Valladolid is charming, vibrant, and offers easy access to amazing Mayan ruins and colourful pink lakes. It’s also a great place to base yourself for exploring the Yucatan Peninsula. There are many amazing cenotes in Valladolid, including Cenote Zaci, a Cenote within Valladolid, and Cenote Xcanche at Chichen Itza and Ek Balam ruins.
We have visited so many cenotes in Valladolid and loved them all. This is our guide to the best 7 cenotes in Valladolid!
Cenotes: What is it?
Cenotes, which are pronounced sehn-o-tay, water-filled sinkholes. They form when limestone rocks collapse in on themselves and expose the groundwater below. Many cenotes can be found throughout the Yucatan Peninsula. Some of the Valladolid cenotes have a high popularity with both locals and tourists.
Cenotes are cool because they come from underground. They can be used for refreshing swims, especially after a hot Mexican sun.
Many cenotes were used in Mayan times for sacrificial purposes. Some cenotes even contained objects like pottery, gold, and human and animal remains.
Cenotes close to Valladolid offer a mixture of underground, semi-open and open cenotes:
Cenotes open: These caves have collapsed on themselves and are now exposed to the air. These are our favorite because you can swim in open water, the water is pleasant and there are lots of places to relax near the water. Cenote Oxman is our favourite open cenote in Valladolid, and Cenote Azul in Playa Del Carmen is also a favorite.
Semi-open cenotes : These cenotes are underground, but have small openings at the ceiling that allow light and fresh air to enter. These cenotes are particularly stunning because of the way the light beams reflect off the water below. Cenote Suytun and Cenote Ik Kil were our favourite semi-open cenotes close to Valladolid.
Underground cenotes: These cenotes are underground and in a cave system. There is no natural light to illuminate them. You can visit the three underground cenotes located near Coba (Multum-Ha. Tamchach-Ha. Cenote Choo-Ha. Cenote Xkeken).
7 Best Cenotes near Valladolid
These cenotes are our favorite near Valladolid. We think they make a great addition to any Valladolid, Yucatan itinerary.
1 | Cenote Suytun
After it was made Instagram-famous a few years back, many Mexican tourists will have seen photos of this stunning cenote. Cenote Suytun is known for its beautiful light beams, which stream down from the cenote’s roof onto the circular platform below. This cenote lives up to its reputation. It is just as stunning in person as in photographs. We love it and it is our favorite cenote near Valladolid.
Cenote Suytun is also open to visitors, but most people stop by just to take some photos. Life jackets are mandatory for swimmers.
2 | Cenote Zaci
Cenote Zaci, a semi-open cenote, has half of its cenote covered by a cave roof while the other half is exposed to the sky. It is beautiful to swim under the stars and in lush green vegetation. On the enclosed side there are stalactites that hang down from the roof.
Cenote Zaci is a very popular cenote due to its centrality. It can be crowded especially at mid-day, when people flock to the cool waters to cool down. Cenote Zaci’s general entry cost is $30, making it one of the most affordable cenotes in Mexico.
Cenote Zaci: Cenote Zaci can be found in the middle of Valladolid. You can easily get there by taxi or car (there’s a parking area). Cenote Zaci can be found less than 10 minutes from Valladolid’s main square. It is also just a short bike ride away from most hotels.
Tickets for Cenote Zaci are $30 per head You will be granted free entry to the cenote if you spend $100 at the Restaurant Zaci.
3 | Cenote Xkeken and Cenote Samula
Cenote Xkeken, Cenote Samula and Cenote Samula form part of Cenote Dzitnup, which is managed by the local community.
Cenote Samula, a semi-open cenote, is stunning. It is enclosed by a small opening at the roof’s back. Cenote Suytun is similar to Cenote Samula. Natural light shines directly into the cenote at specific times of day, making it a stunning sight.
The vast cenote cave can be viewed from the narrow, steep entrance. Although the water is quite cold compared to other cenotes, it’s worth swimming in it with some natural light.
Cenote Xkeken, the smaller of the two cenotes is known for its sprawling stalactites hanging from its roof. Xkeken has a smaller opening than Samula’s cave roof, making it more cavelike. The cenote’s lighting is artificial so it can get quite hot and humid.
How to get to Cenote Samula or Xkeken? The cenotes can be accessed easily by renting a car (check the prices now! ), a local Colectivo or a quick taxi or bike ride.
4 | Cenote Oxman, Hacienda San Lorenzo Oxman
This cenote is located on the grounds the charming Hacienda San Lobos Oxman. It was once a guava plantation and is now one of the most beautiful in Mexico. Cenote Oxman, an underground cave-style cenote, is located in an open cave that has an open roof. This allows natural light to flood the cave and illuminates the clear waters below. Cenote Oxman is a magical place where tree roots drop down to create a magical effect.
- Cenote Oxman’s rope swing is great for making a dramatic entrance to the cenote.
- Cenote Oxman has great facilities, including a restaurant and swimming pool. It is a great place to relax for a morning or afternoon.
- How to get to Cenote Oxman. Cenote Oxman can be easily reached by renting a car (check the prices now!) ), or a quick taxi or bike ride.
- Cenote Oxman tickets prices: There are three ticket types at Cenote Oxman
- Option 1: Entry to the cenote costs $80
- Option 2: This ticket costs $100 and includes entry to the cenote as well as $50 credit towards the restaurant.
- Option 3: This ticket is $150 and includes a $150 credit to the restaurant.
- Cenote Hubiku
Cenote Hubiku, located between Valladolid ruins and Ek Balam ruins is an underground cenote. It has an opening in the roof that allows natural light as well as tree roots to descend towards its waters. Sometimes, a small waterfall cascades into the cenote. Cenote Hubiku offers a large swimming pool, as well as a gift shop, restaurant and a tequila museum. We loved swimming in the cenote because of its large hole in its roof and the small waterfall that flows directly into the center of the cenote pool.
How to get to Cenote Hubiku? Cenote Oxman can be easily reached by renting a car (check the prices now! ), colectivo or taxi. The easiest way to visit Cenote hubiku, other than a rental car, is to join a tour to Chichen Itza or Ek Balam. You can choose from a variety of day trips that include Cenote Hubiku, such as those departing from Cancun or Playa del Carmen.
Cenote Hubiku ticket prices – Entry to Cenote Hubiku costs $100 per person, or $350 if dining at the restaurant buffet.
Cenote Xcanche, Ek Balam Cenote
Ek Balam, one of the most popular and interesting ruins on the Yucatan Peninsula is a popular excursion starting from Valladolid. The Ek Balam CenoteXcanche is a beautiful cenote that many visitors don’t know about.
Cenote Xcanche, an open cenote that offers swimming, zip-lining, and swing jumping is a spectacular spot. Did we mention that the cenote also has a waterfall that cascades into it as you swim? It is quiet, which is a plus. You may even be the only one in the cenote!
Xcanche, the ideal place to cool off and relax after a long day exploring Ek Balam ruins, is highly recommended.
Cenote Xcanche can be accessed near the Ek Balam archeological area.
Cenote Xcanche is approximately 2 km from Ek Balam ruins. You can either walk, bike or hire a bicycle taxi. After exploring the Ek Balam ruins, we took a bike taxi.
Cenote Xcanche tickets cost $70 We paid $150 for the return taxi bike and the entrance ticket.
Cenote Ik Kil
Cenote Ik Kil’s crystal clear waters and cascading vines make swimming there a breathtaking experience. Cenote Ik Kil is one of Mexico’s most well-known and popular cenotes. Its beauty and proximity to Chichen Itza are the main reasons for its popularity.
Sacred Cenote in Chichen Itza
It is not possible for anyone to swim in the Sacred Cenote of Chichen Itza. It was used to sacrifice both human and non-human objects to the God Rain, and has a lot of historical significance. Human remains were discovered alongside weapons, pottery and gold when the cenote was excavated around the 1900s.
What should you bring to the Valladolid cenotes
Cenotes are a different experience than traditional swimming pools. We recommend the following tips when visiting cenotes in Valladolid.
Most cenotes only accept cash and credit cards. Some cenotes will accept cash at the door, but not for items such as food, drink, or life jackets.
Although some cenotes have rental facilities, it is cheaper and easier to bring your own towel. These microfibre towels pack very small and are easy to dry, which makes them ideal for cenotes where you’ll be returning in your car after your swim.
These shoes give you more control on the cenotes’ walkways, and protect your feet from the fish. These shoes are also great for those cenotes with shallow entrances, where you may have to walk on rocks. These are very lightweight and cheap so pack them before you go to the Yucatan.
Although you can’t use sunscreen or mosquito spray while swimming in cenotes, you will likely spend some time in the sun afterward.
A GoPro or Osmo Action camera are great for taking photos and videos. Our Osmo Action Waterproof camera was a great addition to our trip to the cenotes. We were able to capture some great videos and photos as we swam in the cenotes. It was great for taking photos of the whole view of the cenotes.