7 cenotes you should not miss while in Yucatan, Mexico

For anybody visiting Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, day trips at some of its most beautiful cenotes should be on the “to do” list. For us, these have been the highlights of our time spent there, along with the Chichen Itza Archeological Site and the day trips to the nearby islands (more info in this article), and would strongly suggest you to give them a try.

About the cenotes:

Basically a cenote can have several definitions:

Ø  nature at its best – the best natural pool you could wish for

Ø  an amazing scubading experience (although it might get a bit pricy, having to hire a private tour, apart from the entrance fee)

Ø  a hudge tank of exotic fish who eat your dead skin (if you allow them and stay still of course), but make sure you bring your swimming goggles or a basic snorkel equipment, you’re in for a treat

Ø  for us the most amazing thing we visited so far in Mexico (and maybe not just), and would come back again even if we knew we could only stay inside a cenote 😀

Ø  for the locals the perfect to get cooled off in a hot summer day

Ø  a great place to go with friends and just chill and have fun, jumping from platforms or ropes and swiming (nowadays during Covid it’s even better since it is not so crowded).

These appeared as a result of the collapse of  the limestone bedrock above, exposing the cave filled with drained water underneath. There are 3 types of cenotes: open, partially open and underground (cave like aspect), and these natural landmarks are mostly associated with the Yucatan Peninsula, thus being an unique thing to do in southeast Mexico.

These water formations were also very important for the Mayan communities, seen as both a fresh water supply and sacred places, where rituals took place and sacrifices (both human and animal) were conducted as a tribute to their gods.

Cenote Suytun

Type: cave.

Price: 150 MXN/adult (6 EUR), 100 MXN/child.

How to get there: from Valladolid search for a taxi that would drop you there. They asked generally for 100 MXN (4 EUR), but we managed to negotiate to 80 MXN (3 EUR) each time. Unfortunately there is no public transportation running between the city and the cenote, so the taxi remains the best option.

When you finish either take a taxi from the parking lot (if any) or just get on the main road and you will find one passing by quite fast.

Conditions of the ticket: due to the COVID protocols in the area, the access inside the cenote is restricted to only 1 hour since the moment of arrival (which also means less crowded so it is a big plus). Moreover, the life vest is mandatory and included in the price.

Cenote Ik-Kil

Type: partially open.

Price: 150 MXN/adult (6 EUR).

How to get there: we spent half of a day here, after visiting Chichen Itza. There are 2 ways to get here by public transportation, depending on your starting point:

  • from Chichen Itza Archeological Site: take a taxi from the parking lot and try not to spend more than 80 MXN/way (3 EUR). We were shocked to see that the taxi driver took the 6 of us in a regular 5 seats car (6 of us + the driver), which ended up being a crazy (and fun, being shared with friends) memory of ours.
  • from Valladolid city centre: there is a colectivo service running between the cenote and Valladolid city centre, which costs 40 MXN/way/person (1.5 EUR). Just ask the driver to drop you in front of the cenote. To go back to the city just stop any colectivo on the main road, out of the cenote parking lot, which will drop you in the centre.

Conditions of the ticket: the life vest and locker are included in the ticket price.

The Ik-Kil cenote seen from above

Cenote Cristalino

Type: open.

Price: 200 MXN/adult (8 EUR).

How to get there: from Playa del Carmen, take a colectivo heading towards Tulum from the main station located under the bridge, just in front of Chedraui (Google Maps location) and ask the driver to drop you off at Cenote Cristalino. The price of the ride is 35 MXN/person/way (1.6 EUR) and the trip lasts for 20-30 minutes. For getting back to Playa del Carmen simply cross the street from the cenote entrance and stop a colectivo passing by.

Conditions of the ticket: life vests are included in the price. Additionally, you can join a diving group inside the cenote (extra charge).

Cenote Jardin del Eden

Type: open.

Price: 200 MXN/adult (8 EUR).

How to get there: from Playa del Carmen, take a colectivo heading towards Tulum from the main station located under the bridge, just in front of Chedraui (Google Maps location) and ask the driver to drop you off at Cenote Jardin del Eden. From the main road you will need to walk towards the ticket office for around 5 minutes. The price of the ride is 35 MXN/person/way (1.5 EUR) and the trip lasts for 20-30 minutes. For getting back to Playa del Carmen simply cross the street from the cenote entrance and stop a colectivo passing by.

Conditions of the ticket: the life vest is not included in the price, and you can take one with an extra 25 MXN (1 EUR).

Cenote Oxman

Type: partially open.

Price: 150 MXN/adult (6 EUR).

How to get there: from Valladolid search for a taxi that would drop you there. They asked generally for 100 MXN (4 EUR), but we managed to negotiate to 80 MXN (3 EUR) each time. Unfortunately there is no public transportation running between the city and the cenote, so the taxi remains the best option.

When you finish either take a taxi from the parking lot (if any) or just get on the main road and you will find one passing by quite fast.

Conditions of the ticket: the life vest is mandatory and included in the price. For renting a locker you need to pay 30 MXN (1.3 EUR) at the bar just outside the entrance to the underground cenote.

The Oxman Cenote seen from above
The entrance to Hacienda Oxman and the cenote

Cenote Azul

Type: open.

Price: 120 MXN/adult (5 EUR).

How to get there: from Playa del Carmen, take a colectivo heading towards Tulum from the main station located under the bridge, just in front of Chedraui (Google Maps location) and ask the driver to drop you off at Cenote Azul. The price of the ride is 35 MXN/person/way (1.5 EUR) and the trip lasts for 20-30 minutes. For getting back to Playa del Carmen simply cross the street from the cenote entrance and stop a colectivo passing by.

Conditions of the ticket: life vests and lockers are not included in the price.

As busy as it gets on a weekend day, si better plan your visit before it

Cenote Zaci

Type: partially open.

Price: 30 MXN/adult (1,2 EUR).

How to get there: probably the cenote with the most convenient location and price, right in the city centre of Valladolid and walking distance from the main square. However, it is still beautiful and large enough for swimming and can be a good option if you do not have much time in the city. We did not go there unfortunately but for more info take a look at this guy’s article.

So what about now, wanna take a dive into these natural beauties?

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