Tulum offers a world of excitement and unique experiences, including cooling off by swimming in natural swimming holes known as cenotes. No holiday here would be complete without taking at least one dip in a cenote or a water-filled sinkhole that occurs when a cave collapses and fills with groundwater.

    Cenotes can be found all over and around Tulum and can be open, semi-open, or wholly underground. They're great for family fun or as a romantic getaway for 2. Check out some of the best swimming holes and cenotes near Tulum and dive to cool off on this mainland Caribbean peninsula.

    1

    Jardin del Eden Cenote

    Go swimming in a massive open pool in the jungle

    • Couples
    • Families
    • Adventure

    The Jardin del Eden Cenote is a massive open cenote located in the middle of the jungle offering clear, clean emerald and sapphire waters popular with cliff jumpers. The towering cliffs above the deep cenote offer a diving platform, and towards its centre are flat rocks you can sit on.

    The visibility here is outstanding, which makes it a popular spot for snorkellers, though there's not a lot of sea life here. Divers also come here to explore the underwater caves. Facilities include a snack bar, bathrooms, and life jacket rentals. It can be reached after a 35-minute drive north along the coast.

    Location: 77734 Quintana Roo, Mexico

    Map
    2

    Cenote Sac Actun

    Explore one of the largest cave systems in the world

    • Couples
    • Families
    • Adventure

    Cenote Sac Actun is a semi-open cenote in a cave system that is wildly popular for those looking to snorkel and view native sea life. This underground water paradise is amongst the longest underwater cave system in the country and even in the world. It's directly connected to a second cenote, Dos Ojos, creating an expansive system for exploration.

    Whether you're here to float in the clear turquoise water, splash and swim, or go snorkelling beneath the surface, there's a world of underwater adventure to be had here. It's all just 35 minutes north of Tulum.

    Location: Carretera Federal 307 (Cancun-Chetumal) pasando, Xel-Ha, un kilometro hacia, 77760 Tulum, Q.R., Mexico

    Open: Daily from 9 am to 5 pm

    Phone: +52 998-734-9728

    Map
    3

    Yal Ku Lagoon & Cenote

    View sea life, swim, and go snorkelling in a public park

    • Couples
    • Families
    • Adventure

    The Yal Ku Lagoon & Cenote is in a huge park and offers both a cenote and a lagoon, both of which flow into the sea and offer outstanding snorkelling. Here you can find tonnes of opportunities to view sea life, such as angelfish, parrotfish, barracudas, rays, and even sea turtles.

    The park can be accessed from two entrances, one best for snorkellers and one that's better for families and swimmers, as life jackets are mandatory here, and it offers a snack bar and even palapa and cabin rentals. Either entrance offers snorkelling gear for rent.

    Location: Calle Acceso Etapa H Lote 5 Akumal Norte, 77776 Akumal, Q.R., Mexico

    Open: Daily from 9 am to 5 pm

    Phone: +52 984-875-9065

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    4

    Cenote Azul

    Dive in a jungle pool

    • Couples
    • Families
    • Adventure

    Cenote Azul offers a fun swimming experience with a collection of open cenotes connected by walkways and offering diving platforms and a variety of depths. This destination is very popular with families because it includes several shallow areas that are good for younger kids. The collection of pools is shaded by rocky shelves and nestled within the jungle.

    Inside the cenotes, you can climb and sit on partially submerged flat rocks and schools of harmless tiny fish jet about, tickling your feet. Nearby you'll find a small store with snacks and drinks. It's all just 33 minutes drive up the coast from Tulum.

    Location: 77734 Quintana Roo, Mexico

    Map
    5

    Cenote Caracol

    Trek to a secluded swim next to a park and restaurant

    • Couples
    • Families
    • Adventure

    Cenote Caracol offers a secluded, hidden swimming hollow, a semi-open cenote surrounded by towering limestone walls with an opening to the sky above and reached by winding stairs. The unique rock formations combined with the clear, cool waters and the secluded location make it a memorable place to visit.

    The swimming hole is located about a 35-minute drive northeast of city centre Tulum, and it's right next to a park and a restaurant so you can relax and have a bite to eat after your swim. It's also a freshwater pool, so if you're sensitive to saltwater, that won't be an issue.

    Location: 77770 Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico

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    6

    Casa Cenote

    Dive in a cool watering hole surrounded by mangroves

    • Couples
    • Families
    • Adventure

    Casa Cenote offers a chance to go swimming in a wide, open cenote that connects to the ocean underground with a shallow depth and calm, clear waters. It's an ideal place to go for families looking for a safe place to swim as well as those who enjoy diving or snorkelling, whether amateur or experienced.

    This is a busy and popular cenote about 20 minutes up the coast from Tulum and is surrounded by towering mangroves. As popular as it is, there are no services other than toilets, but less than 2 miles away are a number of good restaurants.

    Location: 77770 Quintana Roo, Mexico

    Map
    7

    Gran Cenote

    Swim in one of the largest underwater cave systems in the world

    • Couples
    • Families
    • Adventure

    Gran Cenote is amongst the most popular cenotes in Tulum and serves as the main entrance to the Sisterna Sac Actun caves, with crystal clear, cool waters to swim. It's the gateway to one of the largest underwater cave systems ever explored, and it's a popular place not just for swimming but for snorkelling as well.

    While here, you'll see picturesque stalactites and stalagmites, turtles, fish, bats, swallows, and other wildlife flitting about. Even better, this swimming hole is just an 8-minute drive to the north of the heart of city centre Tulum, so it's a quick jaunt from your accommodation.

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    Location: Quintana Roo 109, 77796 Tulum, Q.R., Mexico

    Open: Daily from 8 am to 4.45 pm

    Phone: +52 998-980-0332

    Map
    8

    Cenote Dos Ojos

    Scuba dive to explore Tulum's deepest cave tunnel

    • Couples
    • Families
    • Adventure

    Cenote Dos Ojos means "Two Eyes Cenote," which is considered amongst the best cenotes in the region due to its sheer size and scenery, offering swimming and snorkelling opportunities. It takes its name from the fact that it's formed of 2, 230-foot sinkholes connected by a passageway over 1,300 feet long and 387 feet deep.

    One of the cenotes is clear and shallow, making it an excellent place for families to swim, relax, and go snorkelling. The other is deep and attracts many scuba divers looking to explore the underwater world. It's just 30 minutes up the coast from Tulum.

    Location: Cenote Jaguar Rd, 77780 Tulum, Q.R., Mexico

    Open: Daily from 9 am to 5 pm

    Phone: +52 998-980-0664

    Map
    9

    Cenote Zacil Ha

    Relax in a family-friendly swimming hole just outside of town

    • Couples
    • Families
    • Adventure

    Cenote Zacil Ha is a popular family attraction that offers a small, calm, open cenote with diving platforms, a zipline, and 2 different pools to enjoy. The cenote is only about 9 feet at its deepest point, and it's inexpensive to enjoy the facilities here. You can take advantage of an on-site snack bar or bring your own picnic.

    In addition to the fun and family-friendly activities, the low cost of this attraction makes it one of the more popular destinations for those looking forward to trying out cenote swimming. It's also only 12 minutes north of city centre Tulum, so it's an easy jaunt from your accommodation.

    Location: Coba km 8, México 180D, 77780 Tulum, Q.R., Mexico

    Open: Daily from 10 am to 5.30 pm

    Phone: +52 998-980-0332

    Map
    10

    Cenote Choo-Ha

    Take a dip in a massive natural underground pool

    • Couples
    • Families
    • Adventure

    Cenote Choo-Ha offers the chance to swim in an impressively large underground cenote in an enormous round cavern that's family-friendly and picturesque with thousands of stalactites and stalagmites. It's accessible by a wooden staircase that leads to a wide cool pool with fresh water that's calm and easy to swim.

    It's just under an hour's drive northwest of Tulum, but its proximity to two other cenotes and a range of sightseeing activities makes it a good option for a day trip. This is a wonderful place to go to catch photos for your Instagram feed, have a family fun day out, or enjoy a romantic getaway for 2.

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    Location: Chanchen 1, Cobá, Q.R., Mexico

    Open: Daily from 9 am to 6 pm

    Map

    photo by Luis Miguel Bugallo Sánchez (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

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