Cenote X'Keken & Cenote Samula
Cenote X’Keken & Cenote Samula
Where Is It Located?
Cenote X’Keken & Cenote Samula are two of the most well-known cenotes near Valladolid. They share the same parking lot, and you can visit both on the same day. The cenotes are located 4 1/2 miles southwest of Valladolid in a town called Dzitnup. It is an easy drive or an easy to moderate level bike ride from Valladolid.
Cenote X’Keken (also known as Cenote Dzitnup) is more of a cave located within a cavern with a small opening for natural light. There is a winding stone staircase which leads into the cave. X’Keken is the smaller of the two cenotes with impressive stalactites and stalagmites. Make sure you bring a mask and wear a swimsuit. There is artificial lighting, as there is little natural light. If you are someone who gets claustrophobic, you may have a claustrophobic feeling in this cenote. The water is crystal clear and cold but very swimmable.
Cenote Samula is a semi-open cenote with a steep stone staircase leading to the bottom. If you are there during mid-day, you will be able to see the beaming sunlight on the crystal waters below. Cenote Samula was absolutely breathtaking and something not to be missed. There are many shallow areas where you can watch the fish swimming through the crystal waters.
Hours: Daily 8:30 am to 7:00 pm
Cost: Entrance to one cenote is 80 pesos and entrance to both cenotes is 125 pesos.
We found Cenote Samula to be the more beautiful of the two; however, each offered its own unique experience. We recommend both.
Where Is It Located?
X’Canche Cenote is located 30 minutes north of Valladolid. It is in the middle of the jungle within Ek Balam village. You can visit the cenote after seeing the archaeological site of Ek Balam, or you can just visit the cenote.
After paying for your ticket, its 2 km to the cenote; you can walk in, bike in yourself or there are guys (bike taxis) who will bike you in while you sit in a chair. There are showers and lockers available before swimming in the cenote. There are steep wooden stairs which descend to the semi-open cenote. There are many places to jump in; there is a rope to propel into the cenote and a zip line over the top. The blue, green water was gorgeous and so refreshing after a long day sightseeing! We had a great afternoon at this cenote.
Hours: Daily 9:00 am to 5:00 pm
Cost: 50 pesos
There is a palapa restaurant on site. If you are staying at the campground next to Ek Balam you can go into the cenote after hours. We didn’t find this out until after making our arrangements to stay in Valladolid. It might be fun to camp one night to have the experience of a cenote to yourself. From what we understand, you will most likely have the cenote to yourself after hours, as the campground is generally not busy.
Where Is It Located?
Cenote Zaci is located right in the center of town. It’s a great location if you are staying in Valladolid and it’s one of the less expensive cenotes. It’s 30 pesos or free if you spend 100 pesos in their restaurant. It is a semi-open cenote where you can jump off the cliff to the beautiful blue waters below. There’s an artisan market near the restaurant if you want to do some shopping afterward or beforehand.
Hours: Daily 8:30 am to 5:30 pm
Cost: 30 pesos or free if you spend 100 pesos in the restaurant
Click here for a google map of the cenotes in this post, along with a few others.
We considered these cenotes to be our 5 Best Cenotes near Valladolid Mexico especially for couples. None of them felt like tourist traps or were they crowded when we visited. Please remember NOT to wear sunscreen or lotions to the cenotes. If you do wear sunscreen make sure its biodegradable sunscreen. The reason for this is the oils and chemicals destroy the cenote environment.
There are lifejackets for rent at each of these cenotes. Most locations have gear (masks, flashlights, towels, etc.) you can rent, bathrooms are available, and in many areas, there is food available for purchase. We like to bring our cooler backpack so we can bring our lunch, snacks, and drinks.
Being totally upfront, Joel and I preferred the open air cenotes. After being in the caves for 30 minutes, Joel was over it but still thought they were beautiful. We enjoyed the open air cenotes and being able to see the sun for a few reasons. One of the reasons Joel preferred the open air cenotes is because he uses a GoPro to film, and it was hard to shoot good video with the low lighting in the caves.
Second, the water was warmer in the open air cenotes, and we liked how the water changed colors depending on which angle the sun would hit the water. Finally, and this is something we both agree on, the open air cenotes gave us a better feeling, we could spend a couple of hours just swimming around and relaxing while admiring the natural beauty of the cenotes.
Read our blog post “Top Things to do in Valladolid” for more experiences when traveling through or staying in Valladolid.
More 2 Traveling Lovers Article & Video links from the Yucatan peninsula:
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I hope you found our best cenotes near Valladolid to be useful and you are excited to visit the cenotes in the Yucatan.
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