The Coba Cenotes are three of the most outstanding cenotes in the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico. The crystal clear waters in the cavernous expanse of these hidden lagoons are simply incredible. Teamed with a visit to the outstanding Coba Ruins and you have a truly adventurous day on your hands. In this travel guide, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about visiting Cenote Choo-Ha, Cenote Tankach-Ha and Cenote Multum-Ha (AKA Coba Cenotes) including how to cycle there.
But first, what is a cenote?
Check out our Best Cenotes In Mexico guide for information about more incredible cenotes!
Table of Contents
What Are Cenotes?
Cenotes are natural sinkholes typically found throughout Mexico. Although, the name is also used to describe similar sinkholes in places like the USA and Australia. Cenotes usually form when limestone above the underground water chamber collapses, revealing the underground pool below.
If there is a sturdier rock above the collapsed limestone, then the cenote remains concealed within a cavernous chamber. All three Coba Cenotes are examples of cavernous cenotes. Some cenotes are half open, meaning part is covered by a cave roof, and the other part is open air. And then finally, there are some cenotes that are completely open air and more resemble a pool. Bacalar in Mexico has four excellent examples of open-air cenotes and is well worth a visit.
You’ll find the water in many of the underground cenotes to be crystal clear. This is because the rainwater that often fills the cenotes is naturally filtered through the above rocks before dripping into the pool below.
Cenotes and the Mayans
Cenotes were hugely important to the ancient Maya civilisation. They were commonly used as a source of water, which is why you’ll often find cenotes close to Mayan ruins. Mexico’s Coba Ruins and cenotes are no different. Also, the Mayans would often use cenotes for sacrificial and religious purposes.
The word ‘cenote’ actually derives from the Yucatec Mayan tsʼonoʼot. Spoken in the Yucatan Peninsula, the word refers to any accessible groundwater. Incredibly, there are around 6,000 cenotes in the Yucatan Peninsula alone. So, being able to tick three off in one visit to the Coba Cenotes may be great bang for buck, but there’s still a long way to go if you wish to see them all!
Cycling to Coba Cenotes
One of the best and most adventurous ways to visit Cenote Choo-Ha, Cenote Multum-Ha and Cenote Tankach-Ha is to hire bicycles from Coba town and cycle there yourself.
Bikes can be hired for $150MXN ($8.50USD) per person. You’ll need to head to the ticket booth at the Coba Archaeological Site Car Park to pay. After paying the rental and leaving a form of ID behind (we found it could be quite basic and doesn’t necessarily need to be your passport), you’ll then be directed to the neighbouring restaurant to choose your wheels.
Now, you’re ready to set off to Coba Cenotes!
Cycling to the Coba Cenotes is very easy. Simply pull the directions up on Google Maps or Maps.Me and away you go. The cycle takes around 20 minutes to the ticket office and the first two cenotes of Choo-Ha and Tankach-Ha. The ride is along mostly paved roads and we found any traffic to be quite minimal.
The cycle from Cenote Choo-Ha and Tankach-Ha to Cenote Multum-Ha requires following a long unpaved path, so expect a bit of a bumpy cycle ride for this section. The total cycle between all three Coba Cenotes is around 30 minutes.
I can honestly say, plunging into the Coba Cenotes feels even better after a hot cycle under the Mexican sun! Please see the map below for guidance on the cycle route from Coba Ruins Car Park to the cenotes. The route sees you cycle past the beautiful Coba Lagoon, where you should definitely look out for baby turtles wandering around the edges.
Visiting the Coba Cenotes
Once at the Coba Cenotes, you’ll find three stunning blue pools to visit. They are Cenote Choo-Ha, Cenote Multum-Ha and Cenote Tankach-Ha. Indeed, they are some of the best cenotes in or close to Tulum.
Cenote Choo-Ha is the most well-known and popular of the Coba Cenotes. This is likely because the waters are shallow and very family-friendly. There are impressive stalagmites and stalactites growing from the cavern floor and ceilings, respectively. Indeed, it’s almost a mini Cenote Suytun.
Cenote Choo-Ha stands side by side with Cenote Tankach-Ha, making them easy to visit together, even if you decide not to head to Cenote Multum-Ha as well. That’s because Cenote Multum-Ha sits alone on the opposite side of the road down a long dirt track.
Cenote Choo-Ha is perhaps the most visually stunning of the three Coba Cenotes. Although, during our visit, there was a power cut, so the views didn’t last for long. Very generously though, we received a refund.
After a dip in Cenote Choo-Ha, you can head next door to Cenote Tankach-Ha. Tankach-Ha cenote requires a steep climb below ground to access the turquoise water. It’s a thrill seeker’s dream down here, with two platforms from which to jump into the vibrant waters below. Don’t worry, there’s a ladder you can use to climb back out.
Lastly, there’s Cenote Multum-Ha to see. Multum-Ha cenote requires a little extra effort to reach. It’s positioned away from the other two Coba Cenotes, down a long and bumpy dirt track. Here, you’ll be blown away by the crystal clear blue waters of this fabulous natural pool. Enclosed in a cavern of rich oranges and creams, it feels like another world. In truth, Cenote Multum-Ha is the perfect swimming hole. There’s a large wooden jetty and ladder that gives easy access in and out of the pool. But of course, you’re free to jump in and make a splash too.
So, exactly where are the Coba Cenotes in Mexico?
Where Are the Coba Cenotes?
The Coba Cenotes of Cenote Choo-Ha, Cenote Tankach-Ha and Cenote Multum-Ha are located outside of Tulum in the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico. As part of the Yucatan Peninsula, the Coba Cenotes are just three of 6,000 littering this exquisite area.
Coba Cenotes Map
Feel free to click on the interactive map below to see exactly where the Coba Cenotes are found.
How to Get to Coba Cenotes
There are a few different options for getting to Coba to visit Cenote Choo-Ha, Cenote Tankach-Ha and Cenote Multum-Ha, depending on where in Mexico you’re travelling from. Below, we’ll look at transport options to get to Coba from Tulum, Playa del Carmen and Cancun, before heading on to the cenotes.
Taking the bus to Coba is one of the most convenient and cheapest ways to reach the cenotes. Dan and I travelled to Coba from Tulum as a day trip using ADO, which is a reliable bus service that operates in Mexico. We used them for the majority of our bus rides throughout our month-long stay in Mexico.
At the time we visited, the price for a one-way ticket to Coba was $58MXN ($3.50USD) per person, with the journey taking one hour. We were unable to book a return, but you can simply pay when you board the bus from Coba back to Tulum. The first bus leaves around 8:30am, with return times at 2pm and 5pm. If you have updated times and prices, please drop them in the comments section below to keep the information up to date for fellow travellers.
Dan and I actually didn’t return by bus to Tulum from Coba and the cenotes. That’s because the bus was hugely delayed and we had no idea when it would show up. So instead, along with some fellow travellers, we hopped in a Colectivo. The price was $70MXN ($4USD) per person, so only marginally more than the bus. So, the Colectivo is another option to consider.
ADO operate buses to Coba from Cancun and Playa del Carmen also.
Once in Coba, you can then arrange a bicycle rental to get to the cenotes.
For a quick, private and straightforward mode of transport to Coba Cenotes in Mexico, you can take a taxi. Always ask for the price before you set off. You can ask your hotel to book you a taxi or simply flag one down from central Tulum along the main road. If travelling from Playa del Carmen or Cancun, the taxi ride will be considerably more.
By Rental Car
One of the easiest ways to get around Mexico and visit the Coba Cenotes is to drive yourself by hiring a car.
Getting to Coba Cenotes with a car is very straightforward, with parking found at each one. Of course, you could always leave your car in Coba and cycle to Cenote Choo-Ha, Cenote Tankach-Ha and Cenote Multum-Ha, just for the fun of it.
If you want to hire something, we recommend hiring a car using Rentalcars.com. You’ll find a variety of cars on Rental Cars, which are very easy to book online. Personally, Dan and I have used Rental Cars plenty of times and never had any problems. Drive times and distances are as follows.
Coba Cenotes Guided Tour
Of course, if you want all of the hassle taken care of when it comes to visiting Coba Cenotes, then you could opt to take a Tulum to Coba Ruins and Cenote Tour. GetYourGuide offers some excellent Coba tour options from Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Tulum. A Coba Cenote tour will usually include a visit to Coba Ruins. But, hey, you should definitely be visiting there as well whilst you’re here.
Any visit to Coba shouldn’t just be about Cenote Choo-Ha, Cenote Tankach-Ha and Cenote Multum-Ha. Simply put, you must visit the Coba Ruins too. On our day trip to Coba from Tulum, Dan and I visited Coba Ruins in the morning before hiring our bicycles and cycling to the Coba Cenotes. We highly recommend you do the same.
The Coba Ruins in Mexico are one of the best Mayan cities to visit in the Yucatan Peninsula. You can explore the large (though not as big as Chichen Itza) archaeological site on foot, by bike, or by booking one of the tricycle taxis. Some of the highlights of Coba Ruins in Mexico include the main pyramid of Ixmoja, La Iglesia (the Church), Xaibé (the Observatory), Las Pintuas (the Paintings) and Mayan ball courts.
Read more: How To Visit The Coba Mayan Ruins In Mexico
Useful Things to Know Before You Go to Coba Cenotes
Below, we’ll briefly touch on a few important things to know before you get to the Coba Cenotes.
Coba Cenotes Opening Hours
The Coba Cenotes of Choo-Ha, Multum-Ha and Tankach-Ha are open from 9am to 6pm, seven days a week.
Coba Cenotes Entrance Fees
The entry fee is $100MXN ($5.80USD) per person, per Coba Cenote. You can pay for all cenotes at once if you want to visit all three. Unfortunately, there’s no special deal for visiting all three. The ticket office for the Coba Cenotes is located here along the Quintana Roo/Coba main road out of town.
Please do drop any price amendments in the comments section below to keep the information as up-to-date as possible for other travellers.
Facilities at the Coba Cenotes
The facilities at each of the Coba Cenotes are basic but adequate. You’ll find bathrooms and showers/changing rooms. It’s required to shower before venturing down to Cenote Choo-Ha, Cenote Tankach-Ha and Cenote Multum-Ha. Washing off any deodorant and sunscreen you might have on is important to prevent polluting the waters with harmful chemicals that might upset the ecosystems.
There’s generally somewhere to hire a life jacket if you desire, although you’ll not need that in the shallow waters of Cenote Choo-Ha. You’ll also find lockers next to the entrances to the cenotes to use to keep your belongings safe if you don’t want to cart them around with you. Food and drink should be bought in Coba town before you arrive as there’s little opportunity once at the cenotes to purchase anything.
Where to Stay Near the Coba Cenotes, Mexico
There are a number of accommodation options in Coba and close to the cenotes and ruins. Alternatively, Tulum is one of the most convenient places to stay for access to Coba, Mexico. Below, we’ll take a look at some of the best budget, mid-range and luxury options in both locations, starting with Coba accommodation.
Malinche Cafe in Coba Tulum – Budget
The Malinche Cafe in Coba Tulum might appeal to a tighter budget, but, still, this hotel is a truly fabulous stay. This homestay offers a wonderful and authentic stay in Coba. They also serve up some tasty grub!
Kaab Coba – Mid-range
Kaab Coba is a fantastic mid-range hotel option, featuring a restaurant and an outdoor pool. Additionally, the staff can even arrange tours for you.
Coqui Coqui Papholchac Coba Residence & Spa – Luxury
Stay in the Mexican jungle at Coqui Coqui Papholchac Coba Residence & Spa and wake up next to the Coba Ruins. In fact, you can literally walk to Coba Ruins from this outstanding hotel. The rustic yet contemporary decor is fantastic. You’d be hard-pressed to find a more perfect place to kick back and relax on your Mexico trip.
Accommodation in Tulum
Let’s take a quick look at some alternative accommodation options in nearby Tulum.
- Budget – Mayan Monkey Tulum: the highly-rated Mayan Monkey Tulum hostel features a restaurant, an outdoor swimming pool, a bar and a garden.
- Mid-range – Ruta Del Sol: the popular Ruta Del Sol is a fairly budget-friendly hotel for those wanting a private room with a private bathroom. Dan and I stayed here and the central location was very convenient for sightseeing in and around Tulum.
- Luxury – Hotel Ma’xanab Tulum: if you’re looking for luxury in Tulum, then a stay at Hotel Ma’xanab Tulum could be right up your alley. This incredible hotel features an excellent restaurant and bar. The comfortable rooms come with ocean or garden views and are simply perfect for relaxing in after a day of sightseeing at the Coba Cenotes.
Where to Eat in Coba
Restaurants to look out for in Coba town, just outside of the archaeological site, include El Cocodrillo, Chile Picante and El Encanto where you can enjoy simple and tasty local cuisine. Alternatively, if you want to push the boat out a bit, you can head to the onsite restaurant at Coqui Coqui Hotel.
Other Cenotes in the Yucatán Peninsula
With 6,000 cenotes across the Yucatan Peninsula, there are plenty of options to choose from. Below, are a few of our favourites, but this is in no way an exhaustive list of cenotes (guides coming soon).
- Cenote Suytun: Instagram famous and visually outstanding, you’ll laugh when you see the queue that forms for the quintessential shot exampled below. Still, I rather enjoyed the etiquette of it all.
- Gran Cenote: a beautiful cenote located just outside of Tulum.
- Cenote Dzitnup (Cenote XKeken): a wondrous cavern cenote just outside of Valladolid.
- Cenote Samula: time your visit with midday to have the sun shine perfectly straight through the natural skylight in the cavern roof.
- Cenote Cocalitos: not only do you get to swim in the most exquisite lagoon, but you can also check out the stromatolites that call this cenote home too.
Travel Essentials For Coba Cenotes
These are our travel essentials for a visit to the Coba Cenotes in Mexico.
- Swimming gear: for obvious reasons.
- Quick-dry towel: we travel lightly, so a small, quick-dry towel is much more convenient for a trip to Coba Cenotes than sneaking the hostel/hotel’s bath towel out.
- Biodegradable sunscreen: be sun safe and environmentally friendly all at the same time. Remember to apply AFTER you’ve been in the Coba Cenotes.
- Osprey Skarab 30L Day Backpack: a great backpack for day tripping, which has plenty of space to store your gear.
- Camera and tripod: the Coba Cenotes can be quite dark, so a tripod will be a big help in capturing clearer images (obvs we forgot ours!)
You should also pack water, snacks and lunch. Although, you’ll also find plenty of restaurants and cafes in Coba.
Travel insurance is a real necessity, especially when travelling through Central America and getting a little off the beaten track.
SafetyWing is an excellent budget-friendly travel insurance provider. Personally, Dan and I have used SafetyWing’s Nomad Insurance many times to insure our trips. The Nomad Insurance is fantastic value for money with a smaller additional cost to add a partner. Unlike most other insurance companies, there’s an option to pay on a monthly basis, similar to having a prepaid phone plan. Better yet, there’s no lock-in contract. In addition, you can cancel at any time, which will take effect the month after.
For shorter trips, it’s also possible to use Nomad Insurance for trips lasting just days or just 2–3 weeks. Indeed, SafetyWing is cheaper than almost all other travel insurance policies and covers just as much and sometimes more.
SafetyWing is a modern travel insurance company that is certainly leading the way in terms of how travel insurance should work in the future.
Tips For Visiting Coba Cenotes
- Avoiding the crowds: arrive early in the morning or late in the afternoon to beat the crowds (including big tour groups) and enjoy Coba Cenotes to yourself.
- Scuba diving: cenotes in Mexico are very popular as free diving and dive sites if that’s your thing.
- Where else in after Coba Cenotes?: to discover more incredible attractions in the area, be sure to check out our Bacalar and Tulum Ruins guides.
- Make the most of Tulum: if travelling from Tulum, as we did, you’ll find plenty of other awesome things to do in the Riviera Maya area. GetYourGuide offer some pretty cool tours which might be worth checking out.
Bookmark this page ready for your trip to Coba Cenotes in Mexico!