On our first trip to Mexico we were only able to visit one cenote: Dos Ojos. It was love at first sight. Swimming in a cave clear as crystal, shared with local fish where you can see to the very bottom depths, surrounded by a natural cave in which stalactites are covering the ceiling while wading in crisp fresh water is bliss. We knew we wanted to come back and visit as many as possible, as soon as possible. One of our new favorite cenotes in the Mexican Riviera is Cenote Cristalino which possesses the most beautiful clear waters, a jumping cliff and three separate swimming caverns.
► Ranking: #cleandiaper
Carretera Federal 307, Playa del Carmen
Quintana Roo, Mexico
Hours: 10a – 5p
Price: $100 pesos for kids (ages not defined) | $150 pesos for adults (Cash Only)
Lockers: $50 pesos
Cenotes throughout the Yucatan are located every time you blink. Sometimes you’ll find them easily after a quick turn off the main road, and sometimes you’ll have to travel down a bumpy road, but each has a unique experience waiting to offer you an impressive adventure. Cenotes are well marked, and you’ll find painted signs luring you to take a dip in the fresh waters.
You’ll find Cenote Cristalino by heading South from Playa del Carmen, heading towards Tulum. It is approximately 35 minutes from the city center by car and located near several other cenotes including Cenote Azul and Cenote El Jardin. You’ll find a large painted sign at the entrance and parking is free.
There are over 7,000 cenotes located throughout Mexico! We’ve truly tried our best to visit as many of them as possible, but we still were only able to add five more to our adventures during our most recent visit. Why have we visited so few when there are so many?
Spending the day at most cenotes is an all day affair. Many are connected to others through complex cave systems. Others have multiple swimming caverns. There are hiking trails, beautiful views, and a calming and relaxing atmosphere. Once you arrive, you never want to leave.
At Cenote Cristalino you’ll find families bring picnic lunches, books, cards and games and spend the entire afternoon as you would at your local pool. It’s just far more beautiful here and offers a chance to commune with nature.
Cenote Cristalino is one of the most beautiful cenotes we have ever visited. The sun shines through the vines and leaves on the trees and reflects on the water casting an exquisite glow throughout the lagoon. Every shade of green can be admired here from the trees to the mangroves to the algae on the rocks to the reflection on the surface of the pool. The water is calm, everyone is happy, and the humidity and heat are bearable with the crisp fresh water.
Garra Ruffa fill the water bed and gently nibble on your feet and legs as you swim or soak at Cenote Cristalino. The water is teeming with life and they do their job increasingly well. As my twins took turns jumping off the pool cliff I enjoyed a leisurely pedicure included in the price of admission. We also found blue crabs wandering around the lagoon and peeking in and out of rocks to watch the procession of swimmers.
Our favorite part of the day was spent at the jumping cliff. It is a natural bridge that spans over the pool and is bordered by a fence on one side. The cliff itself is approximately 15 feet / 4.5 meters high into a minimum depth of 18 feet / 6 meters deep.
Our kids loved jumping off this cliff over and over and over again. Even Eclair wanted to get in on the action, but being so little the water slapped her legs and as much as she loved the jump, didn’t want to brave it again. Instead, she stuck to the smaller pool jumps.
► For Kids: Our youngest daughter complained about how cold the water was, even though the temperature felt perfect to the rest of us. Due to the high density of jungle a lot of the pool is shaded, and because the water is fresh and constantly circulated it is not heated by the sun. We found however, when she took off her life jacket she no longer complained, so we think the complaining may have had more to do with feeling limited in her behaviors. Aside from this, swimming at Cenote Cristalino is a treat for the entire family and a truly remarkable way to spend the day.
At some cenotes, the life jackets are extra, but here at Cenote Cristalino they were included. They also offer lockers for an additional fee, and snacks, treats and fresh fruit are also available for an added expense. Two bathrooms plus changing rooms are available for guest use both at the entrance, and closer to the pools.
► Nap-Time Version: Swimming at Cenote Cristalino in the Yucatan and cliff jumping with our seven year old twins was the highlight of our Friday in Mexico.