Gran Cenote is about 4 km (2.5 mi.) w. of Tulum via the road to the Cobá ruins (the jct. with Mex. 307 is at the n. end of town); watch for the signed turn-off on the right side of the road. From the entrance/parking area, access to the cenote is down a short path. This freshwater limestone sinkhole—shaped like a half moon—leads to a huge underground cave system. It offers good swimming and snorkeling in cool, clear blue water inhabited by fish and turtles. Divers, who suit up on the wooden decks overlooking the cenote, can explore subterranean caverns and passageways filled with stalactites and stalagmites. A series of wooden steps leads down to the water. Wear nonslip shoes while swimming or snorkeling.
About 3 kilometers (2 miles) farther down the road (watch for the turn-off on the left) is Car Wash Cenote, so named because locals once washed their vehicles here and you can drive right up to the water's edge. There's a diving platform for swimmers. This freshwater pond is home to lots of small tropical fish. Algae growth is heavy in the summer; the water is clearer during the winter months.
Snorkel gear and life jackets can be rented, or bring your own mask and gear. Parking, a snack bar and very basic restrooms are on site.
Recreational activities are permitted. Picnicking is permitted.