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Cenote Oxman, Valladolid, Mexico

The Best Cenotes Near Valladolid You Can’t Miss ~ Mexico

by Tsvete Popp

This post is part of the series Mexico

Other posts in this series:

  1. Is Cancún Worth a Visit or It Is an Extremely Overrated Tourist Trap?
  2. Things to Know Before You Visit Chichen Itza in Mexico
  3. The Best Cenotes Near Valladolid You Can’t Miss ~ Mexico (Current)

One of the coolest things to do in the Yucatan Peninsula is visiting a cenote and this was also my favourite activity during our road trip in Mexico!  Probably the most beautiful cenotes of Yucatan are located near Valladolid. The small colonial city is the perfect place to stay, not only because of Chichen Itza or Ek’ Balam but also to enjoy some of the greatest cenotes in Mexico! There are also many other cenotes located near Merida, Tulum, Playa del Carmen and Cancun.

 

After the two days spent in Cancun (which I totally didn’t like!), we drove west towards Valladolid. In total, we stayed 3 nights in this super laid-back city. Valladolid is the best place to stay if you want to experience the Mexican way of living, visit Chichen Itza (45 min drive) and Ek’ Balam (30 min drive), and of course – to enjoy the best cenotes in Mexico!

 

The best way for visiting the cenotes is by renting a car, otherwise, you’ll need much more time and effort if you want to visit all the interesting sites of Valladolid. But – Valladolid is the ideal base to visit cenotes, even if you don’t have your own car! Many cenotes can be reached by colectivo or even bicycle.

 

You probably won’t have time to visit all of the cenotes near Valladolid, so I have come up with a list of the 7 best ones!

 

Cenote Ik Kil, Chichen Itza, Valladolid, Mexico

Cenote Ik Kil

Cenote Ik Kil, Chichen Itza, Valladolid, Mexico

Cenote Ik Kil

 

Cenote Xkeken, Cenote Dzitnup, Valladilid, Mexico

Cenote Xkeken, Cenote Dzitnup

 

What are Cenotes?

 

Cenotes are a system of more than 6000 of natural sinkholes, found all over the Yucatan in Mexico. Cenotes are prevalent in the Yucatan Peninsula where the ground is primarily made up of limestone. In fact, a cenote is a deep sinkhole filled with rainwater and water flowing from underground rivers coming up to the earth’s surface. Cenotes are actually all connected with one another, forming the longest underground river in the world.

 

Cenotes are created when the roof of an underground cavern collapses. Many of the cenotes near Valladolid were slowly forming over hundreds of years. They served as an entrance to the underworld for the Mayans Civilization. The word “cenote” or “dzonot” means “location with accessible groundwater” in the Mayan language. The cenotes were and still are the main source of clear water in this area of Mexico.

 

Cenote Xcanche, Valladolid, Ek balam, Mexico

Cenote Xcanche, Valladolid

Cenote Xcanche, Valladolid, Ek balam, Mexico

Cenote Xcanche

 

There are different types of cenotes in Mexico classified according to their age and cave roof. The oldest cenotes are fully opened, the roof is missing, and they are covered in vegetation. They often have tree roots descending from the roof to the water level. There are also Semi-Opened Cenotes with a partially collapsed roof. The third type are the Cavern Cenotes – they have a rooftop and a small opening that ensure a natural light inside the cave.

 

The two main types of cenotes located near Valladolid are open sky cenotes and closed cenotes. Most of the cenotes near Valladolid are closed cenotes inside a cave. The depth of a cenote ranges from 1 meter up to over 100 meters deep!

 

Most cenotes near Valladolid are open to the public, but you have to pay a small entrance fee because they are privately owned. The entrance fee for the cenotes near Valladolid ranges from 30 to 120 MXN. All cenotes also have opening times – usually from 8 am to 5 pm. At most cenotes, you can also rent snorkels for 20 Pesos.

 

Cenote Sac Aua, Valladolid, Mexico

Cenote Sac Aua

 

Significance of Cenotes and Maya Believes

 

Cenotes were ritually significant to the ancient Maya because they believed that the sinkholes filled with water are the direct access to the underground. Therefore the Mayans considered all cenotes as sacred.

 

There is evidence that the Mayan people used the cenotes as water sources – they built all their villages and cities around cenotes. On the other hand, many cenotes as the Sacred Cenote at Chichen Itza were used for sacrificial purposes. Mayans would throw in offerings in the cenotes to communicate with the gods and their ancestors. Researchers found many sacrificial objects of gold and jade, as well as human and animal skulls and bones.

 

Cenote Xcanche, Valladolid, Ek balam, Mexico

Cenote Xcanche

 

Cenote Ik Kil

 

Although cenote Ik Kil is absolutely the busiest cenote near Valladolid, the cenote itself is really beautiful and a must see after visiting the ruins of Chichen Itza. Make sure you visit Ik Kil before 11:00 am to avoid the crowds coming from Chichen Itza!  Because it’s close to the pyramids, tours to Chichen Itza often combine the visit with a swim to Ik Kil.

 
Ik Kil is an open cenote without a roof, surrounded by lots of trees and vegetation. The water is very clear and cool. There’s also a diving platform, about 5 meters high.
 
Getting There: Cenote Ik Kil is located on the road connecting Valladolid and Chichen Itza and lies about 40 minutes east of Valladolid.
 
Opening Hours: from 09:00 am to 05:00 pm
 
Entrance Fee: 80 MXN
 

Cenote Ik Kil, Chichen Itza, Valladolid, Mexico

Cenote Ik Kil

Cenote Ik Kil, Chichen Itza, Valladolid, Mexico

Cenote Ik Kil

Cenote Ik Kil, Chichen Itza, Valladolid, Mexico

Cenote Ik Kil

Cenote Ik Kil, Chichen Itza, Valladolid, Mexico

Cenote Ik Kil

Cenote Ik Kil, Chichen Itza, Valladolid, Mexico

Cenote Ik Kil

 
Visiting Chichen Itza, El Castillo, Kukulkan Pyramid

Things to Know Before You Visit Chichen Itza in Mexico

This post is part of the series Mexico Other posts in this series: Is Cancún…

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Cenote Sac Aua

 

Cenote Sac Aua is a stunning sinkhole located 30 kilometres northeast of Valladolid and 15 km from Ek Balam, in the Dzalbay police station. The roof if Sac Aua has collapsed over time. There are shallow water and deep water with a place to dive in. The depth of the cenote ranges from 1 meter to 14 meters.

Getting There: Cenote Sac Aua is located 30 kilometres northeast of Valladolid.
 
Opening Hours: from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm
 
Entrance Fee: 90 MXN
 

Cenote Sac Aua, Valladolid, Mexico

Cenote Sac Aua

Cenote Sac Aua, Valladolid, Mexico

Cenote Sac Aua

 

Cenote Samula

 

Cenote Samula and Xkeken are located in the same complex so you can visit two inviting pools in one location for 120 MXN. Cenote Samula is larger than Xkeken. Samula is a cenote located inside a cave and still has a rooftop with a small opening for natural light. The water of Samula is super blue which makes your visit even more spectacular!

 

 Getting there: Cenote Samula is located on Valladolid-Cancun highway and it is a 10 min drive from Valladolid (7 km).

 

Opening Hours: from 8 am to 7 pm

 

Entrance Fee: 80 MXN (120 MXN including Xkeken Cenote)

 

Cenote Samula, Valladolid, Mexico

Cenote Samula

Cenote Samula, Valladolid, Mexico

Cenote Samula

 

Cenote Sayutun

 

Cenote Sauytun is a cavern cenote with a small opening at the top of the cave and clear azure waters. Sayutun is icy-cold and well-appreciated on a hot sunny afternoon. The man-made peninsula in the water makes this cenote absolutely Instagramable! So I guess you have seen this one a lot in your social media!
 
Getting there: Cenote Sauytun is just 9 km east of Valladolid (12 min by car). To have it all to yourself, visit just after opening time at 9 am in the morning, or before it closes at 5 pm!

 
Opening Hours: from 9 am to 5 pm
 
Entrance Fee: 70 MXN
 

Is Cancún Worth a Visit or It Is an Extremely Overrated Tourist Trap?

This post is part of the series Mexico Other posts in this series: Is Cancún…

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Cenote Suytun, Valladiolid, Yucatan, Mexico 3
 
Cenote Suytun, Valladiolid, Yucatan, Mexico 3

Cenote Suytun

Cenote Suytun, Valladiolid, Yucatan, Mexico 3

Cenote Suytun

 

Cenote X’Canche

 

After exploring the archaeological site of Ek’ Balam you can and should definitely visit (probably my favourite) cenote in Yucatan – Cenote X’Canche! Cenote X’Canche is absolutely gorgeous, off the beaten path and lesser-visited underground cenote in this area. There are many other cenotes around Valladolid but Cenote X’Canche is mesmerizing underground cenote that is well-maintained and is not only refreshing but a lot of fun.

 

What you have to do is make your way back to the entrance of the ruin site and you’ll find a path to the cenote! First, you have to buy the ticket from the ticket shop ($50 MXN). And then you have to walk about 2km down the pathway (20-25 min walk). You can also rent a bike or tuk-tuk for a small fee.

 

X’Canche is a large and perfectly round natural pool with gorgeous turquoise water, surrounded by the natural and unspoiled jungle vegetation. The pool was not inside a cave, like other cenotes I’d visited in Yucatan. The pool is huge and open to the sky! The cenote also has a suspension bridge and a rope swing too.

 
How to get there: From Valladolid, take the highway to Tizimin. Some 5-6km after Temozón you have to turn right and drive until you see a sign for Ek’ Balam.  From Ek’ Balam you have to walk about 2 km (driving is not allowed).
 
Opening Hours: from 9 am to 5 pm
 
Entrance Fee: 70 MXN
 

Cenote Xcanche, Valladolid, Ek balam, Mexico

Cenote Xcanche

Cenote Xcanche, Valladolid, Ek balam, Mexico

Cenote Xcanche

Cenote Xcanche, Valladolid, Ek balam, Mexico

Cenote Xcanche

Cenote Xcanche, Valladolid, Ek balam, Mexico

Cenote Xcanche

Cenote Xcanche, Valladolid, Ek balam, Mexico

Cenote Xcanche

 

Cenote XKeken, Cenote Dzintup

 

Cenote XKeken is also known as Cenote Dzintup. Cenote Xkeken is a cavern cenote, with beautiful turquoise waters and a narrow opening at the top. With its dim sunlight from the smaller surface opening, this cenote feels even more enchanting than Cenote Samula. XKeken was the darkest cenote we visited near Valladolid and it has a very mysterious vibe to it. The whole complex of Cenote Xkeken and Samula is quite touristy – there are lots of people selling souvenirs and other stuff.

 
Getting there: Cenote XKeken is located on Valladolid-Cancun highway and it is a 10 min drive from Valladolid (7 km).
 
Opening Hours: from 8 am to 7 pm
 
Entrance Fee: 80 MXN (120 MXN including Cenote Samula)
 

Cenote Xkeken, Cenote Dzitnup, Valladilid, Mexico

Cenote Xkeken, Cenote Dzitnup,

Cenote Xkeken, Cenote Dzitnup, Valladilid, Mexico

Cenote Xkeken, Cenote Dzitnup

 

Cenote Oxman

 

Cenote Oxman is located 5 km southwest of Valladolid.  If you have no time and you are going to visit only one cenote near Valladolid, make sure you head to San Lorenzo Oxman! You can easily spend a whole day here – this is the best all-around cenote experience near Valladolid (+ Hacienda Oxman,  a restaurant, and a big swimming pool that guests can use.)

 

Opening Hours: from 8 am to 5 pm

 

Entrance Fee: 70 MXN

 

Cenote Oxman, Valladolid, Mexico

Cenote Oxman

 

Mexico Accommodation:

 
Ready to visit Mexico? Start looking at your Mexico accommodation now while it’s fresh in your mind.
 
Want stylish accommodation you can afford?. Find the cheapest prices for the best accommodations possible:



Booking.com

 

Mexico Flights:

 
If you are flying to Mexiko it is beneficial to use a flight comparison site to find the cheapest flights. I recommend and use Kiwi.com.
 
Click here to compare and book cheap flights to Mexico
 

Rental Car in Mexico

 
RentalCars.com searches all the big car rental companies in Mexico and finds the best price for you. This is probably the easiest way to rent a car in Mexico and around the World.
 

Mexico Tours

 
If you are the type of person who prefers joining a tour, there are all kinds of guided tours around Mexico including Chichen Itza.

 

 
Enjoy the day!
 
*This post contains Affiliate Links. I only recommend high-quality items and services I am confident about. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.

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