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13 Incredible Cenotes Near Valladolid You Can’t Miss

Everyone hears about Tulum or Playa del Carmen, but the cenotes near Valladolid are truly incredible and way less crowded. If you’ve ever dreamt of swimming undisturbed in a freshwater pool, check these out!

When most people think of Mexico they think of sandy beaches, sunburns, and margaritas! However, if you take some time to get to know Mexico you’ll be amazed by what seems like a bottomless number of surprises and things to discover.

One of its unique treasures are the amazing cenotes, a magical opening in the earth where freshwater from underground rivers is brought through the earth’s crust in clear-blue water for all to enjoy.

Previously I’ve shown you the best cenotes in Tulum and some other incredible cenotes in Playa del Carmen. 

What you might not know is that these magical offerings from the depths of the world can also be enjoyed in abundance around Valladolid, a great part of southern Mexico that has many must-do attractions and many cultural experiences to enjoy. Let’s take a look at the best cenotes near Valladolid!

READ ALSO: Top Things to do in Valladolid + Day Trips from Valladolid

What is a Cenote?

You may already know what cenotes actually are, but I think it’s always good to introduce this spectacular natural attraction, especially when they held such importance to the Mayan people, who believed them to be the entrance to the underworld.

They considered them sacred and used them to perform rituals (and sometimes sacrifices!)

Cenotes are basically sinkholes formed when limestone caves collapsed many centuries ago, which were then filled with water from the underground river systems and the rain. They are natural, fresh-water pools, but cenotes don’t all look the same: there are actually different types of cenotes.

Open Cenotes

Open Cenotes are the most typical cenotes, which resemble a swimming pool (although way better – they’re natural!) These cenotes vary in depth, some of them featuring incredibly shallow areas that make it ideal for families visiting with small children, while others are several feet deep.

You can certainly snorkel in these cenotes, and meet the resident fish, but there are no caves or rock formations in them to explore, as they’re completely out in the open.

Semi-Open Cenotes

These cenotes combine the two other types of cenotes: the open ones, as they have exposed areas for swimming and cooling off, and cave cenotes due to their underwater formations, which offer exciting snorkeling and diving possibilities.

Swimming past stalagmites and stalactites is possible in semi-open cenotes, and you’ll enjoy a well-lit environment because of the cenote areas that are open to the sky.

Cave Cenotes

Cave or underground cenotes are the preferred ones by scuba divers, as they’re completely underground and boast a great number of caves and rock formations, plus a thriving ecosystem.

To access cave cenotes you’ll have to climb down a ladder from a land-level entrance, making your way to the underground cave where the pool lies hidden beneath the ground.


Although there are so many incredible cenotes near Valladolid, there aren’t many Mexico cenote tours available that actually depart from Valladolid.

And of the Valladolid cenote tours that do exist, many don’t have great reviews! Here is the cenote tour from Valladolid that I recommend the most:

➤ Check out the beautiful cenotes that surround Valladolid by this affordable and super fun cenote tour by bike. You’ll get to swim at 3 of my favorite cenotes that are unique but not as crowded as some of the most famous ones: Cenote Oxman, Cenote Xkeken, and Cenote Samula.

Your guide will also show you the market of Valladolid and bring you to a traditional Mayan village. Even better, the local tour operator donates 3% of your tour price to a local charity project.

This tour also includes: lunch. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

➤ For more options, check out the post I wrote about the 6 best cenote tours in Valladolid.


Cenote Suytun

A great place to cool off after a hot day, this cenote is icy-cold and well-appreciated on a sunny, southern Mexico afternoon. You can visit Cenote Suytun as part of a tour to a visit at Chichen Itza or independently if you wish.

The coolest part of this cenote, in my opinion, is the man-made peninsula in the water that allows people to walk to the middle of the cenote and peer into the luring depths before actually taking the refreshing plunge.

There are plenty of changing rooms, places to buy food and drink, and staff to help accommodate with any questions. It’s undoubtedly one of the best cenotes near Valladolid.

➤ These Suytun Tickets grant you entrance to Suytun cenote and also to a second cenote located in the complex, cenote Suytun kaa Pe. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

Best Cenotes in Yucatan Peninsula takes you to explore some of the most photogenic cenotes in the area, including Cenote Suytun, on a full-day tour. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

Location: Cenote Suytun on Google.

Opening Hours: Daily from 9 AM to 4.30 PM

Price: 150 Pesos

Cenote Ik Kil

Cenote Ik Kil has been seen on the world stage a number of times. Red Bull has used this location as part of its Cliff Diving World Series, in 2010, 2011, and 2014. With its vast opening up to the sky, there is a drop from the surface to the water of 85 feet.

No need to worry, the divers will have 130 feet of depth to work with once they hit the water.

You can enjoy this cenote by walking down the carved staircase to the water’s edge and enjoying a dip, or you can jump from way closer to the water.

Cenote Ik Kil is one of the best cenotes near Chichen Itza, located only 3 kilometers from the ruins. Because it’s so close to the pyramids, tours to the archaeological site often combine the visit with a swim to Ik Kil.

If you prefer going on a tour and not having to worry about driving yourself, these are a few options:

➤ The Classic Chichen Itza Day Tour from Cancun includes a guided visit to the famous ruins+ a swim at Cenote Ik Kil. Pickup is available from Cancun. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

➤ With Chichen Itza, Cenote Ik Kil and Valladolid you’ll visit Valladolid, the ruins, and the cenote, and enjoy lunch. Pickup from Cancun, Tulum, Akumal, Puerto Morelos, and Playa del Carmen is available. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

➤ The Chichen Itza and Cenote Tour is a private experience that takes you to discover the ancient Mayan ruins, before heading to Cenote Ik Kil, where you’ll get to cool off. Pick-up from Valladolid is included. BOOK IT HERE

Location: Cenote Ik Kil on Google Maps.

Opening Hours: Daily from 9 AM to 5 PM.

Price: 150 Pesos.

Cenote Kikil

Cenote Kikil is best combined with a day trip to the pink lakes of Las Coloradas.

The site is managed by a group of thirteen families in the Kikil community, and your visit will help to support the local community.

When I visited, the cenote wasn’t super clean, but we were literally the only people around and had the cenote all for ourselves.

You can rent life-jackets on-site, and there is also a dinosaur park if you are traveling with kids (but I haven’t personally visited it, so I can’t tell you if it’s worth it or not!).

Location: Cenote Kikil on Google Maps.

Opening Hours: Daily from 8 AM to 6 PM.

Price: Price is $200 in early 2022.

Cenote Zaci

This and 3 other images by Fran of Viajando con Fran

Cenote Zaci is one of the easiest to reach, located right in the center of Valladolid. Literally in the heart of the city center! It is one of the biggest and best cenotes in Valladolid with room for everyone.

Maybe spend a couple of nights in Valladolid and then head down for a dip when it’s a bit quieter. Most tours come around midday, so if you come in the morning or right before closing time, you might have the cenote all for yourself.

Cenote Zaci is also a great stop before or after a tour to Ek’ Balam ruins so you can cool off and relax. Or if you are still full of energy, there is a series of platforms from which you can jump off and splash into the welcoming waters below.

Location: Cenote Zaci on Google Maps.

Opening Hours: Cenote Zaci is open daily from 9 AM to 5 PM.

Price: As of early 2022, the price for cenote Zaci is 50 pesos.

FULL BLOG POST: The Complete Guide To Visiting Cenote Zaci, Valladolid

Cenote Samula

A two-for-one look into the world of cenotes, the complex that hosts Cenote Samula and Cenote Xkeken (see below) has two inviting pools in one location.

With its sky-lit opening that lets way to tree vines dangling from the sky right down to the water’s surface, it all feels dramatically beautiful.

At cenote Samula there is a gift shop to get some souvenirs, a place for drinks, and you can rent snorkel gear for exploring the underwater world.

Location: Cenote Samula on Google Maps.

Opening Hours: Cenote Samula is open daily from 9 AM to 5 PM.

Price: $100 Pesos as of early 2022.

FULL BLOG POST: Cenote Samula: A Magical Spot Near Valladolid

Cenote Xkeken

The other half of the above-mentioned two-part cenote, Cenote Xkeken (also known as Cenote Dzitnup) feels even more enchanting than Samula with the dim natural light that finds its way in from the smaller surface opening.

The name Xkeken means “pig”, however, its looks are certainly more attractive than its animal reference. The cavern is lit-up with colored lighting and it makes for an ideal place to swim as the water depths are a bit shallower than most cenotes in the Yucatan Peninsula.

With its size being roughly 90 feet long and 60 feet wide and the shallow waters, it’s also excellent for viewing the small fish swimming below the surface.

The Go Maya experience is a full-day trip by bike which takes you to a local market, and to tour some of the best cenotes around Valladolid, besides offering lunch with a Mayan family. BOOK IT HERE

Location: Cenote Xkeken on Google Maps.

Opening Hours: Daily from 9 AM to 6 PM.

Price: 100 Pesos as of early 2022.

FULL BLOG POST: A Complete Guide to Cenote Xkeken (Dzitnup)

Cenote Oxman, also known as Hacienda San Lorenzo Oxman

Cenote Oxman might be one of the more unknown cenotes in Valladolid, Yucatan, but it might be my favorite of all.

If you are looking to make your cenote day out more of an adventure, then cenote Oxman is just the thing you need. From Valladolid, you can rent bicycles and make the twenty-minute ride enjoying the surrounding countryside, or if you’re more of the walking type you can make the trek in a little closer to an hour.

Another great idea is to head to a car rental and get your own vehicle for one day to explore a few of the Valladolid cenotes on this list, or combine this cenote with one of the most popular day trips from Valladolid.

Once you arrive there is a beautiful hacienda onsite that has been partially restored along with photos from days gone by so you can get a glimpse into what things used to look like. The cenote is accessed by walking down several flights of stairs and once you’re inside you can give the Tarzan style rope-swing a try.

I made a little video about Cenote San Lorenzo Oxman, check it out!

➤ With Go Maya Bike Ride you’ll get to cycle around the area of Valladolid, visiting cenotes and enjoying some time in cenote Oxman. You’ll also visit a local market and a Mayan family with whom you’ll have lunch. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

Best Cenotes in Yucatan is a private tour that offers a full-day excursion to stunning cenotes in the peninsula, including Cenote Oxman. You’ll also learn all about the cenotes from your guide. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

Location: Cenote Oxman on Google Maps.

Opening Hours: Daily from 10 AM to 5 PM.

Price: 150 Pesos.

How to Get There: Cenote Oxman is located 3 miles south of Valladolid, by turning west on Calle 45 from the Covent in the main town, then south Calle 54.

READ MORE: Why You Should Visit Cenote Oxman Before the Secret Is Out!

Cenote X’Canche

Located near the ruins of Ek’ Balam, Cenote X’Canche is still a hidden gem, and it’s easy to have it all for yourself. It’s literally in the middle of the jungle, and the trees growing all around its walls make it beautiful. You can walk all around it thanks to the wooden path.

The Cenote X Canche has camping onsite or cabin rentals so you can even spend a few days adventuring around or relaxing under some of the shady palapas. There are also some activities at the site such as zip-lining. Or if you’re looking to see the area, rent some of their bikes and venture around to see a bit more of nature.

➤ This Half-Day Ek Balam Tour is ideal to visit both the ruins of Ek Balam, and get to swim in the beautiful cenote of X’Canche. You’ll also learn about the tequila-making process! ➥ BOOK IT HERE

Location: Cenote X’Canche on Google Maps.

Opening Hours: Daily from 8 AM to 5 PM.

Price: 170 Pesos as of early 2022.

How to Get There:  From Valladolid, take the highway to Tizimin, 3.7 miles after Temozón turn right, then drive 2.5 miles more until you see a sign for the archaeological site, then go straight half a mile to reach the touristic center of Ek Balam; from here you will be directed to the 1-mile road that reaches the site.

Sacred Cenote (or Cenote Sagrado)

The Sacred Cenote is located right at the highly visited archeological site of Chichen Itza.
With an opening in the earth of around 200 feet, this cenote is flanked by dramatic cliff drops that descend close to 90 feet into the water below.

Cenote Sagrado (also known locally as Chen Ku) was thought to have been used as an area of sacrifice in pre-Columbian Mayan times. During archeological excavation in the past, anything from human bones to precious jewels were recovered, it was like swimming through history.

It’s not possible to swim in it since it’s sacred, but make sure to check it out when you visit the ruins. It’s certainly the best cenote near Chichen Itza to visit if you’re on a rush!

READ MORE: Tips for Visiting the Chichen Itza Ruins

If you’re looking to explore pyramids and the Sacred Cenote with a tour, I can recommend you these ones:

➤ This Chichen Itza Tour offers a guided visit to the most famous Mayan site, including its sacred cenote. You’ll then head to Cenote Yokdzonot for a swim, and get to explore the magical town of Izamal. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

Location: Sacred Cenote on Google Maps.

Opening Hours: Daily from 8 AM to 4.30 PM

Price: Chichen Itza Entrance Fee (570 pesos currently)

Cenotes Agua Dulce & Palomitas

Image by Wirestock vía DepositPhotos

A photo-worthy stop on any tour of the Yucatan, the Agua Dulce & Palomitas cenotes are inviting in every way. These Valladolid cenotes are merely 650 feet away from each other, and being part of the same complex, it makes sense to visit them together.

The entrance alone will get your heart pumping, as the hanging spiral staircase allows just enough movement to make the descent from the surface, down into the depths below feel slightly daring.

In both cenotes, there are two holes in the sky allowing in just enough sunlight to light up the turquoise waters and reflect the mirrored surface beauty and its surrounding. For this reason, there are spotlights located inside, which are also reflected on the water and add to the dreamy atmosphere.

The stalagmites hanging effortlessly from the roof allow small drops of water to drip into the cenote below, as they have for centuries.

If you’re more into exploring the water by floating rather than swimming, you can rent a kayak and float around. Cenote Palomitas is fantastic for cliff-jumping, while for an extra fee you can rappel down to access Cenote Agua Dulce. This cenote is also more striking to the eye!

Location: Cenote Agua Dulce on Google Maps.

Opening Hours: Daily from 9 AM to 5 PM

Price: 200 Pesos as of early 2022.

How to Get There: You can find cenote Agua Dulce & Palomitas near the town of Yalcoba, between Dzalbay and Yalcoba on Carretera Yalcoba Kilometer 3.

Cenote Hubiku

Cenote Hubiku is one of the most beautiful cenotes in the area. It’s a cavernous cenote in a limestone cave, and the natural light fills it thanks to the opening on its natural roof.

This almost perfectly circular cenote near Valladolid is about 50 meters wide, and can be reached by descending 115 steps. A little workout before that refreshing dip in its emerald waters.

Cenote Hubiku can get very crowded when bus tours arrive, so the best time to visit is around opening or closing time to avoid the crowds. Otherwise, if you prefer to visit the cenote as part of a tour, check out these two great tours:

Chichen Itza, Hubiku, and Ek’ Balam Tour: discover both the beautiful Mayan sites of Chichen Itza and Ek’ Balam, then cool down with a swim at the cenote. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

➤ Chichen Itza All-Inclusive with Hubiku Cenote and Valladolid: this full-day tour from Playa del Carmen or Cancun include the famous ruins, a swim at Hubiku Cenote, a tour of Valladolid, and a guided buffet lunch and a tequila tasting. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

4 Cenotes in One Day is a private transfer that takes you and your group of up to 5 people to visit four stunning cenotes, including Cenote Hubiku, and also offers a light breakfast. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

➤ This Valladolid + Cenote Tour is a full-day experience that includes a guided visit to Chichen Itza, some time to cool off at cenote Hubiku, a tequila tasting, and a tour of Valladolid plus lunch. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

Location: Cenote Hubiku on Google Maps.

Opening Hours: Daily from 9 AM to 5 PM.

Price: 150 Pesos.

How to Get There: Cenote Hubiku is located in Temozon, close to Ek’ Balam. If you’re staying in one of the centric hotels in Valladolid, leave the city and exit the town of Temozon. You’ll see right after on your right a dirt road. Follow it for a little over 1 mile until the cenote.

Cenote Saamal

Cenote Saamal is part of an underground network of rivers that were considered sacred by the Maya people. Part of the Hacienda Selva Maya complex, this open cenote offers cliff-jumping opportunities from several platforms, although it also features steps to get into the water without the thrill.

This famous cenote near Chichen Itza is also very picturesque, ideal for taking pictures as it boasts a man-made waterfall and stunning rock walls surrounding it completely.

Life jackets are mandatory at Cenote Saamal, and they are included in the ticket, as well as lockers to leave your belongings. The use of sunscreen is not allowed, and you’ll have to take a shower to rinse off any lotion or products before entering the cenote.

Chichen Itza, Cenote, and Valladolid is an all-inclusive tour that takes you to explore the Mayan ruins with a guide, and to the charming town of Valladolid. You’ll also swim in cenote Saamal and enjoy lunch. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

Location: Cenote Saamal on Google Maps.

Opening Hours: Daily from 9 AM to 5 PM.

Price: 150 Pesos.

Cenote Zazil Tunich

Zazil Tunich is a cave cenote with the most stunning stalactites and stalagmites hanging from the ceiling, which make the cenote look otherworldly.

It offers the unique experience of entering the sacred underworld of the Mayan, and while merely standing in the underground cave is mesmerizing, you’ll want to swim in the crystal-clear waters of the cenote!

These rock formations, esteemed to be over 500 thousand years old, are the biggest in Yucatan, and you can take your visit to a whole new level by booking one of the experiences offered at the cenote. These go from candle-lit romantic dinners to tours of the caves and purification ceremonies.

➤ This Experience in the Mayan Underworld takes place in cenote Zazil Tunich, where you’ll learn about Mayan mythology as you explore the different levels of the underworld, and finish the trip swimming in the cenote. BOOK IT HERE

Location: Cenote Zazul Tunich on Google Maps.

Opening Hours: Daily from 1 PM to 7.15 PM

Each cenote in Valladolid has its own special and unique features that make them interesting. If you have enough time you might want to explore them all, if not then even just one is enough to leave a lasting impression of some of Mexico’s best natural wonders.

But please make sure to visit at least one! Visiting cenotes is one of my favorite things to do in Yucatan.

Picture what it must have been like thousands of years ago to stumble across such a majestic and odd creation with a small glimpse into the heart of the world. Cenotes have evolved over time from worship or sacrifice locations to a simple way to enjoy the outdoors.

The area of Valladolid is one of the best places to explore cenotes. It’s an area just teaming with these enchanting wonders and you’re sure to find one that will make you fall in love with Mexico even more.


Rent a Car

For flexibility and convenience, renting your own car is the best option to get to the Valladolid cenotes. It’s not the cheapest alternative, though, and certain precautions need to be exercised when renting a car there, as scams are sadly pretty common.

I highly recommend renting your vehicle online ahead of time, so you’re not tricked into paying for extras (like insurance) that you don’t actually need. A good tip is to take pictures of the car upon receiving it, so in case of any scratches or bumps, you can prove you’re not responsible for them.

Take a Taxi

Taxis are a very hassle-free option to move around Valladolid. Most local taxi drivers know all the cenotes in the area, so you won’t even have to do any research or find the address: tell them which cenote you’re heading to and they’ll very likely be able to take you there. Prices will vary depending on how far you’re headed.

Hire a Private Driver For the Day

Little time in Valladolid? If you want to make the most of your time and visit as many cenotes as you can in a day, the second best alternative to having your own car is hiring a driver. You’ll be provided with a modern, air-conditioned vehicle for your own use, and a driver to take you from one cenote to the next, waiting for you at each destination and accommodating to your own schedule.

Take the Colectivo

Colectivo is Yucatan Peninsula’s main means of transportation. These shared vans connect several cities and attractions, and are very popular among those traveling on a budget, as they’re very cheap. Not all the best Valladolid cenotes are connected to the city center by Colectivo, so you’ll have to find out if the ones you’d like to visit are accessible this way.

If you’re coming from Playa or Cancun, unless you’re driving, you can hire a private driver to take you around the cenotes (or to the city if you’re planning to stay in Valladolid). Otherwise, you can take an ADO Bus to Valladolid and from there use the other transportation methods to visit the cenotes.


How many cenotes are in Valladolid?

There are tens of cenotes in the area of Valladolid, and there’s a great variety of cenote types to enjoy these stunning natural attractions.

How do I get to cenotes from Valladolid?

You can get to the cenotes by driving your own rental car, booking a private driver, taking a taxi or the colectivo, although the last alternative might not be available for all cenotes in Valladolid.

What is the best cenote in Valladolid, Mexico?

It’s very difficult to choose just one! The best cenote near Valladolid could literally be any of them, but I really like Cenote San Lorenzo Oxman, Ik Kil, and Suytun, even if these last two are very crowded.


How to get from Cancun to Valladolid

The 7 Best Things to do in Valladolid (and around!)

The Ultimate 2-Weeks Yucatan Itinerary

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  • Stefania Guglielmi

    Stefania Guglielmi is the founder of Every Steph. Originally from Bologna, Italy, she's been traveling full-time since 2016 and has visited over 50 countries across 6 continents. She believes sustainable travel and luxury travel can go hand in hand and has been advocating for responsible tourism since 2014. Stefania's advice and travel experiences have been featured in important publications such as Business Insider, Refinery29, and Yahoo Money.


Sunday 12th of May 2019

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