Yucatan is home to thousands of cenotes, and according to locals, some of the most beautiful ones are located in Valladolid. Cenotes are natural pits appearing after the collapse of limestone bedrocks revealing the underground water.
There are usually three types of cenotes, the ones that are on ground-level, the ones inside a cave and totally enclosed and the ones underground with a more or less large opening on top.
Cenotes are sacred places for Mayans and were used to realize sacrifices. Below are listed the best cenotes in Valladolid, and around, you should visit.
What to pack before visiting a cenote:
- Reef-safe/organic sunscreen;
- Organic mosquito repellent;
- Swimsuit and towel;
- Water shoes or flip flops;
- GoPro or waterproof phone case;
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Best Cenotes near Valladolid:
Cenote Oxman is usually off most tourists’ radar, so it’s usually quiet especially during weekdays. There you’ll also find the San Lorenzo Hacienda from the 18th century. It’s a restaurant with a pool, the owners are the one managing the cenote.
You’ll have to go down to access cenote Oxman, but the top is open, with long tree roots dropping into the water. Mayan believed these trees were inhabited by spirits protecting the cenote. The water is a nice blue-green and there are a lot of fishes there.
Opened from 10 am to 5 pm, every day. You can get there by bicycle, it takes around 30 minutes from the city center, or hire a cab for about 100 pesos. The entrance fee for just the cenote is 80 pesos, or 100 pesos for the pool and cenote (with 50 pesos of credit for food).
Located right in the middle of Valladolid, this cenote is often crowded with locals on weekends. The cenote is partially covered with an opening around half the size of the cenote. Its location makes it convenient to go for a quick dip. There’s a platform going around it, and you can jump from there. At its deepest, the cenote is 330 feet deep. There’s also a restaurant facing the cenote.
The entrance fee is 50 pesos and it closes at 5:30 pm. Come with your swimsuit on as there is no place to change. There are also no lockers.
Cenote Xkeken and Cenote Samula
Located in front of each other on highway 180, both cenotes are underground with only a small opening at the top. They’re full of stalactites, and it really feels like swimming inside a cave. There are also « spa fishes » in the water, just dip your feet and let them do their work.
Entrance fee is 80 pesos for one cenote or 125 for 2. They close at 7 pm. These cenotes are also reachable by bicycle from Valladolid.
Cenote Suytun is an Instagramers’ hotspot. It’s not really deep, and most people don’t come here to swim but only to get their pictures taken. There’s a rock pathway leading to the center of the cenote. It’s inside a cave and there’s only a small opening at the top. To take the better picture go there when the sun is at its highest. If you want to avoid waiting in line to take a picture, go there at opening time. If you see tourist buses in the parking lot, come back later.
The entrance fee is 125 pesos and the cenote is open from 9 am to 5 pm.
Cenote Palomitas and Agua Dulce
Both cenotes are located right next to each other. They kind of look similar so no need to visit both.
Cenote Agua Dulce has five small « eyes » letting light through. It’s also full of stalactites. It’s a great place for swimming, and you can also kayak there.
Cenote Palomitas is darker and also full of stalactites. The limestone is really white, it contrasts nicely with the dark color of the water. You can cliff-jump from some parts.
Both cover 100 pesos for entrance and are open from 9 am to 5 pm.
Cenote Sac Aua
This cenote is a must-see if you’re in Valladolid, while most cenotes look a bit alike, cenote Sac Aua is totally different. When the roof collapsed, it formed an island in the middle of the cenote. You can swim or kayak around the perfectly round-shaped island.
There, you can also visit nearby caves, but you’ll need a guide.
The entrance fee is 90 pesos and the cenote is open from 9 am to 6 pm.
Located between Valladolid and Ek Balam, Cenote Hubiku is another great cenote to visit while in Valladolid. Hubiku means Iguanas’ nest in Mayan. The cenote is underground with a small opening or « eye » on top, and is 90 feet deep. The water is fresh and of a deep emerald color. The sinkhole form a perfect circle. There you’ll find a restaurant, a changing room, and lockers.
The entrance fee is 100 pesos, and the cenote is open from 9 am to 5 pm.
Cenote Xcanche is located inside the Ek Balam Archaeological Area, it’s a 1-mile walk from the visitor center (you can also rent a bike). The cenote is big with a large opening on top. The water is turquoise when the sun reflects on it and is a deep emerald in the shadows. There’s also a lot of black catfishes swimming around.
They have a restaurant, showers and a changing room.
The entrance fee is 70 pesos, and the cenote is open from 9 am to 3:30 pm. You can take a shared taxi from Valladolid to get to Ek Balam.
Cenote Ik Kil
Cenote Ik Kil is probably Yucatan’s most beautiful cenote, but also the most crowded. Located near Chichen Itza, most tour companies include a visit to Ik Kil on their Chichen Itza packages. To avoid the crowd, try to go near opening time. The sinkhole is 100 feet deep and is covered with roots and vegetation hanging from the top.
The entrance fee is 80 pesos and the cenote is open from 9 am to 5 pm. You can get there by bus (Oriente company) or colectivo from Valladolid.
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