The 12 Best Cenotes in Playa del Carmen


My List of the Top Cenotes in Playa del Carmen

If you’re planning to visit Playa del Carmen on your Mexico trip, you don’t want to miss the beautiful cenotes located nearby.

They are some of the most amazing sights you’ll see!

And you will for sure love snorkeling, diving, or swimming in these natural pools with your family, partner, or friends.

Near Playa del Carmen, there are cenotes for every taste and preference: it can thus be hard to choose one as there are literally thousands of them!

That’s why I’ve made you this list of the best cenotes in Playa del Carmen.

In this guide, you’ll find all the information you need to visit the cenotes and all my best tips to make the most of your experience.

What is the best cenote in Playa del Carmen?

If you’re in a hurry and can’t read the full article, which I highly suggest you do to learn about all the amazing cenotes in Playa del Carmen, here are my top choices:

The best cenote for families: Cenote Azul

If you’re traveling to Mexico with kids, you want a cenote that is safe and fun for them. Cenote Azul is perfect for that, because it has clear and shallow water (or deeper areas for swimming), life jackets for rent, and amenities (lockers, restrooms, picnic tables). It’s also close to Playa del Carmen, so you don’t have to drive too far.

The best cenote to dive: Chaac Mool for beginners, Nohoch for more advanced divers

If you’re into diving, you’ll love the cenotes that offer stunning underwater scenery. Chaac Mool is a good option for beginners, because it’s spacious and not too deep (about 40 ft). You can see stalactites, stalagmites, and light beams.

Nohoch is more challenging for experienced divers, because it has narrow tunnels and caves that require skill and confidence. You can explore the hidden wonders of the underground world.

The least touristy cenote: I would say Nohoch, but it’s tricky because Playa del Carmen and the Riviera Maya are very popular destinations.

If you want to avoid crowds, you can go early in the morning, before the tour buses arrive. You can skip weekends, when the locals also visit the cenotes. Or you can head to the Cenotes of Valladolid or Merida, which are usually less crowded 😉

The 12 Best Cenotes in Playa del Carmen

1. Cenote Azul

Cenote Azul is a great choice for family fun in Playa del Carmen. It’s a large cenote with clear water and shallow areas for kids. You can relax on the dock, the rocks, or the picnic area, where you can bring your own food and drinks. There’s also a platform where you can jump into the water from 13ft high.

The cenote has an open area with gorgeous greenery and a covered area for some shade. It’s also close to Cenote Cristalino, Cenote Jardin del Eden, and Xpu-Ha beach, which is one of the most beautiful beaches in the Riviera Maya. You can easily spend a few hours exploring this amazing area!

My tip
To learn all about this beautiful cenote to visit in Playa del Carmen, check out my Complete Guide to Cenote Azul!
  • Entrance fee 150 pesos, 100 pesos for children 7 years old and younger
  • Snorkeling equipment 70 pesos, life vests 40 pesos
  • Open from 8h to 18h
cenote azul playa del carmen
cenote azul playa del carmen

2. Cenote Chaak Tun

Cenote Chaak Tun is a must-see cenote in Playa del Carmen for many reasons.

First of all, it’s the only cenote that’s right in the heart of Playa del Carmen, just 10 minutes away from downtown. Plus, it’s one of the most stunning caves in the Riviera Maya!

You can take a 2.5-hour guided tour that will show you two flooded caves and one dry cave: Pixan, Xibalba, and Aluxes.

You’ll get to snorkel in the crystal-clear water and explore the caves with a flashlight. You’ll be amazed by the sight of stalactites, stalagmites, fish, and ceramic offerings.

But that’s not all. You’ll also be part of a bigger adventure, as Chaak Tun is connected to Sac Actun, the largest flooded cave system in the world. 🤩

  • A guided tour is mandatory, for conservation and safety reasons.
  • Entrance fee 850 pesos for foreigners, 600 pesos for nationals, 500 for Quintana Roo residents
  • Chaak Tun website
cenote chaak tun playa del carmen
Cenote Chaak Tun, the cenote located in Playa del Carmen

3. Cenote Chac Mool

Chac Mool is a beautiful cenote in Playa del Carmen for diving lovers.

You don’t need a lot of experience to dive here, but you do need a certification (open water or equivalent). You don’t need to take a cave diving course, because the area is spacious and the maximum depth is 40 feet.

You’ll be amazed by the stunning caves with roots, stalactites, and stalagmites, as well as the limestone columns and the turquoise water. The visibility is excellent and the light rays create a magical effect.

The cenote has two entrances: the main one and another one called “Little Brother”. They both lead to the same caverns. The first one is large and bright, and the second one is full of stalactites of different sizes. There’s also a natural dome where you can surface and see the roots and rocks.

Another thing you can observe here is a phenomenon called halocline: when salt water and fresh water meet but don’t mix because of their density difference. It’s quite a sight.

My advice
Although Chac Mool is a very interesting cenote in Playa del Carmen for beginner divers, it is important to be careful and follow safety measures.

Always follow the reels (guidelines) and do not go in areas restricted to the public.🤓

  • Entrance to the cenote 250 pesos (guide and equipment not included)
  • Shower, restrooms, dressing rooms and a small restaurant
  • Minimum age 12 years old
cenote chac mool
cenote chac mool

4. Cenote Tajma-Ha

The cenote of Tajma Ha resembles the Taj Mahal, and that’s not a coincidence. It was originally named after the famous monument, but over the years it changed to Tajma Ha, which means “water” in Mayan.

It’s one of the best cenotes to dive in Playa del Carmen, but it’s more suitable for advanced divers. You need an open water certificate to access the cave entrance, but you also need some experience to navigate the tunnels without getting stuck.

The dive lasts about 50 minutes to an hour, and the maximum depth is 50 feet. You’ll be amazed by the underwater cave, where you can see fossils, stalactites, stalagmites, and a thick halocline.

  • The entrance fee is 250 pesos
  • It’s open from 10 am to 6 pm
  • It’s 19 miles south of Playa del Carmen, on Highway 307. You have to drive one mile on a dirt road from the main road to get to the entrance.

My advice
You can also go to Tajma-Ha just for swimming and snorkeling, but the surface is quite small.

I recommend it only for snorkeling, otherwise you can go somewhere else.

cenote tajma ha

5. Gran Cenote

The Gran Cenote is a popular spot for everyone:

  • Families, because it has supervision, facilities, and a big picnic area
  • Those who want to swim and snorkel easily in clear water (with turtles!)
  • Advanced divers, because it connects to Sac Actun, the largest underwater cave system in the world
  • Travelers who want to see a lot in one day, because it’s strategically located near Tulum, Coba, and other cenotes

The cenote has two parts: an outdoor part and an enclosed part that you can reach through a 65ft tunnel. The enclosed part is under a rock wall and the water is crystal clear!

It’s a beautiful cenote but it can get crowded, so it’s better to get there before 10 am 😉

  • The entrance fee is 500 pesos, locker is 30 pesos, snorkeling equipment is 80 pesos
  • It’s open from 8 am to 4 pm

My advice
For a complete experience, you can take this guided bike tour of Tulum that includes the Gran Cenote, the Cenote Escondido, the Cenote Cristal, and brunch! Book it here:

gran cenote tulum
Gran Cenote Tulum

6. Cenote Cristalino

Cenote Cristalino is a perfect cenote for families and friends who want to have a fun day in Playa del Carmen. It’s a very popular cenote in the Riviera Maya because of its beauty and easy access. It’s very close to the main road, so you can also get there by public transportation.

You don’t have to worry about crowds, because the cenote has different areas and a small cave where you can swim and snorkel at your own pace. But if you want more peace and quiet, it’s better to get there before 10 am.

Another bonus is that it’s next to Jardín del Edén and Cenote Azul, which are also some of the most beautiful cenotes in Playa del Carmen. And the beach is nearby too… so you can make a whole day out of it!

  • The entrance fee is 200 pesos, 150 pesos for locals and kids under 11
  • It’s open from 8 am to 6 pm every day
  • By car, take the Federal Highway to Tulum. The cenote is 2 miles after Puerto Aventuras. There’s free parking.
  • By public transportation: take a colectivo from Playa del Carmen to Tulum (at the corner of Carretera Federal and Juarez) for 70 pesos round trip.
  • You can bring your own food, because there’s no food for sale on site
cenote cristalino
cenote cristalino

7. Cenote Nohoch Nah Chich

The Nohoch cenote is a hidden gem for experienced divers, but not many people know about it. It’s huge: it’s 6 miles long, has 36 entrances, and connects to Sac Actun, the largest underground cave system in the world.

You don’t have a diving certificate? No problem. You can still enjoy the cenote in other ways. You can swim, snorkel in the crystal-clear water, rappel down to 40 feet, or jump on a zip line. You’ll see incredible underwater tunnels and rock formations.

The cenote is also surrounded by a beautiful jungle with many birds. It’s a great place to relax and connect with nature.

  • The entrance fee is 300 pesos, or 800 pesos for the snorkel, rappel, and zip line package
  • It’s open from 8 am to 5 pm
  • It’s 55 minutes from Playa del Carmen, very close to Tulum (after Akumal)
  • It’s not very crowded, but sometimes you’ll see small groups of divers. It’s even quieter after 2 pm.
cenote Nohoch Nah Chich
cenote Nohoch Nah Chich

8. Aktun Chen

Aktun Chen is a cenote you should visit in Playa del Carmen. It’s in an ecological park that has several cenotes where you can snorkel, as well as an underground river, 10 zip lines, and a 1,970 ft long cave full of stalactites and stalagmites.

The guided tour is one of the 10 Best Underground Tours in the World, according to National Geographic, and it’s great for the whole family.

  • It’s open from 9 am to 5:30 pm, but the last entry is at 4 pm (I recommend you get there by 3:30 pm to have enough time)
  • It’s about 2.5 miles from the main road on a dirt road, plus another mile to the cenote. If you don’t have a car, let them know at the entrance and they’ll provide a shuttle.
  • The on-site restaurant offers delicious local cuisine at affordable prices.
  • Aktun Chen website
aktun chen
aktun chen

9. Rio Secreto

I love Rio Secreto so much that I had to include it in the list of cenotes to visit in the Playa del Carmen area.

It also won the award for the best nature reserve in Mexico and Central America at the World Travel Awards 😎

You will follow a guide who will provide you with a helmet with a flashlight, a wetsuit, water shoes, and a life jacket.

The tour takes 1.5 hours and you’ll explore 1,970 ft of caves and underground rivers with clear water where you can swim.

The place is beautiful, clean, well-organized, and safe. I recommend it for couples and families alike (but maybe not for very young kids).

Rio Secreto or Aktun Chen?
It’s true that Rio Secreto and Aktun Chen are somewhat similar, so you don’t need to do both.

Personally, I prefer Rio Secreto because it feels more authentic. I feel like an adventurer and the guides share really fascinating information (without rushing).

You can book your tickets to Rio Secreto with lunch included. You can also choose to have pick-up at your hotel if you want. Book it here:

Rio Secreto

10. Jardin del Eden

Jardín del Edén, also known as Cenote Ponderosa, is one of the most beautiful cenotes in Playa del Carmen. It’s only 20 minutes away from downtown.

It’s an open-air cenote, surrounded by lovely plants and some iguanas. The water is clear and you’ll feel some small fish nibbling your feet to get rid of dead skin. 😆

It’s one of the biggest cenotes in the Riviera Maya, so you’ll have plenty of room to swim even on Sundays, when it’s more crowded. It’s ideal for swimming, snorkeling, and relaxing. There are different ways to get into the water, including jumping platforms. There are also shaded areas where you can rest.

You can also snorkel from the entrance of Cenote El Eden to Cenote Coral (it takes about an hour). You’ll see many roots, fossils, and even some Mayan pottery.

  • The entrance fee is 200 pesos, 100 pesos for kids under 12, and 25 pesos for a life jacket
  • It’s open from 7 am to 5 pm, but it’s closed on Saturdays

My advice
For all the information about this cenote, check out my Complete Guide to Cenote Jardín del Edén!
jardin del eden cenote playa del carmen
jardin del eden cenote playa del carmen

11. Taak Bi Ha Cenote

Hidden in Dos Ojos Park, Cenote Taak Bi Ha (or Tak Be Ha) is a treasure waiting to be discovered. The park has other cenotes as well, such as the famous Cenote Dos Ojos.

Cenote Dos Ojos is a stunning and family-friendly cenote, but it also attracts many tourists in the Riviera Maya.

That’s why I want to share with you Cenote Taak Bi Ha, which is not very popular… and I kind of prefer it that way! 😉

It’s an underground cave that you can reach by stairs. The water is shallow, clear, and gorgeous. You’ll see roots and many stalactites.

You can have fun on your own in the main area, or take a diving tour with a guide, equipment, and a diving lamp.

You can also snorkel if you want to explore the underground passages of the cenote.

And here’s a bonus point: the cenote is owned and managed by a Mayan family ❤️

  • The entrance fee is 400 pesos (with a life jacket) or 500 pesos for the snorkeling tour
  • It’s open from 8 am to 6 pm
  • It’s 50 minutes from Playa del Carmen: take the 307 Chetumal-Cancun highway towards Tulum until you see the sign for Dos Ojos Park. Then drive 2 miles on a dirt road to get there.
tulum cenote taak bi ha
tulum cenote taak bi ha

12. Chikin Há Natural Park

Last but not least, I want to tell you about Chikin Ha, one of the cenotes you must see in Playa del Carmen 😉

It’s an ecological park that has not one, but three cenotes in one place! It’s only 20 minutes south of Playa del Carmen.

You’ll love this cozy place where you can swim in the clear water of the Chikin Ha and X’Tabay cenotes. You can also explore the ceremonial cenote of Taak Bil Ha, which has a magical vibe.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also try zip lining, jungle biking, and have lunch on site (the tacos are delicious!). You can choose different packages depending on what you want to do.

This is a perfect activity for the whole family in Playa del Carmen. You can do it in half a day and have a blast.

  • The entrance fee is 350 pesos (free for kids under 5) and it includes the three cenotes
  • The complete tour (2 hours) is 700 pesos. It includes a Mayan ceremony, a guided visit to three cenotes and one cave, a bicycle, a zip line, snorkel equipment, and lunch
  • The snorkel equipment is 50 pesos
  • You have to pay a 50-peso deposit for a locker (you’ll get it back at the end)
  • Facebook page

Pd: if you like to dive, there is also a section to dive in a cave, as long as you have the advanced diving certification.

cenote chikin ha
cenote chikin ha

Book the cenotes tour

Don’t waste time choosing between cenotes, when you can visit four of them in one day with this amazing tour!

You’ll enjoy a hassle-free pick-up from your hotel, and a variety of activities (kayaking, snorkeling, etc.) in each cenote. You’ll also get a light breakfast, snacks, and a delicious lunch with beer and wine 😉

This is the perfect opportunity to explore the beauty and diversity of the cenotes in Playa del Carmen. Book your spot here:

tour cenote playa del carmen
cenote tour playa del carmen

Tourist map of cenotes

Here are the Best Cenotes in Playa del Carmen mentioned in the article:

Other cenotes in Mexico

There are thousands of cenotes in Mexico! Here are the other cenotes by region:

My advice to visit the cenotes of Playa del Carmen

To protect the environment and enjoy your cenote visit, you should follow these tips:

  • Do not use sunscreen or mosquito repellent (even biodegradable ones) when you go to a cenote. They are very harmful to the ecosystem!
  • Always shower before entering the water. It’s a good practice to do even if they don’t ask you to. ❤️
  • Bring your own mask and snorkel if you can. You can save money by buying them at Walmart or Soriana, for example. Some cenotes offer rentals.
  • Wear aquashoes (water shoes). They are much more comfortable than going barefoot!
  • Try to arrive early in the morning (from opening until 11 am) to avoid the crowds. And avoid going on weekends, if possible.
  • Leave your valuables at home or in your hotel, because not all cenotes have lockers.
  • Bring enough cash, because they don’t accept cards and there are no ATMs nearby.
  • Bring a waterproof cell phone case to take pictures underwater and a small diving flashlight to see better.

Rent a car in Playa del Carmen

Renting a car is for sure the best way to explore Playa del Carmen and make the most of your stay!

To rent a car, personally, I always use Cars, for a few reasons:

  • You can easily compare the rental cars prices between all the agencies: for sure the easiest way to find the best rate!
  • Cancellation is often offered free of charge: no need to worry if you change your mind
  • Booking Cars offers full insurance coverage at a lower price than the rental companies, so it’s an instant saving with no effort

Simply click on the green button to find your rental car at the best price:

Where to sleep in Playa del Carmen?

  • Che Playa Hostel & Bar Adults Only: great hostel to meet other travelers and party, with a rooftop terrace that has a bar and a small pool, with several offered activities. Clean, with good wifi and a great welcome. From only 13 $usd for the dormitory or 37 $usd for a private room!
  • Hotel Lunata: a charming hotel with hacienda style decoration, which is hidden on Quinta Avenida, very close to the beach. Quiet, with a garden, rooms with balcony, and has very friendly service. From only 82 $usd per night!
  • Porto Playa Condo Beach Club: here you will find a spacious apartment ideal for a family, with fully equipped kitchen, living room and terrace. The hotel has a large swimming pool, a gym and a restaurant, starting at 172 $usd per night!
  • The Reef Playacar Resort & Spa: located on the beautiful beach of Playacar, just a few minutes from Fifth Avenue. Ideal for a romantic stay, with a beautiful tropical garden, two pools, a gym and a spa. 200 $usd with the “all inclusive” formula.
  • Hotel Xcaret Mexico All Parks All Fun Inclusive: it is definitely the best hotel in Playa del Carmen! Ideal for couples and families with children as this luxury hotel offers an exceptional package including meals and access to its parks (Xcaret, Xplor, Xplor Fuego, Xenses, Xoximilco, Xel-Ha and Xenote). Starting at 860 $usd per night, all inclusive.

My tip
If you want more options, take a look at My Ultimate Guide to the Best Hotels and Resorts in Playa del Carmen!

Find your flight at the best price

Playa del Carmen does not have its own airport, so you will need to fly to Cancún first.

This is a major airport that connects with many destinations in Europe and North America, such as Air Transat, Air Canada, Iberia, Aeromexico, Interjet, KLM, and more. You should have no problem finding tickets for your preferred dates.

To get the best deals on flights to Cancun and other domestic flights in Mexico, you can use our flight comparison tool in collaboration with Skyscanner. It will help you save money and time!

Book your trip now and save money!

You’re traveling in Mexico? These articles will help you!

Discover all my articles about Mexico: All my articles to help you plan your trip to Mexico are listed there.

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playa del carmen cenotes


I have created this blog to give you all my best tips to plan your next trip to Mexico, regardless of your budget. I share detailed itineraries, advice about places to visit as well as recommendations for transportation, hotels and restaurants. I hope I will also help you to discover amazing off the beaten path destinations in Mexico!

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