Gran Cenote, a hidden gem in Tulum


June 24, 2020

Gran Cenote is one of the magical places in Tulum.

As you may know, Tulum has a lot of tourist attractions such as exploring the archeological sites, going to the beach, visiting the Sian Ka'an reserve, having fun in the water parks, swimming with the sea turtles, snorkeling, scuba diving, among many others.

And in this post we want to talk to you about a specific activity: visiting the Gran Cenote in Tulum.

Why? Because this is one of the most famous cenotes in the Yucatan Peninsula.

So here is all you need to know to enjoy this wonderful cenote.

What's the Gran Cenote like?

To begin with, you need to know about the beauty of Gran Cenote, and why it has become one of the most important tourist attractions in Tulum, Quintana Roo.

As we mentioned in Must-visit cenotes in Tulum and 10 cenotes in Tulum you didn't know existed, cenotes are very important for the Mayan culture since they were considered the connection with the spiritual world.

This connection was the entry point to the Xibalbá, the Mayan underworld. Because of this belief, it was very common to perform religious rituals and other customs in the cenotes.

Today, the Cenotes in the Riviera Maya are known for both their Mayan past and their incredible natural beauty.

It is not so common to find natural attractions with crystalline waters and rock formations such as stalactites and stalagmites. Additionally, they are home to several species of birds and fish.

Gran Cenote
The cenotes in the Riviera Maya are like natural pools, where you can swim, snorkel and cenote dive.

As for the Gran Cenote in Tulum, one of its main characteristics is that it is surrounded by the Mayan jungle and just by visiting this place you will feel more connected to nature.

There is nothing like swimming and observing the vegetation of the jungle. This landscape will help you relax like never before.

All this and many other reasons make the Gran Cenote one of the most popular tourist attractions in Tulum and the Riviera Maya. Many guided tours include the visit within their packages.

What do I need to visit Gran Cenote?

When it comes to venturing into the Riviera Maya, the best thing to do is to prepare yourself by choosing the things you will take with you to make the most of your visit.

So, what should you take?

  • The main thing is to bring a swimsuit and towel for swimming and diving.
  • Bring comfortable and light clothing, especially if you plan to visit other tourist attractions after the Gran Cenote.
  • As mentioned in The must-visit Tulum Ruins, you should not forget to wear a cap or hat.
  • It is best to avoid applying sunscreen and creams before entering the cenote, as they can contaminate the water.
  • What we do suggest is to use biodegradable mosquito repellent, to enjoy your day without worries.
  • Take your underwater camera with a charged battery, so you can take great pictures of both the outside of the cenote and its underwater caverns.
  • You can take food and water as long as you pick up the trash before you leave.
  • If you have diving equipment this is one of those opportunities to use it because cenote diving is allowed in Gran Cenote. If you like this sport but do not have the equipment, you can rent it in the area.
Woman in the Gran Cenote
The main thing is that you enjoy your visit, and that you create good memories.

We suggest visiting before 1pm to give you enough time to enjoy the cenote and then explore the surroundings of Tulum.

How to get to the Gran Cenote?

Gran Cenote is located only 5 kilometers from Tulum, Quintana Roo, so it is a perfect option for those who are visiting the archaeological site of Tulum, or the Mayan ruins of Coba.

If you are staying in Playa del Carmen and want to visit this cenote, you will have to travel on highway 307 from Cancun to Tulum, and highway 109 to Coba.

If you are visiting Chichen Itza and want to visit Gran Cenote, you can take highway 180 from Valladolid to Cancun, and the highway from Chemax to Coba.

The advantage of vacationing on the Riviera Maya is that there are many tourist attractions throughout the area.

The visiting hours are from 10:00 to 17:00 every day, and the entrance fee is 200 pesos.

What can you do in the Gran Cenote?

As you can imagine, these are some of the favorite activities of both tourists and locals.

Swimming surrounded by nature

Gran Cenote is divided into 2 parts: its largest open-air part and a closed one, which makes it a semi-open cenote.

The open part is about 10 meters deep with some parts deeper than others. This is the area where you can swim, cool down and feel the breeze. And if you don't know how to swim don't worry, you can rent life jackets.

The water temperature is kept at 24°C most of the time, so you can visit this cenote almost any time of the year.

Cenote diving

If you are an adventure enthusiast, we suggest you practice cenote diving.

The Gran Cenote
The reason why cenote diving and snorkeling are so popular is that cenotes are not only beautiful on the outside, but are part of a cave system.

The Gran Cenote has an area that reaches 15 meters in depth and it is here that you can dive and admire the rock formations inside.

Take amazing pictures

The Gran Cenote in Tulum is a natural wonder that deserves to be photographed.

Whether you take pictures of the outside - where you can see the clear water with all the vegetation - or pictures of the underwater caves.

Without a doubt, here you can take many photos to upload to Instagram.

Where else to go?

Gran Cenote is not the only tourist attraction in the Riviera Maya. Many tourists make plans to visit several tourist attractions in one day to make the most of their vacation time.

Below are some suggestions of places you can visit near the Gran Cenote in Tulum, Quintana Roo.

The archaeological site of Tulum

As mentioned in Everything you need to know about Tulum, Quintana Roo, this place has a lot to offer.

And one of the main tourist attractions in the Riviera Maya is visiting the Tulum Ruins, where you can learn more about the Mayan culture and admire the Caribbean Sea.

This site is located on the seashore and according to researchers, this was a key place for the Mayan culture.

The archaeological site of Tulum
The main ruin of Tulum is El Castillo, which was the point of reference for the Mayan navigators. At night, torches were lit to work as a lighthouse.

The archaeological site of Tulum is characterized by the good state of conservation of its ruins and its wall.

This place is perfect to know more about the Mayan culture and religion.

Another advantage of visiting the ruins of Tulum is that you have access to the beautiful beach of clear water and white sand. For this reason many tourists wear their bathing suits when they visit this place.

And how close is it to the Gran Cenote?

You will be surprised to learn that it is only about 4 kilometers away. So it's not surprising that many guided tours visit the ruins before going to the cenote.

The archaeological site of Coba

As mentioned in 20 things to do in Tulum, the archaeological site of Coba has its own magic.

Part of the magic of this place is related to the nature that surrounds the area, the little human intervention, and the interesting Mayan ruins.

The pyramid of Nohoch Mul in Cobá
The pyramid of Nohoch Mul is known for having about 120 steps.

Coba is on the road to Coba, about 30 minutes northwest on Highway 109 from Chemax to Coba. So you can first visit the Coba archaeological site and then visit the Gran Cenote, or vice versa.

If you visit these Mayan ruins, we suggest you rent a bike to explore most of the place.

Cenote Calavera

There are many cenotes all over the Riviera Maya and the Yucatan Peninsula. Some of these are public, while others due to their location and characteristics are not open to the public; and there are even some that have not been discovered yet.

Cenote Calavera is very close to Tulum and Gran Cenote, only about 3 kilometers on the same road.

Banner of real estate developments in Tulum.

It is named for its curious skull shape, which is a visual effect of sunlight. At the entrance to the cenote there are some drawings of folk skulls on the wall.

Diving is one of the activities that make it famous. Its depth is 19 meters and it has caves where you can appreciate natural phenomena such as halocline layers.

This is definitely a place to add to your list of things to do in Tulum, Quintana Roo.

Tulum is always an adventure

Visiting the Gran Cenote is something that will make your visit to Tulum an experience, but it is not the only way to enjoy this town.

Whether you take a tour of the cenotes in Tulum, visit the archeological sites, the beaches, or any other activity, the best way to enjoy the experience is to take your time so you don't miss anything.

That is why investing in Tulum is an option you should consider, as this is a way to secure your future and obtain a home that connects you with nature and offers you a host of activities to improve your quality of life.

The cenotes in Tulum are one of the things that make the Riviera Maya an earthly paradise and the best of all is that it is affordable.

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