Tulum is known for its pristine beaches, turquoise waters, party scene, and Instagram influencers. But did you know that Tulum is also home to some of the most beautiful cenotes in the world?
Cenotes are natural swimming holes formed by the collapse of limestone bedrock, revealing crystal-clear underground rivers. They are unique to the Yucatan Peninsula and are an absolute must-see for any traveler visiting the area.
One of the most popular cenotes in Tulum and the area is Cenote Cristal. Whether you’re seeking out the crystal-clear blue waters that make it a top spot for snorkeling or looking to embrace your adventurous side by jumping off one of its several platforms with varying degrees of difficulty, Cenote Cristal is definitely worth a visit.
In this ultimate guide, we’ll take you through everything you need to know about Cenote Cristal, from its location and history to what to expect when you arrive. So grab your swimsuit and let’s dive in!
Where is Cenote Cristal?
Cenote Cristal is located just 4 kilometers from the town of Tulum, only a 7 minute drive or 15 minute bike ride. It’s part of a larger system of underground rivers and cenotes that stretch for miles under the Yucatan Peninsula.
Cenote Cristal is one of the most accessible cenotes in the area, making it a popular destination for tourists and locals alike. We definitely recommend biking to the cenote so you can stop at other sites and cenotes along the way.
Quick Tips & Advice for Cenote Cristal
Entrance Fee: 150 pesos ($7 USD) to enter Cenote Cristal. you can also pay 300 pesos for a ticket to the nearby Cenote Escondido as well.
Opening Hours: 9 am to 4 pm every day
Make sure to bring mosquito spray, towels, and snorkeling gear. Do NOT use mosquito spray or sunscreen before entering the cenote, shower first if you do.
Although this isn’t as popular as some of the other cenotes around Tulum, you should arrive early around 9 am and not on the weekends, to avoid the crowds.
All About Cenote Cristal
The cenote’s name comes from the crystal-clear water that fills the deep pool. The water is so clear that you can see straight to the bottom, which is why it’s such a popular spot for swimming and snorkeling.
It was once known as Cenote Naharon, which was named after the remarkable discovery of one of the oldest skeletal remains in North America. This 25-year-old female was found in an underwater cave, and the find was a significant archaeological discovery, dating back over 10,000 years.
Cenote Cristal is an open cenote that connects to an underground network of fresh water through a natural sinkhole. The cenote has a large, almost perfectly round shape that gives it the appearance of a beautiful, natural swimming pool.
Surrounded by lush forests and jungles, the cenote is nestled in a verdant oasis with plenty of green vegetation lining the edge.
What to do at Cenote Crisatlino
A visit to Cristal Cenote for snorkeling is an unforgettable experience. Scuba diving is not very popular here (must pay an extra 300 pesos) as it is in the nearby Cristal Escondido), but you can still witness an abundance of aquatic life with just some snorkel gear.
Swimming in the crystal-clear waters of Cristal Cenote is an opportunity to marvel at the stunning underwater scenery. While spotting fish or turtles is a possibility, the highlight is undoubtedly the clarity of the water, which is unmatched by many other locations in Tulum.
For many tourists visiting the cenote, the diving platforms are a major highlight. Whether you’re a seasoned diver or a beginner, there’s a platform height that’s suitable for your comfort level.
The highest diving platform offers a 12-foot jump into deep water, which provides a thrilling experience without being overly intimidating. There are also 2 smaller diving platforms if that’s too high for you.
As with many other cenotes in the Yucatan Peninsula, there are ropes stretched across the water that provide a convenient resting spot to relax and catch your breath between jumps.
Until recently, diving was prohibited at Cenote Cristal, but it is now allowed with a fee of 300 MXN ($15 USD). Due to its shallow depth and easy accessibility, many open-water dive courses in Tulum conduct their entry-level dives here.
However, if you’re specifically seeking out scuba diving in Tulum’s cenotes, it’s recommended to explore other options such as the nearby Cenote Escondido, or the impressive Cenote Dos Ojos. These locations offer a more extensive cave system and are better suited for advanced divers looking to explore caverns and tunnels.
Nearby Cenote Escondido
One of the top reasons to visit Cenote Cristal in Tulum used to be the included admission to the nearby Cenote Escondido for a discount, however – they no longer offer this discount as of 2023 and you have to pay 150 pesos as well – but we definitely think it’s worth it.
Cenote Escondido, which means “hidden cenote” in Spanish, is a stunning location with crystal-clear waters surrounded by a tropical jungle backdrop. It’s considered one of the best spots for scuba diving in Tulum, with plenty of underwater sights to explore.
If you’re looking for a thrill, be sure to try out the rope swing here. It’s a favorite among adrenaline junkies, offering a chance to plunge into the 20-foot-deep waters from a high vantage point. Don’t miss out on this incredible adventure during your visit to Cenote Cristal.
Cenote Cristal Tours
While it’s easy enough to explore Cenote Cristal on your own without the help of a tour, it’s still a great way to explore the cenote as you’ll learn all about the history and geology of the area.
We highly recommend this Cenote Bike Tour that goes to both Cenote Cristal and Cenote escondido. The tour includes the entrance fee, a bicycle, food and snorkelling equipment!
The tour starts at 9:30 in Tulum and you can go at your own pace. The guide are extremely knowledgeable about the area.
Cenote Cristal Summary
n conclusion, Cenote Cristal (previously Cenote Naharon) is a hidden gem in Tulum that is worth visiting for its crystal clear waters, lush jungle surroundings, and exciting diving and snorkeling opportunities. While it may not be as well-known as other cenotes in the area, it offers a unique and unforgettable experience for visitors.
Whether you want to test your diving skills on the diving platforms, snorkel and spot some wildlife, or just relax in the serene waters, Cenote Cristal has something for everyone. And with the added bonus of access to the nearby Cenote Escondido, you can make the most of your visit and explore even more of Tulum’s stunning natural wonders.
Overall, if you’re planning a trip to Tulum, be sure to add Cenote Cristal to your list of must-see destinations. It’s a truly magical place that will leave you with memories to last a lifetime.