Cenote Caracol in Tulum Mexico was an unexpected surprise. It was the most mysterious cenote I visited in all of the Yucatan Peninsula, by far. The vast underground cave, the chilling water, and the swimming fish all made for an immersive cenote experience. Don’t miss Cenote Caracol, a mysterious and dark underground cenote in Tulum!
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Cenote Caracol: An Unexpected Surprise
Admittedly, Cenote Caracol was not on my “must see” list while in Tulum. And that is simply because I had never heard of it or read anything about it in my research!
I quite literally stumbled upon Cenote Caracol after my failed attempt at finding Cenote Taak Bi Ha. While on the long dirt road, I passed a sign for Cenote Caracol on my way in, and on my way out I decided to stop on a whim, mostly so that my trek wouldn’t have been for nothing.
Am I ever glad I did!
This cenote is a dark, underground, mysterious hidden gem. It is so worth the trek to get here. Stalactites hang in infinite numbers from the cave ceiling above, reaching down toward the water’s surface. Bright blue and yellow lights illuminate an otherwise pitch black cavern.
Cenote Caracol is part of the Sac Actun Cave System, spanning throughout the Yucatan Peninsula. This is one of the world’s largest cave systems, and I highly recommend you also visit Cenote Sac Actun while you’re in Mexico.
Keep on reading for information on location, entry fees, and facilities!
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Visiting Cenote Caracol – The Basics
- Operating Hours: 8 AM to 5 PM
- Entrance Fee: $300 pesos (yes, the price has gone up)
- Scuba Diving: Yes
- Good for Swimming: Yes
- Facilities: Outdoor showers
- Car Parking: Yes (Free)
How To Get There:
Depending on the season, the access road can be challenging to drive. It is dirt, with large hills, bumps, and potholes. In the dry season, access by an economy car is possible if you take it slow. Very slow. In the wet season, you will definitely need 4WD!
To reach Cenote Caracol, you will be turning off of Highway 307 onto a small dirt road. The turnoff to the dirt road can be easily missed, so be sure to use GPS and the Google Map below.
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After following the signs to the free parking area at Cenotel Caracol, you will pay your entrance fee and be shown around.
There are two distinct areas at Cenote Caracol; the completely underground swimming hole as well as a partially underground / partially open air walkable area.
The open air portion showcases tropical plants surrounding the cool waters. You’ll follow a wooden pathway to get an up-close-and-personal introduction to the cave system.
Before swimming, visitors will need to use the above-ground showers and changing rooms. It is required for visitors to shower off all sunscreen, bug spray, or lotions that you might be wearing before entering.
Mexico does a great job of trying to preserve these pristine waters, and it’s easy to do your part
Then, to find the swimming hole, you’ll need to go through a fairly small underground opening. Carefully venture down the stairs, and what awaits is a surprisingly large cavern – a lot larger than I would have guessed – with some brightly lit areas as well as some dark and spooky corners.
At the bottom of the entry ladder, there is a small wooden “dock” (for lack of a better term) where you can place any towels, cameras, or bags you may have.
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Swimming in an Underground Cave: Cenote Caracol
On the day that I visited, there was not one other human around, for the entire time I was there. The only critters I met were lots of fruit bats and small to medium fish, all enjoying the cave they call home.
Side note, though there are tons mosquitoes at the opening of the cenote, once you are inside, the bats keep them at bay.
Upon entering the glowing water, everything feels crisp and cool. The water here gets quite deep, so you should be fairly comfortable with your swimming abilities or use a lifejacket when possible! I would recommend that only confident swimmers explore the rocky stalagmites.
The fact that I had the place to myself made my visit incredible. The vast dark corridors, the echoing drips, and the sounds of fluttering bat wings above me made everything feel mysterious and calm.
Divers would have a field day swimming through underground passageways here. Though I have been scuba diving in the past, I did not dive at Cenote Caracol.
The waters are completely safe, but deep, and keep watch for large rocks so that you don’t kick them while swimming.
Is it Worth it to Visit Cenote Caracol?
Cenote Caracol is one of Tulum’s hidden gems – quite literally. I don’t believe I would have found or heard of this beautiful cenote if it weren’t for my search mentioned above. It’s certainly not one of the more well-known cenotes in Tulum!
But that’s really a shame if you ask me, because this cenote is truly for the adventurous travelers of Tulum. I was on a solo trip in Mexico when I stumbled across Cenote Caracol, and could not have been more pleased with my visit. Not one. other. soul. was here.
This cenote is undeniably breathtaking! I’d go again in a heartbeat – and you should, too!
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Would you swim this cenote alone? Let me know in the comments below!