What You Have to Know Earlier than Visiting Gran Cenote, Tulum

Gran Cenote is by far one of the well-liked such points of interest close to Tulum. It has every part that makes a cenote magical: crystal-clear turquoise waters, jungle vines hanging down from rocky overhangs, vibrant inexperienced crops encircling the opening, and neat caves to discover. It’s no shock to me that this cenote attracts so many guests. Right here is every part you want to know earlier than visiting this enchanting place:

What Is a Cenote?

A cenote (seh-NO-teh) is a pure limestone sinkhole stuffed with freshwater from underground rivers. In reality, the Yucatán Peninsula is residence to the longest underground river and cave system on the earth! As a consequence of erosion, the ceilings of those water-filled caves collapse, and we all know these openings as cenotes.

Since cenotes are a part of an unlimited system of underground rivers, lots of them have caverns beneath the floor which can be a diver’s dream to discover. The deep, crystal-clear water makes for fantastic swimming and snorkeling as properly. With rocky cliffs, hanging vines, and spectacular jungle views throughout, cenotes are actually a treasure to go to.

There are three distinct forms of cenotes:

  • Closed: Assume underground swimming gap. Closed cenotes have a really small opening on the high the place you’ll be able to climb down into the cavern. There will likely be an open-air house that possible has stalactites hanging from the ceiling and even some bats. Some closed cenotes are fairly primary, with only a picket deck, and a few are extra built-up, with stone platforms to take a seat on and bounce in from.
  • Semi-open: Semi-open cenotes are much like closed cenotes, besides they’ve a extra sizable opening on the high. They’re underground and require stairs to get into. You would possibly discover cave pockets in these, and the sunshine shining in from above is gorgeous within the morning and mid-afternoon.
  • Open: An open cenote most resembles a pond or lagoon. It might need some rocky cliffs on the edges or rock overhangs, however many of the water’s floor is uncovered to mild. Which means open cenotes have far more vegetation rising on the underside, which is neat to take a look at with some snorkeling gear.

So, which sort is Gran Cenote? It’s open, with a lot of rock overhangs and inlets. It has a number of completely different sections, together with an element that feels extra like a cave.

Historic and Cultural Significance

Cenotes have been and proceed to be of giant significance to the Mayan folks. They’re the doorway factors to the underworld, Xibalbá. For that reason, cenotes have been locations of worship and ritual for hundreds of years. Now that so lots of them have develop into vacationer hotspots, this necessary a part of Mayan tradition goes unnoticed.

Causes to Go to


Gran Cenote has a little bit of every part: a cavern to swim by means of, an open pool to drift in, turtles to watch, and a great deal of vegetation throughout it. Listed here are a number of explanation why you must go to subsequent time you’re in Tulum:


Whereas it isn’t the most well-liked diving location within the space, it’s nonetheless a fantastic place to get beneath the floor of the water, because it has loads of caverns to discover. It’s a part of the Sac Actun system, which is the most important underwater cave system on the earth.

A lot of the allure of Gran Cenote lies underwater, the place you’ll discover unbelievable geology, together with a number of stalagmites. It’s a novice-level dive, which is ideal for freshmen.

Take a look at Koox Diving for extra info on how one can e book your journey.


Gran Cenote is likely one of the greatest spots close to Tulum for snorkeling. As quickly as you peer into the turquoise water, you’ll have the ability to see why. Within the open areas of the cenote, there are crops rising on the underside like an underwater backyard.

Should you go into the coated cave-like space, nevertheless, the scene slowly adjustments. Because the water will get deeper, you’ll see the rocky caverns beneath. The partitions beneath the floor are embellished with neat geological patterns and vegetation. You’ll additionally see loads of small fish and the well-known turtles swimming about.

You’ll be able to carry your individual snorkeling gear, or you’ll be able to hire it there.


The clear water makes it an unbelievable place to take a dip, as a result of you’ll be able to see down into the depths. Even the shallow areas are a fantastic place to swim, whether or not you’re an skilled swimmer or not.

Like many cenotes, this one has a rope that passes by means of the deeper components of it, which is sweet to carry on to should you get uninterested in swimming round. Should you don’t really feel assured about being in deep water, you can too hire a life jacket, which can will let you discover extra.


There aren’t many cenotes the place you’ll discover freshwater turtles within the numbers that you simply’ll discover them right here. Doubtless as a result of quantity of human contact they’ve every day with guests, the turtles appear very unfazed by folks coming out and in of the water. In reality, I’ve had turtles bump straight into me whereas I used to be snorkeling! Maintain an eye fixed out for the clumsy ones, of us!

It’s necessary to keep away from touching the turtles (on objective), simply as with all different wildlife. Seeing them up shut can also be a fantastic reminder to go away no trash behind on the cenote — or anyplace else for that matter.

When to Go to

As a consequence of its recognition, Gran Cenote is greatest to go to proper when it opens at 8am. This pure marvel attracts lots of of tourists a day, on common. Although it’s huge compared to different cenotes, it nonetheless feels fairly crowded within the afternoon throughout excessive season.

Another choice is to cease by for a fast go to shortly earlier than it closes. The ticket sales space will cease promoting tickets round 4pm, and the cenote closes at 5pm. Should you get there round 3pm, the crowds will possible have dissipated, and also you’ll have loads of time to discover.

Both manner, keep away from visiting Gran Cenote on a weekend when it’s much more crowded than it’s on weekday afternoons. Go for a Monday or Tuesday for the most effective probability to have the place (largely) to your self.

The way to Get There


This cenote is likely one of the best to get to from downtown Tulum. It’s solely about 5 kilometers (3 miles) from downtown, which suggests you’ll be able to simply bike there.

Should you select to go there by bike from downtown, head north on the Carretera Tulum-Chetumal, towards the doorway to the Tulum archaeological website. Take a left onto Freeway 109 going to Coba (there’s a Tremendous Aki grocery retailer on the nook in case you don’t see the indicators for the freeway). From there, it’s a straight shot to the doorway of Gran Cenote, the place there’s a big signal on the right-hand aspect of the street.

Taking a taxi to Gran Cenote can also be straightforward and low cost. It ought to value round 100 pesos ($5 USD) every manner. You gained’t have to fret about discovering a cab going again to downtown Tulum (or your lodge), as a result of there are all the time a number of ready outdoors.

One other cheaper choice is to take a combi, which is a white van used for public transportation. You’ll be able to catch a Coba-bound combi on the nook of the primary freeway that goes by means of downtown Tulum (known as the Carretera Chetumal-Tulum) and Freeway 109. The journey solely prices 20 pesos ($1 USD) every manner. On the way in which again, you’ll be able to flag one down alongside the freeway.

Necessary Particulars

  • Value: This is likely one of the dearer cenotes close to Tulum. Entry is 180 pesos ($9 USD), plus 30 pesos ($1.50 USD) for a locker, 50 pesos ($2.50 USD) for a life jacket, and 80 pesos ($5 USD) for snorkeling gear.
  • Sunscreen: Don’t put on sunscreen into the cenote. There are showers outdoors the place you’ll be able to rinse off any sunscreen or bug repellent, each of which have chemical substances which can be dangerous to the biome in and round cenotes.
  • Etiquette: As I discussed above, cenotes have been used for hundreds of years to carry out sacred rituals and have big significance to the Mayam folks. There are indicators on the entrance to Gran Cenote that specify what gadgets are prohibited (most notably, alcohol and medicines). Please keep on with the foundations! They’re there to guard the cenote.
  • Amenities: There are loos, altering rooms, showers, and lockers at Gran Cenote. However make sure that to carry a towel as they don’t have them for hire.

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