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Bucket list experience:

Last updated: 13 November, 2022
Expert travel writer: Alex Robinson

Covered in fragrant lilies, floating on a terrapin-filled pool of water as clear and fresh as mountain air and framed by a dramatic cave mouth, Gran Cenote is a beauty.

But while the cenote extends for miles underground, through spectacular caverns, the part snorkellers can visit is modest. To explore further you’ll need cave diving certification.

Price from: £7
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 6+
When: All year around

Getting there & doing it

It is easy to reach – lying right off the main Tulum-Coba highway 5km Northwest of Tulum village. There’s a car park, lockers and changing facilities and life jacket and snorkel rental.

When to do it

The cenote is open all year round, seven days a week for swimming, snorkelling and diving. Come early morning or late afternoon – the cenote gets very busy in the middle of the day and can feel uncomfortably crowded.

The weather in the Mayan Riviera is generally good all year round, and the water is always warm enough for swimming. The rainy season from May through October sees the fewest visitors to Mayan Riviera – and fewer crowds at the cenotes. The dry season – November through April – gets busy. If you can, avoid peak season in December to January, when it gets oppressively crowded, especially around Christmas and New Year.

Our writer’s picks of the best places to stay near this experience, closest first

Villa Pescadores

Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico[5.7 miles]

Tulum ruins perched on a cliff and turquoise sea lapping talc-white sand: it’s all about location in this rustic beach-cabin retreat.

Official star rating:

Kai Hotel Tulum

Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico[5.7 miles]

A good value hotel on the choicest stretch of sand and in the shadow of Tulum ruins. Its cabanas come with ocean views.

Official star rating:

Coco Tulum

Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico[9.3 miles]

Beachside party hotel with great value rooms in traditional barefoot-chic Tulum beach cabanas, with comfort. Adults only.

Official star rating:

Ma’Xanab Tulum

Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico[9.4 miles]

This boutiquey Tulum beachfront blends with nature and offer modern, modish toes-in-the-sand stays in comfort. Adults only.

Official star rating:

Destination guides including or relevant to this experience

Mayan Riviera


Talc-white beaches, reefs teeming with life, ruined temples in misty rainforests – the Riviera Maya offers a family or romantic beach holiday with a dash of Indian Jones adventure.

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Overview >

Our writer’s recommendations of other bucket list experiences our writer says you must do in this destination, closest first

Other worthwhile experiences near this experience if you have time or interest..

Mayan ruins of Tulum

Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico[5.1 miles]

Iconic, though modest, Maya ruins perched on a cliff overlooking a beautiful beach and a turquoise ocean.

Best for ages: 10+ | £2

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Overview >


Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico[13.7 miles]

A snorkellers’ theme park, comprising a series of broken, crystal-clear bays and glassy streams, teeming with brightly coloured marine life and fringed with low tropical forest. Safe, supervised snorkelling plus swimming with (captive) dolphins and manatees.

Best for ages: 4+ | £80


Akumal, Quintana Roo, Mexico[18 miles]

A simple nature-based theme park with a safari-park zoo, a cenote for swimming, a spectacular cave and a rainforest canopy zip-line adventure.

Best for ages: 4+ | £30

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Overview >