Cenote Chaak Tun: Perhaps The Most Creepy Cenote

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Beware: You should never explore wild caves alone or without proper gear. Consider getting in touch with a Grotto of the National Speleological Society at www.caves.org or a qualified cave club. These groups are skilled and will train you. Without sufficient knowledge, preparation, and equipment, cave exploring can lead to serious injury or death.

Cenote Chaak Tun is found in the heart of the Riviera Maya, between Cancún and Tulum, where its beautiful waters are tough to miss passing by. Chaak Tun is one of several well-known cenotes in the Playa del Carmen area. Some others include Cenote Azul, Gran Cenote, and Cenote Cristalino.

The headline isn’t meant to scare you, but as you’ll see soon enough, this cenote earns its reputation for being one of the more eerie experiences. For caving aficionados like you, though, this is a huge plus. It’s definitely a must-see when traveling to Playa del Carmen.

The pool at Chaak Tun is hard to forget. A small cave system, a community of bats, and a great snorkeling experience await you here. You’ll learn everything you need to know about this cenote in this article, and we hope you get a chance to see it in person soon!

An image shows Cenote Chaak Tun's stalactites and other cave formations lit up by probing sunlight from above.

Everything to Know about Cenote Chaak Tun

While there are thousands of cenotes to choose from, people have said that Cenote Chaak Tun is one of the best Playa del Carmen can offer. It’s also a bit unique in that this cenote has a more mysterious and ominous feel to it. With the caves offering plenty to explore, something you don’t always find with any open cenotes, this experience is definitely one of a kind.

It’s not as bright here as some of the more exposed cenotes, so while you will get to see some nice rays of sunlight piercing through, it may not be enough to see everything well. As a result, it’s a good idea to bring your own flashlight if possible. Another side effect of lack of light is, of course, a lower temperature. The water here is much colder than at some other cenotes.

The eerie atmosphere is magnified by various lighting of purple, green, and even red. You will feel like you’re walking through a horror movie set at some parts. Watch your head!

Chaak Tun is typically less crowded than some of the other popular cenotes, making it underrated on our own top cenotes list. The water is cold here, but wetsuits are available for rent.

One nice thing is that there’s an all-inclusive cost, providing you with a guided tour and supplies. You get a snorkel, a waterproof flashlight, life vest, and water shoes, which makes it a lot easier than visiting on your own. We’ll share some tours in a bit.

Bathrooms, lockers, and showers are available, but there aren’t any restaurants on site, so it is a good idea to go just before or after lunch (keeping some time between eating and swimming, of course).

While there’s no food, tequilas are available, and we are sure you’ll enjoy those.

Unfortunately, like with many other cenotes, you cannot bring your own GoPro or camera. You may elect to get pictures taken for you and then purchase them, but it’s a bit steep.

You will get to see some gorgeous stalactites here, and we hope you take full advantage of the time you get to explore the caves. It’s quite a sight, as you can see in some of our images.

An image showing the thousands of sharp stalactites hanging from the cave roof in Cenote Chaak Tun.

What Time is Cenote Chaak Tun Open?

Cenote Chaak Tun opens from 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM, year round. Note that some tours offer booking from 9:00 up to 5:00, so check in advance before you show up too early (or too late!). Sundays may close earlier, as early as 1:00 PM.

An image of the sign at Cenote Chaak Tun, displaying all the equipment that comes with the entrance ticket.


Entrance to Cenote Chaak Tun is around 1000 MXN ($50), and includes a life jacket and a locker. This makes it one of the more expensive cenotes, but because it includes a lot, it’s still worth it.

Many other cenote tours, especially hosted by other companies, are quite expensive. The included tour here is a bit shorter, but it will cover all the main aspects of exploring a cenote and the associated caves.

As mentioned earlier, you must pay extra to have photos taken, because they will not permit you to be your own photographer.

It’s a bummer, I know. This will cost you anywhere from 400 MXN to 1200 MXN for one photo or a batch, so it can get quite pricy.

Getting to Cenote Chaak Tun

Chaak Tun Cenote is just 5 minutes from the Highway 307 at the end of avenue Benito Juarez.

If you take a taxi, it will take about 15 minutes to travel west from Playa to reach the cenote. You can also arrange to get picked up in 2-3 hours if you wish, though we recommend budgeting about 4 hours in total.

Tips & Tricks when Visiting Cenote Chaak Tun

A wooden walkway leads visitors to Cenote Chaak Tun.

People have reported that the tours are not always great here. Several tourists reported that they felt disrespected and that the tours were not explained well. To remedy this, we have one main tip.

If you are fortunate enough you will meet Abel, Angelo, or Otoniel. But if you want to be proactive, try to arrange to show up when they are already there!

These are three of the guides here, and we recommend them. We can’t speak on the others.

You will likely run into someone when you first get there, so keep a lookout for shirts designating that they are part of a tour. If you are looking for a great tour with some humor and fun company, look out for one of these three guides!

What to Watch Out For

Be wary if you have claustrophobia or fear of darkness. There are some very tight corridors, and you may not love it here as much as some other cenotes. But while Cenote Chaak Tun is quite dark compared to other cenotes, it’s not always a bad thing. If you are brave enough to venture into the darkness, you will find a different kind of beauty at this cenote. As we mentioned earlier, the lighting is unique in some parts, and it’s quite an exhilarating experience, if you are not too timid.

The minimal light will highlight things in a new way, and you will surely remember the serene feeling of being in clear waters in such an isolated place. Be sure to have a good quality camera on you, if you don’t want to use your smart phone.

Finally, be in good enough physical shape to handle some flights of stairs. There are railings to keep you safe in case you stumble during your spelunking, but you may find it tiring, especially if you don’t wear some good quality caving boots.

Guided Tours and Diving in Cenote Chaak Tun

When you pay for your entrance to Cenote Chaak Tun, you also get a 2 hour tour. You will get to explore the underground areas of the caves. Plan for the total experience to take about 3-4 hours, however, because tours begin once every 45 minutes or so. In addition, transportation from Playa del Carmen will add another 20-25 minutes.

If you’d prefer another tour with some more time traveling around the surrounding area, learning about Mayan history, and more, we can recommend a few tours that are separate from the ones that begin at Cenote Chaak Tun.

Private Cenote Exploration Caving Tour

Price: $136.00

Location: El Sangha-Rito, at Av. CTM 5-MZA 58 LTE 5, Zazil-ha, 77720 Playa del Carmen, Q.R., Mexico

Start Time: 8:00 AM, for about 2-3 hours.

Description: This half-day trip to Tulum offers a visit to an archaeological site, where you’ll learn about ancient Mayan history and enjoy some beautiful scenery. You’ll get to visit the beach and go shopping if you desire as well. No meals are included here, so pack some food for the long walks!

You’ll get about 1 hour to swim in Cenote Chaak Tun after the Tulum archaeological tour.

Massive stalactites hang down from the ceiling in Cenote Chaak Tun's caves, and an image shows this aspect of the Private Cenote Exploration Caving Tour.

Tulum Mayan Ruins and Cenote Swim

Price: $89.00

Location: Arrange meetup from most major hotels in Cancun/Riviera Maya

Start Time: 7:00 AM, for about 6 hours

Description: This is more of a traditional caving tour, which takes you around Cenote Chaak Tun’s interior. You’ll get a helmet with a lamp, private transportation, snacks, bottled water, and a life jacket (optional). A wetsuit can be rented for $10 separately.

This tour runs all day, so you can book any time from 8:00 AM to about 8 PM.

A picture shows the beautiful white sand on the beach, as part of the Tulum Mayan Ruins and Cenote Chaak Tun tour.

Hotels Near Cenote Chaak Tun

Wyndham Garden Playa Del Carmen

Distance: 5.0 miles (8.1 km)

Rating: 8.0/10 (2400+ reviews)

Hotel Ambra

Distance: 4.9 miles (7.9 km)

Rating: 8.9/10 (1300+ reviews)

Vainilla Bed and Breakfast Mexico

Distance: 4.6 miles (7.4 km)

Rating: 9.3/10 (100+ reviews)

Quinta Santa Anita

Distance: 4.3 miles (6.9 km)

Rating: 8.4/10 (400+ reviews)

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