Playa Del Carmen has beautiful beaches, some of the finest restaurant establishments, beach clubs and so much more.
It also is home to some amazing cenotes, that you can’t miss. The best cenotes near Playa del Carmen are all less than a 30-minute taxi ride. They are all unique in their own way and worth checking out.
Playa del Carmen is located on the Caribbean Sea and situated in the Quintana Roo state of Mexico.
It is next door to the popular and trendy location of Tulum.
It’s a popular tourist destination that is only continuing to grow more attention, due to its beautiful beaches, cenotes, and wild Mexican nightlife.
But I am here to talk about Playa del Carmen cenotes, ones that you are going to want to visit.
Yes, you might be visiting Playa del Carmen for it’s beaches, but you are not going to want to miss their cenotes.
Best Playa Del Carmen Cenotes
First on our list of Playa Del Carmen cenotes is Cenote Azul.
It has a unique setup that makes it popular among families and adventurers.
The water is separated by a wooden boardwalk down the middle so that kids and families can enjoy swimming on the shallow side.
Cenote Azul has a deep side that with a small natural cliff that you can jump from, which is as high as 10 feet for the more adventurous.
It’s an open cenote so it gets a lot of air and sun and it sits in the middle of the jungle.
This cenote can get pretty busy among tourists from Playa del Carmen, Cancun, and Tulum so it’s recommended you go early in the morning or late afternoon.
It’s accessible by taxi, rental car, or possibly by service at your hotel and roughly 25 minutes from downtown Playa del Carmen.
It’s a favorite since it has both shallow and deep water and it’s easily accessible.
Cost Cenote Azul: 120 pesos which is roughly $8
This cenote is located just before Cenote Azul if you’re coming from Playa del Carmen. It’s also an open-air cenote and has some of the most crystal and clear blue waters.
It’s a great place to relax and enjoy the fresh water and warm sun.
Cenote Crisalino is well equipped with a bathroom, snack shop, gear rental, and changing rooms which makes it a great option.
After paying and getting set up, you will walk a few minutes through the jungle to a smaller cenote.
Once you pass a small cenote, the jungle opens up to the beautiful and large Cenote Cristalino.
It has a high cliff jump and a cave. The cave can get very dark so don’t go too far down if you’re scared of enclosed spaces.
It’s a popular spot to check out the sea life in the shadows and explore near the opening or free-dive down into the cave.
Similar to the previous cenote, it can be reached by car from Playa del Carmen in roughly 25 minutes.
Cost of Cenote Cristalino: 150 pesos or roughly $9.50.
Cenote Jardin Del Eden was my favorite cenote that I visited when I was staying in Playa Del Carmen.
It is also known as Cenote Ponderosa and it’s located between Azul and Cristalino.
It has a large open area as well as lush, green vegetation which gave it its name, The Garden of Eden. You feel like you are in dinosaur land.
Once you arrive at the area, it’s about a 10-minute walk through the jungle to get to this cenote.
It’s very sunken into the ground with cliffs all around which makes it very unique and beautiful.
To get into the water, you can either walk down the wooden steps or jump in from a marked natural cliff hang.
When the limestone bedrock collapsed, it created different features in this cenote like mini caves, natural seats, and places to stand.
It’s popular among scuba divers and a great place for snorkeling, cliff diving, and swimming.
This cenote can be very deep in some parts so it might not be as great of an option for families or small children.
Cenote Jardin del Eden can be accessed by car from Playa del Carmen in roughly 25 minutes.
Cost Jardin del Eden: 100 pesos which is roughly $6
This cenote got its name from people calling it the Taj Mahal. It has mesmerizing natural beauty and is a semi-open cenote very popular among scuba divers.
It’s up to 40 feet deep and produces a beautiful light show during certain times of the day when light beams can pass through and hit the water.
Once you’ve gone through other caves and tunnels, you’ll get to the large area where you can see the jungle above and the sun hits the dark waters to create a beautiful and bright effect.
There are a lot of stalactites and stalagmites and an undead forest of mangler which is a type of tree that grows in water.
Several companies offer scuba diving tours at this cenote and it’s best for intermediate to advanced divers.
This cenote is located roughly 30 minutes by car from downtown Playa del Carmen.
Cost Cenote Tajma Ha: 170 pesos or roughly $10
This cenote is a very magical place and was only found in the last decade. It’s an underground cave with stalactites and stalagmites everywhere.
Stalactites are formations that hang from cave ceilings and stalagmites rise from the cave floor.
They are both pointy and skinny features that are delicate and beautiful. This cenote also has several cave chambers with bats and fish.
It has become a popular tourist destination and is now a park that will provide you a guided tour, a buffet lunch, and gear.
Costs Rio Secretos: 1,360 Pesos or $79 USD (expensive, but worth it)
This cenote is located roughly an hour from Playa del Carmen which is a bit further than the others but it’s well worth it.
It’s one of the largest cenotes to explore and go its name (Two Eyes) because there are two large sinkholes connected by a passageway to explore.
It’s an underground cave but has good lighting which makes it great for snorkeling.
If you have the time, you are going to want to visit this one.
Costs Cenote Dos Ojos: 180 Pesos or roughly $10 USD
This cenote is slightly less well known which makes it a great option because it’ll be less busy than some of the others.
If you want a quieter cenote near Playa Del Carmen, this is the one.
It’s an open cenote and feels like a natural swimming pool.
It has beautiful blue water and pretty lilies that float on the surface and it’s surrounded by the jungle and lush vegetation that easily allows the cenote to feel enclosed by the greenery. It’s a relaxing and quiet spot.
Nic Te Ha is located about 45 minutes from Playa del Carmen and rather close to Cenote Dos Ojos.
Costs Cenote Nic Te Ha: 300 pesos or roughly $18 USD
This cenote is very popular because it consists of several smaller cenotes. At Gran Cenote, cenotes are connected by a wooden walkway so there is more than enough area to swim and explore.
They also make for some cool photo ops.
The water is very clear which makes snorkeling pretty popular at this cenote.
It’s located roughly 50 minutes from downtown Playa del Carmen and can be reached by car.
Cost Gran Cenote : $500 pesos or roughly $30 USD
What Are Cenotes?
In the Yucatán Peninsula where Playa del Carmen is located is home to thousands of cenotes.
Cenotes are beautiful underground cave-like formations with inviting crystal-clear water to swim in.
They are natural sinkholes, that used to be caves, but the top of the cave has collapsed in, leaving them exposed to natural sunlight.
This makes them very inviting, as they are perfect for a refreshing swim, unique scuba and snorkel diving, and Instagram-worthy pictures.
Cenotes are underwater swimming holes that were formed with the collapse of limestone bedrock.
There are at least 6,000 cenotes on the Yucatán Peninsula. So more than most people could ever see on a 1 week holiday to Mexico.
The water in the cenotes is clean and clear because it comes straight from rainwater that filters into the ground.
They make for great drinking water when treated, but I wouldn’t recommend drinking straight from the source.
What Types Of Cenotes Are There
There are 3 different types of cenotes, underground, open and semi-open.
1. Underground Cenotes
These cenotes do not see any daylight because they are enclosed bodies of water in an underground cave system.
They can be accessed by a land entrance and once you make your way through, it opens up to an underground pool.
These can be fun because they’re quiet and very cave-like. They are great for when you’ve had too much sun and would like to take a break from it.
2. Semi-Open Cenotes
This type of cenote is mostly underground but has an opening where fresh air and sunlight can pass through.
It is particularly beautiful when a sunbeam passes through and glistens against the clear water.
They are great for visiting and probably my favorite type of cenote because you get a mix of both sun and no sun.
Which is great for when you get a little chilly and are ready for some sunbeams.
3. Open Cenotes
An open cenote is a cave that completely collapsed on itself and opens to the sky. The water is warmer since it gets sunlight and it’s a great place to relax.
This type of cenote is essentially an in-ground swimming pool but is made by nature.
It usually has high limestone walls and the sunshine right above to still feel like a very unique experience.
Playa del Carmen is a favorite vacation spot among so many people because of the pristine beaches that cover miles of coastline and its unique features like the beautiful cenotes.
What To Do At A Cenote
Cenotes aren’t only magnificently unique and jaw-dropping but they’re also quite fun.
If you’re looking for an adventure, spending the day cenote hopping can be great because there are many activities to enjoy.
Some have both shallow and deep ends so you can swim wherever you are comfortable.
If you want to check out the fish that live in cenotes, bring your snorkeling gear and explore.
It’s easy to see underwater life because the water is very clear.
Scuba diving is also very popular at cenotes. Some are quite deep and provide a great space to explore uncharted waters.
Depending on the way the cenotes fall, some have natural cliffs that you can jump off if the water is deep enough and you’re feeling adventurous.
What To Bring To A Cenote
Cenotes are really beautiful and make for a fun adventure if you’re prepared.
You’ll want to bring insect repellant since most are in the jungle and there can be mosquitos.
Make sure to wear biodegradable sunscreen to respect the delicate ecosystem of cenotes.
Most Cenotes won’t allow you to wear sunscreen if you plan on swimming in them
If you have it, you’ll want to bring snorkel gear and goggles if it’s something you’re interested in doing.
Some cenotes will have rental equipment so you won’t have to bring your own gear.
There are also plenty of amazing hotels in Playa del Carmen.
There are thousands of these underwater pools all around the Yucatan Peninsula and in the surrounding areas near Playa del Carmen. So whether you are planning on visiting cenote azul, or any of the other cenotes near Playa del Carmen, you are bond to have a great day.
They make for fun day adventures that allow you to do something a little different than sitting on the beach or swimming in the ocean.
They are worth experiencing because it’ll be a swim like no other. Playa del Carmen is a beautiful destination in Mexico and these cenotes are the cherry on top.
Hopefully, some of these Playa del Carmen cenotes caught your attention and you’re ready to experience them for yourself.