A few weeks ago I got to experience my first cenote in Riviera Maya called Cenote Azul. It was the one thing I reallllly wanted to do on my trip to Mexico as I had never been to this area! Cenote Azul is very popular for many reasons, one being that it is close to both Tulum and Playa del Carmen, making it a great spot for tours and individuals alike. Here is everything you need to know before going to Cenote Azul.
What is a Cenote
To start, let me explain what a cenote even is! A cenote is a natural pit, or sinkhole, resulting when the roof of an underground cavern collapses. It then creates a natural pool that gets filled by rain and water from underground rivers. There are a few types of cenotes, some are wide open pools, others are caves that contain pools and underwater passageways in their interior. Cenotes usually have very clear, cool, fresh water. You can often see the bottom of the cenote because the waters are so clear!
The term cenote is specifically associated with the Yucatán Peninsula of Mexico, where cenotes were commonly used for water supplies by the ancient Maya, and occasionally for sacrificial offerings. Today, cenotes are a big tourist attraction where people can swim, snorkel, dive and explore the amazingly clear waters!
The water is normally a bit chilly, especially in the covered cenotes, but trust me, its a great way to cool off in the Mexico heat.
Getting to cenote azul
Cenote Azul is located on Carretera Federal, which is the main road between Tulum and Playa Del Carmen, making it very easily accessible! There is a large parking lot and then it is only a short walk through some jungle to the cenote!
Taxi – This is an easy option if you aren’t traveling too far to get to Cenote Azul. I do recommend scheduling a pickup time with your driver to ensure you have a ride back because we had a difficult time hailing a taxi.
Car – Renting a car is always a convenient way to get around Mexico and I found the roads to be very straightforward in this area. There is a ton of parking on-site as well, but I would suggest getting there early to ensure you get a spot!
Colectivo – I had no idea what this was until I was in it hah. A collectivo is a small bus/ van that drives back and forth on main roads picking up passengers on the side of the road and dropping them off just the same. The great thing about collectivos is how inexpensive they are, our 20 minute ride was about $1 USD!
If you’re looking for a comfortable ride then I wouldn’t recommend this but, if you don’t mind not sitting on a real seat, or running across a busy highway to get back to your hotel, then it works just fine!
What to expect at Cenote Azul
When you arrive to Cenote Azul you’ll walk from the parking lot up to the ticket booth where you can pay in either USD or Pesos. You’ll then be instructed to rinse off in the showers. This is to protect the cenotes ecosystem as there are many fish and plants that can be affected. So, do not wear bug spray or sunscreen until you are totally done swimming. I also recommend not wearing any makeup.
After you shower you’ll walk through a gorgeous jungle past two small cenotes. We took a few minutes to snap some photos, but didn’t hang out here for very long. As you keep walking you’ll reach the large open air cenote, that resembles a large swimming pool.
There are a few shallow areas where you can relax or sit on the rocks (be careful, many are covered in moss and are slippery!). Or you can take a dive down into the deeper areas and explore the fish and plants! Snorkeling is a very popular activity at Cenote Azul so I recommend bringing your own, or renting one for a small fee.
If you like to cliff jump there is a 15 foot platform that tons of people were jumping off of. I stuck to the smaller platform that was about 3 ft above the water! There are many areas you can slowly get into the water as well if jumping in isn’t your thing.
Cenote Azul is also a natural fish spa, so don’t be alarmed if some fishies come and nibble on your toes, they are just eating the dead skin off. Sounds gross, but it’s a free treatment! haha
Cenote Azul is open from 8:30-5:30 daily. I suggest arriving as early as possible in order to avoid crowds and tours. Many hotels and tour companies bring large groups to these cenotes which can cause them to becoming crowded fast.
When we arrived at 8:30, there were already some people there so if you get there a bit earlier, they might let you in!
Cenote Azul costs 120 MXP or about $7 USD. I suggest carrying pesos with you for your trip to Mexico, you will get a better deal on many things!
There are a few bathrooms and showers as well as lockers to rent. There is also an area to grab a soda, water and snack. For an addition cost you can buy food to feed the fish, rent a snorkel or rent a life jacket.
What to pack for Cenote Azul
- Bathing suit
- GoPro/ underwater camera
- Snorkel Gear
I hope you found this guide to Cenote Azul helpful! If you are in need of more Mexico posts check out my Ultimate Guide to Cabo San Lucas!
Save this post for your future trip to Mexico!