Visiting Cenote Calavera Tulum in 2024: The Ultimate Guide

woman swimming in cenote calavera tulum mexico

Want TO SWIM IN Cenote Calavera?

Cenote Calavera Tulum has become a top destination for travelers seeking adrenaline rushes and adventure. It is also one of the best Tulum cenotes, and among the most Instagram worthy cenotes in Mexico.

As I’ve been living in Mexico since 2018, you can imagine that I’ve explored countless cenotes — but none quite like this. The Calavera Cenote, which means “skull cenote,” is an underground cenote, but with a unique look all its own.

woman swimming in cenote calavera tulum

Prefer to go with a local? The best way to visit Cenote Calavera on a tour is to book this Tulum Monkey Sanctuary Punta Laguna & Cenote Calavera Tour (Rated 5 Stars ⭐️).

Beneath the surface is the longest underground river in the world, stretching for miles and waiting to be explored.

For this reason and more, Cenote Calavera is a favorite among Tulum visitors, cave divers, influencers and me — it’s one of my favorite cenotes in Mexico.

Ready to discover the mysteries of Cenote Calavera, as you dive through the Temple of Doom Cenote? Let’s dive in — and don’t worry, this cenote isn’t actually scary at all, despite it’s many ominous names (like the Temple of Doom Tulum Cenote).

Cenote Calavera Mexico: Complete Visitor’s Guide

man jumping into cenote calavera
Cenote Mexico Tulum Calavera (AKA the skull cenote because this cenote is shaped like a skull) is considered sacred by the ancient Mayans, and used for rituals and ceremonies.

Where is Cenote Calavera located?

Cenote Calavera is located at Carretera Tulum, Av. Coba Km 1.7, 77796 Tulum, Q.R., Mexico. Conveniently, it’s only about two miles (3 km) from Downtown Tulum (AKA Tulum Town or Tulum Pueblo).

📍 Cenote Calavera Map

Cenote Calavera is surrounded by a variety of other cenotes as well, like Gran Cenote, Cenote Zacil-Ha, Cenote Car Wash, and Cenote Atik.

📲 Tulum Travel Tips: I recommend anyone visiting to get a Mexico SIM Card, as your signal can go in and out in the more rural parts of the Yucatan, where Cenote Calavera is.

You can also download an offline map from Google Maps or Maps.Me before you drive to Cenote Calavera, and beyond. Looking for more cenotes near Tulum, Mexico? Check out 25 Best Tulum Cenotes.

Cenote Calavera Mexico

What are the Cenote Calavera hours?

Wondering, when is Cenote Calavera open so that you can plan your visit accordingly? Conveniently, it’s open 7 days a week, and you can visit Cenote Calavera daily, from 9am to 5pm.

What’s the best time to visit Cenote Calavera?

Right when they open — Early risers can take advantage of the 9am opening hour, as this is the best time to visit Cenote Calavera.

Arriving as soon as it opens means you’re there before the crowds start to gather.

Cenote Calavera Mexico

What’s the best day to visit Cenote Calavera?

Mondays to Thursdays — I’d suggest visiting Cenote Calavera on the weekdays, if you can.

cenote calavera ladder
This was a weekday afternoon, but it was still quite crowded at Cenote Calavera.

If you can’t visit on a weekday, opt for the early morning or late afternoon so you avoid the weekend afternoon crowds.

Cenote Calavera Mexico

How much time do I need at Cenote Calavera?

In 1-3 hours, you’ll have plenty of time to indulge in the clear waters and capture a few Instagram-worthy photos at Cenote Calavera.

Of course, you can spend the whole day at Cenote Calavera Mexico if you want to.

Depending on how much time you want to spend there, you can snorkel, swim, or even dive with a guide if you’re certified.

There are also wooden benches, hammocks and lounge chairs all around the cenote, which make the perfect places to relax.

Cenote Calavera Mexico

What’s the Cenote Calavera admission cost?

The Calavera Cenote entry fee is $250 MXN pesos per person (about $15 USD), and it is open year-round.

cenote calavera entrance
Entrance to Cenote Calavera is through large white gates, where you’ll pay for your admission.

If you can, you’ll want to bring exact change because they sometimes don’t have change and they don’t take credit cards anywhere on the property.

For those who want to take Cenote Calabera photos with your phone, that’s included the Calavera Cenote price. However, there’s also an additional cost of $250 MXN for (about $15 USD) to use professional cameras.

Cenote Calavera Tulum prices for entrance may change during peak or off seasons, so I’d recommend bringing a few extra pesos along with you for last-minute Cenote Calavera entrance fee changes.

NOTE: Cenote Calavera is Cash Only 

Don’t forget to bring cash, as this cenote is cash only. You’ll want to bring pesos, though they sometimes accept U.S. dollars, but at a low exchange rate.

For example, Cenote Calavera’s price to enter is $250 pesos, which is about $15 USD.

However, if you pay in dollars, you’ll likely end up paying $20 USD because the staff has to take your dollars to a currency exchange so they can get pesos — and you’ll pay that cost.

💡 Note: For more cenotes facts and information, see the Cenote Calavera Mexico FAQs at the end of this article.

Cenote Calavera Mexico

Cenote Calavera Layout and Structure

people at cenote calavera
When you’re in Tulum, you can visit Cenote Calavera and other cenotes on this half-day tour or this full-day tour.

Are there facilities at Cenote Calavera?

Yes — You have everything at Calavera Cenote Tulum Mexico from restrooms and life jack rentals, to food vendors and hammocks to nap in.

🚿 Cenote Calavera Showers & Restrooms

restrooms at cenote calavera tulum
There are rustic bathrooms at Cenote Calavera, but they get the job done.

To prepare for your dip in the cenote, you’ll be asked to rinse off in the newly built showers at the entrance.

As with nearly all Tulum cenotes, you’ll be required to shower before entering to preserve and protect the ecosystems.

Note: If you were planning to wear any sunscreen, insect repellent or lotion, don’t bother because you’ll have to rinse it off before you swim.

🦺 Cenote Calavera Life Jacket rentals

cenote calavera life jacket rentals

Life jackets are available for rent for $50 MXN pesos (about $3 USD) at Calavera Cenote. While they aren’t mandatory, if you’re feeling uneasy about cliff jumping, they make for a great safety net.

🔐 Cenote Calavera Lockers 

There are no lockers at Cenote Calavera in Tulum Mexico, so try not to bring valuables. If you do, bring a bag or case that can be locked to keep your belongings secured.

You might also consider this waterproof fanny pack so you keep your valuables on you at all times.

🛋️ Cenote Calavera sitting area

cenote calavera hammocks
Not all Tulum cenotes Mexico have hammocks available, but this one does!

Located around the Calavera Cenote, you’ll find hammocks and lounge chairs scattered through the jungle.

If you want to make sure you get a prime spot, arrive early. There are also a few vendors serving up snacks and drinks nearby.

🪜 Cenote Calavera Staircase to Enter (Wooden Ladder)

cenote calavera staircase ladder
The famous cenote rope swing is right next to the Cenote Calavera ladder.

The staircase to enter Cenote Calavera hangs at the top of the cenote. As mentioned, this is a popular destination so there’s sometimes a bit of a traffic jam here.

You’ll need to descend 8-feet down (2.5 m) on wooden steps that are steep and slippery in order to enter the cenote. Once you enter via the, you can sit on the famous Cenote Calavera swing.

Note: Make sure take your time and watch your step if you choose to use the staircase, as it gets really slippery. To make sure you don’t slip, bring your water shoes.

🥤 Cenote Calavera Snack bar

cenote calavera snack bar

There is a small snack shop onsite at the cenote where you can buy bottled water, sodas, beers and stronger boozy beverages, and some snacks like chips and packaged cookies.

🎟️ Cenote Calavera Tickets Counter

Right before you park, you’ll drive through the counter to purchase your entry tickets. After paying (don’t forget your cash), you’ll pack and make the short walk to the Cenote Calavera entrance.

Cenote Calavera Mexico

Are there restaurants at Cenote Calavera?

No — There is a snack bar at Cenote Calavera, but it does have limited options. If you want a restaurant, there are some located about a 10 minute drive from the cenote.

Cenote Calavera Mexico

How deep is Cenote Calavera?

The Cenote Calavera depth is 50-feet (15 m), making it one of the deepest cenotes in Tulum.

man jumping into cenote calavera tulum
Cenote Mexican Calavera is one of the best cenotes Mexico Tulum jumping spots.

While this may sound deep, this Tulum Mexico cenote isn’t even close to some of the deepest cenotes in the Yucatan — though it is still quite deep, and has miles of underwater caves beneath it to explore.

Because of this, and it’s impressive depth, Cenote Calavera is known as one of the best diving cenotes in Tulum. It has a large underground cave just waiting for divers to explore.

Cenote Calavera Mexico

Best Cenote Calavera Tours

man on the cenote calavera rope swing
Cenote Calavera has three separate entrances that resemble the shape of a human skull, hence its name.

The best way to explore Cenote Calavera is with this Tulum Monkey Sanctuary Punta Laguna Tour.

One of the tour highlights includes a stop at Cenote Calavera, plus some zip-lining fun and a canoe ride through a Tulum lagoon. 

With transportation taken care of you, you can focus on kicking back and having fun.

Tours offer the benefit of having a local guide to take you on an informative journey through the rich history of Tulum’s cenotes, offering an experience unlike any other.

Cenote Calavera Mexico

How to Get to Cenote Calavera On Your Own

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

Depending on your departure city, you can rent a car and head there on your own time, catch a ride with a taxi, or rent a bike and pedal your way there.

On the way, you’ll enjoy the scenery as you make your way about 2 miles (3 km) through the Yucatan jungle.

🚘 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.

Cenote Calavera Mexico

Can you visit Cenote Calavera on your own from Tulum?

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

Keep reading for the 5 best ways to get to Cenote Calavera from Tulum on your own.

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.

1. Drive your Tulum rental car

car rental tulum mexico locations
For more info on Mexico car rentals, head to Renting a Car in Tulum: Everything You Need to Know.

The best way to get to Cenote Calavera is via your own rental car, allowing you to travel the whole Yucatan Peninsula.

As someone who lives in Mexico and travels often, I personally use and recommend Discover Cars for all my rentals.

This company’s search feature will check prices at both local Mexico companies and large international companies so you get the best rates.

2. Cenote Calavera Bus or Colectivo

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

Colectivos are popular, affordable Tulum transportation options — great for getting to the top attractions in Tulum. Note: These aren’t great if you’re a cave diver with a lot of equipment.

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 south side of the street.

Hop on the colectivo (shared van) heading to Coba, and as you get on, let the driver know you’re going to Cenote Calavera so they can let you off there.

3. Hire a private driver or take a taxi

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 $200-300 MXN pesos (about $12-17 USD) each way from downtown Tulum to Calavera Cenote.

🚙 Cenote Calavera Pro Tip: This cenote in Tulum is located on 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.

If you’re hiring a private driver, 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.

4. Tulum Bike Rentals

bike parking at cenote calavera 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 Cenote Calavera, and to get around Tulum itself.

Being only three kilometers from Downtown Tulum, it’s close enough to reach rather quickly by bike.

⚠️ 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.

The bike ride from Tulum to Cenote Calavera should take about 20-30 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!

5. Tulum Scooter Rentals & ATV Rentals

Enjoy the wind in your hair as you breeze to Calavera Cenote Tulum with a scooter rental or ATV rental.

Not only is it a fun alternative to renting a car or taking a taxi, but it’s also a bit safer than walking or biking on the highway.

Cenote Calavera Mexico

How to get from Cancun to Cenote Calavera

cancun at night hotel zone
Cancun’s Hotel Zone is a long strip of land that runs along the coast and is home to numerous resorts, hotels, restaurants, and entertainment venues.

Cenote Calavera is located about 80 miles (130 km) from Cancun. With a direct route by rental car, you can arrive within two hours, depending on traffic.

If you’re looking for a more luxurious experience, taxi cabs and private shuttles are available, though they tend to be a bit pricey for a ride this far.

Alternatively, buses and colectivos are much more affordable but don’t provide much comfort, so I wouldn’t recommend that option.

  • Cancun to Cenote Calavera Distance: 80 miles (131 km)
  • Cancun to Cenote Calavera Travel Time: About 2.5-3 hours in normal traffic
  • View route on Google Maps
Cenote Calavera Mexico

How to get from Playa del Carmen to Cenote Calavera

people walking on 5th Avenue Playa del Carmen Mexico
Quinta Avenida, or Fifth Avenue Playa del Carmen, is the main pedestrian street and a hub of activity.

Travel from Playa del Carmen to Cenote Calavera in Tulum in just an hour. As they’re both located in Quintana Roo state, this makes for an easy day trip within the Riviera Maya.

This 40 miles journey (65 km) is a breeze with a rental car, but also possible by taxi and busses.

Once you reach Tulum, you can taxi, bike, or even walk to Calavera Cenote if the weather’s nice and you’re up for a short hike.

  • Playa del Carmen to Cenote Calavera Distance: 40 miles (65 km)
  • Playa del Carmen to Cenote Calavera Travel Time: About 1 hour in normal traffic
  • View route on Google Maps
Cenote Calavera Mexico

How to get from Valladolid to Cenote Calavera

colonial church in valladolid mexico
Valladolid has several significant landmarks, including the Valladolid Cathedral, Plaza Mayor, and the National Sculpture Museum.

Just an hour and a half ride will get you the 62 miles (100 km) from Valladolid to Cenote Calavera. Renting a car is, unsurprisingly, the most convenient option.

You can also take a bus to Tulum. From the ADO Tulum bus station, use any of the Tulum to Cenote Calavera options listed above, including taking a taxi to Cenote Calavera.

  • Valladolid to Cenote Calavera Distance: 62 miles (100 km)
  • Valladolid to Cenote Calavera Travel Time: About 1.5 hours in normal traffic
  • View route on Google Maps
Cenote Calavera Mexico

How to get from Merida to Cenote Calavera

pink building in merida mexico yucatan
Mérida has a well-preserved historic center with numerous buildings dating back to the colonial period.

The easiest way to get from Merida to Cenote Calavera is by rental car.

While a taxi may sound convenient, renting a car in Merida is the best way to go because it’s not likely you’ll find a taxi from Merida to Tulum unless you know a driver personally.

Now, this is a long trip, at 3.5-4 hours each way (7-8 hours round trip), but if you want to see one of the best Instagram worthy cenotes in Mexico, but well worth it.

However, if you’re looking for cenotes near Merida, check out these 30 Best Merida Cenotes You Must Visit.

If you don’t want to deal with the hassle of driving all day, take the ADO bus from Merida to Tulum, and then take a quick taxi ride to the cenote.

  • Merida to Cenote Calavera Distance: 159 miles (256 km)
  • Merida to Cenote Calavera Travel Time: About 3.5-4 hours in normal traffic
  • View route on Google Maps
Cenote Calavera Mexico

What to Bring to Cenote Calavera

chairs at cenote calavera mexico
There are lounge chairs and some amenities, but Cenote Calavera is pretty bare-bones, so bring everything you’ll need for the day.

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

Since this will likely be your first visit to any of the best Mexico cenotes, you’re probably unsure what to take and what to leave home. Don’t worry; I’m here to help!

Below, you’ll find a list of seven things you need to consider when making your Tulum cenotes packing list. This list will come in handy for other places too, beyond just Cenote Calavera.

If you’re visiting any cenotes in Tulum (or cenotes near Tulum), like Gran Cenote, Laguna Kaan Luum & Cenote, Cenote Sac Actun, Cenote Carwash, don’t forget the things below.

1. Go Pro Waterproof Camera

If you’ve been considering getting a GoPro Hero, the photogenic Yucatan cenotes make for the perfect place to put the camera 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 any cenote in Mexico.

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 opt 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

In full disclosure, this isn’t one of the best snorkeling cenotes in Tulum.

However, if you do plan to snorkel, in Cenote Calavera to see the rocks underneath and all the little fish, you’ll need your own equipment.

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

4. Water Shoes

Here’s one of the best Cenote Calavera 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 a waterproof phone case, you can take your phone in water and capture the Tulum cenotes from all angles — including those cool underwater shots.

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.

Wondering about lockers at Cenote Calavera? Sadly, there are no Cenote Calavera locker rental options, so the best option is to keep all your belongings on you with a waterproof waist bag.

7. Quick Dry Towel

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

8. Cash

Most cenotes are cash-only. While some cenotes take credit cards for your admission, 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.

Cenote Calavera Mexico

Best Things to Do at Cenote Calavera

girl swimming in cenote calavera
A Cenote Calavera swim should be on your Tulum bucket list. (Photo: Unsplash, Beautiful places)

Can you go swimming at Cenote Calavera?

Yes — Cenote Calavera offers a one-of-a-kind swimming experience with opportunities to cliff jump and swim around.

While you’re swimming, you can take in the unique rock formations within its large underground caves beneath the surface. Life jackets aren’t required, but they are available to rent if you need one.

Cenote Calavera Mexico

Can you go snorkeling at Cenote Calavera? 

Yes — There is a small area ideal for snorkeling, but overall, there’s not a lot to see.

If you’re looking for the best Tulum snorkeling cenotes, head to Cenote Car Wash (AKA Cenote Aktun-Ha), El Gran Cenote, Cenote Dos Ojos and Cenote Escondido.

Cenote Calavera Mexico

Can you go diving at Cenote Calavera?

Yes — Cenote Calavera diving is an absolute must for any cave diving enthusiast up for the challenge.

With its underground caverns and magnificent rock formations, this beautiful cenote is one of the best Tulum cave dives for experienced divers.

You’ll quickly see why it’s called the Temple of Doom cenote as you descend deep into the caves — so far that you might even run into this sign in one of the underground caves along the way.

The halocline, which is the area where freshwater meets salt water, can be found beneath the surface.

This dreamlike halocline makes Cenote Calavera a favorite destination for divers because it looks otherworldly.

🤿 Note: Before you pack your gear, diving at Cenote Calavera requires an advanced certification and must be done with a professional guide. Luckily, dive shops all around Tulum will help you plan your dive. Trust me, it’s worth every penny!

Cenote Calavera Tulum: FAQ & Travel Guide

woman walking into ven a la luz Tulum sculpture of a wooden man
Don’t miss the famous Tulum statue, a landmark of the distinctive Tulum bohemian vibe and laid-back atmosphere that appeals to so many travelers.

What’s the closest city to Cenote Calavera?

The beach city of Tulum is the closest city to Calavera Cenote, and in fact, Calavera Cenote is located in Tulum Mexico.

🚗 Tulum to Cenote Calavera

  • Tulum to Cenote Calavera Distance: 2 miles (3 km)
  • Tulum to Cenote Calavera Travel Time: About 10-15 minutes in normal traffic
  • View route on Google Maps

How to get to Cenote Calavera from Tulum is easy because the cenote is only 2 miles (3 km) away from Tulum Town. Note: Tulum Town is also called Tulum Pueblo or Downtown Tulum.

While Tulum is famous for Mayan culture, the ancient Tulum Ruins, unwinding on the Tulum beaches, and the entertainment, nightlife, and party scene — don’t forget to add Cenote Calavera to your Tulum itinerary.

With so many things to do in Tulum, Cenote Calavera is still well worth a visit as it’s an unforgettable experience for scuba divers and swimmers alike.

Cenote Calavera Mexico

Is there parking at Cenote Calavera?

Yes — There are actually two parking lots at Cenote Calavera where you can leave your rental car free of charge.

parking at cenote calavera
The Cenote Calavera parking lot located near the cenote entrance.

One is a gravel parking lot located right off the main highway road where you enter Cenote Calavera.

The other is much closer to the cenote itself, and once you enter the faciliaty, just drive all the way to the end and you’ll the lot.

Driving to Cenote Calavera is a great option, as you can explore other cenotes near Tulum Town as well — like Gran Cenote Tulum, Cenote Zemway, Casa Cenote Manati, Cenote Carwash (AKA Cenote Aktun Ha) and Parque de Cenotes Yaxmuul.

Many of these are located on Avenida Coba (AKA Carretera Tulum Coba), near the center of Tulum Town. For reference, Cenote Calavera is located at Carretera Tulum Coba km 1.7.

Cenote Calavera Mexico

What’s the best time to go to Cenote Calavera? 

Weekdays at 9am — Set your alarm because the best time to visit Cenote Calavera to avoid the crowds is 9am sharp, as soon as it opens!

By noon, especially on the weekends, the masses will have arrived, and this quiet cenote turns into a bustling attraction.

If you’re able to visit on a weekday, you’ll have much more space to yourself at Calavera Cenote. This is a small cenote, and a very popular one, so it does get very crowded.

Cenote Calavera Mexico

Is Cenote Calavera free?

No — Cenote Calavera is not free. The entrance to Calavera Cenote is $250 pesos (about $15 USD) per person.

Cenote Calavera Mexico

How do you get the best Cenote Calavera photos?

The first tip to getting the perfect photos of Cenote Calavera is to arrive right when they open to you can have the place all to yourself.

people at Cenote Calavera Mexico

If you do that, getting the shot is a breeze in this breathtaking cenote!

Besides the famous Cenote Calavera rope swing, you’ll want to capture the cenote’s skull shape from above so people can see why it’s called the skull cenotes.

Next up, get your photo op with the iconic swing and staircase descending into the cenote — two of Tulum’s most popular photo attractions

Adrenaline junkies can take their photos to the next level by capturing some epic cliff jumps into one of the best cenotes of Tulum Mexico.

With such a beautiful and unique place, there’s no filter is needed in this paradise. Your Instagram followers will thank you!

What NOT to Do: 3 Cenote Calavera Pro Tips

1. Sunscreen is not allowed at Cenote Calavera

showers at cenote calavera

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 Calavera.

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 Calavera on weekends (If you can help it)

There have been quite a few mentions throughout this article about this being one of the most Instagram-worthy cenotes in Mexico.

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 Calavera 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. Forget to Bring Your Own Food to Cenote Calavera 

Unlike other Tulum Mexico cenotes, Calavera Cenote 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 Calavera grows in popularity, they’ve made it more convenient by adding a few small food stands with vendors offering food and drinks for guests to enjoy.

Cenote Calavera Mexico

What are cenotes?

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

people swimming at cenote calavera
Cenote Calaveras Mexico, also known as the Temple of Doom or “Skull Cenote,” is a popular cenote in Tulum, Mexico.

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.

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 the largest underground river on Earth, the Sistema Sac Actun.

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

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 pronunciation is sen-no-tay in singular. It’s sen-no-tays in plural, as in the word “cenotes.”

Cenote Calavera 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.

cenote calavera sign
When you visit any cenote, it’s essential to respect the rules and guidelines provided by the cenote management.

Is Cenote Calavera worth visiting?

Yes — But it might not be a place you want to spend the whole day. Since there are other cenotes located nearby, you’ll want to add Cenote Calavera to your Tulum itinerary, but also check out a few other cenotes too.

Cenote Calavera Mexico

Understanding the Cenote Calavera cave system

Cenote Calavera’s cave system is a world of wonder waiting to be explored.

As part of the Sistema Sac Actun Cave System, Calavera’s underground river holds the title of being the longest underground river in the world. 

As you navigate through the circle of rivers that flow beneath the surface, you’ll discover ancient wall sculptures and unique rock formations creating a natural underground art museum. The dive through the caves will take about an hour.

But remember, the only way to explore the cave system is with a professional guide and diving certification.

Cenote Calavera Mexico

Cenote Calavera History

The name of Cenote Calavera originates from the Spanish word calavera. Calavera in English translates to “skull” (or more specifically, “human skull”).

cenote calavera sign
The skull-shaped opening is just the beginning of this cenote’s history.

Aptly named as the skull cenote, it’s uniquely shaped like a skull, with one large hole and two small holes.

If you can’t visualize it, the large main hole is the cranium, and the smaller holes are eye sockets — and from above, the cenotes looks kind of like this 💀

Cenote Calavera Mexico

Why do they call Cenote Calavera the Temple of Doom?

It’s said that Cenote Calavera was used to be a cemetery, where remains of more than 100 bodies have been found — earning it a second name as the Temple of Doom Cenote.

Cenote Calavera Mexico

What are the best cenotes near Cenote Calavera Tulum?

Many of the best cenotes in Yucatan are located in Tulum, which is one of the things that makes Tulum so famous.

There are many natural sinkholes and beautiful Mexico cenotes near Cenote Calavera, like these:

1. Cenote Dos Ojo

diving in cenote dos ojos
Cenote Dos Ojos is a perfect cenote for snorkeling and diving.

Experience the wonder of Cenote Dos Ojos (meaning “two eyes cenote”), two mesmerizing natural sinkholes linked by an alluring underground passageway.

Certified divers can swim through a world of wonder to explore more than 300 (482 km) miles of natural cave systems. If you’re not a diver, Dos Ojos is a favorite snorkeling cenote in Tulum as well.

🤿 Looking for the best Cenote Dos Ojos Tour: Book this Cenote Dos Ojos Private Tour with Mayan Lunch

2. Cenote Escondido

cenote escondido
Cenote Escondido is another must-visit cenote in Tulum Yucatan Mexico.

Embark on an underwater journey just a short distance from Tulum, and discover the beauty of Cenote Escondido.

Immerse yourself in water up to 13-feet-deep (20 m), where you can float, swim, and snorkel your way through its breathtaking sites.

🤿 Looking for the best Cenote Escondido Tour? Book this Cenote Triple Adventure Tour – Trail Jungle Bike Experience

3. Cenote Cristalino

woman floating in cenote cristalino
Cenote Cristalino suits its name because of its crystal clear waters, perfect for snorkeling.

As its name infers, Cenote Cristalino’s crystal clear waters are a sight to behold.

This open-air cenote offers incredible snorkeling, cliff jumping, and swimming opportunities, plus a hidden oasis hiding behind the cave-like formation.

4. Cenote Zacil Ha

people swimming at cenote zazil ha
The word zacil-ha means “clear water” in the Mayan language, which perfectly suits the crystal-clear cenote.

Take a dip in Cenote Zacil-Ha, located on the outskirts of the town of Tulum. Its great amenities, like cabins, a zipline, and a restaurant, make it a must-visit cenote near Calavera Cenote.

🤿 Looking for the best Cenote Zacil-Ha Tour? Book this 4×1 Tour of Tulum, Coba, Cenote and Playa del Carmen

Cenote Calavera 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 (Swimming Pool cenotes)

woman in black bikini swimming in gran cenote
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 Gran Cenote.

2. Semi-Open Cenotes

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.

A great example of a semi-open is Cenote Ik-Kil, located within close proximity of Chichen Itza Mayan Ruins.

3. Closed Cenotes in Caves

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 Cenote Calaveras Mexico)

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! 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 Cenote Calavera Tulum

people at cenote calavera yucatan

When it comes to exploring Tulum’s natural beauty, visiting Cenote Calavera Mexico is a must-do.

It’s one of the best cenotes in Tulum Mexico, and one of the most famous cenotes in Tulum Mexico — and for good reason.

The skull-shaped opening of this unique cenote does make for the perfect photo op, but as I’ve outlined in this complete guide that’s just the beginning of what Calavera Cenote has to offer. 

Divers will be in awe of the deep cave system with miles of exploration. Adrenaline junkies will get their kicks cliff-jumping 10-feet into the Earth. Nature lovers will bask in the beauty of Tulum’s most precious natural wonder. 

So put on your bathing suit, grab your gear, and get ready for the adventure of a lifetime at Tulum Cenote Calavera – The Temple of Doom Cenote.

Additional Tulum Cenote Blogs

drone shot of Cenote Corazon del Paraiso heart-shaped cenote
Tulum is home to more than 200 cenotes, so there’s more to explore, like the heart-shaped Corazon Cenote.

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:

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, 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.