Gran Cenote Tips & Tricks: Is it Worth it?

Gran Cenote Day Trip From Tulum: Is it Worth it?

In Diving & Snorkeling, Mexico by Sheena1 Comment

Should you visit the Gran Cenote on a day trip from Tulum, Mexico? See photos, find out prices & decide for yourself if it’s worth a visit.

Gran Cenote Day Trip From Tulum

The name says it all – the Gran Cenote is indeed a big, beautiful sinkhole, that’s part of a system of underground rivers in the Yucatan.

It measures 202 m in diameter & we found it to be a nice place to spend a couple of hours cooling down from the Tulum heat.

The Gran Cenote is located 5km from Tulum Village & 7km from Tulum Ruins so it’s an easy day trip.

You can choose to walk, hitchhike or take a taxi – more information below.

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Cave entrance to Gran Cenote

The entrance to the cenote to the right of the stairs

What’s it Like?

As you enter the Gran Cenote, you’ll pass through some nice gardens.

Take a rinse at the open shower space before entering the cenote.

There are also toilets, changing rooms, free water refills & plenty of grassy spots to relax or have a picnic on the grounds.

Take in the view of the whole sinkhole before going down the wooden stairs.

Gran Cenote Entrance

Head down the stairs to the Gran Cenote

Straight ahead is a rental station where you can hire snorkel masks, fins, life jackets & lockers.

We always travel with out own snorkel set as an ill-fitting mask can really ruin the experience.

We didn’t use the lockers. Instead we kept everything in our dry bag & took turns in the water.

Start at the left of the stairs to ease yourself into the cenote experience at the turtle pond!

Dip your toes into the cold water & watch the little creatures swim by.

Turtle on lily pad

There are big & small turtles at the lily pad pond!

Now it’s time to enter the cenote for real!

You can climb slowly down via a lader or dive straight in – did I say that the water is cold?!

I found it super chilly!

Me swimming in Gran Cenote

It’s pretty cold in the Gran Cenote!

A short swim will take you into a large cave that goes back more than 15 meters in complete darkness.

Swim to the left if you want to explore some of the stalactites underwater. I did a little but the dark made it a bit spooky for me!

Lie on your back & look up at the bats & swallows on the roof. Dip your head underwater & swim alongside fish in the dark.

You emerge from the cave into light on the other side. The water is shallower here & the space is more cramped, but you can still swim around a small rocky island.

Swim back through the limestone cave & take a break back on land.

Hanging out at turtle pond

Chilling out & warming up on deck in between swims

Then make your way over to the other side of the cenote.

This section isn’t as deep & the clear water in the sunlight makes it awesome for snorkeling.

You can explore columns of stalagmites & stalactites, along with twisting vines & roots connected to the trees above. There are schools of fish scattered around which fun & cool to swim with.

If you free dive, you’ll love the Gran Cenote even more!

Gran Cenote rock formations

Incredible colours & rock formations at the Gran Cenote

Is it Worth it?

You can enjoy the Gran Cenote by simply swimming & floating but it’s better to have a snorkel mask so you can also explore underwater too.

Scuba-diving trips are also available.

Overall the Gran Cenote is more expensive than many other sinkholes in Mexico & it’s not a very large site.

But if you’re not on a shoestring budget, it offers a cool & unique experience that’s worth the money.

Combine it with a visit to the Tulum Ruins & beach & you have the perfect Tulum excursion!

Tulum tour options:

Visit Tulum Ruins

The cliffside, beach setting of Tulum ruins is so spectacular that even the crowds can’t ruin in – find out what not to miss, tourist information & prices

Read more
Tulum Ruins & Beach

Cliffside Tulum Ruins & Beach

Getting to/from the Gran Cenote

The Gran Cenote is located 5km from Tulum Village & 7km from Tulum Ruins – you can choose to walk & hitchhike between the 3 in 1 day, like we did.

Approximate taxi prices are:

  • Gran Cenote – Tulum Village: MN$60 / $3.35
  • Gran Cenote – Tulum Ruins: MN$110 / $6.15
  • Gran Cenote – Highway near Tulum Ruins: MN$80 / $4.50

Renting a bicycle for the day is also a great option to get from place to place, but there may be extra hassles & costs with “parking” it.

Strange rock formations

Fascinating rock formations at the cenote

Know Before You Go

Gran Cenote Entrance Fee: MN$150 pesos / $8.40

Rentals: snorkel masks, fins, life jackets & lockers are available to rent. You can’t use your own lock.

Opening Hours: 8:00 am to 5:00 pm every day

Did you enjoy reading about the Gran Cenote?!

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Woman lying on her back in a cenote

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*** The Final Word – Bring your own snorkel for the best experience of the Gran Cenote! ***

What’s your favourite cenote in Mexico?

4 Shovels

Easy DIY travel outside city centres

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Visited in June 2016



  1. Scuba diving is one of my biggest passions. The main reason I love diving is the adventure, because you never know what you will found below the water surface. The second reason would be the wonderful diversity of the marine life.

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