One of the things that I wanted to do and I highly recommend you to do at least once in your life (if possible), it is to swim in a Cenote (a natural well). You can find several cenotes in Mexico, there are over 4,000 cenotes just in the Yucatan Peninsula, and to visit them all you will need at least a couple of months!
If you like to know more about this natural beauty keep reading…
We visited 4 cenotes and I would like to share my experience of each one and give you some travel information that may be useful if you would like to visit them too.
The importance of the cenote comes from ancient Mayan people. They believed that the Maya rain god “Chaak” lived in the sacred cenote. To ask to their god for rain, Mayans performed rituals including human sacrifices. One of the Sacred Cenotes is the one located in Chichen Itza. It is not allowed to swim in there and human bones have been found at the bottom of the well in the past.
Related Post: Our top recommendations when visiting Chichen Itza
- Location: within the archaeological complex of Chichen Itza.
- Price: 220 Mexican Pesos.
Near to the ruins of Ek-Balam (ouside the city of Valladolid) is located the Cenote of X’Canche. Run by a local community, the entrance fee you pay goes to maintain the cenote as well as supporting the community. It has very nice facilities:changing rooms, bathrooms and a restaurant.
You will have to be careful to go down all the stairs to get to the bottom of the cenote. The water is a little bit cold but after visiting the ruins of Ek-Balam, the cool water of the cenote felt refreshing.
The water is crystal clear, there were several fish swimming around us, you can observe friendly cat fish and small little fish known as doctor fish nibbling away at your feet and lower legs.
You can spend an hour swimming in the water enjoying the surroundings or you can go to the top of the Cenote and do Zip lining.
- Location: 20 minutes north of Valladolid.
- Price: 30 Mexican pesos per person. From the entrance to the cenote you can walk and it will take you half an hour walk or you can pay 70 Mexican pesos for two people per ride on a bici taxi.
This cenote is located within Valladolid, a short small walking distance from the city centre. This cenote is particularly beautiful because it has a cave with rock formations and from the roof hang some stalactites.
This cenote is large and the depth of the water can be up to 124 meters (382 feet). Around the Cenotes, Iguanas are lying there, some of them soaking up the sun and some others in the shade.
- Location: In Valladolid, in the Calle 36 between Calles 37 and 39.
- Price: 35 Mexican Pesos
Cenote Samula and Cenote XKeken are very close to one another, however to enter both of them, visitors have to pay a separate fee. We decided to pay for just one and went to Cenote Samula.
Different from the cenotes mentioned previously, cenote Samula and XKeken are “closed cenotes”, which means the cenote is completely inside a cave with only a small hole in the rock ceiling allowing rays of light to shine on the water below.
Meanwhile cenote XKeken is beautiful because it has more rock formations hanging from the ceiling, Cenote Samula has a more vibrant turquoise crystal water. It used to have some tree roots hanging from the ceiling but nowadays they were cut (who knows why!).
This Cenote has small fish swimming around you, they swim pretty close. Doctor fish are also in this place, and the minute you move they swim away.
- Where: 7 km south of Valladolid. You can get a taxi for 70 Mexican pesos one way which is split between the people that goes in the taxi.
- Price: 65 Mexican Pesos. There are no lockers but you can leave your things inside the cenote on the rocks.There is a security guard on site.
There a few thing that I would like to mention if you would like to visit a cenote in Mexico.
- Most of the Cenote do not have lockers available on site, so I would suggest to bring a small bag and leave it on the rocks or an area where you can see it. It is pretty safe to leave your things like that but you never know.
- If you are not a very good swimmer do not worry, most cenotes have a kiosk where you can rent a life jacket in different sizes.
- Bring your own snacks and you can save a few Mexican Pesos.
Have you been in a Cenote? how was your experience? is there other Cenote that you would recommend?
Leave us a comment in the comment section below.