Visiting a cenote, or freshwater swimming hole, is a totally unique activity where you can spend the day exploring nature, swimming, snorkeling, and sunbathing in a beautiful natural setting. Located just 30 minutes south of Playa del Carmen, Cenote Azul is one of the most popular cenotes to visit near Playa del Carmen. Here’s my detailed guide to visiting Cenote Azul, including how to get there, what to expect, and what to bring.
Where is Cenote Azul?
Meaning “Blue Cenote” in Spanish, Cenote Azul is located just 30 minutes south of Playa del Carmen, right off the main highway 307. It’s about half way between Playa del Carmen and Tulum. The location is on the right side of the highway just past Puerto Aventuras and across the street from the Barcelo resorts. One perk of staying at one of the all-inclusive Barcelo Resorts is the close proximity to some amazing cenotes.
At the same Cenote Azul location, there are actually two other popular cenotes – Cenote Eden and Cenote Cristalino. You can visit all three cenotes in one day or choose to spend your time at just one. You can find my comparison of the three at the end of this post. Note all three have separate entrance fees.
How to Get to Cenote Azul Playa del Carmen
If you have a rental car, it’s very easy to get to from Playa del Carmen to Cenote Azul by driving south from Playa del Carmen on the main highway 307. The cenote is located on the right side just past Puerto Aventuras and there are highway signs to direct you. Free parking is available once you arrive at the cenote.
By Public Transportation
If you don’t have a car, the easiest way to get to Cenote Azul is to take a colectivo from the main bus depot in Playa del Carmen at 2nd Avenue and 20th street. Make sure you get on one that is headed towards Tulum. Cenote Azul Riviera Maya is located just past Puerto Aventuras and you will have to tell the driver where you would like to get off. It takes about 30 minutes and the cost is $35 pesos (~$1.80 USD).
When to Visit Cenote Azul
Cenote Azul hours are daily from 8:30am – 5:30pm. If you can, I would suggest visiting Cenote Azul on a weekday. I visited on a Sunday and it was extremely crowded. Cenotes are generally more crowded on weekends when local families have the day off.
Entrance Fee for Cenote Azul
The Cenote Azul entrance fee is $120 pesos (~$6 USD). Once you pay the Cenote Azul cost for entrance, they will give you a wristband which allows you access into the cenote.
Things to do at Cenote Azul
Cenote Azul is an open cenote that offers a maze of natural pools, rock formations, and swimming holes. In the center you will find a large open swimming area with a moderate jumping ledge. As you venture towards the back, there are also impressive natural looking bridges that connect the different pools. With so many bodies of water, there’s lots of open and more secluded areas to explore.
Swimming & Snorkeling
The overall vibe at Azul Cenote Playa del Carmen is more chill and relaxed, which makes it the perfect place for swimming and snorkeling. When you’re swimming, you’ll want to be very cautious as the underwater rocks are extremely slippery.
Most of the pools are pretty shallow so you will definitely want to bring water shoes to protect your feet and make it easier to walk on the rocks. I would also recommend bringing your own snorkel set if you want an up close view of the tiny cenote fish.
At Playa del Carmen Cenote Azul, there is a larger swimming area in the center that has a ledge for jumping. It’s not extremely high but just high enough to test your nerves! If you’re looking for more of an adrenaline rush, head over to nearby Cenote Eden, where you can jump from a much higher level cliff or tree branch.
At any cenote, you can experience a natural fish spa. Simply hold your bare feet still under the water and the tiny fish will start to exfoliate your feet. It’s a weird tingly sensation but it’s fun to try! As soon as you start moving your feet, the fish will swim away.
Travelista Tip: Skip the overpriced fish spas on 5th Avenue in Playa del Carmen and experience an authentic one for free at a cenote!
Amenities at Cenote Azul Mexico
Cenote Azul has few amenities compared to other cenotes I have visited. There are no lockers for rent so I would recommend not bringing any valuables. Most people just leave their personal items on the sides and keep an eye on them throughout the day. There also isn’t any options for food and drinks.
What to Bring to Cenote Azul
- Regular sunscreen is not permitted at cenotes so make sure to bring biodegradable sunscreen to avoid a sunburn.
- In addition, water shoes are a must! El Cenote Azul is much rockier than the other cenotes I have visited and wearing water shoes made it so much more enjoyable.
- If you want to snorkel, I would also recommend bringing your own snorkeling set. You might be able to rent one there but I always question the cleanliness of reused snorkeling equipment.
- You’ll also want to bring a towel to dry off after swimming in the cenote. These microfiber towels are great as they are compact and dry quickly.
- It’s also nice to have a GoPro or waterproof camera to take some fun pictures in and around the water.
Playa del Carmen Cenote Comparison
I had so much fun getting to experience the three Playa del Carmen cenotes in this particular area–Cenote Eden, Cenote Cristalino, and Cenote Azul. They each have their own unique characteristics, which make them all worth visiting! But if you only have time to visit one, here’s my breakdown of each depending on what you’re looking for.
- Cenote Eden: Best Cenote for the Adrenaline Junkie
- Cenote Cristalino: Best Centote for a Full Day Adventure
- Cenote Azul: Best Cenote for the Nature Lover
Overall, I think I like Cenote Cristalino the best because it offers a good mix of jumping ledges as well as secluded areas for exploration and relaxation, but you will definitely not go wrong with visiting any of them! If you want to visit some even more incredible cenotes in the region, check out my complete guide to the best cenotes near Playa del Carmen.
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