Cenote Tour: Self-guided vs. Private Tour


Cenote Tour: Self-guided vs. Private Tour

If you want to visit one of the amazing natural cenotes during your Riviera Maya vacation, there are different ways you can choose. Check out the facts and decide whether a self-guided cenote tour or a private guided tour from Playa del Carmen is the best option for you.

Renting a car and visiting a cenote by yourself

If you like independent travel and are keen to save money, you can visit a cenote independently. However, there are some important things to consider:

  • You will need to rent a car as the best cenotes are off-the-beaten-path in scenic but remote areas. Check first about all requirements to rent a car in Mexico and difficulties you might be facing driving in a foreign country.
  • You’ll need a local map to navigate along roads that may be poorly paved and lacking signs. It can be frustrating if you get lost and drive miles out of your way. Jungle no network to check google map.
  • On arrival, you might not be able to communicate in spanish or mayan with the owners of the cenote.not all of them speak fluently English.
  • You will need to provide your own wetsuit and snorkel equipment which is included in guided cenote tours.
  • Some parts of cenotes are only accessible with a guide for safety reasons and or to preserve the place, and these areas are usually the most beautiful ones.
  • You will miss the interesting explanations about what cenotes are and how they were formed.
  • You’ll be visiting with many other people...

Guided cenote snorkeling tour benefits

Book our guided cenote tour from Playa del Carmen and enjoy:

  • Hotel pick-up from your hotel or rental
  • A relaxed stress-free journey in an air-conditioned vehicle.
  • We know the best, quietest and most beautiful cenotes to visit.
  • The chance to ask questions and learn about cenotes from your English-speaking guide.
  • Personal assistance for non-confident swimmers.
  • Wetsuits, flashlights and masks that fit properly, included in our private cenote tours.
  • All fees included in the tour price.
  • No waiting in line at the entrance.
  • No need to rent lockers: leave your personal belongings safely in the vehicle with the driver.

Now you now the facts you can make an informed choice. Will you choose a self-guided cenote visit or a private guided tour from Playa del Carmen?

9 Tips for Choosing the Best Tour Agency in Playa del Carmen

choosing the best tour agency in playa del carmen

9 Tips for Choosing the Best Tour Agency in Playa del Carmen.

If you’re planning to book some tours to see the amazing natural sights around Playa del Carmen, it’s important to avoid scammers and find a reputable private tour agency for your needs. While many tour companies employ experienced knowledgeable tour guides and take responsibility for visitor safety, there are others who provide false information, make unrealistic promises or cut corners due to low prices.

Here are 9 tips for choosing the best tour agency in Playa del Carmen and enjoy some breathtaking experiences.

1/ Official tour or scam artist?

Never book a tour with an intermediary. You can book a tour in a shop, on the street or online, but make sure you are dealing direct with the tour agency before you hand over any money.

2/ Recommendations and referrals

The best way to find a top tour agency in Playa del Carmen is with a friend’s recommendation. Failing that, check out reviews and feedback on TripAdvisor, Yelp or Facebook. There are always one or two people with a gripe, but if the majority of people post positive reviews about a tour, it’s a good  indicator. You can also search online for recent posts or blogs that mention tours in Riviera Maya. It’s almost as good as a referral from a friend.

3/ Registered and accredited?

Check whether a tour company is registered or accredited by local government or the tourist office. Look for certifications and check they include the tour agency name.

4/ Safety first

Going on a tour usually means putting your safety in the hands of a local driver and vehicle. Ask what type of vehicle the agency will provide for the tour. Do they look new and well maintained? Are they fully equipped with seat belts? Check out the vehicles for comfort (you could be spending hours in the back seat!) and ask to see a copy of the vehicle insurance. Any reputable tour company will be happy to provide documentary evidence for your peace of mind.

5/ Smart and secure

How does the tour company accept payment? If they want the full amount in cash up-front, think again. Hacking is an international problem so check if the tour agency website has a secure trust certificate (trusted commerce) for credit card payments, or use Paypal. Any properly licensed and responsible company will have a secure online credit card payment system and will give you a receipt for your deposit/booking. Your payment can then be traced if they fail to provide the tour you expected.

6/ Check the small print

Don’t rely on what someone verbally says the tour includes - read the details in the website or get them in writing on an email. Does the tour include food, boat fees, admissions etc. or do you have to pay those as extras?

7/ Cancelations

Check the terms and conditions. Will you get a refund if the tour is canceled due to bad weather, sickness or unforeseen events?  You need to know.

8/ Customer service

If you’re looking for tours in Playa del Carmen, consult a few tour agencies websites. Once you have checked the tour details you may have some questions and should contact them direct. You can learn a lot about a tour agency by how promptly and accurately they answer your enquiry.

9/ Relax and enjoy!

Once you’ve done your homework and booked a guided tour, it’s smart to contact the tour agency a few days before your tour to check everything is OK.

Get ready to enjoy an unforgettable experience that will be the highlight of your Playa del Carmen vacation.

Why choosing a private tour agency?

Private tour agency

Why should I choose a private tour agency for my holidays in the Riviera Maya?

If you’re feeling unsure about booking a private tour in the Riviera Maya with us, we’re guessing it’s because the word “private” has you convinced that our tours are going to be too expensive for your budget. While our prices may be slightly higher than those of the big tour operators in the area, we also provide far more value for your money. Not convinced? Let us explain how our high-quality private tours are better than the average group tour:

All-Inclusive Prices:

One thing to keep in mind is that our private tour prices include everything: transportation, admission to historic sites with archeological guide, entrance fees, high-quality equipment for snorkeling, food and drinks, and your own personal tour guide. Big tour operators may advertise lower prices, but they don’t include everything you need, which means you’ll end up paying more on the day of your tour. In addition, each and every cent you pay for one of our tours will be used to pay for our high-quality services and amenities instead of going to intermediaries.

No Uncomfortable Buses:

Instead of being crammed onto a bus with dozens of other people to tour Chichen Itza, for example, you’ll have your very own van! In addition to being far more comfortable since we pick you up directly from your hotel, you also won’t have your time wasted by picking up other people, which allows you to spend more time on activities like exploring ancient ruins.

No Waiting Around:

With a traditional tour operator, you’d end up wasting a lot of your precious vacation time waiting around for strangers to get on and off of buses, find meeting points, and so on. By taking a private tour in Playa del Carmen with us, you can avoid this nuisance!

More Intimate Experiences:

All our private tours in the Riviera Maya are ideal for families and groups of friends who want to relax and enjoy their holidays, and also look back on them with fond memories. This isn’t always possible when you choose large tour groups due to the many problems that can come up when dealing with large groups of strangers.

Beat the Crowds:

A key advantage of taking a private tour with us is that we can help you avoid the crowds! We know the best times to visit popular attractions like Chichen Itza and Tulum, and due to our flexible schedules we can take you there so that you can enjoy them in a more peaceful environment.

Exclusive Locations:

As a small private tour agency, we’re also able to take you to more exclusive locations. We’ll take you to swim and snorkel in cenotes that big tour operators don’t visit, and instead of having to eat at a sprawling buffet-style restaurant, we’ll take you to a nicer locale where you can enjoy a delicious meal with your group.

Private Tour Guides:

Another great reason to choose our private tours from Playa del Carmen is that we provide you with a private tour guide who can share their extensive local knowledge with you and will be happy to answer any questions you may have. For example, if you want to go swimming with turtles in Akumal, we’ll provide you with a trained professional who will teach you all of the snorkeling skills you need, even if you’re a beginner. Better still, you won’t have to fight for their attention since they’ll be there just to help you and your group instead of dozens of other people.


We hope you can see that our high-quality, high-value private tours are well worth the price. So what are you waiting for? Book your adventure-filled holiday today with Absolute Adventure - Private Tour agency!