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7 BEST Valladolid Cenotes for Swimming

Your Friend the Nomad

7 BEST Valladolid Cenotes for Swimming

Hoping to find the best cenotes in Valladolid, Mexico?

You’ve come to the right place! On my recent trip to the Yucatan state in Mexico, I was on the search for the very best Valladolid cenotes. I read endless reviews online, asked locals for their recommendations, and of course I had to visit each of these cenotes myself!

Every single one of these cenotes is worth visiting, but some are better than others. If you want to know which cenotes are going to be best for your vacation, this Valladolid travel guide should help you out.

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🇲🇽 My Valladolid Favorites ☀

🥾 Exprience Chichen Itza: Don’t miss Mexico’s most iconic ruins, they’re just 45 minutes away! Visit independently or book this Chichen Itza and Izamal day trip with a local guide.

👙 Cenote Hopping: Valladolid is home to the most beautiful cenotes I’ve ever see! Cenote Xcanahaltun and Cenote Secreto Maya are the best, but Cenote Saamal and Dzitnup are some other great options closer to town.

👟 Wander along Calz. de Los Frailes: Valladolid’s most picturequse street, lined with colorful buildings housing vintage shops, cafes, bars, and plenty of hidden gems.

💒 Visit Uayma Church: This gorgeous church’s facade is like nothing else I’ve seen in this part of Mexico! It is 15 minutes outside of Valladolid and definitely worth the drive just for a look!

🙏🏼 Convento de San Bernardino de Siena: Step inside this picturequse pink convent during opening hours and come back in the evening for a lights show about the history of Valladolid (usually at 9pm).

🌿 Where to Stay: A modern boho jungleside suite at Olbil Hotel Boutique, a mid-range room at Zentik—a hotel with an underground cave pool, or a suite with a private hot tub at centrally-located Casa Tia Micha.

Find more of my Valladolid favorites and Mexico travel tips at the bottom of this article!

Best Cenotes in Valladolid, Mexico

Located on Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula, Valladolid is a charming colonial town that is home to some of the country’s most stunning cenotes. I fell in love with this area on my recent trip to Mexico. I’ve traveled all around Mexico and I can say that Valladolid is truly something special! Whether you have a day or a week (or more!) in this magical part of Mexico, I hope you love it as much as I did!

Here are my favorite cenotes in Valladolid. It is difficult to rank them as they are each unique and beautiful in their own way, so be sure to read about all seven to see which ones are best for you!

1. Cenote Saamal at Hacienda Selva Maya

I’m ranking this gorgeous cenote as number one because it is so easy to get to and quite rewarding with a deep blue swimming hole, vibrant green foliage hanging along the sides of the cenote, a man-made waterfall cascading down the cenote walls, and incredibly friendly staff members! There is also a wildly popular buffet restaurant onsite at Selva Maya that locals recommend to me!

The hitch is that Cenote Saamal can get very busy mid-day, so I highly recommend arriving at or around opening time (9am daily). I visited on a weekday at 9am and had the cenote all to myself for quite a bit before a few others showed up!

👍🏼 Pros: Beautiful, professional and friendly staff, very close to downtown Valladolid, quality lifejackets and clean lockers, great for swimming!

👎🏼 Cons: A bit touristy, gets very crowded, lifejackets are required.

Cenote Saamal, a natural sinkhole in Valladolid Yucatan
Cenote Saamal Visitor’s Info:

🌿 Cenote Features: Well maintained jumping platform and decks, picturesque man-made waterfall
💧 Cenote Type: Open cenote with deep water
💵 Entrance Fee: $200 MXN per person, pay onsite with cash or card
🌊 Included With Entry Fee: Access to cenote, quality lifejacket (required), locker, access to showers and changing rooms
🍔 Extra Cost: Buffet, zipline, bike rental, and more
🗝 Lockers: Included in entry price!
⏰ Opening Hours: 9am-5pm, open daily
🗺 Address: Carretera Federal, Valladolid – Merida Km. 3.5, 97780 Valladolid, Yuc., Mexico

Quick Tip: How to Get to Cenotes in Valladolid

🛵 Scooter: Renting a scooter is my favorite way to get to the different cenotes around Valladolid! It’s cost effective and more comfortable than riding a bike, but make sure you’re confident in driving a moped first! Reserve a scooter in advance here.

🚙 Rental Car: Renting a car is another option, though it can be pricier! I’ve heard great things about this local car rental company, though I was unable to rent from them because they only had manual vehicles when I was in Valladolid.

🚐 Tour: There are several guided day trips (group and private tours) that will take you to several cenotes around Valladolid. I share more about my tour recs at the end of this article!

🚕 Taxi: Local taxi drivers will happily take you to nearby cenotes. Just be sure to ask for the cost in advance and ask them to wait for you and give you a roundtrip ride.

🚲 Bicycle: You can get to some of the closer cenotes via bike, but be prepared to work up a serious sweat! I’ve had a great experience with this local bike rental shop!

2. Cenote Secreto Maya

Cenote Secreto Maya has to be one of my top two favorite Valladolid cenotes! It rarely fills up with tourists the way other Valladolid cenotes do, and it is absolutely breathtaking (photos just don’t do it justice)!

The 52-meter-deep cenote is also quite large compared to many others on this list, and you don’t have to wear a lifejacket which makes the experience so much more enjoyable for me!

It’s also a great place to hang out and swim because there are several jumping platforms of varying heights and a rope swing. The highest jump you can do is 69 feet (23 meters) from ground level above the cenote! I wouldn’t recommend it as jumping from that height is too risky in my opinion… but it is entertaining to watch others jump off!

It’s also worth mentioning that you can stay the night onsite in one of Cenote Secreto Maya’s thatched-roof suites. You get unlimited access to the stunning cenote, onsite pool, caves, bar, and restaurant.

👍🏼 Pros: Beautiful, not many other visitors, clean and well-maintained property, onsite bar and restaurant, jumping platforms, rope swing, great place to swim!

👎🏼 Cons: 36-minute drive from downtown Valladolid.

An open cenote in Valladolid

Cenote Secreto Maya is a hidden gem!

Cenote Secreto Maya Visitor’s Info:

🌿 Cenote Features: Vibrant blue water, hanging vines and green foliage, several cliff jumping platforms and a rope swing
💧 Cenote Type: Open cenote with deep blue water
💵 Entrance Fee: $250 MXN per person, pay onsite with cash or card
🌊 Included With Entry Fee: Access to cenote, optional life jackets, changing rooms, bathrooms, and grounds
🍔 Other Amenities: Onsite restaurant and bar, swimming pool, massages,
⏰ Opening Hours: 10am-5pm, open daily
🗺 Address: Km 9 carretera Yalcobá – Xtut A 2 km del parque Xibalbá, 97794 Yuc., Mexico

3. Cenote Xcanahaltun

Cenote Xcanahaltun is my favorite cenote in Valladolid, and honestly my favorite cenote I’ve seen anywhere in Mexico! That being said, I don’t know if it is the best cenote for swimming as it is a covered cenote (with one large opening in the middle of the ceiling) so you don’t get full sunshine!

As with Cenote Secreto Maya, I really don’t think pictures do it justice — its so difficult to capture the beauty of this unique place as it is quite a large cenote. Stalactite hang from the ceiling like chandeliers and light dances on the turquoise waters as it streams in from above.

It is worth noting that Cenote Xcanahaltun is just a few minutes down the road from Cenote Secreto Maya, so I definitely recommend visiting both if you can!

👍🏼 Pros: Breathtaking, not many other visitors, lifejackets not required, clean and well-maintained property.

👎🏼 Cons: 36-minute drive from downtown Valladolid, covered cenote so you don’t get as much sunlight for swimming.

A beautiful cenote in Valladolid Mexico

I can’t get over the stalactites and crystal clear waters at Cenote Xcanahaltun!

Cenote Xcanahaltun Visitor’s Info:

🌿 Cenote Features: A large, but somewhat shallow turquoise water pool, stunning stalactite and stalagmite formations
💧 Cenote Type: Closed cenote with a large opening at the top that lets natural light stream in
💵 Entrance Fee: $200 MXN per person, pay onsite with cash or card
🌊 Included With Entry Fee: Access to cenote
🍔 Other Amenities: There are hammock and a small restaurant onsite
⏰ Opening Hours: 9am-5:30pm, open daily
🗺 Address: 97744 Temozón, Yucatan, Mexico

4. Cenote Zaci

Located in the heart of downtown Valladolid, Cenote Zaci is undoubtedly the easiest cenote to visit in Valladolid! It is also the cheapest cenote on this list, with an entry fee of only $60 pesos (~$3.50 USD).

Despite being just a short walk from the main square, Cenote Zaci is a beautiful expansive open cenote that is a bit different than the other cenotes on this list. Cliffs covered in foliage climb over one side of the cenote, and the other side is open so the sun shines down on the blue pool below.

There is also a restaurant at the top of Cenote Zaci where you can dine with a view, plus, a recently remodeled marketplace above. (Cenote Zaci was closed for a while during construction but is 100% open now!)

Like with many other popular Valladolid cenotes, Cenote Zaci can get quite crowded. Arrive early or come a little while before closing if you want to avoid the crowds.

Cenote Zaci, the only cenote in downtown Valladolid
Cenote Zaci Visitor’s Info:

🌿 Cenote Features: Foliage-covered cliff-sides, dark blue water ranging from 25 meters to over 100 meters deep
💧 Cenote Type: Partially open cenote
💵 Entrance Fee: $60 MXN per person, pay onsite
🌊 Included With Entry Fee: Access to cenote and lifejackets (required)
🍔 Other Amenities: Restaurant
⏰ Opening Hours: 9am-5pm, open daily (note: I tried to visit at 9am once and it was not open yet… they may open a little later some days).
🗺 Address: Cenote Zaci, Sta Ana, 97780 Valladolid, Yuc., Mexico

Is Cenote Zaci closed?

Nope, as of 2024 Cenote Zaci is open to visitors during regular opening hours. The construction is over and you can now swim in this beautiful Valladolid cenote!

5. Cenote Samula

Cenote Samula is one of two cenotes at the Dzitnup Cenotes park, where your admission ticket gets you access to two stunning covered cenotes.

Like with the over covered cenote on this list, Cenote Xcanahaltun, this cenote doesn’t get a ton of sunlight so it may not be your favorite for swimming but given how close it is to downtown Valladolid, I had to mention it on this list!

Be sure to read my full guide to the Dzitnup Cenotes for my full thoughts on what its like to visit!

👍🏼 Pros: Beautiful and expansive cenote, close to Valladolid’s historic center, access to two cenotes.

👎🏼 Cons: Lifejackets required, not in the direct sunlight.

Mexico Valladolid cenote with people swimming
Cenote Samula Visitor’s Info:

🌿 Cenote Features: Cenote Samula is a larger cave with some hanging stalactites and a small opening at the top that illuminates the turquoise blue water below
💧 Cenote Type: Closed cenote
💵 Entrance Fee: $226 MXN per person, pay onsite with cash or card
🌊 Included With Entry Fee: Access to both cenotes, lifejackets, access to changing rooms and showers
🍔 Extra Cost: ‘Guide’ (more on this in my Dzitnup Cenotes article, not recommend!), food and souvenirs from vendors
🗝 Lockers: Cost extra
⏰ Opening Hours: 8am-5pm, open daily
🗺 Address: Dzitnup, 97795 Yuc., Mexico

Related: Rent a scooter in Valladolid so you can explore all these cenotes!

6. Cenote Xkeken (Cenote Dzitnup)

Cenote Xkeken (also called Cenote Dzitnup) is the second cenote at the Cenotes Dzitnup park near downtown Valladolid. Out of the two cenotes, this one is my favorite because of the impressive stalactites that are close enough to touch (but don’t touch them!!)

It’s a smaller cenote and has very little natural light, so it isn’t the type of place I’d like to swim for too long, but it is definitely worth visiting if you want to see a cenote that look completely different than any of the others on this list!

👍🏼 Pros: Beautiful and unique, close to downtown Valladolid, access to both cenotes.

👎🏼 Cons: Lifejackets required, not in the direct sunlight.

Woman standing beside stalactite formations in a cenote near Valladolid Mexico
Cenote Xkeken Visitor’s Info:

🌿 Cenote Features: Cenote Xkeken (Cenote Dzitnup) has stunning stalagmite formations and stalagmites, with a very small opening above.
💧 Cenote Type: Closed cenote with small hole to let light in
💵 Entrance Fee: $226 MXN per person, pay onsite with cash or card
🌊 Included With Entry Fee: Access to both cenotes, lifejackets, access to changing rooms and showers
🍔 Extra Cost: ‘Guide’ (more on this in my Dzitnup Cenotes article, not recommend!), food and souvenirs from vendors
🗝 Lockers: Cost extra
⏰ Opening Hours: 8am-5pm, open daily
🗺 Address: Dzitnup, 97795 Yuc., Mexico

7. Cenote San Lorenzo Oxman (Cenote Oxman)

Located at the historical Hacienda Cenote Oxmán, Cenote Oxman is another popular open cenote that is a lovely place to swim! It is also quite close to downtown Valladolid and is one of the best places to ride a bike to (besides Cenote Zaci).

It is important to note that this cenote gets very crowded! Be sure to visit early in the morning if you want to avoid the crowds. You’re also required to wear lifejackets, and the ones they provide aren’t the best quality. The decks and stairs around the cenote also show significant wear. But if none of that bothers you, Cenote Hacienda Oxman is a lovely place for a swim.

Best of all, the hacienda also features a swimming pool above the cenote where you can swim as well!

Cenote Oxman, one of the popular Valladolid Mexico Cenotes
Cenote Oxman Visitor’s Info:

🌿 Cenote Features: Deep blue water, hanging tree trunks, rope swing, jumping platforms
💧 Cenote Type: Open cenote
💵 Entrance Fee: $226 MXN per person, pay onsite with cash or card
🌊 Included With Entry Fee: Access to cenote, life jacket, access to swimming pool and hammocks
🍔 Extra Cost: Lockers, food, sun loungers by the pool
🗝 Lockers: Cost extra
⏰ Opening Hours: 7am-5pm, open daily
🗺 Address: Periférico, 97780 Valladolid, Yuc., Mexico

Photo of Valladolid streets, with link to Valladolid travel itinerary

Best Valladolid Cenote Tours

🐟 4 Cenotes in One Day (Private Tour): A private Valladolid cenote day trip for 1-5 people with a local guide. You’ll experience Cenote Xcanahaltun, plus Cenote Palomitas, Cenote Agua Dulce, and Cenote Hubiku. Details here.

🌺 Cenotes and Mayan Villages: Swim at cenotes Samula and Xkeken, then spend the afternoon in two local Mayan villages, Dzitnup and Chichimila. This is a truly one-of-a-kind experience hosted by my favorite local tour company, and they donate 3% back to the local community! Details here.

🌿 Chichen Itza and 3 Cenotes Day Trip: If you want to see the striking Mayan city of Chichen Itza and visit some popular cenotes, this tour is a good option. On the way back from the archaeological site you’ll stop at Cenote Ik kil, Cenote Xcajum, and Cenote San Lorenzo Oxman. Keep in mind these cenotes are all quite touristy and busy, but this tour is a great way to see a lot in one day! Details here.

🟡 Chichen Itza, Izamal, and Cenote Day Trip: Visit Cenote Yokdzonot on this day trip, a much leeser known cenote that is quite far from Valladolid, but on the way to the yellow town of Izamal! You’ll also get to see Chichen Itza, so this is a lovely but packed day trip. Details here.

PS: Many tours from Tulum, Cancun, or Playa del Carmen will take you to the Instagram-famous Cenote Suytun, but I personally don’t recommend this cenote as it is mostly a photo opportunity with long lines to get the same photo. In other words, you can’t swim here or do anything really other than wait in a line and snap a quick photo.

Packing List for Cenotes in Valladolid

👙 Bathing suit: This one may seem obvious, but definitely don’t forget a swimsuit! You can also bring goggles, but there isn’t much to see under the water in most of these cenotes.

💦 Travel towel: I love this fast drying, sand resistant travel towel. I bring it everywhere!

📷 GoPro or waterproof phone case: I have a GoPro Hero11, which has 27 megapixels and screens on both sides, and I love it! But keep in mind that it is quite difficult to get photos in covered cenotes because of the lighting.

🩹 Travel insurance: While it is not a physical item to pack, please don’t forget to purchase travel insurance in case something happens! I always buy a policy with SafetyWing.

🎒 Dry bag: A dry bag like this can be very helpful to keep all your valuables safe and dry!

Do not bring/use sunscreen, insect repellant, etc. before swimming in any cenote.

Where to Stay in Valladolid

🌿 Olbil Hotel Boutique: This luxurious boutique hotel is full of jungle charm and it is just minutes away from the historical center of Valladolid.

🌺 Zentik Project: This unique hotel features a 24-hour saltwater cave pool, plus another pool above ground, a spa, and an onsite restaurant and bar.

☀ Casa Tia Micha: Stay in the heart of historical Valladolid at this highly-rated boutique hotel.

My Favorite Things to do in Valladolid

🥾 Exprience Chichen Itza: Don’t miss Mexico’s most iconic ruins, they’re just 45 minutes away! Visit independently or book this Chichen Itza and Izamal day trip with a local guide.

👙 Cenote Hopping: Valladolid is home to the most beautiful cenotes I’ve ever see! Cenote Xcanahaltun and Cenote Secreto Maya are the best, but Cenote Saamal and Dzitnup are some other great options closer to town.

👟 Wander along Calz. de Los Frailes: Valladolid’s most picturequse street, lined with colorful buildings housing vintage shops, cafes, bars, and plenty of hidden gems.

🌊 Visit Uayma Church: This gorgeous church’s facade is like nothing else I’ve seen in this part of Mexico! It is 15 minutes outside of Valladolid and definitely worth the drive just for a look!

💒 Convento de San Bernardino de Siena: Step inside this picturequse pink convent during opening hours and come back in the evening for a lights show about the history of Valladolid (usually at 9pm).

More Yucatan & Quintana Roo Travel Guides

✨ The Ultimate Bacalar Itinerary: 1-7 Days in the Lagoon of Seven Colors

☀ 12 Cancun Hidden Gems: Cancun Off The Beaten Path

🚤 Ultimate Guide: Muyil River Float and Mayan Ruins

🛵 The Ultimate Guide to Renting a Scooter in Cozumel

🐢 How to Visit Xcacel Beach Turtle Sanctuary Near Tulum

Text says Browse All Valladolid Travel Guides with Cenote in background

Final Thoughts: Best Valladolid Cenotes

Swimming in a cenote is definitely one of the best things to do in Valladolid! These pristine natural sinkholes are abundant across the Yucatan peninsula and certain parts of Belize, but the most beautiful ones I’ve ever visited have been here in Valladolid.

I hope this guide helped you figure out the best cenotes in Valladolid for your trip. Be sure to browse my other Mexico travel guides as you plan your Mexico adventures!

This post 7 BEST Valladolid Cenotes for Swimming first appeared on Your Friend the Nomad.

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