Do you want to visit Cenote Cristalino in Playa del Carmen? You’ve come to the right place!
As a Playa del Carmen resident since 2018, I’ve been lucky enough to visit many of the incredible cenotes near Playa del Carmen. Cenote Cristalino is one of my favorites and is a beautiful cenote to spend the day snorkeling, swimming, or just hanging out in a natural setting.
In this post, I’m sharing everything you need to know about visiting Cenote Cristalino, including how to get there, opening hours, entrance fees, what to expect, things to do, and top tips for visiting.
Read on for my ultimate Cenote Cristalino Playa del Carmen guide.
What is Cenote Cristalino?
Meaning “Crystal Clear Cenote,” Cenote Cristalino is a beautiful open cenote located less than 30 minutes south of Playa del Carmen, Mexico.
Native to the Yucatan peninsula, a cenotes (pronounced “say-know-tay”) are freshwater swimming holes that are formed when limestone collapses to create a natural sinkhole.
Cenote Cristalino is known for its crystal clear water and stunning underwater rock formations. Visitors can take a dip in the refreshing waters, swim through a cave, jump from a ledge, or snorkel to explore the underwater life.
Why Visit Cenote Cristalino?
Visiting a cenote is a totally unique activity where you can get to experience the natural beauty of the Riviera Maya region. It’s the perfect activity to escape the heat or when there’s a large amount of seaweed on the beaches.
What makes Cenote Cristalino unique is that there are so many different things to do from cliff jumping to snorkeling to floating through stalactite caves. Plus, there’s even a gorgeous hidden cenote at the back that shouldn’t be missed.
Where is Cenote Cristalino Playa del Carmen?
Cenote Cristalino is located about 13 miles (21 km) south of Playa del Carmen, right off the main highway 307. It’s about halfway between Playa del Carmen and Tulum.
The entrance is on the right side of the highway just past Puerto Aventuras and across the street from the Barcelo resorts.
Driving times from nearby destinations are as follows:
- Playa del Carmen to Cenote Cristalino: 25 minutes
- Tulum to Cenote Cristalino: 30 minutes
- Cancun to Cenote Cristalino: 1 hour 30 minutes
Cenote Cristalino Map
How to Get to Cenote Cristalino
There are a few different ways to get to Cenote Cristalino depending on your car situation and where you’re coming from.
Drive to Cenote Cristalino
The easiest way to get to Cenote Cristalino is by driving or renting a car, which gives you the freedom to explore the cenote at your own pace.
Follow the Cenote Cristalino directions on your GPS and drive south from Playa del Carmen on the main highway 307 for about 13 miles (21 km).
The cenote is located directly off the highway on the right side just past Puerto Aventuras and there are highway signs to direct you.
Cenote Cristalino Parking
Once you arrive at the cenote entrance, free parking is available on-site.
👉 For a hassle-free experience, book your car through my favorite rental service Discover Cars by clicking here!
Take a Taxi to Cenote Cristalino
If you don’t have a car, you can also easily hail a taxi from Playa del Carmen or Tulum but it will be more expensive. You can expect a Playa del Carmen to Cenote Cristalino taxi to cost around $400 pesos ($20 USD) each way.
But keep in mind that securing a taxi for the return trip will be much more difficult so it’s best to try and pre-arrange pickup with the same taxi driver that dropped you off.
Take Public Transportation to Cenote Cristalino
By public transportation, you can also take a colectivo (shared van) to Cristalino Cenote from Playa del Carmen or Tulum.
Colectivo from Playa del Carmen
The cheapest way to get to Cenote Azul is to take a colectivo from the main bus depot in Playa del Carmen near the Chedraui grocery store and Highway 307 (behind the McDonald’s).
Once you get on, you’ll want to tell the driver you’re going to Cenote Cristalino and you’ll pay upon exiting. It’s best to track the GPS on your phone so you know when you’re getting close. It takes about 30 minutes and the stop is just past Puerto Aventuras.
The cost should be around $40 pesos (~$2 USD) each way and you’ll want to make sure you have small bills on hand (pesos are best) as most drivers don’t have much change.
When taking a colectivo to Cenote Cristalino Riviera Maya, you’ll be dropped off on the side of the highway, and it’s just a short walk to the entrance from there.
Related Reading: How to Get from Playa del Carmen to Tulum
Colectivo from Tulum
From Tulum, the process is the same but you’ll want to get on a colectivo headed north from Tulum to Playa del Carmen.
Once you get off the colectivo, you’ll need to carefully cross the highway and walk to the cenote entrance.
Cenote Cristalino Opening Hours
Cenote Cristalino opening hours are daily from 8:00am – 6:00pm. You’ll want to arrive as early as possible to beat the crowds and get to experience the cenote undisturbed.
Best Time to Visit Cenote Cristalino
The best time to visit Cristalino Cenote Playa del Carmen is on a weekday. I went on a Sunday and it was very crowded with local family gatherings.
As a general rule, cenotes are much busier on the weekends when most locals have the day off.
Entrance Fee for Cenote Cristalino
The standard Cenote Cristalino entrance fee is $200 pesos (~$10 USD) for foreigners, which include a life jacket rental.
In addition to the Cenote Cristalino price for entrance, you can rent lockers for $100 pesos (~$5 USD), as well as snorkeling gear and plastic lounge chairs.
Here’s a breakdown of the Cenote Cristalino prices:
- Standard Entrance Fee: $200 pesos for adults | $150 pesos for children
- Mexican Nationals: $170 pesos for adults | $120 pesos for children
- Quintana Roo Residents: $150 pesos for adults | $100 pesos for children
What is Cenote Cristalino Like?
Cenote Cristalino is an open cenote offering a lush natural setting with many different bodies of water to explore, snorkel, or simply relax in the water.
In the center, there is a main cenote with a moderately high jumping ledge, as well as many more secluded and shallow natural swimming pools to explore on the outskirts.
You’ll also find a stalactite cave that you can swim or float through, and a naturally hidden cenote at the back that shouldn’t be missed.
Check out my video below to see for yourself what Cenote Cristalino is like!
Rules for Visiting Cenote Cristalino
There a few important rules to abide by when visiting Cenote Cristalino:
- No sunscreen (even biodegradable)
- No alcohol
- No smoking
- No diving
- No running
Things to Do at Cenote Cristalino
Here are some of the best things to do at Cristalino Cenote Riviera Maya:
1. Go cliff jumping
In the main swimming area, there is a cliff ledge where you can climb up to and jump into the cenote.
The ledge is about 12 feet and doesn’t even look that high, but to be honest I had to work up the courage to take the plunge!
2. Snorkel through a cave
One of the coolest things about Cenote Cristalino is a tunnel-like cave that you can swim through. The ceiling of the cave is covered in stalactites and the water is the prettiest shade of turquoise blue.
It’s a great spot to snorkel or idly float on your back to admire the unique rock formations.
Travelista Tip: There are many jagged rocks under the water here so I would recommend wearing water shoes to protect your feet.
3. Experience a fish spa
At Cenote Cristalino, there are several smaller ponds and bodies of water where you can sit on the ledge and dip your feet in the water.
If you hold your feet still, the tiny cenote fish will come and give you some free exfoliation. It’s kind of an odd tickly sensation but you will get used to it!
Travelista Tip: Don’t pay for an overpriced fish spa on 5th Avenue in Playa del Carmen when you can get one for free at a cenote!
4. Discover a hidden cenote
Towards the back of Cenote El Cristalino, there are signs that will lead you to Cenote Escondido, which is a hidden cenote that is more secluded.
This area is much less crowded and one of the most beautiful parts of Cenote Cristalino. Escondido Cenote really feels like a hidden natural sanctuary.
How Long to Spend at Cristalino Cenote
Expect to spend anywhere from 1-3 hours exploring Cenote Cristalino.
Amenities at Cenote Cristalino
Cenote Cristalino has a few more amenities than the other cenotes in the area, but is still not super commercialized.
Restrooms and Showers
Restrooms and showers are available at Cenote Cristalino in an enclosed building. It is recommended to shower before entering the cenote to remove any sunscreen or residue.
Lockers can be rented for $100 pesos (~$5 USD) in order to keep your valuables safe. However, most people just leave their personal items on the sides and keep an eye on them throughout the day.
Food and Drink
There is a small tent that offers a good selection of snacks and beverages. Make sure to bring some extra cash if you’re hungry.
If you want to snorkel, snorkeling gear can be rented for around $100 pesos per person (~$5 USD). However, to ensure the best fit and cleanliness, I would recommend bringing your own snorkel set.
Lounge Chair Rentals
Plastic lounge chairs can also be rented for an additional fee (around $100 pesos) if you want to lay out and relax beside the cenote.
Cenote Cristalino Pros and Cons
Here are some of the pros and cons of visiting Cenote Cristalino:
Pros of Cenote Cristalino
- Close to Playa del Carmen
- Many things to do
- Hidden cenote at the back
Cons of Cenote Cristalino
- Main cenote can feel cramped
- Small jumping ledge
- Can get crowded
What to Bring to Cenote Cristalino
Here are some important items I would recommended bringing when visiting Cenote Cristalino:
Tips for Visiting Cenote Cristalino
Follow these tips to make the most of your Cristalino Cenote experience:
- Bring a rash guard: Sunscreen is not allowed at Cenote Cristalino (even biodegradable) so if you need sun protection, you’ll want to bring a rash guard. There are some shady spots at the cenote but still lots of sun.
- Wear water shoes: I never go to a cenote without water shoes as the ground is always pretty rocky and extremely uncomfortable on bare feet.
- Don’t miss Cenote Escondido: Follow the sign towards the back of the cenote to Cenote Escondido, a beautiful and secret Playa del Carmen cenote. It’s my favorite spot at Cenote Cristalino, where you can hang out in secluded and shallow pool.
- Get there early: Arrive as early as possible to beat the crowds and get to see the untouched beauty of Cenote Cristalino.
FAQs About Cenote Cristalino Playa del Carmen
Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about Cristalino Cenote:
How much does Cenote Cristalino cost?
The Cenote Cristalino entrance fee is $200 pesos (~$10 USD) for foreigners, which includes a life jacket rental.
Can you dive at Cenote Cristalino?
At about 5 m (16 ft) deep, Cenote Cristalino is pretty shallow and is not suitable for diving.
Do you need to book in advance to visit Cenote Cristalino?
No, you do not need to book in advance to visit Cenote Cristalino. You can simply show up and pay the entrance fee to be granted access to the cenote.
How do you get to cenotes from Playa del Carmen?
To get to cenotes from Playa del Carmen, you can drive a rental car, take a taxi, or take a colectivo (shared van).
Nearby Cenotes to Visit
If you have extra time when you’re done visiting Cenote Cristalino, then I would definitely recommend checking out Cenote Eden and Cenote Azul, which are located at the same site.
I have been to all three of these open cenotes and they are all worth visiting! Just keep in mind they each have separate entrance fees. Check out my full guides for all the details:
Final Thoughts: Cenote Cristalino
Of the three cenotes in the area, Cristalino Cenote is probably my favorite and the least well-known.
With so many unique (and secret) places to explore outside of the main cenote, it’s definitely worth a visit for a day trip if you’re looking for a cenote near Playa del Carmen or Tulum.
Check out my complete guide to the best cenotes in Playa del Carmen for even more amazing cenotes to visit in the Riviera Maya region.
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