Since the sargassum seaweed has been a problem for the beaches of the Mayan Riviera, we decided to check out a cenote instead (water-filled sinkholes that make for wonderful swimming!).
Keep in mind that if you visit the Cancun and Mayan Riviera area when the sargassum is bad, things like cenotes become much more crowded. I highly suggest visiting in the morning if you want to avoid the crowds.
We rented a car in Cancun from Avante for our trip, and we used Google Maps to find the cenote. It is right on the main highway and easy to get to.
There are several cenotes right near each other in this area, so we slowed down and pulled off the shoulder as we got closer.
The cenote does have a large sign, but it is still possible to miss it as the sign is at the end of the parking lot.
There was plenty of parking when we arrived. I would also describe the cenote as packed by the time we left around 1pm, but the parking lot didn’t seem particularly crowded.
We were even able to find a shaded parking spot.
We paid at a ticket counter near the parking lot.
The entry fee was 150 pesos per person (about $7.50 USD). The price seems reasonable compared to others.
On the way to the cenote, you need to shower so that you don’t introduce things like sunscreen, bug spray, or other contaminants into the cenote (standard for cenotes).
There are bathrooms, changing rooms, lockers, and other facilities.
It is nice to have the option for these amenities. We have been to a few cenotes that had very few amenities or ones in more dilapidated conditions.
After swimming for a couple hours and it got close to lunch, we grabbed a quick snack and drink for the kids so we could extend our time there.
The water in Cenote Cristalino is chilly. We spent our prior week visiting several cenotes a few hours inland (as day trips from Valladolid), and this was probably the coldest. That being said, it was very refreshing on a hot day.
Cenote Cristalino consists of several connected cenotes.
As far as features, there was a spot to jump in from above. However there are no rope swings or zip lines.
This is a long cenote, with different areas to explore. Some areas are more open air, and then there are mangroves and parts where there is a cave roof over part of it.
At the far end of the cenote, there is a swing.
There is also a platform where you can jump off into the cenote.
It is fun to sit and watch the fish, which like to nibble on your feet.
When we arrived at the cenote around 9:30 am, we had the place pretty much to ourselves.
During our time there, there was a steady stream of people arriving. By the time we left (around noon-1pm), it was like a wall of people. We are not a fan of crowds, and I would recommend getting there early morning if you want a quieter experience.
Pros: Good price, jumping platform and swing, lots of fish to see, different parts to the cenote (open air, partial cave), lots of amenities (showers, bathrooms, food, rentals), adequate parking, life jackets are not mandatory
Cons: Gets crowded quickly