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How to visit Cenote Cristalino, one of the best open cenotes on the Riviera Maya

Cenote Cristalino is a spectacular open cenote, characterized by its crystal clear emerald green waters, hence the name. In this post, we will tell you all you need to know about it, how to get there and how to enjoy it to the fullest. 


Cenote Cristalino is one of the most popular cenotes of the Riviera Maya, in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, for its easy accessibility either from Playa del Carmen or Tulum. 

It is in fact situated right on the federal highway that connects Tulum with Playa del Carmen and being so close to the main road makes it easy to get to the cenote by public transportation as well. 

But before moving forward we would like to offer a clarification on what cenotes are, for those of you who haven’t seen one before or want to learn more about their history and geography.

Cenote Cristalino overview

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 Cenote Cristalino

Cenote Cristalino is one of the most beautiful open cenotes located at only 30 minutes drive from Playa del Carmen and 40 minutes from Tulum. 

One of the reasons why it’s so popular is that it has easy access from the main road and therefore you can get there by a cheap “colectivo” ( local mini busses) 

The other feature that makes it such a great cenote is that you will find a large rocky platform where you can relax or sit on the edge and dangle your feet in the water while reading a book or just enjoying the beautiful surroundings. 

Also, there is a sort of small cave where you can swim which is fun. 

For the adrenaline junkies, a jumping platform is available it’s 3.5 mt high and you will land in 5 mt deep water, which makes it absolutely safe to jump. (but don’t do it if you don’t feel comfortable)

Cenote Cristalino is also suitable for kids for easy access to the water through a man-made ladder. 

Read on to learn more about the Cenote Cristalino facilities and how to get there

Cenote Cristalino People Swimming in the water

How to get to Cenote Cristalino

Located at only 35 minutes drive from Playa del Carmen and 25 from Tulum, close to Cenote Azul and Cenote Eden or Taak Bi ha, Cenote Cristalino can be reached in different ways.


How to get to Cenote Cenote Cristalino by car

When possible, we always recommend exploring the Yucatan Peninsula by car for the freedom it allows you to move around at your own pace and without the pressure of an established schedule.

However, remember, if you decide for getting a car rental, make sure you include full insurance with 0 deductible so you will drive with no stress.  

In this case, if you are coming from Playa del Carmen, you will have to drive on the Carretera Federal (Federal HIghway) direction Tulum ( and vice versa). 

After about 35 km (21M) from Playa del Carmen, you will see the cenote Cristalino Sign on the right side of the road. Enter the sideroad lane to get to the parking lot. 

Cenote surrounded by lush vegetation

From Tulum, you will have to drive around 25 km (15m) and you will see the sign on the left side of the road. So what you will have to do is to drive past it and turn around at the next “Retorno”

There are two entrances to the Cenote Cristalino, either of them is good and they have a convenient free of charge parking lot where you can safely leave your car. 

When renting a car in Mexico 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.



How to get to Cenote Cristalino by local bus 

It’s very easy to get to the Cenote Cristalino by local bus, whether you are coming from Playa del Carmen or Tulum.

You can hop on a ‘colectivo” and ask them to drop you off at the entrance of Cenote Cristalino. The price should be around 40 pesos approximately. 

There you can walk directly to the entrance and the ticket office. It’s 3 minutes walk.


How to get to Cenote Cristalino by taxi

Hiring a Taxi could be another option. We are not able to give you the rates because they may change and sometimes even vary for each taxi driver. 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 fare before getting on the taxi and arrange when he would pick you up as there are no taxis on site. 

Cenote with emerald green water and a rocky platform

Things to do in the Cenote Cristalino

Although the cenote is not excessively large you can enjoy quite a few activities. 

Swim around– you can just enjoy the cool waters while swimming and relaxing exploring around the natural pool. There is a natural cave that you can swim through as well. 

Snorkel You can definitely have an amazing time snorkeling and watching the water creatures swimming around.

But if you are not fond of snorkeling you can also see them from the surface so crystal is the water. (Hence the name)

Jump from a 3.5 mt platform (head-first is not allowed in this cenote)

Take amazing photos – because of the lush surroundings and the presence of bridges and caves this is a great cenote for pictures, very photogenic. 

Chill – You can just chill in the sun lounges available for rent for 70 MXN and enjoy the tranquillity of the natural surrounding.

It’s just a few feet from the federal highway but don’t even notice that as you are completely immerse in the vegetation.

Cenote Cristalino

Practical information 

Cenote Cristalino Facilities

In Cenote Cristalino you will find 

  • Showers – remember you must shower before getting in the water of every cenote. 
  • Toilets
  • Lockers to keep your valuable, especially if you are traveling alone, so that you can swim and relax without worrying about your stuff. 
  • Sunlounges for rent 

Entrance fees

ADULTS – 150 MXN

KIDS – 100 MXN

DIVERS – 200 MXN (mind that this is only the entrance fee, you will still need to pay the dive shop for the tank and equipment)

PHOTOGRAPHERS – 200 MXN meaning if you want to take a commercial photography session with models, or clients. 


Cenote Cristalino opening hours 

Cenote Cristalino is open every day from 8 am to 6 pm.

Wooden bridge in the jungle

How to visit Cenote Cristalino respecting the environment 

We would like the cenote (and nature in general) to stay as beautiful as it is and, trust us, it doesn’t take much of an effort.

Here below are some simple rules that we have put together for you as a reminder to prevent inflicting as little damage as possible to the environment. 

  • Don’t be loud, other people may want to enjoy the place in peace and tranquility. Respect them.
  • Don’t trash. Keep the place clean and if you see something that is out of place, pick it up.
  • Sometimes the wind move around trash or previous visitors were not respectful. You can help keep the place clean. 
  • 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 
  • Don’t hang on to the stalactites or stalagmites or any roots 
  • Just avoid any silly act that can damage the environment 
  • If we appreciate the earth we will learn to respect it. 
Cenote Cristalino cave

What to bring to Cenote Cristalino

  • Swimsuit
  • Change of clothes
  • Towel to dry off
  • Mosquito repellent to wear after you come out of the water as there can be mosquitos around
  • Mask and snorkel gear and life jacket are available for rent but it would be much better if you  have your own, both for hygienic purposes and for saving
  • You can walk on your flip-flop although I always like to wear closed shoes when I am in the wilderness, mainly to avoid bugs bites. But it’s totally up to you

What we like about Cenote Cristalino

✔️ It’s among the cheapest in the area and it’s not so crowded as the others, except for the pick hours and holidays

✔️ The water is crystal clear and emerald green, beautiful for swimming, and even without the mask and snorkel you can see to the bottom clearly.

✔️ There is a natural cave to swim through and a platform to jump from

✔️ There is a spacious platform and sun lounges where to relax. 


Cenote Cristalino overview

What we don’t like about Cenote Cristalino

❌ The platform is man-made and not completely natural

❌ It’s not so big so it can get crowded during weekends. 

❌ It’s not suitable for divers and it’s relatively small. In fact, the cenote Cristalino is not so deep and not an interesting diving spot, especially when there are many other cenotes in the surrounding areas that have spectacular underwater landscapes, such as the Cenote Taak-bi-ha.


INSIDER TIP – try to avoid weekends and be there early in the morning when they open if you want to avoid crowds. 

Emerald geen sink hole surrounded by lush vegetation

Tips to photograph the Cenote Cristalino

A good time to photograph this cenote is peak time, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Having the sun up high favors taking photos of the contrasts and tones, and saturating the colors in its crystal clear waters.

You can play with the camera exposure to get different effects of the water. It is a cenote with many interesting angles to play with the camera.

It is a very photogenic cenote. We recommend you take a tripod.


Category – family

Rating – ⭐⭐⭐⭐/ 5


What you can visit nearby

Near Cenote Cristalino there are many other attractions including:

➡️ Akumal Beach 14 km/ 8.6 miles

➡️ Xpu-ha beach 3.2 km/ 1.9 miles

➡️ Cenote Azul 450 mt/ 0.27 miles

➡️ Cenote Eden 1 km/ 0.6 miles

➡️ Cenote Chikin-ha 1.7 km