Cenote Eden is the first cenote I visited in Mexico and one of the best cenotes near Playa del Carmen, Mexico in the Riviera Maya. Exploring a cenote (pronounced SAY-KNOW-TAY) had been at the top of my Mexico must-do list and I couldn’t wait to visit one of these hidden swimming holes, which were once revered by the Mayans as a way to communicate with the gods. Also known as Jardin del Eden Cenote or Garden of Eden Cenote, it offers a great alternative for those wanting to ditch the flashy beach scene for a different kind of adventure. .
What is a cenote?
Cenotes are freshwater lagoons or sinkholes that are very common in the Yucatan peninsula. There are literally hundreds of cenotes of all shapes and sizes that can found throughout the region. Each cenote is different but you can typically swim, snorkel, or scuba dive to explore the underwater fish, plants, and rock formations. If you are feeling bold, many also offer places to jump or dive into the water.
Where is Cenote Eden?
Eden Cenote is located just off the main highway 307 about halfway between Playa del Carmen and Tulum. It takes about 30 minutes driving from Playa del Carmen and it’s located just a few minutes past Puerto Aventuras. If you’re staying at Barcelo Hotels, it is located right across the highway from the hotel entrance which makes it very accessible for hotel guests.
How to Get to Eden Cenote
If you have a rental car, it’s very easy to get to Eden Cenote 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.
If you don’t have a car, the easiest way to get to Cenote Eden is to take a colectivo (shared van) 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 Eden 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 around $35 pesos (~$1.80 USD).
Eden Cenote Entrance Fee
The entrance fee for Eden Cenote is $200 pesos (~$10 USD) for adults. Make sure to bring cash as credit cards are not accepted.
When to visit
The best time to visit Cenote Eden is during the week. It is closed on Saturdays and on Sundays it can get very crowded with families and locals. I would also recommend visiting Cenote Eden on a sunny day as the water can get VERY cold.
What is Eden Cenote like?
Upon arriving to Eden Cenote, the secluded setting feels like you are stepping into a completely different world. Lush green wildlife surrounds a deep swimming hole in the center filled with crystal clear dark turquoise water. Even though it is several feet deep, the water is so clear you can see straight to the bottom. Surrounding the cenote, you will not find the typical palm trees, but rather lush green ferns, moss-covered rocks, overgrown foliage, and age old trees. To the right you will find elevated ledges where you can jump into the water (at your own risk!).
If you venture further towards the back of the main cenote, there are hidden rock formations where the only way to reach the other side is to swim under the water. It’s a little terrifying as you have to take a deep breath and make your way through the narrow tunnel. Upon surfacing, it feels like you’ve entered a secret hiding place or a naturally hidden room in such a beautiful setting.
Things to Do at Cenote Eden
At Eden Cenote there are a few different ledges where you can jump into the water. To the right side there is a large tree branch that extends out over the water, which is the highest jumping point. I definitely had to work up the courage to jump from the tree branch but in the end it was such a rush! Check out my video below!
The water at Eden Cenote is so clear which makes it a great place to snorkel and view the many different varieties of fish and unique rock formations. If you don’t have your own, snorkel equipment and life vests can be rented for a small fee.
Who needs to pay for a fish spa on 5th Avenue when you can get one for free at a cenote? If you swim to the far side of the Cenote Eden there are shallow rocks where you can sit and admire the fish. Simply hold your feet still and let the tiny fish begin to attack your feet. It’s an odd tickly feeling but great for exfoliation!
Cenote Eden is about 15 meters deep and is a popular spot for scuba diving. When I visited I could see the dark figures of scuba divers lurking deep below. It looked like there was an underwater cave system that can only be accessed by divers.
What to Bring to Cenote Eden
- You’ll definitely want to bring a towel to dry off after you get out of the cenote.
- Be sure to bring biodegradable sunscreen as regular sunscreen is prohibited.
- It’s a good idea to wear water shoes or bring a pair of inexpensive flip flops as the ground is very rocky outside the water. Use extra caution when walking on the rocks or the wooden stairs as they are extremely slippery.
- Be sure to bring a GoPro or waterproof camera to take some fun underwater pictures.
- If you plan to stay there for most of the day, I would recommend bringing some snacks and drinks or packing a small picnic to enjoy around the cenote.
- Don’t forget cash for the entrance fee ($200 pesos).
Expect to spend a few hours in total exploring Eden Cenote. It’s a great alternative to your typical beach experience and definitely provides a more authentic way to discover the destination. For even more cenotes in Riviera Maya, be sure to check out Cenote Cristalino and Cenote Azul which are located right next to Eden Cenote.