Visiting Casa Cenote in 2024: The Tulum Crocodile Cenote 🐊

Tulum Casa Cenote Manatí

PLANNING TO VISIT CASA CENOTE IN TULUM?

Smart choice! Since moving to Mexico in 2018, I have been to A LOT of cenotes, and Casa Cenote is a visitor favorite for many reasons. It’s also pretty famous because this Tulum cenote is home to Pancho the Crocodile (more on him later).

Casa Cenote, also known as Cenote Manatí, is a stunning natural attraction located near Tulum, Mexico. This open-air cenote is known for its crystal clear waters and a unique ecosystem where freshwater from underground rivers mixes with saltwater from the nearby sea.

It’s an excellent spot for snorkeling, diving and swimming, offering visitors the chance to explore a rich underwater world, including diverse marine life and beautiful mangrove forests. Above the water, there’s SUP paddleboarding and kayaking.

In this ultimate guide, you’ll find everything you need to know about Casa Cenote — from tips on the best times to visit to avoid crowds, to practical details like entrance fees and facilities.

Without further ado, let’s dive into the underwater world of Casa Cenote Tulum Mexico! 

Casa Cenote Tulum: The Complete Visitor’s Guide

snorkeling in casa cenote
Casa Cenote Tulum (also called Cenote Manati) is a river-like cenote popular for SUP paddle boarding, swimming, snorkeling or diving.

Where is Casa Cenote located?

Casa Cenote is located on Carretera Cancun – Tulum Km. 246 Tankah, Manzana 3, 77780 Tulum, Q.R., Mexico. The cenote is about 7 miles (approximately 10 kilometers) north of Tulum.

It is situated near the road connecting Tulum to the Tankah Bay Hotel Zone, making it directly accessible via this coastal route. 

Whether you’re staying in Downtown Tulum (AKA Tulum Town or Tulum Pueblo), or enjoying the scenic Tulum Beach (Tulum Playa), Casa Cenote Tulum is easily accessible and promises a quick retreat into nature’s embrace.

Perfectly positioned, Casa Cenote Tulum is a convenient stop for anyone exploring the Tulum area from Akumal, Cancun or Playa del Carmen.

📍 Casa cenote map

⚠️ Note: I highly recommend anyone visiting to get a Mexico SIM Card. Your signal will likely go in and out in the more rural parts of the Yucatan Peninsula, where many Mexican cenotes near Tulum are located.

You can also download an offline map from Google Maps or Maps.Me before you drive to Casa Cenote. This offline map will come in handy for a Yucatan road trip, though it is pretty easy to find Casa Cenote by car.

casa Cenote Mexico

What are the Casa Cenote hours?

Casa Cenote is open daily from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM. The last entry is typically allowed an hour before closing, so plan your visit accordingly to go early.

While this schedule allows visitors plenty of time to enjoy the natural beauty and activities offered by the cenote, remember that timing is everything. Getting there early not only helps you beat the crowds, but also allows you to experience the cenote’s tranquil morning vibes.

And since Tulum is in the Eastern Time Zone (UTC -05:00), you can easily align your visit with other activities planned in the area. However, if you cross into Yucatan state to visit these cenotes, that is the Central Standard Time Zone (CST -06:00).

casa Cenote Mexico

What’s the best time to visit Casa Cenote? 

The best time to visit Casa Cenote is early in the morning, right after it opens. This timing is ideal because it allows visitors to enjoy the cenote’s beauty before it becomes more crowded later in the day.

person swimming in Casa Cenote Tulum
When there’s little to no crowds, you can stay long in Casa Cenote and just chill.

Additionally, visiting early in the morning can offer a quieter experience, making it easier to appreciate the natural surroundings and wildlife, maybe you’ll even be able to spot the resident crocodile, Panchito.

casa Cenote Mexico

Who is Pancho, the Casa Cenote crocodile?

The rumors are true — there is a wild crocodile that lives in Casa Cenote named Pancho or Panchito 🐊

The last time I visited, I didn’t see him, as he usually keeps to himself in an area towards the end of the cenote. He usually lays on a rock outside of the water, shaded by the thick mangrove forest.

However, he also gets in the fresh water to swim whenever he feels like it (this is his home after all), and he seems to be quite comfortable sharing his space with humans.

Has there ever been a casa cenote crocodile attack?

No — Pancho has been living in the cenote for decades, peacefully co-existing with visitors. Still, he is a wild animal, so maintain your distance, don’t touch him, and remain calm if he swims by you.

🐊 Fun Facts: Pancho is a Morelet’s crocodile (AKA Mexican crocodile), which are found only in Mexico, Guatemala and Belize. He is fully grown and measures about five feet long (1.5 m).

casa Cenote Mexico

How much time do I need at Casa Cenote?

You usually need about 2 to 3 hours for a visit to Casa Cenote. This is enough time to swim, snorkel, and enjoy the beautiful nature around.

aerial view of casa cenote
These aerial views are some of my favorite Casa Cenote photos.

Casa Cenote is special because it looks more like a river than a typical cenote. In total, it is 656 feet long (200 m), and you can swim, snorkel, and kayak the entire length of the cenote, which is cool because it’s shaped like a snake making a trip through the jungle.

There’s also a tunnel about 164 feet long (50 meters) that connects it to the open water of the sea. However, the current is VERY strong here, so be careful. I’d actually only attempt this if you’re a strong swimmer and have fins.

Right across from the cenote, there’s a diving center and a rocky beach. So, after enjoying the beautiful Cenote, you can also spend some time in the Caribbean Sea.

casa Cenote Mexico

What’s the Casa Cenote admission cost?

The entrance fee for Casa Cenote is currently 150 MXN pesos (about $9 USD) for snorkelers and swimmers. For divers, admission to Casa Cenote is 500 MXN pesos (about $30 USD).

casa cenote admission costs
The entrance to Casa Cenote Mexico.

This admission cost includes the use of a life jacket during your visit. While life vests aren’t mandatory at Casa Cenote, the current is quite strong in some areas.

If you need snorkeling gear, it’s available for rent at about $20 USD, so consider bringing equipment a cost-effective choice. Here is the mask and snorkel combo I recommend.

📸 Casa Cenote Photos

Finally, they do charge extra if you want to bring in a professional camera ($500 pesos, about $30 USD) or GoPro ($100 pesos, about $6 USD); phone cameras are allowed. Drones are not allowed at Casa Cenote.

casa Cenote Mexico

NOTE: Cenote Cenote is Cash Only 

Casa Cenote operates on a cash-only basis. Visitors should be prepared to pay the entrance fee and any other expenses, such as locker rentals or kayak rentals, in cash. 

There are no facilities for card payments at the cenote. It’s advisable to carry sufficient cash in Mexican pesos to cover your visit’s costs, including any additional activities or purchases you might want to make while there. 

Casa Cenote Layout and Structure

Is there parking at Casa Cenote?

Yes — There is parking available at Casa Cenote. Visitors driving to the cenote can use the parking area provided near the entrance for their convenience.

casa cenote parking lot
Casa Cenote is also easy to find, and a rental car is the best way to get there.

There are only about 15 spots though, which can get tough on weekends and in the Tulum busy season months. In order to snag one of the spots, make sure you get there early in the day, or later in the afternoon after the midday crowds have left.

The Casa Cenote parking lot is FREE for those who are going to the cenote.

casa Cenote Mexico

Are there facilities at Casa Cenote?

Yes Casa Cenote offers some basic facilities, though they should cover all the essentials for visitors. These include restrooms (porta-potties), changing areas and lockers.

It also has some extras not commonly found at other cenotes, like a nearby restaurant where you can try local food after swimming. Plus, the dive shop across the street offers gear rentals and diving tours, making it great for those who love underwater adventures.

​​🚻 CASA CENOTE BATHROOMS & Changing Rooms

I mentioned that at Casa Cenote, the facilities are basic. While there are technically bathrooms, they’re actually just porta potties, and frankly, really gross. If I were you, I’d make sure to go to the restroom before you arrive.

They also have changing rooms, which are also very rustic, but get the job done. If you want to ensure a comfortable experience during your stay at the cenote, I’d show up with my bathing suit on instead of having to fumble around inside them.

💆‍♀️ Casa cENOTE MASSAGE SERVICES

casa cenote massages

Right next to the entrance to Casa Cenote, you can get a massage — which is a very uncommon cenote amenity. I met people at the cenote who said the massages are really good, and of them said it was the best massage she ever had.

There are a few places around the cenote offering this service, though I was told they’re usually only available on weekends. Still, this makes the cenote a great place not just for swimming and exploring, but also for relaxing and enjoying a day out.

Are there CASA CENOTE PADDLEBOARD & KAYAK RENTALS?

Yes — Right at Casa Cenote’s entrance, you can rent paddle boards and kayaks. The cost will depend on your selection and how long you plan to use them. 

casa cenote kayak rentals
You can rent kayaks at Casa Cenote; they have singles and doubles available.

If you don’t want to go around the cenote by yourself, you can also take a guided tour with a paddleboard or kayak. This way, you get a closer look and learn more as you move through the cenote’s waters.

🏝️ BEACH ACCESS FROM CASA CENOTE

beach in yucatan mexico
Tankah Bay (AKA Tankah Tres) is a great place to escape the crowds, and the snorkeling is good too.

Right across from the cenote, there’s the Casa Cenote PADI Diving Center, Casa Cenote Restaurant & Bar, and Playa Tankah Bay Beach. While the beach is quite rocky here (water shoes will help), it’s still nice to jump in the Caribbean Sea after a cenote swim.

🔐 CASA CENOTE LOCKERS

At Casa Cenote, lockers are not included in the entrance fee for the cenote. They cost $50 pesos ($3 USD), so we just keep everything in the trunk of our rental car.

🦺 CASA CENOTE LIFE JACKETS

Life jackets are not mandatory in Casa Cenote, but are included in the entrance fee for the cenote. 

🛟 CENOTE Cenote LIFEGUARDS

There are no lifeguards at Cenote Cenote, so swim at your own risk.

🚿 CASA CENOTE Showers

There are no showers at Casa Cenote. Usually, you must shower before entering the Tulum cenotes to remove sunscreen, insect repellent and or lotion — but since you can’t shower here, please do your part to preserve the cenotes and don’t put any of that on before your visit.

casa Cenote Mexico

Are there restaurants at Casa Cenote?

Yes — Casa Cenote has a sit down restaurant across the street from the cenote, offering a variety of delicious Mexican dishes. This is a bit special because not all cenotes come with their own places to eat.

casa cenote hotel, restaurant and bar

After a swim or a dive, you can enjoy some tasty local food at the Casa Cenote Restaurant & Bar without having to leave the area. They have a bar food-type menu, offering things like tacos, ceviche and burgers, as well as Margaritas, cold beers and sodas.

It is located right across the street from the entrance to the cenote itself, on the ocean side of the street. The restaurant is part of Casa Cenote Hotel, and from there, you do have direct beach access.

casa Cenote Mexico

Best Casa Cenote Tours

women snorkeling at casa cenote tulum
Tulum cenote tours are perfect for those who want to visit as many cenotes as they can.

If you’re planning a trip to Tulum and want to explore the surrounding areas — but dread the logistics of transportation and navigating around unfamiliar cities, these Casa Cenote Tours are the perfect solution. 

My recommendation? This Guided Snorkeling Tour which includes a stop at Casa Cenote and Ocean Reef, plus a local lunch. It has a near-perfect 5 Star rating, so you’re bound to love it.

There are also many full-day adventures that offer stops at more than just Casa Cenote (because one cenote in Mexico is simply not enough). These provide a convenient and stress-free way to explore the beautiful sights around Tulum, including the cenotes in Tulum, Mexico

You can choose to make pit stops at any cenote near Tulum — some open air cenote, like Casa Cenote or Cenote Cristal, and some hidden in caves amidst the jungle, like Cenote Calavera, Cenote Carwash, Cenote Chaak Tun or Cenote Zacil Ha.

What better way to experience Mexico than with local guides who know Tulum and the surrounding attractions best?!

casa Cenote Mexico

How to Get to Casa Cenote On Your Own

casa cenote tulum
Casa Cenote is right off Highway 307, and you’ll turn off the highway here at the Manatí Acceso road.

Prefer exploring the Casa Cenote on your own? No problem! Casa Cenote is located minutes from Tulum Town (AKA Downtown Tulum), so you have several options for getting to Casa Cenote.

The easiest way is to rent a car and head there on your own time. 🚘 Want to rent a car in Tulum Mexico? I book all my Mexico rental cars with Discover Cars because they have free cancellation and great rates.

You can also catch a ride with a taxi, or rent a bike and pedal your way there. While it will be a long ride of about an hour, you’ll enjoy the scenery as you make your way through the Yucatan jungle. ⚠️ Note: There’s not Uber in Tulum.

casa Cenote Mexico

Can you visit Casa Cenote on your own from Tulum?

Yes — Those coming from Tulum, Mexico have the most travel options for how to get to Casa Cenote (all listed below).

The one thing you won’t want to do is walk, as it’s very hot for most of the year and the roads going to the cenote aren’t very walkable because there aren’t sidewalks. Keep reading for the 5 best ways to get to Casa Cenote from Tulum on your own.

1. Drive your Tulum rental car

car rental tulum mexico locations

The best way to get to Casa Cenote is via rental car, allowing you to travel the whole Yucatan Peninsula! For more info on Mexico car rentals, head to Renting a Car in Tulum: Everything You Need to Know.

As someone who lives in Mexico and travels often, I personally use and recommend Discover Cars for all my rentals. Their search feature checks prices at different companies (including local Mexico companies and international companies) so you get the best rates.

2. Casa Cenote Bus or Colectivo

colectivo tulum mexico
You can catch the colectivo to Casa Cenote Tulum Mexico on the main road in downtown.

Colectivos are popular, affordable Tulum transportation options — great for getting to the top attractions in Tulum.

While it’s not usually described as comfortable, the colectivo is inexpensive, so if you’re traveling to Tulum on a budget, this is the way to go.

To use it, head to the main road in Downtown Tulum, and make sure you’re on the north side of the street. You’ll want to be taking the colectivo heading in the direction of Akumal.

The colectivo will drop you off on the federal highway, which can be tricky as you’ll have to walk around a mile (1.5 km) to Casa Cenote Mexico. The price of the colectivo should be around $20 MXN pesos (about $1.50 USD).

3. Hire a private driver or take a taxi

tulum taxi SUV
If you’re not renting a car in Mexico, taxis are readily available 🙂

If you’re not renting a car, taking a taxi or hiring a private taxi driver is the next best option. Expect to pay roughly $500 MXN pesos (about $29 USD) each way from downtown Tulum to Casa Cenote.

If you’re hiring a private driver for the day, they’ll wait for you at the cenote.

If you’re taking a taxi, see if you can work out a deal where they wait for you, or try to schedule a pickup ahead of time, as it’s not always easy to get a taxi to leave this cenote.

⚠️ Casa Cenote Tip: This cenote in Tulum is located just off a major road; it’s not quite a highway, but is a busy street where cars often go much faster than they should! For safety, plan your return trip home to avoid waiting for a taxi on this busy roadway.

4. Tulum Bike Rentals

bike rental in tulum mexico
Wondering, What’s the best way to get around in Tulum? Biking is one of the most popular options.

If you’re up for an adventure, renting a bike in Tulum is an affordable and active way to reach Casa Cenote and explore the city.

Being only 7 miles (approximately 10 kilometers) north of Tulum, it is close enough to reach by bike, but I want to add a warning here. 

If you are biking to Casa Cenotes Tulum, you’ll be biking on the 307 highway, which can be a little dangerous if you are not comfortable riding a bike on a highway. You’ll then have to turn off the 307 onto a dirt road, which can be bumpy with potholes. 

The bike ride from Tulum should take about 45 minutes, and you can celebrate at the end by jumping into the cenote’s refreshing waters. When you get there, you’ll find FREE bike parking.

⚠️ Note: Use some caution with this option as it requires biking on a highway, but if you’re looking to stay active, it might be worth a try.

5. Tulum Scooter Rentals & ATV Rentals

tulum bike rental and tulum scooter rental company
Casa Cenote is 34 km from Tulum and 56 km from Playa del Carmen, so it’s easy to get to by moped.

Enjoy the wind in your hair as you breeze to Casa Cenote Tulum with a scooter rental or ATV rental. Rates vary, but plan for about $25-35 per day for a scooter, and $85-100 per day for an ATV.

Not only do these provide a fun way to get around in Tulum, they’re also a bit safer than walking or biking on the highway.

casa Cenote Mexico

How to get from Cancun to Casa Cenote

ruta de los cenotes sign | best cenotes in cancun mexico
Cancún is a popular tourist destination located on the northeastern coast of the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico, known for its beaches and cenotes, like Cenote Nicte-Ha.

Casa Cenote is approximately 80 miles (128 kilometers) from Cancun. Driving there is straightforward and typically takes 2 to 2.5 hours, depending on traffic and route.

For a more relaxed journey, taxis and private shuttles can take you from Cancun to Cenote Casa Cenote, but the cost may be higher due to the distance.

Public transportation is a budget-friendly option. ADO buses regularly travel from Cancun to Tulum. Once in Tulum, you can take a taxi or a colectivo (shared van) to Casa Cenote. This option is cheaper but takes longer and requires a transfer.

There is also the option of getting off at the highway and walking the mile to the cenote, you’ll just need to let the bus driver know you’re heading to Casa Cenote. 

  • Cancun to Casa Cenote Distance: 80 miles (128 kilometers)
  • Travel Time: Roughly 2 hours by car; longer with public transportation
  • View the route on Google Maps
casa Cenote Mexico

How to get from Playa del Carmen to Casa Cenote

giant sculpture on playa del carmen beach
Playa del Carmen is a coastal town situated along the Caribbean Sea in the Riviera Maya region of Mexico.

Casa Cenote is approximately 37 miles (60 kilometers) from Playa del Carmen, and the drive typically takes around 45 minutes to an hour.

For those preferring a hassle-free journey, taxis and private shuttles offer services for your Casa Cenote Playa del Carmen trip, but note that prices may be higher due to the distance.

Public transportation is an economical choice. You can take an ADO bus from Playa del Carmen to Tulum. The colectivo will drop you off on the federal highway, which can be tricky. 

You’ll have to cross to the other side of the highway and then walk around a mile (1.5 km) to Casa Cenote, Mexico. The colectivo should cost about 60 MXN pesos ($3.50 USD), and remember to tell the driver you want to get off near Casa Cenote.

  • Playa del Carmen to Casa Cenote Distance: Approximately 37 miles (60 kilometers)
  • Travel Time: About 45 minutes by car; longer with public transportation
  • View the route on Google Maps
casa Cenote Mexico

How to get from Valladolid to Casa Cenote

woman walking on Calzada de los Frailes Valladolid Mexico (Calle de los Frailes)
Calzada de los Frailes (AKA Calle de los Frailes), the most beautiful street in Valladolid, Mexico.

The distance from Valladolid to Casa Cenote is approximately 69 miles (about 111 kilometers). The drive typically takes 1.5 hours, depending on traffic and road conditions.

For those not driving, there isn’t a direct public transportation option to Casa Cenote from Valladolid.

You can take a bus to Tulum and then switch to a taxi or colectivo to reach the cenote. This option is more budget-friendly but will take longer due to the transfer in Tulum.

  • Valladolid to Casa Cenote Distance: 69 miles (about 111 kilometers)
  • Travel Time: Roughly 1.5 hours by car; longer with public transportation
  • View the route on Google Maps
casa Cenote Mexico

How to get from Merida to Casa Cenote

colorful sign that reads MERIDA, one of the safest cities in Mexico
Merida Mexico is a city in the Yucatan Peninsula known for its rich history and colonial architecture.

Renting a car is the most straightforward option for getting from Merida to Casa Cenote. The journey is about 166 miles (267 kilometers), and takes around 3.5 hours under normal traffic conditions. 

Alternatively, you can take an ADO bus from Merida to Tulum, and then catch a taxi or bike to Casa Cenote. This method is less direct and will take longer, but it’s a viable option if you prefer not to drive.

Taxis direct from Merida to Tulum may not be readily available, so the bus could be a more reliable choice for public transportation.

  • Merida to Casa Cenote Distance: 166 miles (267 kilometers)
  • Travel Time: Around 3.5 hours, or more
  • View the route on Google Maps
casa Cenote Mexico

What to Bring to Casa Cenote

Wondering, What do I bring to Casa Cenote? Unsure what to pack for Tulum cenotes in general? You’re not alone!

Since this will likely be your first cenote experience and/or your first visit to any of the best Mexico cenotes, you might be unsure what to take and what to leave home. Don’t worry — I’m here to help you plan for your visit to Casa Cenote.

Below, you’ll find a list of eight things you need to consider when making your Tulum cenotes packing list.

This list will come in handy for other places too, beyond just Casa Cenote. If you’re visiting any cenotes in Tulum (or cenotes near Tulum), like Cenote Calavera, Laguna Kaan Luum & Cenote, Cenote Sac Actun, don’t forget the things below.

1. Go Pro Waterproof Camera

If you’ve been considering getting a GoPro Hero, photogenic Casa Cenote Yucatan is the perfect place to put it to good use.

📸 Looking for an inexpensive GoPro alternative? I recommend this Akaso EK7000, an Amazon Best Seller.

2. Long Sleeve Bathing Suit (AKA Rash guard or Swim shirt)

🚨 In case you didn’t know: Sunscreen is prohibited in ALL cenotes!

That’s right: You’re not allowed to wear sunscreen of any kind in this cenote or any cenote. Yes, this also includes eco-friendly sunscreens and reef safe sunscreens because they can harm the natural environment.

However, you will want sun protection, so you’ll want to wear for these long sleeve bathing suits and even these waterproof sun hats so you don’t end up with a bad sunburn on your Tulum vacation.

3. Mask and Snorkel

You can snorkel in Casa Cenote to see the roots of the mangrove trees, little fish, turtles, blue crabs, and giant rocks underneath (and maybe even Panchito the crocodile).

For those who want to conserve luggage space, these small goggles and this roll up snorkel are a great option, but this combo mask and snorkel is the best option for snorkeling in Casa Cenote.

4. Water Shoes

Here’s one of the best Casa Cenote travel tips: Don’t forget to buy and bring your water shoes! As cenotes are natural pools, most have slippery rocks, muddy ground, etc.

Water shoes also help you not slip in general, especially when walking down any staircase entryways.

5. Waterproof Phone Holder

If you’re planning to take Instagrammable cenote photos, this inexpensive waterproof phone holder that goes around your neck really comes in handy.

With these, you can take them in water and capture the Tulum cenotes from all angles.

6. Waterproof Fanny Pack

This waterproof fanny pack is another great option. Not only are they cute, but it will also hold all your valuables, not just your phone.

7. Quick Dry Towel

This quick dry towel is one of the best things to throw in your suitcase when packing for Tulum, and will definitely come in handy when you visit the cenotes and Yucatan beaches.

8. Bring Cash (Pesos; not USD)

If there’s one thing to know before you go, it’s this 🤑 The cost to enter Tulum Casa Cenote is 150 pesos, and it’s cash only!

In Tulum, many places are cash only, particularly things like taxis, street taco shops and cenotes. For the most part, Tulum cenotes are cash-only — including Casa Cenote Tulum.

While some cenotes take credit cards for your admission price, they won’t take cards for things like life vest rentals, locker rentals, food and drinks at the snack bar and/or convenience store shops on the premises. These have an extra cost.

Best Things to Do at Casa Cenote

Can you go swimming at Casa Cenote?

Absolutely! Casa Cenote is a perfect spot for swimming, with its crystal-clear blue waters creating a beautiful and photogenic environment.

boy snorkeling in tulum at Casa Cenote Manatí
The cenote offers a refreshing snorkel and swim experience, allowing visitors to cool off and enjoy the clear waters.

The unique mix of fresh and saltwater due to its proximity to the ocean provides a special experience where freshwater and saltwater fish coexist. Casa Cenote is one of the only cenotes like this, though nearby Yal-Ku Lagoon provides a similar experience.

The cenote is open for visitors to enjoy at their leisure, and the entry fee includes the use of life jackets, lockers, and showers, ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience. Remember to shower before entering to preserve the delicate ecosystem of the cenote.

casa Cenote Mexico

Can you go snorkeling at Casa Cenote?

Yes — Casa Cenote snorkeling is popular, and it offers you a chance to explore the underwater world teeming with marine life.

man snorkeling in casa cenote tulum
One of the most popular places located on the Riviera Maya, Casa Cenote’s clear waters give more visibility to snorkelers.

Renting snorkel gear is available for about $20 USD, but bringing your own equipment is recommended to save costs. Here is the mask and snorkel combo I recommend if you want to see all the life teeming from this underground cave system.

For anyone looking for a guided experience, snorkeling tours are available, providing a more structured exploration of Casa Cenote’s waters. Whether you choose to snorkel on your own or join a tour, you’ll discover the unique beauty and biodiversity of this special place. 

There is also a guided tour available onsite that includes snorkeling and a guide for about $500 pesos ($30 USD) per person. Of course, you can also snorkel on your own, as Casa Cenote is a beautiful place, full of incredible things to see.

casa Cenote Mexico

Can you go diving at Casa Cenote?

Yes — Casa Cenote diving offers an unforgettable adventure, especially since it’s connected underground to the ocean.

Make sure not to confuse Casa Cenote with Cenotes Casa Tortuga Tulum.

This allows for a unique diving experience where you can explore both the cenote and the ocean without significant separation.

The water is warmer compared to other cenotes, and with a depth of no more than 18-feet (6 meters), it’s suitable for beginners and experienced divers alike. In fact, many Tulum dive certification classes take place here.

A nearby dive shop provides equipment and offers diving tours, making it easy for everyone to enjoy the underwater wonders of Casa Cenote. The open-air nature of this cenote means no artificial light is needed for diving, enhancing the natural beauty of your dive.

🤿 Note: Before you pack your gear, diving at Cenote Casa Tulum requires an advanced certification and must be done with a professional guide. Luckily, dive shops all around Tulum will help you plan your dive.

Casa Cenote Tulum Mexico: FAQ & Travel Guide

What’s the closest city to Casa Cenote?

The closest city to Casa Cenote is Tulum, located about 6.2 miles (10 kilometers) to the south.

woman walking into ven a la luz Tulum sculpture of a wooden man
The Ven a la Luz (Come Into the Light) sculpture at the Ahau Tulum Resort and Raw Love Cafe.

🚗 Tulum to Casa Cenote

  • Tulum to Casa Cenote Distance: 7 miles (10 kilometers)
  • Travel Time: About 20 minutes in normal traffic
  • View route on Google Maps

While Tulum is a popular tourist destination and culturally rich hub with street vendors, trendy co-working hostels, beautiful beaches, the Tulum ancient ruins and Instagrammable locations — don’t forget to add Casa Cenote to your Tulum itinerary.

Even with so many amazing Tulum things to do, Casa Cenote Tulum Mexico is still well worth a visit. In fact, it would make for a great Tulum day trip, because you can easily spend the whole day there.

casa Cenote Mexico

Is Casa Cenote free? 

No — Casa Cenote is not free. The entrance fee for Casa Cenote is 150 pesos (about $9 USD). This fee grants you access to the cenote, and includes the use of a life jacket.

There is one free admission loophole though. For guests staying at Hotel Casa Cenote, the entrance to the cenote is FREE. This is a great added benefit if you want to stay at Casa Cenote.

⚠️ Note: Casa Cenote Tulum is cash only. Make sure to bring cash for the entrance fee and any additional rentals or purchases you might want to make during your visit.

casa Cenote Mexico

Why is it also called Cenote Manatí?

The name Cenote Manatí (or Cenote Manatee in English) refers to the historical presence of manatees in its waters. That’s right, manatees used to live here, which was a unique feature to this cenote.

However, manatees have not been spotted in Casa Cenote for several decades — but the name stuck though the family of manatees have left.

Today, the cenote remains named after these gentle creatures to reflect its natural history and the unique ecosystems of the Yucatan Peninsula cenotes. Local companies, like Manati Divers, now carries the torch to keep the Manatee Cenote name alive.

casa Cenote Mexico

Are there crocodiles in Casa Cenote?

Yes — There is a friendly crocodile named Pancho (or Panchito) living in Casa Cenote. Unlike typical cenote inhabitants, crocodiles are not common, but Pancho has made Casa Cenote his home. 

He’s a small- to medium-sized crocodile who has grown accustomed to being around people since he was a baby. Local guides and visitors describe him as docile and even friendly, often keeping to himself or displaying curiosity by swimming alongside people. 

Despite his presence, there have been no recorded attacks by Pancho in Casa Cenote. Truth be told, there are crocodiles in the cenotes (most of them, anyway) — and there haven’t been any recorded attacks in the Mexican Caribbean ever.

Swimming with Pancho can be a unique experience, and with the right guidance from local experts, it’s considered safe​​​​. For the most part, people feel lucky if they get to meet Panchito — as he’s one of the things guests have come to love about Casa Cenote.

When visiting Casa Cenote to swim or dive, it’s recommended to be respectful of the wildlife, including Pancho, and maintain a safe distance. While there have been NO Casa Cenote crocodile attacks to date, you don’t want to be the first.

What NOT to Do: 3 Cenote Casa Pro Tips

1. Sunscreen is not allowed at Cenote Casa

The oils and chemicals in lotion and sunscreen (even eco-friendly sunscreens) will harm the cenote. Please do your part to practice sustainable tourism in Mexico by not applying lotion, insect spray and/or sunscreen on the day you plan to visit Cenote Casa.

When you are out of the lagoon, then you’re free to apply sunscreen, and this Bullfrog Anti-Bug SPF 50 Sunscreen is great for both sun protection and mosquito protection.

2. Don’t visit Cenote Casa on weekends (If you can help it)

There have been a few mentions in this article about this being one of those Instagram-worthy cenotes in Mexico you won’t want to miss. On that note, remember the Instagram vs. Reality factor when you’re planning to visit.

If you want those people-less Instagram photos, try to visit Cenote Casa on a Tuesday morning at 9am when they open because there will likely be no one else there. If you visit during peak times, expect large crowds at this small cenote.

3. Don’t Forget to Pack Your Own Food

Unlike other Tulum Mexico cenotes, Casa Cenote Riviera Maya is the perfect place for a picnic! You can pack your own snacks, food, and drinks to enjoy on the hammocks and chairs scattered around the jungle.

Remember to stay hydrated by packing plenty of water, especially on hot afternoons in any of the cenotes Tulum Mexico you visit. 

No worries if you don’t want to haul anything to the cenote, though! As Cenote Casa grows in popularity, there are now sometimes (usually weekends only) a few small food stands with vendors offering food and drinks for guests to enjoy.

casa Cenote Mexico

What are cenotes?

A cenote is a deep sinkhole in the natural limestone floor, which exposes the freshwater underground. This sunken-in area forms a natural pool (or cenote), and these cenotes are found especially in Yucatan Mexico.

Laguna Kaan Luum Tulum swings in the water
Visitors to Laguna Kaan Luum can enjoy swimming and relaxing in its calm and clear waters — but make sure to snap a pic in these swings.

The word “sinkhole” describes the process of how the cenotes came to be. At one time, all cenotes were encased in the Yucatan Peninsula’s native limestone rock.

Over time, some rock has eroded, collapsed, and “sunk in” to reveal the water beneath — which is the cenote water we can now swim in.

🛑 Just want a short answer to, What is a cenote? Mexico’s cenotes are natural freshwater pools located primarily in the Yucatan Mayan jungle.

The cenotes aren’t individual pools, but rather the same water that comes from massive freshwater rivers flowing beneath the Yucatan Peninsula. In fact, some cenote water comes from one of the largest underground rivers on Earth, the Sistema Sac Actun.

casa Cenote Mexico

How many cenotes are there?

There are about 6,000 cenotes in the Yucatan Peninsula — the largest concentration of cenotes found anywhere on Earth. 

How do you pronounce cenote?

Cenote is one of the most mispronounced words, so let’s clear this up! Cenote pronunciation is sen-no-tay in singular. It’s sen-no-tays in plural, as in the word “cenotes.”

casa Cenote Mexico

How many cenotes are in Tulum?

Depending on who you ask, some sources say there are exactly 226 cenotes in Tulum, though others say differently.

Of the approx. 200 cenotes in Tulum, not all of them are accessible to the public, which is why it’s not easy to get an accurate number.

casa Cenote Mexico

What are the 4 types of cenotes?

Of the (approx.) 6,000 cenotes in Yucatan, there are four distinct types of cenotes: open, semi-open, cave, and diving cenotes.

Each type is unique and beautiful in its own way, so make sure to visit as many types of Mexican cenotes as you can.

1. Open Cenotes

gran cenote staircase going to bathroom
Wondering, What are some different cenotes in Tulum? Gran Cenote Tulum is what’s called an open cenote, as there’s no rock that covers the top of it.

You may see these called “swimming pool cenotes,” as they are completely open and look like a natural swimming pool — like Cenote Azul, Cenote Zacil-Ha and El Gran Cenote.

2. Semi-Open Cenotes

people swimming in cenote ik-kil mexico
Ik Kil Cenote is a freshwater sinkhole formed millions of years ago, and definitely the closest cenote to Chichen Itza Mayan Ruins.

These cenotes are semi-encased in their native limestone rock. Semi-open cenotes have large walls surrounding the pool itself, and a large hole in the top of it so some sunlight gets in — like Cenote Ik-Kil.

3. Closed Cenotes in Caves

woman in cenote suytun circular platform

Cave cenotes are exactly as the name says. These are located underground in a cave, and you’ll have to access them by going down some stairs — like Cenote Suytun.

4. Dive Cenotes for Diving

diver diving in cenote el pit mexico
For divers, this Cenotes Scuba Diving Tour, with a visit to Cenote El Pit, is a must. (Photo: Airbnb, Visiting Casa Cenote en Tulum)

The final type is also located inside a cave, but the water in these cenotes is much deeper so they are sought out for diving — like Cenote Dos Ojos, Cenote El Pit and Cenote Calavera.

🤿 Note: You must be certified for cenote diving in Yucatan Mexico! For those who are, check out these tours: Cenotes Scuba Diving Tulum Tour and Go Dive Cenotes in Tulum Tour — both of which have great reviews on Tripadvisor.

Final Thoughts: Visiting Casa Cenote Tulum

casa cenote kayaks

Ready for your Casa Cenote Maya luxe experience? One of the best cenote destinations near Tulum, Casa Cenote offers more than just clear, refreshing waters.

While you can visit on your own, I recommend a tour for those who want to go with a local guide and get to know the cenote better. The best way to visit Casa Cenote on a tour is to book this Cenote Paddleboarding & Snorkeling Tour (Rated 5 Stars ⭐️).

With available amenities like parking, a variety of water activities, and proximity to unique Casa Cenote restaurants, your visit promises a blend of adventure and culinary delight. 

Whether you’re diving in Casa Cenote to the cenote’s depths beneath the halocline, snorkeling alongside friendly marine life, or just admiring the flora and fauna, you’re sure to have an unforgettable experience at Casa Cenote.

Additional Tulum Cenote Blogs

cenote calavera ladder
Tulum is home to more than 200 cenotes, like Cenote Corazón del Paraíso, so there’s many more to explore.

Looking for more info on Tulum cenotes? Smart choice, as the cenotes are some of the top sites you can’t miss when you visit Tulum. Check out these additional Tulum cenote guides:

The Best Cenotes Near Tulum Mexico

Tulum Travel Planning Guide

1. Should I buy Mexico travel insurance?

100% YES! — With basic coverage averaging just $5-10 USD per day, enjoy peace of mind with a plan from Travel Insurance Master, one of the biggest names in travel insurance. (Read more)

2. Can you drink the water in Tulum?

No — You’ll want to buy this Water-To-Go Bottle, which filters your drinking water so you don’t get sick from drinking water in Mexico, and helps keep you hydrated while traveling Mexico. (Read more)

3. Is it safe to rent a car in Tulum?

Yes — Renting a car in Mexico is one of the best ways to see the country! I always rent with Discover Cars, which checks both international companies and local Mexican companies, so you get the best rates. (Read more)

4. Will my phone work in Tulum?

Maybe — It depends on your company, so check with your provider. If you don’t have free Mexico service, buy this Telcel SIM Card. As Mexico’s largest carrier, Telcel has the best coverage of any Mexico SIM Cards. (Read more)

5. What’s the best way to book my Tulum accommodations?

For Tulum hotels, Booking.com is the best site, but for hostels, use Hostel World. If you’re considering a Mexico Airbnb, don’t forget to also check VRBO, which is often cheaper than Airbnb.

6. What do I pack for Tulum?

Head to the Ultimate Tulum Packing List to get all the info you need on packing for Mexico.

7. What’s the best site to buy Mexico flights?

For finding cheap Mexico flights, I recommend Skyscanner.

8. Do I need a visa for Mexico?

Likely Not — U.S., Canadian and most European Passport holders don’t need a visa for Mexico; but check here to see if you do a Mexico travel visa. The majority of travelers will receive a 180-Day FMM Tourist Visa or passport stamp upon arrival.