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How to Visit Cenote Car Wash (Aktun Ha) in Tulum, Mexico

How to Visit Cenote Car Wash (Aktun Ha) in Tulum, Mexico

Olly Gaspar

By Olly Gaspar, full-time traveler for 6 years. I visit every place I write about & share real tips, photos, & advice from my trips.

Discover the incredible Aktun Ha open-air Cenote just 15 minutes from Tulum Town. Learn how to get here, when to visit, 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, and has deeper cave systems, a beautiful underwater garden, and even a diving (jumping) platform!

In this guide, I outline everything you need to know about visiting Cenote Car Wash (Cenote Carwash) in Tulum.

Cenote cat wash tulum mexico

Quick Things To Know About Cenote Car Wash

  • Opening Hours: 9 am - 5 pm
  • Entrance Fee: 300 Pesos
  • Drone and Camera Fee: 150 Pesos
  • Lifejackets: 30 Pesos

Where is Cenote Car Wash?

Tulum's Car Wash Cenote is easily accessible from the Pueblo (Tulum Centro). It's located approximately 5.5 miles (9 km) 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.

Google Maps Pin: "Cenote Car Wash"

Cenote car wash map

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. 

By Taxi

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-$45 USD in Tulum from one of the many rental shops on the main road. Conversely, a 24-hour rental of a bicycle costs $145-$160 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

Cenote car wash, tulum mexico

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.

Gran cenote tulum
Gran Cenote

About the Cenote Car Wash

  • Cenote Car Was Entrance Fee: $300 MXN per person (was 50 MXN when I visited)
  • Cenote Car Wash opening hours: 9 am to 5 pm 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 that fills with water.

The Cenote Car Wash is part of the Sac-Aktun System, which is the largest in the world.

Cenote car wash near tulum, mexico

This cenote is oval-shaped and you can walk nearly all the way around it on a wooden boardwalk.

Cenote car wash 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 m). 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!

Cenote table and chairs

What to Expect at Cenote Car Wash

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. However, you can rent them if necessary.

There are lines attached to buoys running the length of the cenote which is great if you need a little break.

Swimming in car wash cenote
Cenote aktun ha
Swimming in the car wash cenote, tulum

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 m), 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.

Cenote car wash tulum

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.

Underwater garden at cenote aktun ha

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.

Although I didn't get a chance to give in this cenote it looked like it had some epic cave systems and divers seemed pretty happy when exiting the water!

Book Cenote Scuba: Intro Trip From Tulum

Cenote scuba diving

More Things To Know Before Visiting

Here's a quick list of things to help you learn more about the cenote along with a packing list of what you should and shouldn't bring.

Things You Should Bring & Not Bring

Things to bring:

The below items are NOT ALLOWED at Cenote Car Wash (Aktun Ha):

  • Sunblock - damages the delicate ecosystems
  • Alcohol
  • Fins (flippers)
No fins at the cenote

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. These costs $150 MXN each which I wasn't too fond of.

However, you can bring in a phone or a small action 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!

Cenote car wash cave
Cenote aktun ha, car wash cenote near tulum

Looking for More Epic Cenotes 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.

Car Wash Cenote FAQs

Can I swim at Cenote Car Wash?

Yes, you can! Cenote Car Wash is great for swimming. The main pool is spacious and deep, making it perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and free-diving.

Is there a crocodile in Cenote Car Wash?

There is a local freshwater crocodile, but it is not dangerous or aggressive according to local guards.

Where is Cenote Car Wash located?

The cenote is located approximately 9 km from the center of Tulum, on the road between Tulum and Coba. This can be reached on foot, bike or car.

Where to Stay in Tulum For Cenote Trips

Wondering about where to stay in Tulum? Generally speaking, there are two areas, Tulum Town (Pueblo), and the Tulum Hotel Zone (Tulum Beach).

Tulum Town is a laid-back town close to the ADO bus station and has loads of hotels, guest houses, hostels, restaurants, bars, and everything else you could imagine.

The Tulum Hotel Zone is located closer to the beach, where you'll find more high-end hotels, beach resorts, restaurants, and nightclubs. Here are the 3 top picks from both neighborhoods.

Casa malca tulum accommodation

1. Casa Malca Luxury

Perfect for couples searching for a luxury, private, & relaxing resort. Situated on a private beach surrounded by palm trees and offers luxury spa treatments with a large outdoor swimming pool.

Mamasan treehouses cabins outdoor seating area

2. Mamasan Treehouses & Cabins Unique

Stay in an epic tree house just 100m from South Tulum Beach! Features an epic root-top jungle bar with rooms overlooking the ocean.

Mayan monkey tulum bar and outdoor area

3. Mayan Monkey Budget

The best hostel for a party vibe where you can make lifelong friends. Just a short walk to Tulum Center where you can find many restaurants and bars.

I hope that you've enjoyed this quick guide to visiting the Cenote Car Wash in Tulum.

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.

Bike on the beach in tulum

Plan Your Tulum Accommodation

Still in the planning stages of your trip? Perhaps you're booking on the fly. The below accommodation guides will help you plan where to stay in Tulum.

Alternatively, stay in Playa del Carmen.

Thanks for Reading

I'm Olly Gaspar, adventure traveler from Australia. I’ve spent the last six years traveling the world full-time, sharing my first-hand experiences & photography in over 700 travel guides on We Seek Travel. I visit every destination I write about to bring you unique travel itineraries, epic hiking routes, fun tour ideas, travel & photography gear ideas, & interesting places to stay.

I only make genuine, worthwhile recommendations based on my experience, expertise, & research. If you buy through my links, I may get a commission, supporting this website at no extra cost to you. Read my Publishing Ethics Statement.