There is something utterly mystical about swimming in one of the Valladolid cenotes in Yucatan! Including Cenote Suytun, which is probably the most famous cenote in the world, in your Yucatan Itinerary is a must, and in this post, I’ll tell you why.
Cenotes in Mayan culture had huge importance. They not only provided drinking water to the Mayan population and enabled the development of large settlements on the peninsula, but cenotes were also considered sacred.
There are literally hundreds and hundreds of cenotes in Mexico, some of them still undiscovered, others super famous and visited by many tourists each year. The best cenotes are located near Valladolid Mexico, and if you’re keen on discovering more cenotes, I recommend staying a few days in one of the hotels in Valladolid.
A few years ago, the photos of Suytun Cenote went viral on social media – the unworldly image of its iconic circular platform in the middle of the cenote pool with a light beam shining directly above it from the cave opening! Nowadays, visiting Suytun is a number one position on the agenda of many avid Instagrammers and one of the best things to do in Mexico!
This post is a complete guide to visiting Suytun Cenote near Valladolid, including photography tips for snapping that epic Instagram-worthy shot.
You may also like: 22 Epic Tulum Instagram Spots
Best Cenote Suytun Tour
If you don’t really have the time to stay a couple of days in Valladolid, taking a private tour that combines a visit to the incredible Chichen Itza with a visit to Cenote Suytun is the best option. The tour is private, which means your personal needs will be taken into account. It also includes Cenote Samula and lunch in the picturesque Valladolid. You can take this highly-rated Viator tour from Tulum, Playa del Carmen or Cancun.
This is the best way to visit Suytun Cenote, Chichen Itza and Valladolid hassle-free in one day!
Other Awesome Suytun Cenote Excursions from Cancun:
Where is Cenote Suytun Valladolid?
Cenote Suytun Location | Cenote Map
Cenote Suytun is situated in a private hacienda (property), a short drive west of Valladolid city centre, off the main road number 180 that connects Valladolid with Tulum.
This area of Valladolid is rich in cenotes and near Suytun Cenote, you can also find Cenote Chukum, Cenote X’ux Ha, and a little further away Cenote Sac Aua, Cenote Secreto Maya and Cenote Hubiku.
From Valladolid | 8.4 km (15 minutes drive)
From Tulum | 94.5 km (1 hour 15 minutes drive)
From Playa del Carmen | 134 km (2 hours drive)
From Cancun | 162 km (over 2 hours drive)
From Merida | 165 km ( over 2 hours drive)
From Izamal | 121 km (1 hour 30 minutes drive)
How to get to Cenote Suytun Mexico?
Suytun Cenote Mexcio By Car
No matter what your starting point is, the best way to visit Suytun is by renting a car. Travelling by car will give you great flexibility to spend as much time as you desire at the cenote and visit other places too. You can also arrive early and avoid the midday crowds.
If you’re travelling during the high season, I recommend pre-booking the car with an airport pick-up or directly to your hotel in Cancun, Tulum, Merida or Playa del Carmen. Use Discover Cars to browse for car rental deals.
TIP | Please note that at the time of writing this blog, there was no car rental available in Valladolid, so make sure you pre-arrange the car rental before you get there.
Cenote Suytun from Valladolid
How to get to Cenote Suytun from Valladolid? There are a few ways you can do it:
If you’re staying in Valladolid, you can take an all-inclusive tour that combines a visit to Cenote Suytun Valladolid Yucatan Mexico with a fun time at Cenote Hacienda Chukum.
You can also rent a scooter in downtown Valladolid. Ask your hotel for a recommendation or check the nearest scooter rental shops where you’re staying. We used K’ox Balak and had an excellent experience. Expect to pay at least 500 pesos per day and don’t forget to ask for a discount if you’re renting for more than one day.
You can also grab a taxi from Valladolid city centre to get to Cenote Suytun. Expect to pay around 100 pesos for a one-way trip.
Tulum to Cenote Suytun
If for any reason you prefer not to drive, there are some fantastic cenote tours you can take from Tulum.
I’m leaving the link to the highly-rated private cenote excursion that combines a trip from Tulum to Cenote Suytun with Cenote Oxman, Cenote Xux Ha and Valladolid. The tour leaves early, which is ideal for beating the crowds at Suytun!
Another way of getting to Cenote Suytun from Tulum is taking the ADO bus to Valladolid. You can catch this bus from the Tulum bus station. The Tulum Valladolid ticket costs around 150 pesos ($8), and the trip will take around 2 hours. Once in Valladolid, you can either rent a scooter or hail a taxi to get to the cenote.
Cancun to Cenote Suytun
There are also some excellent Suytun Cenote tours Cancun starting point! This is a great option for you if you don’t have enough time to venture to Valladolid yourself but don’t want to miss out on anything!
If you’re travelling to Cenote Suytun from Cancun, you can also use the ADO bus to get to Valladolid. Check the ADO bus website for the schedule. The trip from Cancun to Valladolid takes just over two hours.
You can also book a private transfer from Cancun Airport to Valladolid with Viator, which will save you a big hassle at the airport. If your flight arrives during the day, you can take an ADO bus to downtown Cancun and then another bus to Valladolid.
TIP | If you’re arriving late at Cancun Airport, make sure you booked your transfer in advance! Cancun Airport is notorious for ripping off tourists and I, unfortunately, experienced it first handed!
Suytun Cenote from Playa del Carmen
Here are the best tours from Playa del Carmen:
Similarly to Tulum and Cancun, Playa del Carmen is also connected with ADO buses with the rest of Yucatan, and you can find the bus stop in the centre of town – the ADO bus station.
What to expect at Suytun Cenote?
Cenote Suytun is one of the most famous cenotes in Mexico and possibly in the world, and you’ve probably seen a photo of Suytun on one of the social media platforms!
Cenote Suytun can be accessed through a steep staircase that takes you to an underground cave. The cave’s roof has many beautiful stalactite formations formed by the precipitation of minerals from the dripping water through the cave roof.
As you descend deeper inside the cave, you’ll see a large pool with intense blue water and a circular platform in the middle. The water in the pool ranges in depth up to 5 meters (16 ft). Also, depending on the season, sometimes the platform is fully submerged in the cenote water, and sometimes it’s fully exposed.
Being one of the best Yucatan cenotes and certainly the most famous one, Suytun is super busy all day long. There is even an organised queue to the platform with a guy measuring 60 seconds per person with a stopwatch!
While this may sound a little strict, allowing only a few minutes on the platform per person ensure that everyone gets an opportunity to take the epic shot!
Most visitors come to Suytun exclusively for a photo, so expect to have to wait to access the platform even early in the morning.
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.
Photography Tips for Cenote Suytun Yucatan
TIP | If you want to take the Insta-famous photo on the circular platform at Cenote Suytun, I recommend arriving before the opening time! We arrived just before 9 am and still had to wait for the photo!
Using your phone is fine, but if you want a professional-looking photo, use a decent camera such as a Sony a7iii and a tripod!
Shooting in the Suytun cenote is super challenging due to the low light. After waiting in the queue, you will only have around 60 seconds to snap that perfect photo. If you’re not very experienced in low-light photography, you may be better off using your iPhone, which takes very decent pictures in low light.
If you’re a solo traveller, don’t worry, the guys in charge of the cenote will be happy to take the photos of you for no extra charge! They can also take photos of couples or groups if you guys want a picture on the platform together.
If you shoot with a digital camera, I recommend also using a tripod and shooting with a slow shutter speed to capture more light on your camera lens. Don’t use too much ISO to avoid too much grain on your photos.
In addition to shooting the subject standing on the platform directly from the shore of the cenote, you can also go up the staircase and shoot from the top, capturing the interesting stalactites hanging from the ceiling.
Swimming at Suytun Cenote Mexico
Everyone who wants to do cenote swimming must wear a life jacket. The water in the cenote swimming hole has intense dark blue colours, and it’s a little colder compared with the water at open or semi-open cenotes.
Most people that visit Suytun Cenote in Yucatan are only after the Instagram photo on the circular platform, so if you decide to swim yourself, you may be able to enjoy it alone.
If you want to do some cenote snorkelling, bring your own snorkel mask. In the water, you will be able to spot catfish and other small fish, but in general, similarly to other cave cenotes, Suytun is a little dark inside and not the best cenote for snorkelling.
At Suytun, there is no cenote jumping platform. If you want to do some fun jumping after Suytun, visit Cenote Oxman, Chukum or Cenote Saamal.
Facilities at Cenote Suytun Valladolid
Parking at Suy tun Cenote
Parking at Valladolid Mexico Cenote Suytun is complimentary. As you get off the main Valladolid – Tulum highway, follow the dirt-track road until you reach a wide off-road car park area, where you can leave your vehicle. There is a separate area for cars and for motorbikes.
If you’re lucky, you may spot a beautiful peacock that hangs out by the ticket office and seems to be the cenote’s pet. 🙂
Ticket Counters at Suytun Cenote in Valladolid
The ticket booth is located on the right side of the car park area. There are two types of tickets – a standard entry for 150 pesos and a ticket that also includes a buffet lunch and drink.
After purchasing your entrance ticket, continue straight ahead through a passage with souvenir stands where there is a control counter that checks your ticket.
Changing Rooms, Lockers & Toilets
Changing rooms, lockers and bathrooms are located on the left side. The use of lockers is free of charge, so you can leave behind all the belongings you don’t need.
Showers at Suytun Cenote
Outdoor showers are also located in the same area. Everyone that wants to access the cave of Cenote Suytun is required to take a shower, even if you’re not planning to swim and only want a photo on the platform.
Staff members are actually standing by the showers, making sure visitors comply with this requirement, and I saw some very unhappy girls that were photo-ready wearing pretty dresses and not wanting to shower. Spare yourself the trouble, and wear your swimsuit and a loose kimono if you still want that kind of look. Luckily, you won’t be required to shower your hair too.
*At all cenotes near Valladolid, you are required to take a shower before entering the cenote pool. The mandatory shower is enforced in order to protect the cenote pool from contamination with chemicals such as suncream, deodorant or any body lotion or skin moisturiser. Please be respectful and a mindful traveller, and let’s make sure others can enjoy the cenotes in the years to come.
The use of life vests at Valladolid Yucatan Cenote Suytun is obligatory, and the cost is included in the cenote ticket. Most cenotes that I have visited also had the lifevests being mandatory, and some required extra payment for lifevest rentals, such as Cenote Xkeken and Cenote Samula. At Cenote Palomitas, for example, the use of lifevest was optional. But, if you’re not a strong swimmer, I would highly advise getting a lifevest, just in case, even if it’s not required.
Cenote Suy tun Restaurant
Cenote restaurant is located to the right of the souvenirs passage and the ticket control booth. If you’re planning to stay at Suytun for lunch, make sure you get the entrance ticket that includes the buffet lunch for 250 MXN ($12).
Suytun Cenote Shops
The shops at Suytun Cenote are located in the passage next to the ticket control booth. After visiting the cenote, you can take a little peek at what’s on offer.
Cabañas Suytun Cenote
For those that want to stay near the cenote Suytun Valladolid, the property features cottages for rent starting at 800 pesos a night ($39).
More Tips for Visitng Cenote Valladolid Suytun
What’s the Best Time to Visit Suytun Cenote?
The best time to visit Cenote Suytun is as early as possible in the morning. If you’re visiting this Valladolid Yucatan cenote independently, make sure you arrive just before the opening time before 9 am.
If you buy your ticket, take a quick shower and head straight to the cenote cave, you will be able to take a picture on the platform without queuing. If it’s a sunny morning, the light beam will still be there, just not directly over the platform.
To all those that are visiting on tour from Cancun, Tulum, or Playa del Carmen, don’t worry, you’ll still be able to take the photo on the platform. There is an organised photo queue and a staff member that measures the time with a stopwatch allowing only 60 seconds on the platform per person. While it may sound a little over the top, thanks to this rule, you’ll be able to snap that desired photo any time of the day!
For those that don’t care about Cenote Suytun photos and are rather interested in a cenote swim, any time of the day will be great.
Suytun Cenote Entrance Fee
A standard Cenote Suytun entrance fee is 150 pesos per person ( Cenote Suytun Price in Dollars – $7.4), and for 250 pesos (100 pesos for children 5-11 years old), the ticket includes a buffet lunch with dessert and a drink.
Cenote Suytun Opening Hours
Cenote Suytun hours are 9 am to 4:30 pm.
How much time do I need for Suytun Cenote?
How much time you’ll need will largely depend on the time you’re visiting and if you’re going to wait to access the cenote platform for a photo. If you arrive at the opening time, an hour will be enough to take a photo and have a look around. Add some extra time if you want to swim. During the day, I’ll say you’ll need at least two hours at the cenote.
Valladolid Cenote Suytun Rules
Take a shower | to wash all chemicals, including suncream, moisturiser and deodorant.
Wear a lifejacket | if you’re planning to swim in the cenote pool.
Swim in the designated area | for your own safety and to protect the cenote.
Respect other visitors | when taking your Suytun Cenote photos and allow others to have the same opportunity.
What to take with you to Cenote Suytun Valladolid Yucatan?
Cash | Bring some cash with you to cover the ticket cost and lunch. Cenote Oxman is one of the cenotes that takes card payments, but due to its remote location, wifi is not always guaranteed. If that happens, make sure you have enough cash as the nearest ATM is located in Valladolid.
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 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 Dzitnup | Another great cenote to visit near (4 km) Oxman Cenote is Cenote Dzitnup. Dzitnup actually consists of two cenotes – Cenote Xkeken, which is a cavern cenote and a semi-open Cenote Samula, with crystal clear water and a large roof opening which brings a beautiful light beam inside the cenote cave.
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.
Cenote Hubiku | Cenote Hubiku is a cavern cenote, located 17 km north of Valladolid, on the way to the ruins of Ek Balam. The cenote is 27 meters deep and has 20 meters high cave. The water in the cenote is super refreshing and has around 20 degrees Celsius (68 F). The water is super clear and chilly!
For more incredible cenotes, check this post – A Guide to 15 Epic Valladolid Cenotes
Where to Stay Near Cenote Suytun Valladolid Yucatán?
Hotel Zentik Project & Saline Cave – Unique Adults-Only Hotel with Cave Pool
Situated 1.8 km (22 minutes walk) from the main square in Valladolid, Hotel Zentik Project features a unique cave with hot and salty water and another outdoor pool surrounded my loungers and hammocks. Guests can also enjoy a complimentary American breakfast, free parking, a spa centre, an onsite restaurant, and a bar.
Le Muuch Hotel Boutique – Boutique Hotel, 6 min walk to centre
Le Muuch Hotel is situated right in the heart of Valladolid, a 6-minute walk to the main square. The hotel features two pools – one indoor and one outdoor, a complimentary a la carte breakfast and free parking. All rooms are equipped with a coffee machine and fridge, while some come with a kitchen. The hotel also boasts a restaurant and a bar.
Hotel Fundadores – Value Hotel with kitchenette
Located a 5-minute walk from Valladolid’s main square, Hotel Fundadores is set in a picturesque hacienda featuring a courtyard with a pool and rooms with kitchenette and balcony.
More About Mexico Cenotes
What are Cenotes in Mexico? | Cenote Meaning
Cenote definition / cenote translation – sinkhole
So, what are cenotes? 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.
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. Best semi-open Valladolid Mexico cenotes include Cenote Suytuna 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 Suytun Worth Visiting?
Personally, I had a super bad experience at Cenote Suytun, despite the fact I arrived early. First of all, I found the whole queueing to the platform stressful, especially because we had the wrong camera settings and had to repeat the shots. Also, some people in the line were getting agitated, and others were taking way longer on the platform.
Do I regret visiting it, though? Definitely, NOT. The cenote itself is gorgeous and definitely worth a visit, but if you want the Instagrammable shot, prepare yourself for some inconvenience.