Fancy visiting the Grand Cenote in Tulum, Mexico? There are many cenotes ready for you to take a dip in in Mexico, especially in the Tulum area, but the Grand Cenote (sometimes known as Gran Cenote) is declared by many as one of the best. It’s crystal clear, well kept and they really care about preserving the wildlife and rock formation as much as possible.
We spent a whole afternoon at the Grand Cenote, swimming, relaxing in the sun and eating our picnic. It was just a 30 minute bike ride from our hostel in Tulum town and jumping into the cenote after cycling in the sun was a definite reward!
We couldn’t find a lot of information online before we went, so here are a few answers to questions you may have and some pics to browse through:
How much is it to get into the Grand Cenote in Tulum?
180 pesos per person at the time of our visit (about £7.25 in British pounds or $9.39 in US dollars). A lot of the other cenotes in the area appear to work out as a lot pricier if visiting from Tulum, as you need to get a taxi or tour bus to them and sometimes must pay for a guide. We loved the Grand Cenote as it was close enough to cycle to, you didn’t need to pay for a guide and the entrance fee was a bargain for a whole afternoon of entertainment. We could have stayed there all day!
What is a cenote?
A cenote (pronounced ‘sey-note-tey’) is a pit, or sinkhole, that was created when the limestone bedrock collapsed exposing groundwater underneath. This is sometimes caused by the roots of trees breaking away the ground beneath them. The area around Tulum and Cancun is particularly well known for cenotes and they were often used in ancient Mayan sacrificial ceremonies. Now they tend to be great places to swim, see wildlife and snorkel (or dive, depending on the depth).
Is the Grand Cenote cold?
We read so many reviews from people saying it was freezing, that we’d prepared ourselves for the worse. Now maybe we’re made of stronger stuff having grown up with the good old British seaside holiday but it really wasn’t that bad. It was certainly refreshing when you first got in, but not too bad at all. If you can handle the English Channel on a particularly balmy August weekend, you can handle this.
Do you need a snorkel at the Grand Cenote?
They hire snorkels and masks at the cenote for 80 pesos per person (about £3.22 in British pounds or $4.17 in US dollars). However, if you’re going to be visiting a couple of cenotes or the beach a few times, it’s worth buying a set from a local supermarket for a similar cost. The cenote staff had no problem with you taking your own equipment in.
We just took goggles, which for the Grand Cenote was fine. It’s beautiful but not too deep in most places and we both prefer to come up for a breath occasionally rather than keeping our heads underwater for ages. We saw people doing a mixture of things, some hiring and some bringing their own snorkels or goggles.
What are the facilities like at the Grand Cenote?
There are cold but clean showers, which you must use before you get into the cenote and brilliantly clean restrooms which are also big enough to change in. There’s a cafe onsite but they also welcome you bringing your own picnics and hanging out in the hammocks while you eat. There are lockers which you can hire for 30 pesos for the day (about £1.20 in British pounds or $1.56 in dollars) and they were big enough for both of our bags.
What wildlife can you see at the Grand Cenote?
So much! There were turtles and all kinds of fish. There’s a protected area where you can’t swim so the turtles can have some peace, but you’ll also find them swimming alongside you in the snorkel area. There were birds and bats living in the roofs of the caverns in the cenote and they fly pretty close to your head as you swim through!
See all our pics from the Grand Cenote below and read our other blogs from Tulum…