Complete and up-to-date visitor’s guide to Cenote Car Wash from Tulum, Mexico (Aktun Ha). Includes all the details on how to get here, how much it costs, and what to expect.
Tired of the crowds and looking for an epic Yucatan Cenote to explore near Tulum? Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. Cenote Car Wash Tulum is an epic, open-air cenote located just a short distance from the very popular Gran Cenote. This one attracts a fraction of the crowds, has deeper cave systems, a beautiful underwater garden, and even a diving (jumping) platform!
In this guide, I’ll outline everything you need to know about visiting Cenote Car Wash (Cenote Carwash) in Tulum, Mexico. I’ll give you the lowdown of how to get here, what to expect, how much it costs and also throw in some photos and a video to inspire you to visit!
How to Get to Cenote Car Wash
The first thing you’ll need to know about visiting Tulum’s Car Wash Cenote is how to get here. Below are your options with prices for each.
The second option is to simply pay for a taxi from downtown Tulum (Pueblo). The price should be about $100 MXN each way. The only problem with this option is that there aren’t always taxis waiting at the cenote and you might need to walk the road or wait a while to catch one coming back from Coba.
By Car, Scooter or Bicycle
One of the best ways to explore all of the epic Tulum attractions and cenotes is to rent your own transport. You can pick up a scooter for $30-$40 USD in Tulum from one of the many rental shops on the main road. Conversely, a 24-hour rental of a bicycle costs $130-$150 MXN but it might take 45 minutes to ride here.
Alternatively, many travelers choose to rent a car instead, which can be equal to or cost just a little bit more than a motorbike. I always compare the best rates and prices at DiscoverCars.com or Rentalcars.com.
Booking a rental car through an online comparison site like this is usually cheaper and means you won’t have to leave your passport with a local shop.
Smart Option: 3 CEnote Tour From Tulum
If you’re short on time or perhaps want to squeeze in many of Tulum’s best cenotes in a single day, then here’s a really great tour for you. Unfortunately it doesn’t stop at Cenote Car Wash however.
Triple Cenote Tour (includes entry fees)
One of the best-rated and most-booked tours from Tulum is this triple cenote tour. Here’s what it includes:
- Hotel pickup/drop-off
- Multi-lingual guide
- Visit Gran Cenote, Calavera Cenote & Casa Cenote
- Includes all entry fees
This is excellent value as transport in Tulum is notoriously expensive. Furthermore, the entry fees for each add up to $40 USD alone and are included in your ticket.
Where Is it?
Tulum’s Car Wash Cenote is easily accessible from the Pueblo (Tulum centro). It’s located approximately 5.5 miles (9 kilometres) from Tulum on the QROO 109m (road to Coba). If you’re riding or driving here yourself it’ll take about 15 minutes. Just continue approximately 2 miles past the Gran Cenote.
You’ll spot the Cenote Car Wash on the left side of the road, where you’ll see a sign. Careful, this one is easy to miss!
Below I’ve pinned the exact location of the cenote, which is accurate.
About the Cenote Car Wash
Cenote Car Was Entrance Fee: $200 MXN per person, $20 MXN for a locker
Cenote Car Wash opening hours: 8 AM to 5PM 7-days a week
The Cenote Car Wash, which is also known as Cenote Aktun Ha is an open-air cenote, or sinkhole. These cenote systems are everywhere in the Yucatan, and are formed when the land sinks or collapses, connecting to a large underwater cave system which fills with water. The Cenote Car Wash is part of the Sac-Aktun System, which is the largest in the world.
This cenote is oval-shaped and you can walk nearly all the way around it on a wooden boardwalk.
The total depth is roughly 50 feet but after asking the guard it seems that the cave system goes much deeper under the ground. The official depth in the main swimming area is 23 feet (7 meters). This is a popular cenote to dive at as the main pool is quite deep and spacious, with large caves connecting on the side.
Fun fact: The Cenote Car Wash gets its name from the fact that this cenote used to be a spot where locals would wash their cars. This is due to the fact that it’s located right next to the road. Fortunately, this doesn’t occur anymore!
Tip: Exploring Cenotes in the Yucatan Peninsula offers some of the best adventures in Mexico! But, before you head out, make sure you’re covered for accidents and mishaps. I swear by WorldNomads for shorter adventure trips and SafetyWing for longer backpacking stints.
What to Expect
When you arrive at Cenote Car Wash, you’ll see the visitor’s desk and signs for “Cenote Aktun Ha”. You’ll need to pay the entrance fee and then you are free to enjoy the attractions at this awesome cenote.
Remember, when visiting all the Yucatan cenotes, you’ll need to take a shower before to rinse off. This is to protect the sensitive ecosystem.
Swimming at the Cenote
The open-air cenote Car Wash is the perfect spot to swim as it is much larger than some of the others, including the Gran Cenote. It also attracts much fewer travelers which means it’s hardly ever crowded.
You also don’t need to wear a lifejacket here, which means you can free-dive, snorkel and explore this incredible underwater world.
There are lines attached to buoys running the length of the cenote which is great if you need a little break.
The Diving Platform (jumping)
One of the best highlights when visiting the Cenote Car Wash is the jumping platform. You’ll find this right near the entrance.
The total height is approximately 10 feet (3 meters), so not a huge jump. However, it’s still fun to launch flips off and to snap some fun photos of your visit. When you’re jumping, just make sure to check below for surfacing divers.
The Cenote Car Wash Underwater Garden
One of the most unique parts of Cenote Aktun Ha (Carwash) is that there is a very healthy underwater garden located on the left side (from the entrance). This area is blocked off but you can snorkel beside it to check out a beautiful scene of underwater flora. There are often freshwater turtles and many fish swimming through here as well.
A Local Crocodile?
Apparently, there is a freshwater crocodile that calls Cenote Car Wash its home. Don’t worry though, freshwater crocodiles are not dangerous or aggressive! I asked the local guard about it and he just laughed and said he was lurking somewhere in the cenote.
Scuba Diving in the Car Wash Cenote
The Cenote Car Wash in Tulum is one of the best in the region for scuba diving. That’s because it is quite large and deep, with an epic cave to explore further on.
Book Cenote Scuba: Intro Trip From Tulum
More Information About the Cenote Car Wash
I hope you’re enjoying this quick guide. Below are some more things to know before heading out to get you prepared!
Things To Bring & Not to Bring
Here are a few things you should bring:
- Mask & snorkel – bringing snorkel gear will save you money having to rent it
- Quick-dry reef or water shoes – the rocks can get a little sharp
- Waterproof phone pouch
- Travel towel
- GoPro – the only cameras allowed in the cenote
- Telekin GoPro Dome – for half-in-out photos
- Grayl Bottle – to filter tap-water on the go (free clean drinking water without the plastic)
- Hat – no sunblock allowed
- Clothes for swimming
- Small travel backpack – the lockers are quite small
The below items are not allowed at Cenote Car Wash (Aktun Ha):
- Sunblock – damages the delicate ecosystems
- Fins (flippers)
Best Time to Visit
Unlike some of the more popular cenotes in Tulum, you can visit Car Wash Cenote at any time of day and have a great time!
Bringing a Drone or Professional Camera
Unfortunately, visitors have to pay to bring in their “professional camera”, which is any DSLR or mirrorless camera, or their drone. This costs $150 MXN each which I wasn’t too fond of.
However, you can bring in a phone or a Go-Pro style camera instead without paying.
How Long to Spend at Cenote Car Wash
We spent approximately 2 hours enjoying the jumps, snorkeling and trying to freedive as far as we could into the cave. However if you’re looking for a chill day, you can easily relax here for much longer!
Where to Stay in Tulum For Cenote Trips
Generally speaking, there are two areas to stay in Tulum. This is the Tulum Town (Puebla), or the Tulum Hotel Zone.
Tulum Town has loads of hotels, guest houses, hostels, restaurants, bars, and everything else you could imagine. This is a great place to stay if you want to explore the surrounding region since it’s also close to the ADO bus station.
Closer to the beach, the Tulum Hotel Zone is more of a luxury accommodation area with high-end resorts, spas, restaurants, and nightclubs.
Below are my three recent and updated top picks for where to stay in Tulum.
- Casa Malca – Perfect for couples searching for a luxury, private and relaxing resort. It’s situated on a private beach surrounded by palm trees and offers luxury spa treatments, and a large outdoor swimming pool.
- Mamasan Treehouses & Cabins – Stay in an epic tree house just 100m from South Tulum Beach! Features an epic root-top jungle bar with rooms overlooking the ocean.
- Mama’s Home – By far the best hostel for a vibe and making lifelong friends. They run daily and nightly activities that are super fun. This place was the highlight of my time in Tulum!
More Epic Cenotes in Tulum
Did you enjoy this guide to the Car Wash Cenote in Tulum? Make sure to check out some of the other epic Cenotes in the region.
- Cenote Calavera – the epic Skull Cenote. Great for cliff jumping and vacation photos with the iconic swing
- Gran Cenote – one of the most popular but most beautiful cenotes in Tulum
- Cenote Escondido – laid back cenote that is great for snorkeling
- Cenote Cristal – right next to Cenote Escondido and features an awesome diving platform
- Cenote Dos Ojos – epic cave Cenote with some of the best snorkeling and cave diving in Mexico
- Casa Cenote – an awesome hidden gem that is one of the best Tulum sink holes for scuba diving.
More Mexico Travel Guides and Adventure Inspiration
I hope that you’ve enjoyed this quick guide to visiting the Cenote Car Wash Tulum, Mexico (Cenote Aktun Ha). While you’re here on my blog, make sure to check out some of my other articles to get you inspired for your visit to the Yucatan.