Playa del Carmen has many incredible freshwater cenotes that worth visiting and are located just a short drive away from downtown. These hidden swimming holes are a fun excursion and a great way to really explore the natural beauty of the Yucatan. I was bored one Sunday and decided to check out Cenote Cristalino, which is about a 30 minute drive from Playa del Carmen. There are actually three popular cenotes that are located right next to each other – Eden Cenote, Cenote Azul, and Cenote Cristalino. I had been to Eden Cenote before and I was ready to check another one off my list. I’m so glad I did! It turned out to be a fun and adventurous afternoon.
How to Get to Cenote Cristalino
If you don’t have a car, the easiest way to get to Cenote Cristalino 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 Cristalino 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 Cristalino
The best time to visit Cenote Cristalino is during the week. I went on a Sunday and it was very crowded with local family gatherings. It’s definitely much busier on the weekends.
Entrance Fee for Cenote Cristalino
When I visited the entrance fee was $150 pesos (~$8 USD), which included a life jacket rental. In addition, you can rent lockers for $50 pesos (~$2.50 USD), as well as snorkeling gear and plastic lounge chairs.
Exploring Cenote Cristalino
Cenote Cristalino is such a lush natural setting and offers many different bodies of water to explore, snorkel, or simply relax in the water. In the main cenote, there is a cliff ledge where you can jump into the water. 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! Check out my video at the end of this post.
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 float your way through to admire the unique rock formations. There are many rocks under the water here so I would recommend wearing water shoes.
There are also 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 fish will come and give you some free exfoliation. It definitely tickles – eeek!
Towards the back of the cenote, there are also signs that will lead you to Cenote Escondido (Hidden Cenote). This area was a little less crowded and was one of the most beautiful parts of Cenote Cristalino. It really feels like a hidden sanctuary.
Although Cenote Cristalino is probably the least popular of the three cenotes, it is an amazingly beautiful place to spend the day exploring or relaxing. I actually preferred Cenote Cristalino because it offers so many different and unique places to explore outside of the main cenote. Now I can’t wait to go back and visit Cenote Azul to complete the trifecta!