A complete and up-to-date guide to visiting Cenote Cristal in Tulum. Discover this laid-back natural sink hole that is perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and relaxing– just a short distance from the Pueblo!
Cenote Cristal, and the very close-by Cenote Escondido are just outside a stone-throw distance from Tulum in the popular tourist region of Quintana Roo, Mexico.
Cenote Cristal (Cenote Crystal), is a beautiful, round, blue-water sinkhole offering the perfect place to snorkel, relax, and jump into the crystal clear water.
In this guide, I’ll detail everything you need to know about visiting the Cristal Cenote in Tulum, including up-to-date pricing, information, and photos!
- About Cenote Cristal in Tulum
- Where is Cenote Cristal?
- What to Expect at the Cristal Cenote (Naharon)
- Facilities at Cenote Cristal (Naharon)
- Can You Scuba Dive at Cenote Cristal?
- What to Bring to Cenote Cristal Tulum
- Best Time to Visit Cristal Cenote
- What About Cenote Escondido?
- Where to Stay in Tulum For Cenote Trips
- More Cenotes To Visit in Tulum
- Cenote Cristal FAQs
- More Epic Things to do in Tulum, Mexico
About Cenote Cristal in Tulum
- Cenote Cristal Opening Hours: 9 am to 4 pm, 7 days a week
- Cenote Cristal Price: 150 MXN pesos (can no longer get a discount for both cenotes)
- Diving tickets: 300 MXN
- Lifejackets: Not mandatory
Quite obviously, Cenote Cristal translates directly to "Crystal Cenote" in Spanish. This name comes from its crystal clear fresh water that is a beautiful mix of of emerald green and turquoise blue.
This is an open cenote, which is a natural sinkhole connecting to an underground network of fresh water. It's quite large, and an almost perfect round shape making it look almost like a natural swimming pool. This cenote is located in a beautiful forest and jungle, with lots of green vegetation surrounding the edge.
Cenote Cristal is located on the right side of the road (heading west from Tulum) directly opposite Cenote Escondido (Mayan Blue).
Interestingly, this cenote's second name Cenote Naharon, is named after the incredible undersea cave find of a 25 year old female that is one of the oldest skeletal finds in North America (10 000 years). This was found in the Chan Hol undersea cave network.
Best Cenote Cristal Tour from Tulum
Looking for the easiest and most convenient way to visit El Cristal Cenote from Tulum? Unfortunately, there are no tours to this one, but it is quite easy to get to yourself!
Alternatively, if you're looking to see the best cenotes in the region in a single way, then by far the best way to do so is by joining in on the Triple Cenote Tour.
Best Tulum Cenote Tour: Triple Cenote Tour (includes entry fees)
This is one of the most-booked and highest rated tours in Tulum for a few reasons.
- 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.
Alternatively, if you want a tour of Tulum's Archeological Zone followed by a swim at Cristal's neighbor: Cenote Escondido, then you can book the Tulum Ruins & Cenote tour instead.
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Where is Cenote Cristal?
Visitors will find Cenote Cristal located approximately 3.8 miles (6 km) southwest of Tulum Centro (Pueblo). This cenote is on the right side of the road with a very large and obvious sign.
Below I've pinned the exact location of the Cenote which is accurate.
The pin marks the entrance where you will need to pay the fee. From here, it's a very short walk to the swimming area, passing fresh water showers, picnic tables, and a toilet block with change rooms on the way.
How to Get To the Cenote From Tulum
If you don’t want to book the Triple Cenote Tour (it's great value), you could also get to Cristal Cenote from Tulum quite easily on your own.
The first option is to simply pay for a taxi from downtown Tulum Town (Pueblo). The price should be about $100 MXN each way. The only problem with this option is that there aren’t any taxis waiting at Cenote Cristal or Cenote Escondido. So, you might need to walk the road back or wait a while to catch one coming back from the Muyil Ruins or Sian Ka'an.
Independent: 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. 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 first.
If you take the independent route to Cenote Cristal, expect the following times from Tulum Centro.
- Drive: 8 minutes
- Bike Ride: 15 minutes
- Walk: 1 hour
Unfortunately, I don't believe there is a colectivo going towards these cenotes. I tried asking around but had no luck. However, this might change. You'd want to find one heading to Muyil Ruins or Sian Ka'aan and get off at the entrance.
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What to Expect at the Cristal Cenote (Naharon)
As soon as you arrive, you'll pass the facilities and lay eyes on this beautiful blue-water cenote. From here, there are three entrances where you can get into the water. These are wooden platforms with rails, making it easy (albeit a bit slippery) to get in.
The Diving Platform
The diving platform at Cenote Cristal is a 12-foot high jump into deep water. This isn't a crazy jump, but it's fun nonetheless.
As with most Yucatan Peninsula Cenotes, there is also a few ropes stretched from each side. This allows you to have a break and relax in the water.
Water depth: Maximum 8 meters - (approximately 20 feet).
Snorkeling at the Cenote Cristal
Since the water is very clear at Cristal Cenote, it's perfect for snorkeling! While you can rent a snorkel set from the entrance, I'd recommend bringing your own instead to save money. You can actually purchase them in Tulum town quite cheaply.
Facilities at Cenote Cristal (Naharon)
Along with the diving platform and wooden entrance platforms, there are numerous facilities at Cenote Cristal including
- Several picnic benches around the circumference
- Large dirt parking space at the front (for motorbikes, cars, and bicycles)
- Toilets, change rooms, and showers
- Snorkel and life jacket rental
- Hammocks slung on the palm trees around the cenote
Can You Scuba Dive at Cenote Cristal?
It used to be the case that you couldn't dive at Cenote Cristal. However, now it is possible, as long as you pay a 300 MXN diving fee.
Furthermore, many open-water dive courses in Tulum do their entry-level dives here, since Cenote Cristal is not too deep and easy to access.
However, if you're looking to go scuba diving in Tulum cenotes, I'd recommend Cenote Escondido, Cenote Calavera, or Cenote Dos Ojos instead of this one, since it's really quite small and doesn't have too many caverns to explore.
What to Bring to Cenote Cristal Tulum
Here are a few things that I recommend to bring when visiting Cenote Cristal in Tulum.
- Mask & snorkel – will save you money instead of renting one
- Travel towel
- GoPro – the only cameras allowed without a fee (more below)
- Telekin GoPro Dome – for unique 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 Thing with Sunscreen at Yucatan Cenotes
One thing you definitely don't want to bring to any of the Cenotes in Tulum is sunscreen. That's because it is forbidden due to the harm it can cause to the delicate ecosystem.
While you might think "reef-safe" sunscreen is okay, the locals don't and will get very frustrated if they see you breaking this rule.
What About Cameras & Drones At Cenote Cristal?
Unlike some of the other cenotes in the area, you are free to bring drones and large cameras to Cenote Cristal and Cenote Escondido! However, I didn't send my drone up since I felt it would disturb the ambience.
I did take some photos with my camera though, which you'll see on this blog post.
Best Time to Visit Cristal Cenote
Cenote Cristal is a laid back natural sinkhole without the crazy crowds that you might find at Gran Cenote or Cenote Calavera.
This means that you can visit at any time and have a great time. If you want to take magical photos of the blue water, I'd suggest heading down around midday, when the sun is high in the sky.
What About Cenote Escondido?
As you now know, there are two cenotes right opposite each other; Cenote Cristal and Cenote Escondido.
While once upon a time you could get a discount deal to visit both cenotes, this has now ended as of 2023. You will now need to pay the full price to visit both (150 pesos each).
You will purchase your tickets at the Cenote Cristal entrance. If you want to visit Escondido (the Hidden Cenote) as well, I'd recommend doing that second.
If you want to save your money and have to pick one, I'd recommend Cenote Escondido over Cenote Cristal. The reason is that Escondido (Mayan Blue) is bigger, and you'll have more to explore.
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.
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.
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.
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.
More Cenotes To Visit in Tulum
My goal is always to help you plan an epic trip, wherever in the world you go. So, if you're looking for variety or more cenotes Tulum and the Mayan Riviera, make sure to check out some of my other guides below.
- Cenote Calavera - the epic Skull Cenote. Great for cliff jumping and vacation photos with the iconic swing.
- Cenote Car Wash - another large open cenote with great cliff jumping and snorkeling
- Gran Cenote - one of the most popular but most beautiful cenotes in Tulum
- Cenote Dos Ojos - amazing cave cenote with some of the best snorkeling and diving in Mexico
- Casa Cenote - an awesome hidden gem that is one of the best Tulum sink holes for scuba diving.
Cenote Cristal FAQs
Entrance to the Cenote Cristal in Tulum costs 150 MXN pesos. You can visit both Calavera and Cenote Cristal at the same time for 300 MXN. There is no longer a discount to visit both.
Cenote Cristal translates to Crystal Cenote from Spanish. While I'm not 100% why this is, I'd assume it's due to the amazing clear water.
This cenote is quite shallow compared to other natural sinkholes in the Mayan Riviera at only about 6 meters depth (20 feet).
Yes, this is a good place to practice and for beginner divers to learn their open water. However, there's not too much to see, so I'd suggest looking for other cenotes like Cenote Calavera and Cenote Dos Ojos instead.
More Epic Things to do in Tulum, Mexico
That's a wrap for this detailed guide to visiting Cenote Cristal Tulum. I hope I've convinced you to visit, and to check out Cenote Escondido on the way too! If you're looking for more inspiration for Tulum and the Yucatan peninsula, make sure to check out some of my other guides below as well.