<span id="hs_cos_wrapper_name" class="hs_cos_wrapper hs_cos_wrapper_meta_field hs_cos_wrapper_type_text" style="" data-hs-cos-general-type="meta_field" data-hs-cos-type="text" >8 Routes to Choose the Perfect Cenote</span>

8 Routes to Choose the Perfect Cenote

13 may 2024
25 min. de lectura


With thousands of cenotes to choose from in Yucatán, deciding which one (or ones) to visit is often a daunting task. The right choice depends entirely on your interests and preferences, in addition to the route you want to take, the activities you want to combine it with, and a long list of possible factors.


To help you choose the best cenote for your party, we’ve prepared a look at different cenote areas. While it would be impossible to include every cenote that can be visited in Yucatán, it will surely help you answer your questions, plan your tours, and fully enjoy the cenotes in southeast México.


1. Yalcobá Cenote Route

Yalcobá is a village northeast of Valladolid, and the base of this mini-circuit of beautiful cenotes that are well worth the visit.


  • Cenote Zazil Tunich. This enclosed cenote is private and offers an exclusive experience for small groups. In addition to the regular visit, it offers a guided tour with a geological explanation (by reservation, at no additional cost).
    Admission: $399 pesos.
    WA: 985 130 5096
    Read our article about the Cenote Zazil Tunich.
  • Cenote Xcanahaltun. Operated by a cooperative, this closed cenote offers, in addition to dressing rooms, lockers, and bathrooms, kayak rentals so you can explore at your leisure. 
    Admission: $230 pesos for adults, $200 pesos for children.
    WA: 985 102 4651
  • Cenotes Palomitas y Agua Dulce. These two belong to the same cooperative. You can decide whether to visit both or just one. If you have to choose, Agua Dulce (Spanish for freshwater) is larger, closed, and full of stalactites. In the center, they have a raft with a spiral staircase so you can fully appreciate the view.
    Admission: $200 pesos  p/p per cenote.
    You can order a Yucatecan meal for an additional $100 pesos per person when booking in advance.
    WA: 985 856 2200
  • Cenote Sac Aua. This very popular cenote, also operated by a cooperative, is famous for having a small natural island in the center. You can visit only the cenote, or add (for an extra fee) a visit to a cave, or even food.
    Starting at $280 pesos p/p.
    WA: 985 113 5112 


Activities to pair with the Yalcobá cenotes:
From Yalcobá to the archaeological site of Ek Balam: 20 km / 12 mi (30 minutes by car)
From Yalcobá to the Magical Town of Valladolid: 24 km / 15 mi (34 minutes by car)


2. Valladolid Cenotes Route

2405 Cenote Xkeken by Andrea MyT
2405 Cenote Saamal Selva Maya by Andrea MyT
2405 Cenote Oxman by Andrea Mier y Teran

There’s no shortage of activity options at the Heroic City of Valladolid Magical Town; as proof, the many cenotes you can visit without going that far.


  • Cenote X’Kekén. This closed cenote was one of the first cenotes (in general) to attract tourism near Valladolid. X’Kekén is famous for a formation of stalactites that took the shape of a “piglet” (although, to our modern eyes, it looks more like a mammoth), and which gives it its name (X-K'éek'en in Maya means sow, or female pig). The entrance is a little complicated due to the height, but once you go down you have a large promenade to enjoy even if you don't want to swim. It is a very visited place along with the Samulá cenote, just a few meters away.
    Admission: $226 pesos.
  • Cenote Saamal (within Hacienda Selva Maya). This open cenote is located within the facilities of Hacienda Selva Maya, a day resort that also features a buffet-style restaurant, zip lines, trails to explore on foot or by bike, and several other activities, which you can sign up for regardless of your swim in the cenote.
    Starting at $200 pesos.
    WA: 985 105 1165
  • Hacienda Cenote Oxman. This cenote, within the former San Lorenzo Oxman (pronounced osh-MAN) hacienda, is one of the most visited in Valladolid. If you’re the fearless type and visit when there are not many people (tricky, but not impossible), high diving is an extreme activity here. There is also a swing to jump in from a lower height. Hacienda Cenote Oxman also offers a swimming pool, restaurant and day resort for your convenience.
    From $250 pesos.
    WA: 985 106 5066
  • Cenote Chichikan. This private cenote, inside a day resort, offers packages starting at $250 pesos, which include, in addition to the cenote, a tour of “Maya experiences” and even an all-you-can-eat buffet. All packages include a house tequila tasting; tequila is not typical of the region, but tequila is tequila.
    WA: 999 902 6005
  • Cenote Suytun. This closed cenote is one of the best known, recognizable by a cement platform that leads to the center of the cenote. It is a very recurring photo on social media. The entrance ($250 pesos) also includes a visit to a second cenote, Kaapeh, this one semi-open.
    WA: 999 783 0447


Activities to pair with the cenotes of Valladolid:
From Valladolid to Xocén: 13 km or 8 mi (17 minutes by car)
From Valladolid to Uayma: 14 km (21 minutes by car)
From Valladolid to the archaeological site of Ek Balam: 28 km or 17 mi (33 minutes by car)
From Valladolid to the archaeological site of Chichén Itzá: 42 km or 26 mi (43 minutes by car)


Cenote route on the free highway (Mérida - Cancún)

3. Holcá - Xcalacoop Section (Mérida - Valladolid)

2405 Cenote Tsukan by Andrea MyT

If you’re traveling on your own from Mérida to Chichén Itzá or Valladolid (or to the Riviera Maya), why not make an experience of it? Taking it easy, the free highway (MX-180) is very panoramic and full of potential stops, including, of course, several cenotes.


  • 2405 Escaleras Cenote Tsukan by Andrea MyT (1)Cenote Tsukán Santuario de Vida. The name of this resort and cenote evokes the legend of Tsukán, the guardian serpent of the underground water. The experiences available, starting at $250 pesos for adults ($100 pesos for children between 6 and 11 years old), include access to the cenote, a Maya ceremony performance, and a Yucatecan Recado-making workshop; their more elaborate packages also include meals..
    Tel. 999 648 0109
  • Cenote Ik Kil. Due to its proximity to Chichén Itzá and Pisté, the Ik Kil cenote is undoubtedly one of the most visited in Yucatán. It is a perfectly round, open-pit type cenote, with lush vegetation and waterfalls, which became famous worldwide for hosting the 2014 Red Bull Diving World Series. If you don't want to dive in from a height of 27 m (90 ft), you can also take a stairway down to the water. There is a buffet-style restaurant and bungalows for overnight stays.
    Admission: Starting at $200 pesos per person.
    Tel. 985 851 0002 / 999 329 3654
  • Cenote Yokdzonot. Located in the town of Yokdzonot, 10 minutes from Chichén Itzá, this cenote is managed by a cooperative led mainly by women. The cenote is completely open; you can see it from above on a zip line, or descend 18 meters (59 ft) by rappelling.
    Admission: $150 pesos for foreigners, $100 pesos for nationals.
    WA 985 121 2328 / 999 149 9315
  • Cenote Chihuán. This cenote is located on private land and the owner has made it very comfortable for swimming and diving, with rustic stairs, a concrete platform, lighting, etc. The cenote has a maximum depth of 14 m (50 ft) and always has direct access to the surface. In the cenote, you will appreciate the beauty of its formations of stalactites, stalagmites, and columns at 3, 6, 9, 11, and 13 meters deep. If you’re a cave diving fan, don't miss it: a tour between the formations is offered. 
    Book to make sure it's available: 988 957 0008
    Admission: $100 pesos.


Activities to pair with the cenotes on MX-180, between Holcá and Xcalacoop (Mérida - Valladolid):
Chichén Itzá (on the route, between Tsukán and Ik Kil)
From Holcá to the Magical Town of Izamal: 34 km / 21 mi (38 minutes by car)
From Holcá to Xocchel: 29 km / 18 mi (25 minutes by car)
From Xcalacoop to Kaua: 14 km / 9 mi (21 minutes by car)
From Xcalacoop to the Magical Town of Valladolid: 36 km / 22 mi (36 minutes by car)



4. X-Catzín - Xcan Section (Valladolid - Cancún)

In this area, cellphone signal is extremely spotty, not only for data, but also for calls. As such, cenote Choj Ha doesn’t offer contact information, you have to drop in on them. In the case of cenote Pueblo Fantasma, you can book in advance to request meals for your party, or even a Maya ceremony with an authentic J-meen from the village nearby.


  • Cenote Pueblo Fantasma. This stop requires a small detour (10 km / 6 mi) from the main road, but as soon as you enter you’ll see that it’s worth it. To get to the cenote you’ll go through a vegetable garden (the source of ingredients for the meals you can have there), a tortilla-handmaking and snack station, rest areas with hammocks, and other interesting stops. The cenote itself is enclosed, with artificial lighting, and truly one of a kind. As it is, a section of the cave collapsed (probably) millions of years ago, resulting in stalactites that are now firmly part of the bedrock, but at an angle.
    Tel. 998 810 1580
  • 2310-Cenote-Choj-Ha-Catedral-de-las-Maravillas-by-Yucatan-Today-Dec-07-2023-05-20-14-3010-AMCenote Choj Ha. Relatively similar in features (except for the diagonal stalactites) but no less breathtaking, cenote Choj Ja is also housed in a huge cave. Its size and the way the stalactites hang from the vault have earned this place the moniker of “the Cathedral of Wonders.”  This cenote has some sections where it’s possible to only get your feet wet (or sit in the shallow water), but beyond them, the cenote is a whopping 50 ft deep. 


Activities to pair with the cenotes on MX-180, between X-Catzín and Xcan (Valladolid - Cancún / Riviera Maya)
From X-Catzín to Cobá archaeological site in Quintana Roo: 45 km / 28 mi (38 minutes by car)


5. Cenotes Telchaquillo and Pixyá


The cenotes of Pixyá, a sub-municipality in Telchaquillo, are legendary not only for their beauty, but also for how difficult it is to get to them. Not necessarily because they’re hidden, but because there are no paved roads, and you have to follow what is a wide trail (suitable for driving at about 10 km/h or about 6 mi if you want to have a car at the end of the day) to each one. From Pixyá there are two ways to get there; the one located further south crosses private property and, while no one will make you turn around, they will charge you an additional “toll” to go through to the cenotes.


  • Cenote Ch’e’en Chaak Telchaquillo. This is the only one of these four that does not require an expedition: it is located in the Telchaquillo town square. It is small and semi-open; It’s not the star of this route, but if you’re in the area, it’s worth a look.
  • Cenote Nah Yah. This semi-open cenote has a small platform, but, due to its depth, it is a favorite for those who enjoy diving (both jumping in the water and exploring it in diving gear).
    Access: $70 pesos per person.
    Life jacket: $30 pesos.
    Open every day from 10 am to 5 pm.
  • Cenote Su-hem. This open cenote, very close to Nah Yah, is quite large, and offers showers, changing rooms, a rest area, and a rope swing. For a night out in nature, you can also camp at this cenote. Entrance: $70 pesos.
    WA: 999 749 2458
  • Cenote Noh-Mozon. The furthest of the trio is also one of the most stunning in the area; It is semi-open and has several tunnels that you can explore by diving (with all due precautions). On our last visit (February 2024) we took the road from Pixyá; there, the cenote attendant told us that the best way to get there is currently from San Isidro Ochil.
    To go with a guide: WA 999 647 1608


Activities to pair with the cenotes in Telchaquillo: 
From Telchaquillo to the Mayapán archaeological site (currently closed): 3 km / 2 mi (4 minutes by car)
From Telchaquillo to Tekit: 20 km / 12 mi (19 minutes by car)
From Telchaquillo to the town and archaeological site of Acanceh: 21 km / 13 mi (17 minutes by car)
From Telchaquillo to Hacienda Sotuta de Peón: 26 km / 16 mi (30 minutes by car)
From Telchaquillo to the Magical Town of Maní: 46 km / 29 mi (35 minutes by car)


6. Homún’s Cenotes

Cenote-Santa-Barbara-3-Homun-by-Andrea-Mier-y-Teran-1Homún is one of the most popular stops for those who want to visit more than one cenote (or three, or five) in a day. Here, the only limitation will be the strength of your legs, as each cenote requires you to go up and down a good number of steps. If you arrive on your own, as soon as you are close to the town you will see would-be guides claiming they can take you to the “best” or “most beautiful” cenotes. There are more than 30 options in this town; here are a few:


  • Cenote Hool Kosom. One of the most distinctive and easily recognizable by its formations; you’ll notice that instead of stalactites and stalagmites, what abounds here are holes on the vault ceiling—these give this cenote its name, which means “swallow’s hole”.
    WA: 999 249 0361
  • Cenote Santa Lucía. This cenote has a kind of closed antechamber before reaching a more open vault, where a single, very long stalactite that descends to the center stands out among all the others. Admission: $140 pesos p/p (also includes the neighboring Chulul cenote).
    WA: 999 327 9434
  • Cenote Chel Paak. Chel Paak (rainbow wall) is a small, but unique cenote: the verticality of its shape (there is nowhere to go but down) makes it really interesting. Plus, if you enjoy jumping into the water, the temptation will be hard to resist.
    WA: 999 353 2202
  • Cenotes Santa Bárbara. This day resort boasts four incredible attractions. Among them is Cascabel, a closed-type cenote that will leave you marveling at its natural beauty. Then there's Xooch’, a semi-open cenote, where a massive root cascades from a tree above, providing the perfect backdrop for a photoshoot. Additionally, the Chacsinkín cenote, also semi-open, impresses with its size and the multitude of stalactites it harbors. And last but certainly not least, there's Pool Cocom, a vast open cenote equipped with an elevator for people with disabilities and senior citizens.
    Cenotes Santa Bárbara offers a range of services including a splash pad and play area for the little ones, a relaxation zone, a viewpoint, and a restaurant. Along with access to the cenotes, admission to the tourist stop includes life jackets and transportation between cenotes (bicycle, van, or the Santa Bárbara Express).
    Tel. 999 116 1512



Activities to pair with the cenotes in Homún: 
From Homún to Xocchel: 17 km / 11 mi (29 minutes by car)
From Homún to the town and archaeological site of Acanceh: 20 km / 12 mi (29 minutes by car)
From Homún to the town and archaeological site of Aké: 29 km / 18 mi (36 minutes by car)


7. Mucuyché's Cenotes

  • 2405 Hacienda Mucuyche by Andrea MyTCenotes Hacienda Mucuyché. Hacienda Mucuyché is the closest thing you’ll find to a cenote resort in Yucatán: a place to swim in two cenotes (one semi-open and one within a cave), yes, but also a place to sunbathe by a swimming pool in an “augmented” natural setting. It has the historical fame of being the cenote where Empress Carlota swam during her official visit to Yucatán and this hacienda in the year 1865. Tours are offered every hour from 9 am to 3 pm, and last about two hours.
    Admission: $650 pesos for adults ($450 pesos for Yucatán residents with picture ID), $390 pesos for children aged 4 - 12 ($290 pesos for Yucatecan children), under 1.40 m (4’ 7’) tall.
    Note: Reservations are required!
    Tel. 999 547 6087 and 999 649 9203.

    Find more in our article Cenotes Hacienda Mucuyché.
  • Cenote Chiuo-Hol o Chihuol. This cenote is the newest addition to the town of Mucuyché, where there are still plenty of cenotes waiting to be explored and opened to the public. You have two routes to choose from: the first involves a rough road just after leaving Mucuyché, heading towards Sotuta de Peón. However, there's a much smoother and less damaging road about a kilometer further, always on the left side. The water is clean and there are few people during the week. Right now, quite a few bees are buzzing around, but they're generally harmless. Still, it's wise to take precautions, especially if you're allergic to their stings.
    Admission: $75 pesos (foreigners), $50 pesos (Mexicans).
    Tel. 999 636 0001
  • Cenote Yaal Utzil. The other cenote near Hacienda Mucuyche, this one is managed by a local cooperative. If you're after a more rustic experience that directly supports the community, this is the perfect choice for you. Open from 10 am to 5 pm, the cenote is absolutely stunning, and thrill-seekers will love the chance to jump into the water from a 10-meter (32 ft) height.
    Admission: $100 pesos (general).



8. San Antonio Mulix's Cenotes

  • Cenote Sambulá. The Sambulá cenote, in Pebá, is the closest to Mérida on this route. It still retains some of its rustic appearance despite undergoing some "improvements"; for example, some old carved stone stairs were removed to make way for wooden furniture with a deck covering a quarter of the cenote area. The Sambulá cenote is also very suitable for the whole family, with crystal clear water and a visible bottom. The Panuchos and Salbutes made by the ladies right there in the dining area are exquisite. Life jackets are available and a basic selection of clothing (shorts, etc.) is available for purchase to get into the water.
    Admission: $100 pesos (general). 
  • Cenotes Dzonbacal y X’batun. Located in San Antonio Mulix, the Dzonbacal and X’batun cenotes are visited for a single price, as they belong to the same cooperative. X’batun (which means stone axe in Maya) is very popular, as it is one of the few open cenotes near Mérida where you can swim, if not the only one. It is extremely picturesque and has appeared in movies and television, including the telenovela Abismo de Pasión (2012).
    Admission: $150 pesos (foreigners), $75 pesos (Mexicans).
    Tel. 991 115 5042



Yucatán Today

Author: Yucatán Today

Yucatán Today, la compañera del viajero, es un medio bilingüe de información turística sobre destinos, cultura, gastronomía y el qué hacer en Yucatán con 36 años de trayectoria.

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