Located about 35 kilometers south of Playa del Carmen, Cenote Cristalino is one of the coolest open cenotes in the whole Riviera Maya. It’s a beautiful natural place with lush vegetation, crystal clear waters, and a laidback feeling. However, maybe one of the best things about Cenote Cristalino is that it’s a bit underrated and as such, it isn’t as crowded as other more popular cenotes like Cenote Dos Ojos or Cenote Azul, which is actually just a few meters away and you may consider visiting on the same day as Cenote Cristalino to make the most of your cenote experience.
The thing about Cenote Cristalino is that it has a little bit of everything for everyone. As it’s an open cenote access to its waters is quite easy, however to make matters even better there’s a kind of large platform where you can just sit and relax, taking the sun on your body and dipping your feet into the water.
Then, when you’re ready to get in the water, there’s a nice ladder to ease you and your kids into the water which, by the way, isn’t deep at all with a max depth of 5 meters in its deepest area where teenagers and other daredevils cliff jump from a jumping platform 3.5 meters high. Cenote Cristalino also has a quite interesting tunnel-like cave full of stalactites and stalagmites where you can swim, snorkel around, and simply enjoy the spectacular underwater rock formations. Finally, if you explore the area a little bit further you’re going to find a magnificent hidden cenote away from the crowds where you can enjoy a moment of solitude, peace, and reflection.
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Cenote Cristalino has different entrance fees according to the kind of visitor they receive. The standard price is $200 pesos (about $10 USD) for adults and $150 pesos ($8 USD) for children. If you’re a Mexican national the prices are $170 and $120 pesos, while if you’re a Quintana Roo resident you’ll pay $150 adults and $100 children. The cenote opens from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm every day, but to get the best possible experience we recommend you to be there as early as possible, to avoid the crowds and enjoy the cenote waters at their cleanest and clearest. Because even though sunscreen isn’t allowed at Cenote Cristalino in order to preserve its waters as clean as possible, you’ll find out that some people just find a way around this all important rule.
As a recommendation, try wearing a rash guard or t-shirt to protect yourself from the sun and help preserving the environment of this fascinating place.
Finally, the facilities at Cenote Cristalino are among the best in the area. It has restrooms and showers, there are lockers available to rent for only $100 pesos ($5 USD), and there’s a small tent where you can get a little snack and some drinks. Just don’t expect anything too fancy.
At Cenote Cristalino you can also rent snorkeling gear for $100 pesos and even some plastic lounge chairs also for $100 pesos in the case you want just to relax, watch the kids playing in the cenote, and enjoy your drink.
Cenote Cristalino is located about the halfway point between Playa del Carmen and Tulum, with Cenote Azul and Cenote Eden in the nearby area. To get to Cenote Cristalino by car from Playa del Carmen, just take the Highway 307 in direction south and after 35 kilometers you’ll see a Cenote Cristalino sign on the right side of the road. Follow the small dirt road for a few meters and you’ll quickly find the parking lot. If you’re coming from Tulúm, you’ll see the sign on the left side of the road after 25 kilometers and you’ll have to drive past and take the next turnaround to come back to the cenote entrance. You can also take one of the public vans known as “Colectivos” from either Playa del Carmen or Tulum and just ask the driver to drop you off at the Cenote Cristalino entrance. This option should cost around $40 pesos ($2 USD). Finally, you can also get a taxi to take you to the cenote. However, this will be by far the most expensive option and you’ll need to arrange for them to pick you up back, as you can’t get taxis in the area.
Besides your rash guard already mentioned to protect your skin from the sun, don’t forget to bring your swimsuit, towel, flip flops, water shoes, snorkel gear if you want to avoid paying for one, a waterproof camera could also be a good idea, and maybe even one of those waterproof phone pouch to get into the water with your phone around all the time. Try to visit Cenote Cristalino on a weekday, as during the weekends it tends to get quite crowded as it’s when the locals have the opportunity to enjoy the many attractions of the Riviera Maya and Cenote Cristalino is among their favorite ones. Remember not to use any kind of sunscreen, insect repellent or any other kind of cream that can pollute the cenote’s waters. If everyone uses sunscreen and just a minimal part of it ends up in the water, by the end of the day the Cenote Cristalino won’t be as “cristalino” (crystal clear) and you can just imagine what will happen after a few months and years if we all don’t follow such a simple rule.
It’s also very important for you to take a shower before getting into the cenote, just to try to keep the cenote as clean as possible.
Finally, don’t touch the stalactites and stalagmites that you may found in your explorations around the Cenote Cristalino, the cave, and the hidden cenote.
Have fun and enjoy this incredible wonder of nature in a responsible way and respecting the environment.