I already knew one of the best things to do in Tulum is to visit some of the many nearby cenotes. So, when I finally visited, I wanted to go on a tour of some of said famous Tulum cenotes, but didn’t really know where to start considering how many there are. There are so many cenotes near Tulum that I knew I had dozens if not more to choose from that were within a close drive. However, I didn’t really want to visit the ones I knew were going to be super popular and therefore super busy. Knowing this, I wanted to find a local tour guide who was going to show me some of Tulum’s best cenotes, and I definitely succeeded. So for now, (and this will likely be updated when I go back to the Yucatán peninsula next and visit more cenotes) here are 2 of the best cenotes near Tulum, that are absolute hidden gems.
The Short Version of 2 of the Best Cenotes Near Tulum
If you’re going to Tulum and want to experience two incredible cenotes with little-to-no crowds, I highly recommend the following cenotes located in Dos Ojos Park:
- Tak Beluum – a cavernous cenote where you can swim or scuba through a massive cave system
- Cenote Jaguar – an open cenote where you can jump off the sides into a perfect natural swimming pool
Before we begin the deep dive, as far as where to stay in Tulum, I opted for hotels over short term rentals for this trip. I spent a few days at the Mi Amor Boutique Hotel, an adorable couples-focused boutique hotel, and the Dreams Tulum Resort & Spa, a big all-inclusive, and both were great and made easy pickup points for a cenote tour out of Tulum.
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The Long Version of Hidden Gem Cenotes Near Tulum
For our cenote day, we went on a tour with a local guide named Moe (find him on Instagram here, he’s awesome) and he was the one who took us to these secret cenotes near Tulum. Now, I would HIGHLY recommend going with a local guide, because these two cenotes took quite a bit of driving and navigating through the park to access. I do honestly feel like I would have been very lost without him. That being said, let’s dig into what have to be some of the best cenotes near Tulum, if you’re looking for solitude combined with beauty.
Quick Facts about Tak Beluum:
- Located here on Google Maps
- Within Dos Ojos Park
- Great for snorkeling or scuba diving
- If getting into the water, I would recommend going with a guide because this is LARGE cave system that is VERY easy to get lost in
- Very secluded; we were alone in this cenote for the duration of our time until we were leaving and some scuba divers showed up
Tak Beluum was the highlight of the day for me because of how unique of a cenote it was. If I’m being honest, I had no idea cenotes could even be like this as I’d only ever seen open-air ones! We walked down these stairs via an opening in the ground and I thought the first “room” (for lack of better term) was impressive enough, but that was just the beginning of this incredible Tulum cenote! It opened into this massive cave system and we could have swam through it with our guide for hours.
He led us through a break in the stalactites/stalagmites so that we could begin swimming into the cave. It was pitch black in some areas, and in others they had installed a light so you could see the fish below you and the incredible stalactites above you. Our Tulum cenote tour guide also provided us with snorkels and flashlights so that we could point the light into the water and snorkel while not completely blinded. In addition to being a really cool and unique thing to do in Tulum, this cenote is also phenomenal cenote for diving if you’re into that, but we were just snorkeling while there.
Additionally, there were also a ton of bats living in the cave that were flying around, squeaking, and making noise. It was both a little bit creepy and also insanely cool.
Because of how unique and special this cenote is, I would consider this not just one of the best hidden gem cenotes near Tulum in general, but ABSOLUTELY one of the best cenotes for snorkeling and diving in the area. So unique, so cool, 10/10 would do again.
What to Bring to Tak Beluum
If you do choose to go by yourself, I would recommend bringing the following:
- Underwater flashlight
- GoPro or other underwater camera equipment (I have the GoPro Hero 9)
- Life vest
- Snorkel or diving equipment, depending on your preferred activity
Quick Facts About Cenote Jaguar
- Located here on Google Maps
- Open-air cenote
- Within Dos Ojos Park
- Great for groups, families, and swimming around
- No guide required
- You cannot wear sunscreen or bug spray due to the sensitive ecosystem, but there is one spot to keep releatively shaded if you have paler skin like I do
- Has a zipline and jumping platforms
Cenote Jaguar was basically the exact opposite of Tak Beluum, which was a lovely welcome after having swum around in a dark cave for a couple hours. This cenote is completely open – meaning it has absolutely no roof – and has with lots of sun shining directly onto it. It also has landings for visitors to jump or dive off of and into this gorgeous Tulum cenote.
There are also mangroves growing in this cenote, so there’s a lot of plant life to enjoy and look around at if you’re into that kind of thing! I for sure was interested in it and found myself swimming over to them often.
For a little bit of adventure, this Tulum cenote also has a zipline going above it that you can do! AND, while I don’t think this is necessarily common for every visit, there were some semi (or very) professional high divers practicing their dives while we were there, which was super fun to witness.
This was definitely a gorgeous spot to spend a few hours. The water was relaxing, and I felt like I could have floated in the sun for an entire afternoon.
What to Bring to Cenote Jaguar
Pack things that you would pack for the beach here, but reminder, no bug spray or sunscreen in this hidden gem of a Tulum cenote:
So there you have it, 2 of the best cenotes near Tulum for people who like hidden gems and smaller crowds. As always, please reach out to me with any questions you may have! I’m happy to help wherever I can. Happy planning, and have so much fun in Mexico!