Cenote’s entrance. The staff is not yet there—Mexican opening hours.
Once inside, Martin signals us to go to the right. There are two accesses to the water; many visitors are unaware of that. By passing on the right, we can realize a 40-min circuit to reach the other exit without meeting anyone!
I see the small wooden staircase hidden between the trees. It leads to turquoise water similar to the most beautiful waters of the Caribbean Sea. I spot many catfish and some turtles swimming in slow motion.
Time to get in the water!
With our diving lights and masks, we follow Martin under the rocky passages admiring the different stalactites and stalagmites. But it is not what is above our heads that I find the most interesting. It’s rather what’s under my feet! The water is so clear that I feel like I am flying. My gaze is attracted by the many tunnels that go down into the depths of the earth. The ray of light coming from my torch fades into the distant darkness. I would love to venture a little deeper, but my life jacket prevents me from doing so (it is obligatory at Grand Cenote).
Martin gives us an extra 10 minutes to enjoy the place and take some nice pictures; then we leave at 9:15 to our next cenote.
Cenote Taak Bi Ha will be your next profile picture
The van takes the road towards Playa del Carmen and then turns onto a dirt road to enter Dos Ojos Park. There are more than fifteen cenotes hidden there.
Most travelers only go to Dos Ojos. They don’t realize that they are skipping other even more incredible cenotes. One of them is Taak Bi Ha.
It is a closed cenote with a small entrance in the ceiling to enter. Inside, artificial lights highlight the turquoise color of the water that contrasts with the rock’s white.
Once again, Martin signals us to follow him. An unmarked path allows us to discover another section of the cenote. Here, the water is even more transparent than in Gran Cenote because no organic waste gets in—only the rainwater filtered by the mineral rocks.
It is not mandatory to wear a life jacket at the Taak bi ha cenote. I can swim like a little turtle, exploring the deepest sections (4m).
Then it’s the photo session for the future Instagram photo. Around 11 am, we leave in the direction of our last cenote.
Cenote Santa Cruz: a private cave cenote
At this time, the hungover tourists start to wake up and invade the cenotes. It’s not a problem for our small group of 4 people since we are now going to a cenote not open to the public.
Santa Cruz is located in the jungle, 20 minutes from Akumal. To protect this sacred site, the owner has decided to open it only on reservation, with a few trustworthy agencies.
With my flashlight, I follow Martin in this labyrinth. It’s the “story” moment of our cenote tour. You see, cenotes have a special significance for the Mayan people. Apart from acting as a freshwater reservoir, they are considered the entrance to the underworld, where the god of death and disease lives (Xibalba).
I am attentive to the explanations while listening to the “clap clap” of my shoes in the water, surrounded by the distorted shadows of the numerous stalactites and stalagmites.
-Bouhouhou! Did I scar you? 😀
After 30 minutes, we arrive at a section where the rocky vault has collapsed. Finally, some light! We can use a small wooden platform and a rope to do acrobatics in the water.
This is our last moment of relaxation before returning to the world of the living.
A Mayan picnic awaits us at the table. As well as dozens of mosquitoes. Fortunately, the owner burns plants that keep them away. The lunch is provided by a local family that regularly works with the agency. It’s delicious, and the timing is perfect. I am starving after all these adventures!
What’s Good About This Tulum cenote tour?
Here is why I liked this guided tour.
You don’t need to rent a car (or pay a horribly expensive taxi)
Driving a rental car in Mexico is not as dangerous as you might think. But it’s still demanding if it’s a one-day rental. You have to rent it the day before to leave early the next day, take pictures/videos of the vehicle, so you don’t get ripped off, make the itinerary, and not leave your stuff in the car. In short, it’s a pain in the ass.
And most of the cabs in Tulum charge exorbitant prices, and a tour will be much cheaper.
And no. There is no UBER in the Yucatan peninsula.
Visit several cool cenotes in one day
Some cenotes are similar. Others are totally different.
This tour offers you to see 2 types: Cenote semi-open and Cave cenote.
And these are not just any cenotes.
These are among the most beautiful cenotes I have visited in this part of Mexico (especially the transparency of the water).
Learn a bit more about the Mayan history
Well, you won’t be able to write a thesis on Mayan history thanks to a cenote tour.
But it is still nice to explore them while having a local guide tell you anecdotes. You put pictures on these stories, and that’s pretty cool.
It is a tour of max 10 people. We were only 3 when I did it.
As soon as the group is too large, the experience is lost. There is noise and screams. Some want to take 100 pictures to compete with Kim Kardashian.
In short, 10 is already too many.
You get the right equipment
You can’t come to a cenote without your snorkel gear. It’s forbidden! Well, okay, you can. But you’ll miss out on half the fun.
The water of the cenotes is sometimes so transparent that it is strange to be underwater. I almost forgot sometimes that I should not breathe.
The agency gives a lamp, a mask, and a snorkel to admire the numerous rock formations and the few turtles and fish.
And the crystal clear water of these 3 cenotes is ideal for this kind of adventure.
The knowledgeable guide
Mexicans are not exactly experts in explanations. Some cenotes have secret passageways you can only notice if you ask about them first. Then, you also have to know where to buy the ticket, take cash with you, etc.
Following a guide and not having to worry about the organization is great. You’re on vacation, after all.
You’ll feel safer
Relax. Nobody will try to kill you when visiting cenotes in Tulum.
But some travelers may be apprehensive about venturing into narrow passages or swimming in deep sections. With a guide, you might be more reassured.
Well thought out
It’s essential to book a tour that allows you to escape the tourist.
With this tour, I first visited the most famous cenote (0 tourists), then a less-known cenote, and finally a private cenote.
And it takes “only” 2h30 of travel time.
The icing on the cake? You’ll return around 2 pm to relax on the beach with a cocktail.
Drawbacks Of This Cenote tour from Tulum
Nobody is perfect.
You can’t choose your cenotes
The 3 cenotes of this tour are superb, but some may be more attractive for your taste. There are hundreds of them around Tulum!
It’s something to consider if you are claustrophobic, for example. This tour takes you into a cave, and you pass through some narrow sections.
Max 45 min in each cenote
You don’t decide the schedule. Even if you fall in love with a cenote, you will still have to leave.
45 min was enough for me to enjoy each cenote. But if you are looking for an experience where you can sunbathe, enjoy the site, and take lots of pictures, there are better tours than this one!
Booking Guide: Pick the right Cenote Tulum tours
You need to check some information before booking your cenote tour in Tulum.
Famous cenotes VS not-yet-too-famous cenotes
Some known cenotes are beautiful and worth visiting. But you must go there at the opening hour (even if it means less light for the pictures).
The over-visited cenotes are generally the ones closest to Tulum (except for those in the direction of Bacalar)
Here is a short list of the most famous cenotes near Tulum:
- Cenote Calavera
- Gran Cenote
- Dos Ojos
- Casa Cenote
This tour shows you the most famous cenotes in Tulum.
4 different types of Cenotes
It will help you decide what kind of cenote you want to visit.
👪 The open cenotes look like small pools. These are the oldest ones, whose rocky ceiling has disappeared. There are often zip lines and places to jump into the water.
🥃 Some cenotes look like bottomless pits. Long lianas run along the walls to reach the freshwater. They are very photogenic.
🤿 There is a second type of semi-open cenote. These are caves with small holes in the ceiling that let the light through. In general, the illumination is optimal from 11 am to 3 pm. The water is crystal clear and perfect for snorkeling.
🔦 Closed cenote (or cave cenote). Once inside, it’s dark. You can only go in with a guide and a flashlight to admire the stalagmites and stalagmites. Some are excellent diving spots.
What do you want to do?
It will help you decide what kind of cenote tour you want to book.
🤿 Cenote diving
Most of the cenotes for scuba diving are located around Tulum. The most spectacular cenotes are Cenote Dos Ojos, Cenote Chac Mool, Angelita, Cenote El Pit & Cenote Tajma Ha.
In Casa Cenote, you can dive even though you don’t have your certification. It’s this tour.
However, if it is a cenote whose depths exceed 20m, you need to have your advanced open water certification.
Book with this agency to find the cenotes that best suit you.
🌴 Relax at a beautiful cenote
The main problem with booking a cenote tour with a group is that you will have to follow the guide, and the group will always be loud. To avoid this, you can book a private tour or decide to go alone.
🤩 Visiting cenotes and having fun
There are various eco-parks around Tulum where you can enjoy several cenotes on the same site. It’s best to go there by yourself, but you can book a tour if you don’t want to bother with the transportation:
🥽 Cenote snorkeling
Some cenotes have incredible transparent water. Even if there are few living creatures to observe, the sensation of swimming underwater is captivating.
The most adventurous among you can even embark on a freediving initiation.
🐢 See aquatic animals
You will not see many animals (except bats and small catfish) in the cenotes. Fortunately, you can pick a tour that also brings you to the Caribbean sea.
🤠 Cenote tours and Ancient Mayan ruins
Don’t hope to visit a lovely cenote in an attraction park
Some sites offer many activities (ATV, zipline), including the visit of a cenote. From my experience, these are far from impressive cenotes (the water is always murky there).
If the cenotes you want to visit are in the vicinity of Tulum or between Tulum and Akumal, you better find a hotel in Tulum.
If you pick a group tour, you will also want to verify that this agency is in Tulum.
If it’s a private tour, it’s not a problem if the agency is based in Playa del Carmen (there is usually no surcharge for the pickup).
In our list, it’s this tour where you’ll spend the least time on transportation.
The cenotes are not the most suitable places for people with reduced mobility. It has steps, slippery sections, and unpaved roads.
I advise you to favor the open cenotes.
Kantun Chi could be a good option. Double-check with them.
Tulum guided cenote tours VS without an agency
- If you want to visit the cenotes near Tulum, you can use public transport for those next to the main roads or rent a bike or ATV. Or book this fun bike tour.
- It’s easy to visit one cenote without an agency. But as soon as you want to visit several cenotes in one day, it becomes more challenging.
- If you decide to go without an agency, you must remember to pack your mask!
- A tour will allow you to visit many cenotes and still have free time in the afternoon.
- It’s better to go alone if you only want to rest at the water’s edge.
What to bring for your Tulum cenote Tour
In addition to your towel and swimsuit, here is the list of the perfect cenote adventurer.
🌊 A good waterproof phone case. There is sometimes little space around the cenote where you will want to keep your phone with you. It’s also handy for holding keys and money.
👟 Waterproof shoes will be practical to protect feet from stones. In addition, you will often have to take a shower before entering the cenote. A diving t-shirt is also a good idea.
📷 It is challenging to take good photos and videos in semi-open cenotes. And unless you have a waterproof phone, you will need a Go Pro (especially for underwater shots). Remember to set it up correctly.
🤿 Come with your snorkel gears. The agency should include a pair for you in its tour.
How to book your Tulum Cenote Tour
I used Viator to book this experience. The interface is simple, and you can quickly communicate with the tour operator.
Also, you can cancel up to 24 hours before the activity for a full refund.
Tulum cenote tours: Your questions
Many travelers contact me to learn more about cenote tours from Tulum. Here are my answers.
Do you need a tour to visit cenotes in Tulum?
No. You don't need to book a tour to visit the cenotes around Tulum. The hardest part is to get there. However, some cenotes are only accessible on guided tours. The groups regularly leave on the spot.
Which cenote is best in Tulum?
It's a tricky question. Gran cenote is great if you go early. To chill out, Cenote Escondido is lovely. If you're looking for a secret spot, go to Cenote Caracol.
How much does it cost to visit a cenote in Tulum?
The entry to a cenote around Tulum costs about 300-500 MXN per person in 2023
How much is a cenote tour?
A cenote tour around Tulum will cost you between 80 et 200 USD/pers.
Do cenotes take US dollars?
From my experience, the cenotes do not accept US dollars, and many only want cash.
What time should I go to the cenotes?
It is better to go to the cenotes as soon as they open. You will be able to enjoy the place before the crowd. Avoid on Sunday.
Do you get crocodiles in cenotes?
There is a caiman in Casa Tortuga, but he seems to be vegetarian.
Is it hard to swim in a cenote?
It's effortless to swim in a cenote. There is no current, and you can rent a life jacket if you don't like swimming.
How long is the cenote tour?
On average, the cenote tours last 4-6 hours. Any longer would be too tiring for visitors. You stay 40-60 min at each cenote.
Are cenotes worth visiting?
Yes. Yes. Yes! Cenotes are one of my favorite things to do in the Yucatan peninsula.
Bottom line: Cenote tours from Tulum
Cenote tours from Tulum are fantastic if you want to visit several cenotes in one day, especially when they are far apart. This small group tour or this snorkeling tour are perfect for those who like to swim. And if your budget allows it, book this private tour to be more relaxed.