Swimming in a cenote is one of the best things to do in Tulum so you can’t miss out on either one of these, especially if you enjoy snorkeling or diving.
Cenote Cristal is the perfect setting to hang out with family or friends, jump in the water, and snorkel to see some cool turtles. It is also one of the more family-friendly cenotes in the area.
Cenote Escondido, located in the jungle on the other side of the highway just south of Tulum Pueblo, offers a more adventurous swim with neat rock ledges and a cool swing rope, not to mention underground flooded caverns which you can explore scuba diving if you have your PADI Open Water.
If you want to visit both cenotes while in Tulum, you’re in the right place!
Here is everything you need to know to visit Cenote Cristal and Cenote Escondido.
Visiting Cenote Cristal & Cenote Escondido
How to Get to Cenotes Cristal y Escondido
Getting to Cenote Cristal and Cenote Escondido is easy as it’s located only 3.8 miles (6 km) south of Tulum Town.
It takes roughly 10 minutes to get there by car or 20 minutes by bike. I wouldn’t recommend walking there like you can do for Cenote Calavera since it’s a bit further away. We would often go by bike, though, but if you do this just be prudent as you will be biking alongside the highway which can be busy with cars and oversized trucks at times.
If you don’t have a rental car and instead want to go by taxi, and not by car or bike, then you can ask to be dropped off at Cenote Cristal. It should cost around 100-200 pesos. Note that if you go by taxi then you will have to walk from Cristal to Escondido cenote.
Cenote Cristal is located on the right side of the highway, heading south. It is well indicated with a big sign. There is a small free parking lot with trees you can lock your bike to.
Cenote Escondido is located just opposite Cenote Cristal on the highway. It isn’t well marked, but you can find it if you just walk across the highway to the dirt/gravel road that veers off down a path into the jungle. From the highway to the cenote takes about 3-5 minutes by bike or 10-minutes by foot.
Prices & Hours
Cenotes Cristal and Escondido are actually two of the cheapest cenotes in Tulum. For entrance into just one cenote, it costs $70 MXN pesos ($3-4 USD).
But if you pay for both, it only costs $120 MXN, so you would save $20 pesos. The price, plus their proximity to each other, is why Cenote Cristal is often visited in addition to Escondido (and vice versa). You will receive a red wristband that you should keep on until you’ve visited both cenotes.
If you want to go cavern diving in Escondido then you will pay $200 MXN.
Both Cenote Cristal and Cenote Escondido are open from 9 AM to 5 PM. I would highly recommend going to Cristal first in the morning and then heading to Escondido second.
There are outdoor showers for rinsing off any lotions and creams (remember to not wear sunscreen) and rustic toilets. You will find picnic tables at both cenotes, ideal for plopping down and having a snack. If you do bring food and drink, please pack out all trash you pack in!
Cenote Cristal (Naharon)
Cenote Cristal is a stunning open-air cenote ideal for swimming and splashing in the water. It is round and pond-like in shape whereas Escondido is longer and slimmer.
Around the cenote is a small gravel trail that leads you to the base of the wooden 12-foot jumping deck. On a sunny day, you can see straight through to the bottom of the cenote. The water is so clear and blue-green. It truly feels like paradise when jumping in!
You can swim and snorkel in Cenote Cristal, but you can’t go scuba diving. For that, head to Escondido. Nonetheless, many freedivers come to practice their underwater skills in Cristal, since it’s so open, clear, and obstacle-free.
Make sure to bring a snorkel mask to see how clear the water is below the surface. You can also see several fish and the occasional turtle.
The best time to visit Cenote Cristal is during the dry winter months (Oct-May). If you visited just after the wet/rainy and hurricane season (June-Sept), then there’s a high chance that Cenote Cristal will be flooded. In this case, the gravel trail encircling the cenote will be covered in water and the water will be less clear than usual.
Cenote Escondido (Mayan Blue)
Cenote Escondido is a slightly junglier and more adventurous cenote to visit. Its shape is long, resembling more of a river than a pond. If you bought entry to both cenotes, you can show your wristband at the gate near the highway leading to the cenote. A makeshift stall and staff member will be there to check.
Here, there is also a gravel trail you can follow that leads from one end of the cenote to the other. In between lies an outdoor shower and covered toilet cabanas.
At the start of Cenote Escondido, you will find a deep end ideal for jumping from the ledge or swing rope attached to an overhanging tree. On the side is a set of stairs leading down to a dock for easier entry.
Underneath the rock ledge on this side of the cenote is the entrance to the underground flooded cavern which extends inland approximately 120 m (about 400 ft) – or so we were told by resurfacing cave divers.
At the far end of the cenote is a quieter, more gentle entrance with a makeshift wooden ledge. Just like in Cenote Cristal (and other cenotes in Mexico) there is always a safety rope connecting one side of the cenote to the other which is fun to hang on to when swimming.
What to Wear & Bring to the Cenotes
When visiting Cenote Cristal and Cenote Escondido in Tulum, it’s likely you’ll make it an all morning or all afternoon adventure. Since you could easily spend several hours at both, make sure to go prepared with comfy clothes, shoes, towels, gear, and snacks.
Please remember to visit responsibly and look after your stuff!
- Snorkel mask
- Bathing suit
- Loose romper or cover-up dress
- Change of clothes
- Waterproof phone case
- Hat + sunglasses
- Microfiber towel
- Reusable water bottle
- Camera / Underwater cam (optional)
There are no lockers at either Cenote Cristal or Escondido so you will want to keep an eye on your bag. Theft is not common at cenotes, but it’s better to be safe than sorry in these cases.
Reminder: Since wearing sunscreen in the cenotes in Mexico is forbidden, you don’t need to pack it. However, if you are biking in the sun from the town, you can wear some on your face so you don’t get sunburnt. Just make sure to rinse it off in the bathrooms/showers before entering the cenotes.
Responsible Tips for Visiting Cenotes Cristal y Escondido
Pack in, pack out all trash: Please remember to bring a trash bag with you to the cenotes in which you can store all your garbage. Also, if you see trash left behind, take it out and properly dispose of it. Let’s keep these cenotes clean!
Don’t wear sunscreen, even biodegradable: One more time for good measure – wearing sunscreen in the cenotes contributes to their increasing pollution.
Rinse off: Makeup and lotions/deodorants are just as harmful to the cenote and its living creatures as sunscreen is. Please shower before jumping in the cenotes.
I hope this guide to Cenote Cristal and Cenote Escondido in Tulum help plan your visit! These cenotes are still wildly underrated for being some of the best cenotes in and around Tulum. If you have any questions or thoughts to share, please drop them in the comments below!
Before you go, check out my other guides to Tulum, Mexico:
- Coba Cenotes: How to Visit the Coba Cenotes: Exploring the Mayan Underworld
- Tulum Itinerary: Ultimate Tulum Itinerary: How to Spend Your Days in Tulum
- Day Trips: 12 Epic Day Trips From Tulum You Can’t Miss
- Tulum Ruins: Tulum Ruins Guide: How to Visit This Coastal Mayan Wonder
- Tulum Street Art: Tulum Street Art: Exploring the Pueblo’s Muralism Culture
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