If you are staying in Playa del Carmen and want to visit a cenote that is kid friendly and not too far of a drive from your hotel, the Garden of Eden Cenote is perfect. It is beautiful, has a shallow area, a platform for jumping, shade and even a masseuse for momma!
How to get to Garden of Eden Cenote?
The Garden of Eden Cenote (Jardin del Eden) is located about 20 minutes south of Playa del Carmen, depending where you are staying.
To get to the Garden of Eden Cenote, just head south on the 307 from Playa del Carmen and the cenote is just off the right side of the road.
It is really easy to miss the turn off, and if you go too far, you will be stuck doing a big loop down the road as the is a median that prevents a quick u-turn.
There are three cenotes right next to each other. The first one you will see is Cenote Cristalino. Pull off when you see that sign. There is a dirt “road” along the highway that you can reverse on as long as you don’t go too far past the entrance.
Once you find the dirt road to Jardin del Eden, follow it to the gate. There is a little office building where you will pay for tickets, have your car looked at and then receive wrist bands. From there, they will open the gate for you and you can drive all the way to the cenote.
Why we Love the Garden of Eden Cenote
The Garden of Eden Cenote is our favorite for kids because there is a lot for them to do that adults will enjoy as well.
The first great thing is the parking right by the cenote. Not having to do a long walk with kids is great. I was a little worried because there isn’t a ton of parking, but we were okay.
The cenote is not crowded
That leads to the next great thing. We were there on a Sunday afternoon, which everyone says is the worst time to go because the locals have the day off. It was the day that worked best for us, though, so we braved it and were surprised at how few people there were.
Throughout the day, it probably ranged from 15-40 people at the cenote and it never felt crowded.
The cenote has a lot of area to play
Once again, that leads to the next great thing about the Garden of Eden Cenote–it is pretty big.
A lot of the Cenotes are smaller and confined to one location, but the Garden of Eden Cenote is pretty big with different areas to play so we always had plenty of space, with perhaps the exception of the stairs off the deck, but that was only when people were clueless that they were hanging out where people were trying to get in and out of the water.
The cenote has a great jumping platform
We aren’t the family that just likes to hang out pool side or swim around a pool, we get enough of that at home. Because of that, I like when a swimming hole has more to do than just swim and sit around.
The Garden of Eden Cenote has a great platform deck that is good for jumping. It is about 12-15 feet high with a big area roped off with plenty of area for jumping (we did have some crazies scuba diving right under the jumping spot for a minute, but I am sure they just lost track of where they were).
The wooden deck was nice because it was a big area with plenty of area for people to gather and take turns jumping. The height was perfect as well since little kids can brave it, but it is high enough for adults to have fun.
My 5 year old had the courage to do the jump once, and my 7 year old did it 30 times! I had a lot of fun jumping too. I did a lot of cliff jumping growing up and doing backflips is actually more comfortable for me for whatever reason.
I had to have fun with the new GoPro.
Mallory took a while to get herself to do the jump, but it was pretty cool to see everyone get invested in her jump and cheer her on.
The cenote has shallow areas for the kids
Just of the deck there are a handful of big rocks that provide a shallow area for kids to play or adults to just sit and relax. It isn’t as great as it sounds because the rocks are quite slippery.
I wish there was a bit more of the shallow area as people tend to congregate there and it fills up, but it is better to have some than none so I am not complaining.
There is plenty of area to relax
One of the best things about Garden of Eden Cenote was how relaxing it was. There was so much area to spread out and enjoy your time.
When we first arrived, I walked to the jumping platform and saw a big deck on the other side of the cenote. I rushed over there expecting it to be full. I was pleasantly survived when I got there and there was plenty of area left to put our stuff down and benches and seats for sitting.
It was really awesome to have a bit of a home base where we could take turns with our youngest kid, keep all our stuff and eat lunch (pizza was delivered to the cenote, but the quality was really bad).
There was also plenty of area by the jumping platform that we already discussed. Then you had trails around the cenote and plenty of areas where you could escape the crowds, if there were any.
You can get a massage at Garden of Eden Cenote
Off the trail that leads around the cenote is a little massage hut. This was a highlight for Mallory. She took a break from the kids and enjoyed what she said was a very good massage at a reasonable price.
There is a lot of wildlife around the cenote
When we were first driving up to the cenote, we got our first glimpse of wildlife with birds flying around and a giant rodent that ran off into the jungle. We were able to get a better look at the rodent on our way out and saw that it was easily 2 feet long and 1 foot tall. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get a shot of it with all my gear packed in the car.
The birds around the cenote were really cool. We saw a handful of yellow orioles hanging around in the trees, but I liked the Yucatan Jays trying to steal our food much better.
Their colors were so striking and they got so close to us.
The highlight of birds for me was what I think was an Anhinga that hung out in the tree about 20 yards away from the deck.
For the kids, the highlight was seeing iguanas running around. We saw probably a dozen or so iguanas hanging out near the trail going around the cenote.
They let you get very close before they would scurry off.
Clear waters and fish
Like most cenotes, the water at Garden of Eden is very clear. It has a green hint due to all the algae growing on the rocks, but you have no problem seeing to the bottom and it makes for great snorkeling.
The fish in the cenote weren’t super fun as the coloring was pretty dull, but it was fun to let your feet hang out for the fish to come nibble off your dead skin. These are the same fish that do the spa treatments around town that you pay a bunch of money for.
The water was clear enough, I decided to try my hand at some underwater photography. I didn’t do well with the fish, but Mallory was a good sport.
In fairness, I tried to hold the same pose she did and the results were disastrous.
Other Cenotes close to Playa del Carmen that are Good for Kids
If Garden of Eden Cenote doesn’t strike your fancy or you have more time and want to explore more cenotes close to Playa del Carmen, especially if you have kids, you can’t go wrong with Cenote Azul and Cenote Cristalino.
These are the two cenotes right next to Garden of Eden. Because of that, they feature a lot of the same benefits, including cliffs to jump off and rocks that provide shallow areas.
Our day at the Garden of Eden Cenote has been one of our favorite days in Mexico. It was so relaxing, the kids loved it and we easily spent hours having fun. I highly recommend it to anyone in Playa del Carmen with kids.