Americas | Mexico | Valladolid

Cenote Dzitnup Complex – A Guide to Visiting Cenote Xkeken & Cenote Samula

Ready to visit Cenote Dzitnup Complex? The complex encompasses not one but two awesome cenotes – Cenote Xkeken and Cenote Samula, which are some of the most popular Valladolid cenotes

Located just over 6 km southwest of Valladolid Mexico city centre, cenotes at the Dzitnup Cenote Complex are super easy Yucatan cenotes to visit if you’re staying in one of the hotels in Valladolid or even from Cancun or Tulum in combination with Chichen Itza tour. 

Cenote Dzitnup Cenote Samula
Cenote Samula (Dzitnup)

Cenotes Dzitnup are located very close to Cenote Oxman, famous for its fun Tarzan robe jumping, and a gorgeous open cenote – Cenote Saamal. A little further away, east of Valladolid, you can also find the Instagram-famous Cenote Suytun and other super fun cenotes – Cenote Hubiku & Cenote Chukum

In the Mayan culture, cenotes played an important role not only in providing drinking water but also were considered to be a sacred place of worship. If you’re interested to find out a little more about the cenotes of Yucatan, read the last section of this post. And, for now, let’s get you started with all the practical information for visiting Cenote Dzitnup.  

Cenote Dzitnup Cenote Samula
Sign pointing where to go at Dzitnup
Cenote Dzitnup Cenote Xkeken

Cenote Dzitnup at a Glance

Cenote Park with 2 Cenotes | Samula & Xkeken 

Cenote Dzitnup Entrance Fee | 80 pesos ($4) for 1 cenote or 125 pesos ($6.25) for both (50 & 80 pesos for children)

Samula & Xkeken Cenote Location | near Valladolid 

IMPORTANT TIP | At the entrance, you will be met by a “guide” that will offer you a tour of the facility. Be aware that the tour service is for an extra charge, and trust me, it is entirely not required. Make sure you politely decline and head towards the official ticket counters. 

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Where is Cenote Dzitnup Complex Located?

Cenote Samula & Cenote Xkeken Map

dzitnup cenote map

You can find Cenotes Samula and Xkeken just over 6 km southwest of the Valladolid city centre, off the main road number 180 that connects the city with Chichen Itza. If you’re staying in Valladolid, you can easily visit Cenote Dzitnup independently, and I highly recommend combining the trip with a visit to Cenote Oxman and/or Cenote Saamal. 

From Valladolid | 6.7 km / 4.2 miles (12 minutes drive)

From Tulum | 114 km / 71 miles (1.5 hours drive)

From Playa del Carmen | 147 km / 91 miles ( 2 hours drive)

Cenote Hubiku Cancun | 162 km / 101 miles ( over 2 hours)

From Merida | 170 km / 106 miles ( 2 hours 20 minutes drive)

How to Get to Dzitnup Cenote Outside Valladolid?

Dzitnup Cenote Yucatan by Car

For the best flexibility, especially if you’re travelling with a group of friends or family and can spread the cost between a few people, I recommend hiring a car and driving to Cenote Dzitnup Valladolid independently. 

Having your own car will give you a lot of flexibility to create your own itinerary, spend as much time as you please at the cenotes and leave at the time that suits you most. 

Renting a car in Mexico may be a little intimidating at first glance, but really the route between Tulum, Playa del Carmen or Cancun towards Valladolid is super simple. 

For a hassle-free experience, to avoid hidden costs and scams, I recommend booking your car online from a recommended car comparison website such as Discover Cars. You can then easily collect the car at Cancun airport or get it delivered to your Cancun hotel. 

Cenotes Dzitnup from Valladolid

Things to do in Valladolid Mexico
Valladolid Mexico

By Scooter

If you’re staying in Valladolid and haven’t got a car, you can also rent a scooter in downtown Valladolid. Ask your hotel for a recommendation or search for scooter rental shops near your accommodation. We used K’ox Balak and had an excellent experience.

Expect to pay at least 500 pesos or $24 per day, and don’t forget to ask for a discount if you’re renting for more than one day. 

My personal experience of riding a scooter around the Valladolid area was very good, the roads are decent and not very busy.

You can also rent a car in Valladolid. Just remember to check the reviews and, ideally, get a recommendation from your hotel. 

By Taxi 

As Cenote Samula & Cenote Xkeken Dzitnup are located just over 6 km or 4 miles away from the Valladolid city centre, you can easily get there by a local taxi. Expect to pay around 100 pesos ($5) for a one-way trip. Most drivers will be happy to give you their WhatsApp number so that you can give them a call when you need a lift back to the city. Before you WhatsApp the driver, check if there are no taxis available, which just brought people from the town. 

By Colectivo 

If you’re on a budget or simply want to experience the local transport, you can also take a colectivo from the centre of the city. Colectivos are vans that serve local connections. The colectivo drivers will normally wait until they have enough passengers to make the trip worthwhile, so the colectivo schedules are not very strict. Don’t forget to ask the driver what time the colectivo goes back to the city. 

Valladolid Colectivo to Cenote Samula & Cenote Xkeken Location.

What to Expect at Cenote Dzitnup?

Cenote Samulá 

Samula Cenote Valladolid
Cenote Samula
Samula Cenote Valladolid
The illuminated cenote cave

Cenote Samula was one of my favourite Valladolid cenotes, probably because we visited at the right time to witness the light beam that shined through the roof opening, illuminating the cave inside! That was an incredible view! We visited around 10:30 am in March. Also, Samula Cenote was pretty quiet during my visit. There was only one more couple in the cenote cave with us, which made the whole experience somewhat more intimate and special.  

You enter the cenote through a narrow tunnel that takes you to the top of the staircase, from where you can admire the panoramic view of the entire cave. Make sure you spend here a few minutes and take a few photos before climbing down. If you visit at the right time, which is around midday on a sunny day, you’ll be able to see a light beam coming through the opening. 

The water in the cenote is crystal clear, and you can see all the way down to the bottom! If you want to swim, you are required to rent out a lifevest before you go underground. And a lifeguard inside ensures that everyone is complying with this requirement. 

Xkeken Cenote 

Xkeken Valladolid Cenote

Cenote Xkeken Mexico is one of the cavern cenotes. To access the cenote, you need to climb a narrow and dark staircase into a large cave. Inside, the cave is super dark and stuffy because there is hardly any air or light that can pass through a small opening in the roof. Here, you can also admire large stalactites and lianas that are hanging down the ceiling. It took millions of years for the stalactites to form!  

Swimming at Cenote Xkeken is more mysterious and unique due to the darkness that fills the cave. Remember that you need to hire the lifevest from one of the souvenir vendors before heading to the cave. 

cenote xkeken
Cave entrance
cenote xkeken
Inside the cenote cave

As for taking photos inside the cenote, it is going to be super challenging to do due to the lack of light. Perhaps, just enjoy the experience and leave taking photos for more open Valladolid cenotes. But, if you really want to, bring your tripod, and use a low shutter speed. 

Cenote Swimming 

cenote samula

Both cenotes are great for swimming, offering a different experience. Cenote Xkeken is dark and mysterious, and Cenote Samula Valladolid has a specious cave with a large opening in its ceiling that lets in stunning light beams. 

Cenote Jumping 

Being an underground cenote with not much light, Cenote Xkeken Valladolid is not really suitable for jumping or diving. When it comes to Cenote Samula, you are able to take a small jump from its wooden stairs. None of the two cenotes have any special jumping platforms. 

Cenote Snorkeling

In terms of snorkelling, with its crystal clear illuminated water, Cenote Samula is much better than the sombre Cenote Valladolid Xkeken. 

Facilities at Cenote Hubiku Mexico

Car park at Dzitnup
The main entrance
Ticket office

Parking at The Dzitnup Cenote Park 

In front of the entrance to the Dzitnup Cenote Park, you will find large complimentary parking with separate sections for cars, motorbikes and bicycles. 

Ticket Counters 

Ticket counters at the Cenote Dzitnup Yucatan Mexico are located on the left side of the entrance. At Cenote Dzitnup Yucatán, you can also ride a horse or rent an ATV. 

Changing Rooms, Lockers & Showers

Cenote Dzitnup
Lockers
Cenote Dzitnup
Lifejackets for rent

Every cenote at Cenote Dzitnup Mexico Complex has its own area with showers and lockers. If you need to change your clothes, there are bathrooms located just next to the ticket counters. Cenote Samula is located to the right of the entrance, and Cenote Xkeken is to the left. 

Lifejackets

The use of lifejackets is compulsory at Xkekne Cenote and Samula Cenote. If you plan to swim, you will be required to rent out a lifejacket for each cenote separately at the cost of 25 pesos (just over a dollar). At each cenote, a lifeguard ensures compliance and simply won’t let you come anywhere near the water without the life vest. 

Cenote Restaurant

If you get hungry, Cenote Dzitnup features a traditional restaurant serving local dishes. 

More Tips for Visiting Cenote Dzitnup Valladolid Mexico

Cenote Dzitnup
Cenote Samula cave entrance

What’s the Best Time to Visit Cenote Xkeken & Cenote Samula?

As with any other cenote in Yucatan, the best time to visit Cenotes Samula & Xkeken is in the morning to have the whole cave entirely to yourself. Another great time to visit Samula Cenote, in particular, is around midday when the sun shines into the cave illuminating its water.

How Much Time Do I Need for Cenote Dzitnup?

If you’re planning to swim at both cenotes, you will need 2 to 3 hours to enjoy Cenote Xkeken and Cenote Samula. This time includes buying a ticket, navigating the site, which is pretty vast, renting lifejackets, taking photos, swimming and changing into dry clothes. 

Cenote Packing List

Cash | Bring some cash with you to cover the ticket cost and lunch. Most Valladolid cenotes have remote locations, and although card machines are more common these days, there is always a possibility that the wifi connection won’t be strong enough to take your payment. 

Action camera | Swimming in the cenotes is one of the best things to do in Mexico, and you may want to record some memories while you’re having fun! And, for that, there is no better camera than a Go Pro!

Well-fitted swimsuit | Visiting and swimming in Valladolid cenotes is definitely an adventure! As you’re likely to be jumping off the platforms, swinging into the water on a Tarzan robe or going on a zip line, I recommend wearing a well-fitted swimsuit that will stay in place while you’re having fun.

Fast-drying towel | You will also need a towel, and the best towels are the fast-drying ones made of microfibre, like the Fit-Flip Beach Towel

Flip-flops | Since you’ll be swimming and getting wet at the cenote, the easiest shoes to wear are flip-flops! And, there are no better flip-flops than a pair of Havaianas

Thermal water bottle | Stay hydrated and bring with you a thermal water bottle to keep your water cool and help reduce the use of plastic. My favourite is Chilly’s Bottle. It’s a little more expensive, but the price comes with superb quality. Our water literally stays icy cold the whole day! 

Other nearby Valladolid Cenotes 

Cenote Suytun Valladolid
Cenote Suytun
Cenote Oxman
Cenote Oxman
Saamal Cenote
Cenote Saamal

Cenote Suytun | One of the most famous cenotes in Mexico, Cenote Suytun is a must-see place on your Yucatan itinerary! I bet you’ve seen a photo of it on Instagram! It’s the one with a circular platform in the middle of the cenote pool and impressive stalactites hanging from the cenote roof. Directly above the platform, there is a small opening in the cave roof, and at around midday on a sunny day, a beautiful sunbeam shines through the roof over the platform.

Cenote Oxman | Cenote Oxman is a semi-open cenote with lush lianas hanging from the top. Two sets of wooden stairs provide access to the cenote pool, and there is also a jumping platform with a Tarzan robe, which is the best part of Oxman Cenote. Oxman is also a lovely cenote to spend your whole day, there is a lovely pool and sunloungers area, which access is included in the standard ticket price. Cenote Oxman is located only a few kilometres away from the centre of Valladolid. 

Cenote Saamal | Cenote Saamal is also situated near (only 2.6 km) Hacienda San Lorenzo Oxman Cenote, and you can combine the two cenotes into one visit! Saamal is an open cenote with a small waterfall feature and an awesome jumping platform. 

For more incredible cenotes, check this post – A Guide to 15 Epic Valladolid Cenotes

More About Mexico Cenotes

Cenote Ik Kil
Cenote Ik Kil

What are Cenotes in Mexico? | Cenote Meaning

Cenote definition / cenote translation – sinkhole 

The term is mainly associated with the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, but cenotes can be found all over the world. Cenotes are sinkholes formed by collapsed limestone rocks that expose groundwater. Swimming in cenotes is super delightful and very refreshing. The cenote water is typically cool and very clear, thanks to the water being filtered through the ground. The colour of the water varies from deep blue to bright emerald and depends on the rock type and fauna. Cenote depth also varies, ranging anything from a few metres up to hundreds of metres in depth!

Mexican Cenotes in Mayan Culture

The name cenote is derived from the Mayan word Dz’onot, which means “cave with water”. During the Mayan civilisation, cenotes were an important source of water. Apart from having a practical meaning, Mayan cenotes also had a spiritual significance. They were considered to be the gateway to the underworld (Xibalba), a place where gods met and a sacred place of worship where Mayans had their spiritual ceremonies and left offerings.

Bacalar Cenotes
Bacalar Cenotes.

Types of Cenotes

There are hundreds and hundreds of cenotes on the Yucatan Peninsula, and you’ll be pleased to know that some of the top Yucatan cenotes are located near Valladolid. If you want to explore some of the best cenotes near Valladolid, I highly recommend staying at least 3-4 days in the city. There are at least four types  of cenotes Mexico is renowned for. 

Underground cenotes in Mexico (cavern cenotes) | Underground cenotes are the youngest water wells that are entirely covered by rock mass, with only a small opening in the cave roof that lets in minimal sunlight. They are super interesting to visit, so make sure you include at least one cavern cenote during your visit. Cavern cenotes in Valladolid include Cenote Xkeken and Cenote Palomitas.  

Semi-open cenotes | Semi-open cenotes are much older than cavern cenotes. For millions of years, part of the limestone that covered the well has been eroded and collapsed inside, exposing the underground water. These cenotes let in more light and have more vegetation. If you visit them at the right time, usually around midday, you can witness an amazing spectacle of light when a light beam comes through an opening in the roof, illuminating the water inside the cenote, creating an extraterrestrial-like effect. The best semi-open Valladolid Mexico cenotes include Cenote Suytun and Cenote Samula.

Open cenotes | Open cenotes are the ones where the cave roof entirely collapsed, exposing the whole water well to the outside environment. These cenotes have the lushest vegetation and are great for a day out. Xcache and Oxman cenotes Valladolid Yucatan are open. 

Ancient Cenotes | Ancient cenotes are the oldest Riviera Maya cenotes that can even be 66 million years old! The roof, as well as the walls of the ancient cenote, are completely eroded, making ancient cenotes look more like lagoons. Most Bacalar cenotes are ancient cenotes. 

Is Cenote Dzitnup Worth Visiting?

Cenote Dzitnup is one of the best cenotes near Valladolid for the affordability of entrance fees and convenient location. As long as you don’t let the “cenote guides” scam you into buying a cenote tour, you will have a great experience as both cenotes are super gorgeous. 

Happy travels!

Mal xxx

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