Mexico | North America | Valladolid

Which Valladolid Cenote Should You Visit? – 15 Epic Valladolid Cenotes

If you want to explore some of the best Mexico cenotes, there is no better place than Valladolid! The choice is ample, and this post is designed to help you decide which Valladolid Cenote is worth visiting! 

Swimming in cenotes is one of the most epic things to do in Valladolid Mexico, and was definitely the highlight of my trip! Keep reading to find out the top Valladolid Cenotes, including the most famous ones, most beautiful cenotes and secrete cenotes for those that love exploring off-beaten tracks. Enjoy!  

You may also like | Best Hotels in Valladolid Mexico for All Budgets

Valladolid Cenote, cenote valladolid best
Cenote Suytun

What to Expect at Cenotes Around Valladolid?

*Valladolid Cenotes* When I talk about Valladolid cenotes in this post, I actually mean all the Quintana Roo cenotes that can be found within a short drive from Valladolid city centre. In fact, there is only one Valladolid cenote that is located inside the city boundaries, and that is Cenote Zaci. All other top cenotes can be visited on a day trip from Valladolid. 

Most Yucatan Mexico cenotes are owned by private companies that charge an entrance fee and provide varying visitor facilities. The entrance fee rages from 100 to even 500 pesos for some Tulum cenotes! The facilities often include a buffet lunch, the use of a swimming pool, lockers and changing rooms. 

It is also required by law to wear a life jacket when swimming in all Mayan Riviera cenotes; however, this is not enforced in all of them. 

Some of the best cenotes in Valladolid are located near each other, which means you can visit a few different ones in one day. However, I don’t recommend visiting more than 3 Valladolid cenotes in one day so that you can appreciate each cenote and enjoy your day. 

Before entering a Valladolid cenote, you will be required to take a shower. It is also not allowed to wear deodorant or suncream because that may pollute the unique ecosystem of the cenote water. 

How to Get to Valladolid Cenotes?

Here are a few ways of visiting cenotes in Valladolid Mexico:

Cenotes Tour from Valladolid

Valladolid Mexico
Valladolid

If you want to tour cenotes in Valladolid hassle-free, choose one of the cenotes tours!

All-Inclusive Tour Cenotes Valladolid | On this tour, you will visit three incredible cenotes – Cenote Suytun, Cenote Chukum and Chichikan. The tour includes water and lunch and leaves from Valladolid. 

Chichen Itza + Cenote Il Kil + Lunch | You can also take a private tour of Chichen Itza combined with a visit to Il Kil Cenote and a lunch including one of the most famous Mexican dishes – Cochinita Pibil. 

Ek Balam Ruins + Cenote X’canche | On this tour, you can visit the ancient city of Ek Balam and swim at the nearby cenote!

By Car

Another fantastic way of touring cenotes Valladolid Mexico is renowned for is renting your own car. You can rent a car at Cancun Airport, downtown or in Tulum and drive to Valladolid, which should take just over two hours. You can check for the best rates and availability at Discover Cars.

By Bicycle 

For those that want to stay active during their trip, cycling to Valladolid cenotes is also a great option! Bicycle rental shops are widely available in Valladolid, and some hotels also offer their guest free access to bikes. You can also go on a cycling tour of the local cenotes!

Cenote Tour Valladolid by Bike | On this Valladolid cenote tour, you will visit Cenote Oxman and Cenote Xkeken, as well as a local market and a Mayan village where you will learn more about the Mayan culture and learn how to make tortillas. 

Keep reading to find out which cenotes near Valladolid are best for cycling to. 

By Motorbike

Another way of getting to the best cenotes Valladolid boasts is by scooter. Renting a scooter in Valladolid is super easy, and there are many rental shops in the city centre. You can ask your hotel for a recommendation or check the nearest scooter rental shops near 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. 

Valladolid Cenotes Map

map of cenotes in yucatan, valladolid cenotes

Top 3 Valladolid Cenotes You Must Visit 

#1 Cenote Suytun Mexico – Insta Famous Valladolid Cenote

Cenote Suytun Valladolid
Cenote Suytun
Cenote Suytun Valladolid
Cenote Suytun

Best for | Epic photo 

Location | 8.4 km east of Valladolid

Entrance fee | Adults – 150 pesos, Children 100 pesos

Opening Hours | 9 am to 5 pm 

How to get to Valladolid Cenote Suytun

The best way to get to Cenote Suytun from Valladolid is by car or motorbike. It is also possible to get here by taxi and expect to pay around 100 pesos each way.  

What to expect at Cenote Suytun  

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. 

Everyone who wants to swim in the cenote must wear a life jacket.

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! 

Most visitors come to Suytun exclusively for a photo and 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. 

A standard ticket costs 150 pesos per person ($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. 

Read the full post about this cenoteCenote Suytun Valladolid – A Guide to the Insta-famous Cenote

Cenote Suytun Valladolid
Cenote Suytun
Cenote Suytun Valladolid
Cenote Suytun

Facilities at Cenote Suytun  

The facilities include complimentary parking, free lockers, changing rooms and a compulsory shower. You can also find here a few stands selling souvenirs and a small cafe serving snacks and drinks. 

For those that want to stay near the cenote Suytun Valladolid, the property features cottages for rent starting at 800 pesos a night. 

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 pm 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 a7i and a tripod! 

More photography tips

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 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.  

#2 Cenote Oxman – Best Valladolid Cenote to Spend an Afternoon 

Cenote Oxman
Tarzan robe at Cenote Oxman.
Cenote Oxman
Cenote Oxman from the top.

Best for | A fun day, cenote jumping, pool time

Location | 6.2 km southwest of Valladolid (4.2 km bicycle route) 

Entrance fee | 150 pesos for adults, 100 pesos for children

Opening Hours | 8 am to 5 pm

How to get to Oxman Cenote Valladolid

What’s great about Cenote San Lorenzo Oxman is that it is easily accessible from Valladolid, no matter what sort of transport you choose. San Lorenzo Oxman Cenote is located just over 6 km southeast of the city centre, and you can get here by car, by a motorbike, or take a taxi, which should cost around 100 pesos each way. The last bit of the road is a dusty dirt track road, so be careful, especially if you’re coming on a motorbike. There is also an easy, 4 km bicycle route that you can take to get to Oxman Cenote if you’re feeling energetic.  

What to expect at San Lorenzo Oxman Cenote

Out of all the cenotes Oxman was one of my personal favourites! It is located in the lovely hacienda Oxman cenote. 

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. You hold to the robe to swing into the cenote and release the robe when you’re ready to jump in. Jumping from the robe was so much fun, and we kept doing it over and over again! 🙂

There are a few types of tickets that you can purchase, and all of them include complimentary use of the pool and lifevests, which are mandatory to swim in the cenote. The basic ticket costs 150 pesos ($7.4), the plus package costs 300 pesos (200 pesos for children), and in addition to the cenote and pool access, you get 250 pesos credit to use in the bar or restaurant. And for 350 pesos ($17.2) (250 pesos for children), you get a buffet lunch. 

Read the full post about this cenoteCenote Oxman Valladolid – All You Need to Know

Robin jumping into Cenote Oxman.
Cenote Oxman
Wooden stairs at Cenote Oxman.

Facilities at Cenote Oxman

Visitors can leave their vehicle in large, complimentary parking. Right by the parking lot, you can find souvenir vendors. Inside the property, there are toilets, showers and lockers where you can leave your belongings before you head underground to enjoy the cenote. 

For those that want to stay a little longer at Oxman, there is a pool and sun loungers, as well as a bar selling drinks and light bites and a restaurant. If you need to take some rest in the shade after swimming in the cenote, there is a set of hammocks for visitors to enjoy. 

Next to the cenote entrance, there is a viewing platform from where you can get a panoramic view of the cenote.

TIP | San Lorenzo Oxman is one of the more popular Valladolid cenotes Mexico, so if you want to really enjoy it without too many people, arrive for the opening time, which will give you plenty of time before the crowds arrive. 

#3 Cenote Chukum – Most Fun Valladolid Yucatan Cenote

Chukum Cenote Valladolid

Best for | Zipline & jumps into the water

Location | 15 km east of Valladolid 

Entrance fee | $10 or 210 pesos

Opening Hours | 9 am to 5 pm

How to get to Cenote Chukum

Cenote Chukum is situated 15 km east of Valladolid, and the best way of getting here is by car or motorbike. 

What to expect at Chukum Cenote

Chukum Cenote Valladolid
The viewing platform at Cenote Chukum.
Chukum Cenote Valladolid
The zipline at Chukum.

Chukum Cenote was only opened to the public in 2019. The local community knew earlier about its existence, but for a long time, it was challenging to build a safe tunnel to access it due to its unique features. The cenote was named after chukum trees that grow locally. 

Chukum is a cavern cenote with three small openings in the ceiling that let in the sunlight illuminating its intense blue water. The cenote cave is 59 feet or 18 meters tall and covered with interesting stalactite and stalagmite formations. The water pool itself is 65 feet (20 meters) deep and 48 meters long. Chukum is one of the biggest cenotes in the area. 

A multilevel metal balcony has been built along one side of the cenote. There are three jumping platforms from 3 to 15 feet (1 – 4.9 meters) above the water for those seeking a little bit of a thrill. But, the most fun activity at Chukum is the zipline that goes across the cenote. You can ride on the zipline to the middle of the pool and release the handle to jump into the refreshing water!

Life vests are mandatory if you want to swim in the cenote and are already included in the ticket cost of $10. For $25, the ticket also includes a buffet lunch. If you want to snorkel, you can rent out a snorkel mask for an additional cost. 

Read the full post about this cenoteCenote Chukum Valladolid – Tips & Prices

Facilities at Chukum Cenote

Chukum Cenote Valladolid
In the spotlight.
Chukum Cenote Valladolid
Tha hammocks at Chukum.

Facilities at Chukum include toilets, lockers, and showers that are mandatory to use before entering the cenote cave, an outdoor restaurant and a pleasant chillout area with hammocks and benches under the trees. There is also a small shop selling cold drinks, snacks, ice cream and some souvenirs and a complimentary parking lot. 

Cenote Chukum was the most expensive cenote we have visited in this area, but it also was by far the best cenote Valladolid has to offer in terms of facilities. We visited late morning, and the cenote was completely empty, and we had the best time jumping from the platforms and riding the zipline! We also enjoyed the hammock area. 

TIP | Make sure you check out the viewing platform that it’s situated at the top of the cenote’s roof. The view of the cenote from there is incredible! 

Best Cenotes Valladolid to Cycle to

This section reviews all the best Valladolid Cenotes that are accessible by bicycle from the city centre. 

#4 Cenote Samula Valladolid 

Samula Cenote Valladolid

Best for | Swimming and light beam 

Location | 6.9 km southwest of Valladolid

Entrance fee | 80 or 125 pesos combined with Cenote Xkeken (child ticket 50 & 80 pesos) 

Cenote Samula Opening Hours | 8 am to 5 pm

How to get to Samula Cenote  

Cenote Samula is part of a complex of Dzitnup cenotes Mexico that also includes Cenote Xkeken and some other tourist attractions such as horse riding and ATV rental. The complex is located just under 7 km southwest of Valladolid downtown. The best way to get here is by a rented car or a motorbike, but you can also come here by taxi. Cenote Samula and Xkeken are also great destinations to cycle to from Valladolid.  

What to expect at Cenote Samula

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.  

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. 

Samula Cenote Valladolid
Floating at Cenote Samula.
Samula Cenote Valladolid
Floating at Cenote Samula.

Facilities at Cenote Dzitnup

The facilities include toilets, lockers, showers, souvenir shops, drinks and snack shops and a restaurant. There is also a photo service if you want to get a family photo taken.  

You can either just visit Cenote Samula for 80 pesos ($4) or purchase a combined ticket for 125 pesos ($6.1) that also includes Cenote Xkeken, which makes sense to also visit in one go. Lifevests are compulsory to wear and cost extra 25 pesos ($1.2), and the payment is taken at each cenote separately. A visit to both cenotes combined with horse riding costs 225 pesos ($11.1), and there is also a package that combines the two Dzitnup Cenotes with ATV rental for 275 pesos ($13.5). 

TIP | There are men waiting for tourists by the gate who will offer to show you around the complex. If you let them, they will charge you for the ‘guide service’, so make sure you say no if you don’t want to pay extra for that. 

#5 Cenote Xkeken – Best Cavern Cenote Valladolid Mexico

cenotes valladolid xkeken, Xkeken Valladolid Cenote

Best for | Experiencing a cavern cenote

Location | 6.9 km southwest of Valladolid

Entrance fee | 80 or 125 pesos combined with Cenote Xkeken (child ticket 50 & 80 pesos) 

Opening Hours | 8 am to 5 pm

How to get to Xkeken Cenote

Xkeken Cenote is located in the same complex as Cenote Samula.

What to expect at Cenote Xkeken

Xkeken is one of the cavern Valladolid cenotes Yucatan is famous for! 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 due to the darkness and super unique activity. Remember that you need to hire the lifevest from one of the souvenir vendors before heading to the 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 xkeken
The entrance cave at Cenote Xkeken.
cenote xkeken
Inside the cave,

Facilities Xkeken Cenote

As Cenote Xkeken is located in the same complex, the facilities are exactly the same as described above.

You can either just visit Cenote Xkeken for 80 pesos ($4) or purchase a combined ticket for 125 pesos ($6.1) that also includes Cenote Xkeken, which I recommend. 

Lifevests are compulsory to wear and cost extra 25 pesos ($1.2), and the payment is taken at each cenote separately. So, if you want to swim at both cenotes, you will have to pay 25 pesos two times. 

TIP | There are men waiting for tourists by the gate who will offer to show you around the complex. If you let them, they will charge you for the ‘guide service’, so make sure you say no if you don’t want to pay extra for that. 

#6 Cenote Saamal – Open Valladolid Cenote with a Waterfall

Valladolid Cenote Saamal
Cenote Saamal.
Cenote Saamal
Cenote Saamal.

Best for | Openair swimming, jumping

Location | 5.2 km southwest of Valladolid

Entrance fee | 150 pesos 

Opening Hours | 9 am to 5.30 pm 

How to get to Cenote Saamal

Cenote Saamal

Cenote Saamal is located in an attractive hacienda called Hacienda Selva Maya, and for that reason, it is also known as Selva Maya Cenote. The hacienda is situated just over 5 km southwest of the Valladolid city centre, and it’s an excellent destination for cycling enthusiasts! You can find Cenote Saamal just off the main road, and there is a large, complimentary parking area for your bicycle, car or motorbike. You can also grab a taxi here. 

Saamal is also near Dzitnup Cenotes (Samula and Xkeken) reviewed just above, so you can easily combine a visit to these three cenotes in one day. 

What to expect at Saamal Cenote

Cenote Saamal
Cenote Saamal.
Cenote Saamal
Enjoying Cenote Saamal.

The first thing you notice when you arrive at the cenote is the beautiful hacienda with a picturesque courtyard! To get to the cenote, follow the signs. You will be required to take a shower and use the lifevest provided to go down to the cenote cave. You can also leave your belongings in the provided lockers because when you go down, there is not much space to leave your backpack anywhere. 

To access the cenote, you need to climb down a steep staircase, but before you go down, make sure you snap a photo or just admire the view of the cenote from the top balcony. 

When you are at the bottom, you can jump into the water from a platform, which is an exhilarating experience! But, there are also two sets of stairs to access the pool. 

What’s unique about this cenote is that it features a small waterfall and gets a lot of light because it’s entirely open. Swimming in this Valladolid cenote is super enjoyable!  

Facilities at Saamal Selva Maya Cenote  

Valladolid Cenote Saamal
Which jumping style are you? 😉
Cenote Saamal
Which jumping style are you? 😉

There is a decent area with lockers, showers and lifevests that are all included in the ticket price, which is nice. The hacienda also boasts a restaurant and a cool bar where you get have a margarita after swimming in the cenote. Restrooms can be found by the bar. 

TIP | Visit Cenote Saamal in the morning, before the bus tours arrive and spill the crowds. 

The hacienda also has a few zip lines, which can be enjoyed for an additional cost, bike rental and a few shops with souvenirs and local alcohol. 

Cenote entrance fee is 150 pesos ($7.4), and if you wish to stay at Hacienda Selva Maya for lunch, I recommend purchasing the 250 pesos ($12.3) ticket that includes a buffet-style lunch. 

Read the full post about this cenoteCenote Saamal & Hacienda Selva Maya Valladolid Guide

#7 Zaci Cenote Valladolid Centre 

cenotes valladolid zaci, Valladolid Cenote Zaci

Best for | When you don’t have transport

Location | Valladolid centre

Cenote Zaci Entrance fee | 30 pesos

Opening Hours | 8 am to 5 pm

How to get to Cenote Zaci Valladolid

Out of all cenotes Zaci is the only one located right in the city’s heart, just 600 meters or 7 minute’s walk from the main square. If you’re staying near the square, then you can simply walk here or take a taxi, which shouldn’t cost more than 50 pesos. If you’re arriving with your own vehicle, you can park it at the cenote parking lot. 

Valladolid Cenote Zaci
Cenote Zaci.
Valladolid Cenote Zaci
Cenote Zaci.

What to expect at Valladolid Cenote Zaci

Zaci, also known as Cenote Zacil-ha, is a semi-open cenote with plenty of light coming through the opening and lush greenery growing on the sinkhole walls and some artificial waterfalls gently dripping into the pool. 

What’s unique about this cenote is that the access stairs and corridors were carved into the rocks allowing visitors to explore almost the whole length of the cenote. And multiple staircases provide access to the water at various points of the cenote, which is useful when the cenote is busy. The water is super refreshing and great for swimming, and if you’re lucky, you will be able to spot black catfish.

Zaci also features a jumping platform that is raised at 8-10 meters above the water and can certainly give you a little bit of an adrenaline rush if you decide to have a go!  

Facilities at Valladolid Zaci Cenote  

At the entrance to the cenote, there is a restaurant overlooking the cenote pool, toilets and souvenir vendors. Zaci also features a large parking lot, which is complimentary for visitors. 

TIP | If you want to have a great experience without the crowds, visit Zaci in the morning during the week. 

Best Valladolid Cenotes Near Ruins 

In this section, you will find all the best Yucatan cenotes Mexico located within or near the most famous ruins. So, if you love exploring ruins, you can combine that with a swimming stop at a cenote. 

#8 Ik Kil Cenote near Chichen Itza 

Cenote Ik Kil, il kil cenote

Best for | Combining with Chichen Itza 

Location | 40 km west of Valladolid 

Cenote Ik Kil Entrance fee | 150 pesos

Cenote Ik Kil Opening Hours | 9 am to 5 pm

How to get to Cenote Ik Kil  

Cenote Ik Kil is situated 40 km west of Valladolid, just off the main road number 180 that connects the city with the Chichen Itza airport and the ruins. The easiest way to get to Ik Kil is by car or motorbike. 

But, because the cenote is situated just before Chichen Itza, it is also super easy to catch a local transport called Colectivo. Colectivos are small buses that offer transportation on popular routes like this one – the Chichen Itza Valladolid route. You can find one here in Valladolid. A one-way ticket costs 40 pesos, and you can also grab one back to Valladolid from the main road.  

If you prefer a hassle-free experience, you can also take a private tour of Chichen Itza combined with a visit to Ik Kil Cenote and a lunch including one of the most famous Mexican dishes – Cochinita Pibil. 

Chichen Itza + Cenote Il Kil + Lunch

What to expect at Cenote Ik Kil

Cenote Ik Kil
A balcony at Cenote Ik Kil.
Cenote Ik Kil

Thanks to its proximity to the world wonder, the Chichen Itza ruins, Ik Kil is one of the most popular Yucatan peninsula cenotes! Most tours stop here in the afternoon after the visit to Chichen Itza, so don’t expect this Valladolid cenote to be super quiet. At the same time, Ik Kil is one of the best cenotes near Valladolid, and despite the crowds, it is worth visiting. 

You are most likely to visit it in combination with Chichen Itza, and in my opinion, visiting the ruins first thing in the morning to avoid the wild crowds is way more valuable. And stopping by Ik Kil after the ruins for a refreshing dip in the cenote water is a must, even with the crowds! 

What’s unique about this Valladolid cenote is its lush greenery that surrounds and grows on its walls with veins hanging from the top, resembling a jungle curtain! The sinkhole is entirely open and lets a lot of light inside, which makes swimming in the cenote pool a pleasant experience. The water is up to 50 metres (150 feet) deep! There is also a 5-meter-high jumping platform for the brave. 

To swim in the cenote, you are required to shower beforehand and wear a lifevest. As you enter the tunnel, make sure you stop at the balcony carved in the rock, providing a nice view and a great photo spot. I recommend leaving your belongings in the lockers, as there is not much space by the cenote pool, and it can get busy. 

Facilities at Ik Kil Cenotes

Cenote Ik Kil boasts all the facilities such as lockers, showers, bathrooms and changing rooms you would expect from a cenote. There is also a restaurant and a few shops.

The standard ticket costs 150 pesos ($7.40) and the ticket with a buffet lunch 350 pesos ($17.20). 

TIP | Arrive at Chichen Itza before the opening time to be one of the first people at the ruins and head straight after to Ik Kil to avoid the crowds. 

#9 Cenote Chichen Itza or Sacred Cenote 

Chichen Iza Cenote, chichen itza cenotes

Best for | Mayan history enthusiasts

Location | Chichen Itza Site

Entrance fee | Included in the Chichen Itza ticket of 571 pesos ($28)

Opening Hours | 8 am to 5 pm

How to get to Chichen Itza Cenote

The Sacred Cenote of Chichen Itza is located within the Chichen Itza archaeological site, north of the main Chichen Itza temple El Castillo. You can access it through a raised pathway within a 7-minute walk from El Castillo.  

What to expect at the Sacred Cenote Chichen Itza

As you can expect from a UNESCO heritage site, you cannot swim in the Chichen Itza Cenote. But, being one of the most famous and important Mayan cenotes near Valladolid, it is included in this post. 

The Sacred Cenote is also known as the ‘well of sacrifice’. The Mayans believed that this cenote was the entrance to the underworld and used it for sacrificial ceremonies. 

Archaeologists found gold, pottery, jade and human remains inside the sinkhole and concluded that the Mayans deposited sacrifices in the cenote for the Mayan god of rain – Chaac. 

#10 Ek Balam Cenote (Cenote Xcanche) 

Cenote Xcanche, ek balam cenotes

Best for | Combining with Ek Balam ruins

Location | Ek Balam Archeological Site 28 km north of Valladolid

Entrance fee | 170 pesos 

Opening Hours | 9 am to 3.30 pm

How to get to Cenote Ek Balam

Cenote X canche is a part of the archaeological site of Ek Balam, and you can combine a visit to both places in one day trip. Ek Balam is a 28 km drive north of Valladolid, and you can get here easily with a rented car or scooter. Some local buses such as ‘Oriente’ also stop at Ek Balam ruins, and you can find their schedule and buy a ticket at the central Valladolid bus station

You can find Ek Balam cenote about 2 km from Ek Balam entrance, and you can use a free bicycle if you don’t want to walk, which is a nice bonus!

If you rather visit the ruins and the cenote hassle-free with a tour, check out this tour run by Viator: Ek Balam Ruins + Cenote Xcanche.

What to expect at ​​Cenote Xcanche at Ek Balam

Ek Balam Cenote is usually quiet as most tourists only visit the nearby ruins. In order to swim in the cenote, you are required to take a shower. The cenote itself is mostly open, with lush greenery surrounding it and plenty of natural light. Inside the cenote, wooden decking is built around the sinkhole, which makes exploring the cenote easier. The water is about 30 meters (90 feet) deep and not as clear as in other Valladolid cenotes. 

The standard cenote ticket costs 170 pesos ($7.40), and for 500 pesos ($24.60), they offer a special ticket that includes two different ziplines and rappelling into the cenote. There is also a rope jumping at the cenote, which is free to use, unlike the ziplines. Jumping is also allowed, and there even is a special 3 meters high jumping platform

Facilities at Cenote near Ek Balam ruins  

The entrance ticket includes the use of lifevests and lockers. You can also take your belongings with you and leave them by the shore of the cenote pool. 

Ek Balam also boasts a restaurant and a pleasant chillout area where you can relax on a hammock under trees after all the fun you had exploring the ruins and swimming in the cenote pool. 

TIP | The best way of visiting Cenote Xcanche is in combination with the Ek Balam ruins, which will be a nice reward after exploring the ruins. Make sure you check the bus timetable for your ride back to Valladolid.  

Best Off-Beaten Track ​​Cenotes Near Valladolid

#11 Cenote Hubiku – Cavern Cenote near Ek Balam 

Valladolid Cenote Hubiku cenote mexico
Cenote Hubiku.
Valladolid Cenote Hubiku, hubiku cenote valladolid mexico

Best for | Cave swimming

Location | 17 km north of Valladolid 

Entrance fee | 150 pesos

Opening Hours | 9 am to 5 pm

How to get to Hubiku Cenote

Cenote Hubiku is located 17 km north of Valladolid, on the way to the ruins of Ek Balam. The best way of getting to Hubiku is renting a car in Cancun, or if you’re travelling from Valladolid, you can also rent a scooter. 

If you’re staying in Cancun, you can take a hassle-free tour with Viator that combines a visit to Chichen Itza with Valladolid and Cenote Hubiku:

​​

What to expect at Cenote Hubiku

Valladolid Cenote Hubiku
Floating in Valladolid Cenote Hubiku.
Valladolid Cenote Hubiku

Despite the fact that Cenote Hubiku is a stopover for some of the Cancun tours, Hubiku felt like an off-beaten track destination to me.

When you arrive at Hubiku, there is a large complimentary parking area and a building on your right where you can purchase your entrance ticket. 

At the parking lot, you will also find the colourful Hubiku letters if you wish to snap a quick shot before heading to the cenote. On the way to the cenote, you’ll go past a couple of information boards about the Mayan civilisation and a few displays of Mayan artefacts.  

At the cave entrance, a few Mayans dressed in their traditional outfits may offer you a quick Mayan ceremony and a photo for a small tip. 

Also, don’t forget to snap a photo at the top of the cave, where you get an excellent panoramic view of the cenote. If you visit around midday on a sunny day, you’ll get a nice light beam coming through a roof opening and illuminating the water in the sinkhole. 

Hubiku Cenote has a maximum depth of 27 meters and is 20 meters high. The water in the cenote is super refreshing and has around 20 degrees Celsius (68 F). You can just leave your belongings on the stairs and take a refreshing dip! The water is super clear and chilly!  

Read the full post about this cenoteCenote Hubiku Valladolid – Tips & Prices

Facilities at Hubiku  

Hubiku letters.

The ticket to Hubiku Cenote costs 150 pesos ($7.40) and does not include the use of lockers and lifevests, which can be separately purchased inside the cenote cave for $2 and $1 respectively. Unlike other Valladolid cenotes, the use of life vests at Hubikiu is optional. Inside the cave, you can also rent a towel for $2. 

Near the parking area, there is a restaurant where you can stop for lunch and a bar by the cenote entrance.  

TIP | Combine the visit to Hubiku with Ek Balam ruins and Xcanche cenote into a full day full of fun. 

#12 Cenote Secreto Maya – Best Open Quiet Valladolid Cenote

cenote secreto maya
Cenote Secreto Maya.
cenote secreto maya
Robe jumping at Secreto Maya Cenote.

Best for | day out away from crowds

Location | 33 km northeast of Valladolid

Entrance fee | 200 pesos

Opening Hours | 10 am to 5 pm

How to get to Cenote Secreto Maya

Cenote Secreto Maya is a little further away from the more popular Valladolid cenotes, and you can only get there either by car or motorbike. The journey will take around 40 minutes. 

What to expect at Cenote Secreto Maya

If you’re looking for one of more hidden cenotes, away from the crowds, where you can spend a blissful half a day or even a full day, the Secret Cenote Maya can’t be more perfect. 

Cenote Secreto Maya is an open cenote surrounded by lush greenery and hanging tree roots and veins. The water at the sinkhole reaches up to 60 meters in depth and has a pretty azure colour. 

Climb a steep, wooden staircase to access the cenote, and snap a photo from the upper staircase! At the cenote, you can access the pool through a set of stairs or jump off a platform or, even better, swing into the cenote on a Tarzan robe

cenote secreto maya
The access staircase.
cenote secreto maya
Tree roots growing into the sinkhole.

Facilities at Cenote Secreto Maya

Cenote Secreto Maya boasts a great lounge area with hammocks, a small pool and a colourful mural Maya-themed great for snapping a photo or two. Other facilities include decent bathrooms, changing rooms, lockers and lifevests. 

There is also an onsite traditional restaurant and even a spa. If you want to spend a night at Cenote Secreto Maya, you can choose to stay in one of their bungalows. 

The standard ticket costs 200 pesos ($10), for 300 pesos ($15), it includes a tour of the jaguar cave, pool access, a Mayan ceremony and a lifevest. For 900 pesos ($44), you additionally get lunch, a cocktail and a massage at the spa. 

TIP | If you choose Cenote Secreto Maya, spend here at least half a day to fully appreciate its beauty and all its facilities. 

#13 Cenote Sac-Aua – Best Unique Valladolid Mexico Cenote

Valladolid Cenote Sac-Aua
Cenote Sac-Aua.
Valladolid Cenote Sac-Aua

Best for | Cenote kayaking

Location | 30 km northeast of Valladolid

Entrance fee | 150 pesos 

Opening Hours | 9 am to 6 pm

How to get to Cenote Sac-Aua

Cenote Sac-Aua is located in a small town, 30 km northeast of Valladolid, and only a short drive away from Cenote Secreto Maya, so you can combine the two cenotes into a one-day itinerary! The best way to get to Cenote Sac-Aua is to hire a scooter in Valladolid or a car if you’re coming from Cancun. 

Cenote Sac-Aua is a little hard to find because it’s not well-marked on Google. When you enter the town where it’s located, you will find a group of local kids on their bicycles wanting to help you get there for a tip. It actually was really amusing seeing them being so dedicated to their ‘guiding job’. Watch out for the signs that will also show you the way to the cenote. 

What to expect at Cenote Sac-Aua

Valladolid Cenote Sac-Aua
Robin’s enjoying the jumping platform.
Valladolid Cenote Sac-Aua

Cenote Sac-Aua is a little different from all the other Valladolid cenotes. It is a semi-open cenote with an island in the middle, and you can kayak around it, which can be a fun way to enjoy the cenote. There is also a jumping bridge where you can hop into the refreshing water. The water in the cenote is up to 14 meters (40 feet) deep.

The cenote takes its name from a Sac-Aua tree that grows on the edge of the cenote roof with massive roots and vines overhanging all the way to the bottom of the island inside the cave. 

From the ticket office to the cenote, there is a good 10 minutes walk, and if you don’t want to walk, there is a tricycle taxi that can take you there. 

Facilities at Sac-Aua Cenote

Valladolid Cenote Sac-Aua
You can kayak around the island at Sac-Aua.
Valladolid Cenote Sac-Aua

You can find bathrooms, showers and changing rooms near the cenote entrance, and there is also a restaurant near the parking lot where you can grab lunch. 

The standard ticket that gives you access to the cenote costs 150 pesos ($7.40). For 230 pesos ($11.30), you can also explore the cave with a guide, and for 350 pesos ($17.20), you get lunch and a kayak. 

TIP | Combine a visit to Cenote Sac-Aua with Cenote Secreto Maya, which is located nearby. 

#14 Cenote Palomitas – Cavern Cenote Maya Valladolid 

Cenote Palomitas

Best for | Experiencing a cavern cenote

Location | 28 km northwest Valladolid 

Entrance fee | 170 pesos

Opening Hours | 9 am to 5 pm

How to get to Cenote Palomitas

Cenote Palomitas is located 28 km northwest of Valladolid city centre, and the best way of getting here is to hire a car or scooter. You will go past Cenote Chukum on your way to Palomitas, so it may be a good idea to also stop there for a few hours.  

What to expect at Cenote Palomitas

Cenote Palomitas
The entrance to the cave.
Cenote Palomitas
Stalactites haniging from the ceiling.

Cenote Palomitas is a large cavern cenote with a maximum water depth of 60 meters. Inside the cenote cave, you will see a few holes in the roof that let in a bit of light and many beautiful stalactites hanging from the cave ceiling. 

There is a lot of space to leave your belongings by the shore, and during my visit in the middle of the day, only one family shared the experience with us. You can’t really jump at Palomitas, but you can test your strength at climbing a rope that is attached to the largest opening in the cave’s roof. 

Facilities at Cenote Palomitas

Cenote Palomitas
Robe climbing at Cenote Palomitas.
Cenote Palomitas

The bathrooms and showers are located right by the ticket office. The use of lifevests is complimentary but also optional. 

The standard entrance ticket costs 170 pesos ($8.40), and they also offer access with a buffet lunch for 270 pesos ($13.30). Unfortunately, there is no ticket that combines a visit to Palomitas and Cenote Agua Dulce, so I recommend choosing one. There are also two lesser-known cenotes – Cenote Tortugas and Cenote Seco, each costing 90 pesos ($4.40). 

TIP | As Cenote Palomitas is very close to Cenote Secreto Maya and Cenote Sac-Aua, you can visit the three Valladolid cenotes in one day. 

#15 Cenote Agua Dulce – A beautiful Cavern Cenote

Best for | Experiencing a cavern cenote

Location | 28 km northwest Valladolid 

Entrance fee | 170 pesos

Opening Hours | 9 am to 5 pm

How to get to to Cenote Agua Dulce

Cenote Agua Dulce is located 28 km northwest of Valladolid city centre, and the best way of getting here is to hire a car or scooter. Cenote Agua Dulce is located in the same place as Cenote Palomitas! 

What to expect at Cenote Agua Dulce

Cenote Agua Dulce looks very similar to Cenote Palomitas, so I recommend choosing just one of them. At the time of my visit, Cenote Agua Dulce was closed for a private event, so my choice was simple! 

Agua Dulce is also set in a large cave with only small openings in the ceiling. It has two access points through the widening staircase, and one leads you to a floating platform! The water inside the cenote is much shallower compared with Cenote Palomitas – only around 15 meters (45 feet).  

Facilities at Cenote Agua Dulce

The standard entrance ticket costs 170 pesos ($8.40), and they also offer access with a buffet lunch for 270 pesos ($13.30). Unfortunately, there is no ticket that combines a visit to Palomitas and Cenote Agua Dulce, so I recommend choosing one. There are also two lesser-known cenotes – Cenote Tortugas and Cenote Seco, each costing 90 pesos ($4.40). 

TIP | As Cenote Agua Dulce is very close to Cenote Secreto Maya and Cenote Sac-Aua, you can visit the three Valladolid cenotes in one day. 

Tips on Visiting Valladolid Cenotes

What to wear to cenotes?

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.

Most cenotes near Valladolid have changing rooms, so you will be able to change to something dry afterwards, but try wearing some comfy clothes like shorts and a top or an easy dress that you can just slip on top of your swimsuit, and a pair of flip flops or sandals. 

Bring cash 

Not all of the cenotes are equipped with card machines, or even if they do, due to the remote location, there may not have good wifi to take your payment. So, make sure you bring enough cash to cover the cenote entrances and a little more for any unplanned expenses, such as snacks, drinks or petrol. 

Visit in the early morning

The best time to visit any of the cenotes Valladolid is so famous for is early in the morning when you will be able to have it almost entirely to yourself. However, it is impossible to be at each cenote first in the morning, especially if you only have a couple of days and want to do three cenotes per day. In this case, choose the ones you care about the most and visit those first.   

Mandatory shower & lifevest

At most cenotes, you will be required to take a shower before entering the pool. Employees will actually watch you and make sure you’re wet before letting you enter the cenote cave. 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 those cenotes in the years to come. You’re also required to wear a lifevest at most cenotes.  

Where to stay for Valladolid Cenotes

Hotel Zentik Project & Saline CaveUnique Adults-Only Hotel with Cave Pool

Valladolid Hotels
Hotel Zentik via Booking.com
Valladolid Hotels
Hotel Zentik via Booking.com

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 BoutiqueBoutique Hotel, 6 min walk to centre

Valladolid Hotels
Le Muuch Hotel via Booking.com
Valladolid Hotels
Le Muuch Hotel via Booking.com

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 FundadoresValue Hotel with kitchenette

Valladolid Hotels
Hotel Fundadores via Booking.com
Valladolid Hotels
Hotel Fundadores via Booking.com

 

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. 

What are Cenotes in Mexico?

So, what are cenotes? The term is mainly associated with 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.  

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. 

what is a cenotes mexico, Cenote Palomitas
Cenote Palomitas

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.  

what is cenotes in mexico, Samula Cenote Valladolid
Cenote Samula

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 Suytun and Cenote Samula.

Gran Cenote
Gran Cenote Tulum

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 most lush vegetation and are great for a day out. Xcache and Oxman cenotes Valladolid Yucatan are open. 

Bacalan Cenotes
Bacalar cenotes.

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 such as Cenote Azul.

Valladolid Cenotes QNA

How are cenotes formed?

Millions of years ago, and well before the Mayan civilisation, the Yucatan Peninsula was a giant coral reef under a huge mass of the ocean. In the last Ice Age, the sea levels drastically dropped, exposing the coral reef to the erosive powers of sun, wind and rainwater. 

The coral reef also provided a fertile base for the jungle to grow, and the coral limestone evolved over time into a complex system of underground caves and passages that were subsequently flooded by the rising sea levels. 

A limestone roof still covers the youngest cenotes, and the oldest ones are the open cenotes with the limestone roof fully collapsed. 

Are cenotes safe to swim?

Valladolid Cenotes are generally super safe to swim. The water is clean and inhabited by different species of fish. You definitely don’t have to worry about sharks, crocodiles or piranhas! There is usually a lifeguard on site and if you’re not a strong swimmer, make sure you wear a lifevest. 

Are cenotes clean?

Cenote water is typically super clean and transparent. The water comes from the underground river system, which has been naturally filtered through the ground. 

How deep are cenotes?

Cenotes in Yucatan Peninsula are anything between 8 to 60 meters deep, and the deepest cenote is the Cenote Pit, with an incredible depth of 119 meters (391 feet)!

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *