Cenote Cristal and Escondido are two beautiful open cenotes located near Tulum for a great DIY trip from the touristy town. They are lesser-known than other more popular cenotes and for this reason less crowded and much more enjoyable. In this post, we will tell you how to visit them and why you should include them in your trip.
Cenote Cristal and Cenote Escondido are located at only 5-minute ride from Tulum downtown and they are the closest cenotes to Tulum that you can visit on your own, even by bike.
They have actually only one ticket office by Cenote Cristal but you can choose between buying only access to one cenote or both.
However, since you are already there why not visit both of them? They are incredibly beautiful though with different shapes, size,s and features. There is a lot to explore.
Read on to learn more about how to visit the Cenote Cristal and Escondido.
But first of all…
What are the cenotes?
A cenote is a freshwater sinkhole formed by the collapsing of the limestone soil, the type of stone that the Yucatan Peninsula is mainly made of. The cenotes allow us access to the water table. These holes are produced naturally by the collapse of the roof.
Sacred to the Mayan civilization they are now some of the main tourist attractions in the Yucatan Peninsula. Read more about the Mexico cenotes.
Things to know about Cenote Cristal
Cenote Cristal also known as Cenote Naharon or Cenote Crystal, is a large open cenote surrounded by a lush vegetation and platforms scattered around the banks where you can easily access to the water.
For the more adventurous there is also a jumping platform. The water is crysta clear and you can clearly see the bottom, hence the name.
You can swim around, float, or snorkel. If you want to dive though, you need to be cave diver certified and go with a guide or an instructor.
Also, a rope is stretched across the natural pool so that you can rest if you get tired.
It is considered a family-friendly cenote for the easy way in.
You will also find bathrooms and showers to use before jumping in the water.
Things to know about Cenote Escondido
Cenote Escondido means hidden cenote in Spanish, although it’s not very much hidden anymore 🙂
Right across the road from Cenote Cristal, at about 15 minutes walking distance and 5 minutes drive, you will find Cenote Escondido.
This cenote is nestled among giant trees and lush and thick tropical vegetation. There are platforms at the water level with wooden ladders to make it easy for you to enter.
Adrenaline seekers will especially love Cenote Escondido because of a rope hanging from a tree that you can use the play Tarzan and swing yourself into the water.
Otherwise, you can float swim, and snorkel to explore the incredible underworld.
Diving is also possible with an instructor or guide. You must also be certified.
How to get to Cenote Cristal and Cenote Escondido
Located at only 5 minutes drive either from Tulum, or 10 minutes by bike Cenote Cristal and Escondido
How to get to Cenote Cristal and Cenote Escondido by Car
We always mention that our favorite way to explore the Yucatan Peninsula is definitely by car because it gives you the freedom to travel at your own pace and you don’’t have to follow any imposed schedule.
When you choose your rental car we recommend including full insurance with 0 deductible so you will drive with peace of mind.
We recommend Discover Cars because on their website you can compare different companies and their prices and you can choose between their car insurance or the ones offered by the car rental directly, or both.
To Get to Cenotes Cristal and Escondido by car from Tulum is very easy. Just drive across downtown on the direction of Chetumal, and 5 minutes after you leave Tulum you will find Cenote Cristal Big Sign on your right and Cenote Escondido Sign on the left.
You cannot miss them.
You can park right in front of the entrance under the trees and get to the ticket office for your tickets.
Once you are ready to visit enote Escondido you can drive all the way there to the cenote parking lot.
How to get to Cenote Cristal and Cenote Escondido by Local Bus
It’s very easy to get to the Cenotes Cristal and Escondido by local busses (colectivos), from Tulum.
You can get on a “colectivo” in Tulum Down Town and they will drop you off right by the entrance of Cenote Cristal which is right on the road.
You will have to walk a few minutes to get to Cenote Escondido but it’s not far from the main road.
How to get to Cenote Cristal and Cenote Escondido by taxi
Or you could hire a taxi. We are not able to give you the rates because they may change and we don’t want to give out wrong information. However we suggest you should ask a recommended and trustworthy taxi driver from the reception of your hotel or your host.
Also make sure you agree on the rate before getting in the taxi and arrange when he would pick you up as there are no taxis on site.
Things to do in the Cenote Cristal and Cenote Escondido
Although different, both cenotes have similar features and are both great for families or adventurers as you get the best of both worlds here, depending on what you want to do.
✅ Swim and chill – you can just enjoy the cool waters while swimming and relaxing exploring around the natural pool
✅ Dive -many divers choose these cenotes because they are not so crowded and yet they offer amazing caves to explore underneath and discover the mysterious world of the cenote that you wouldn’t be able to see while snorkeling.
✅ Snorkel – snorkeling is one of the best activities in a cenote. You won’t get deep down into the caves but you can still the incredible rock formations and vegetation most of the time wrapping into one another.
It’s magical indeed. And you may also see some fish as well. We would suggest taking your own equipment because you won’t find it for rent.
✅ Take amazing photos – Both cenotes are incredible photogenic and the surrounding nature helps creating a surreal landscapes especially if you play with the light you have.
The only problem for photos is if it’s a cloudy day with a white sky which would flatten the image with an awful gray light.
In this case I would gave up photography and focus on some shenanigans in the water. If you have a drone you can fly it for 50 pesos to pay at the entrance.
Make sure they give you a receipt so you can show it in the second cenote in case they ask you.
Cenote Cristal and Cenote Escondido Facilities
In Cenote Cristal and Cenote Escondido you will find
- Life jacket rental
- Tables and benches for picnics
- Hammocks ropes
Cenote Cristal and Cenote Escondido entrance fee
- 150 per cenote per person MXN (300 MXN/2 cenotes)
- Diving additional 300 MXN
Cenote Cristal and Cenote Escondido Opening Hours
Open every day from 9 to 17 (ticket office closes at 4 pm)
How to visit Cenote Cristal and Cenote Escondido and respect the environment
As mentioned before while we want to promote this spectacular places for you and for the sake of the communities that are managing them as their source of income, at the same time we wold like to make sure it’s done with some ethical awareness in mind.
That means protecting the environment from being over exploited or at least limiting the damage. It’s not that difficult. Here below we some suggestions on how to do it.
- Don’t be loud
- Don’t trash
- Don’t use any kinds of cream spray or protectors on your skin as it would contaminate the environment (even the so called – eco friendly)
- Always take a shower before entering in a cenote (available at the entrance)
- Don’t hang on to the stalagtites or stalagmites or any roots
- Just don’t do any foolishness that can damage the environment
If we appreciate the environment we will learn to respect it.
What to bring to Cenote Cristal and Cenote Escondido
- Change of clothes
- Towel to dry off
- Mosquito repellent to wear after you come out of the water as there can be some mosquito around
- Mask and snorkel gear
- Phone waterproof bag to take some underwater pics if you don’t have a gopro.
What we like about Cenote Cristal and Cenote Escondido
✔️ The extremely transparent water
✔️ They are almost never that crowded, especially in the morning when they open
✔️ They are at a close distance to one another
✔️ They are great for photos
✔️ They are suitable for families with kids because of the platforms and ladders that make it easy to get in.
✔️ They have also jumping platforms and ropes for the more adventurous.
✔️ They are both great for snorkeling
✔️ They are peaceful
What we don’t like about Cenote Cristal and Cenote Escondido
❌ When they get too crowded and noisy
INSIDER TIP – try to avoid weekends and be there early in the morning when they open if you want to avoid crowds.
The worst of Cenote Cristal and Cenote Escondido
Because they are closed to Tulum they can get crowded during the day.
Tips to photograph the Cenote Cristal and Cenote Escondido
Cenote cristal is easier to photograph at any time of the day because you can walk around the entire perimeter, so it’s easy to position yourself according to where the sun is when you visit.
Cenote Escondido you can only stay on three sides so if you go in the morning you will have more good angles available than in the afternoon.
You can fly your drone in both cenotes for 50 MXN. However, in Cenote Escondido be careful if you are a beginner because there are a lot of trees which makes it difficult to use the Return home feature.
You will need to do it manually.
What to visit nearby
Cenote Corazon del Paraiso – 2.6 Km / 1.6 miles
Laguna Kaan Luum – 7 Km / 4.3 miles
Cenote Angelita – 9 Km / 5.5 miles
Muyil Archaeological site 20 km / 12 miles
Tulum Archeological Site 25 km / 15.5 miles