If you're vacationing on Riviera Maya and planning a trip to Valladolid, Mexico, there's one spot you absolutely can't miss - Cenote Xkeken! Trust me, this place is a hidden gem that will leave you in awe of nature's beauty.
Cenote Xkeken is one of the most popular cenotes in the Yucatan Peninsula and for good reason. It's a stunning natural wonder, with crystal-clear waters, towering stalactites, and a unique underground setting. It is also referred to as Cenote Dzitnup because of its exact location, and you can also see it spelled differently as Xquequen.
If you're visiting Valladolid, Cenote Xkeken is a must-see.
But before you head over there, let me tell you about it so that you can plan your trip accordingly and enjoy every minute.
First things first, let's talk about what a cenote is. For those not familiar, a cenote is a natural pit or sinkhole that results from the collapse of limestone bedrock, exposing the groundwater beneath. They are common in the Yucatan Peninsula, which is made up of karst limestone. and offer a unique and refreshing swimming experience like no other.
Now, you might be wondering what sets Cenote Xkeken apart from other cenotes in the region.
Cenote Xkeken is special for a few reasons. First, the water is incredibly clear. You can see all the way to the bottom, which is about 26 feet deep. There are plenty of fish and small marine life to keep you company during your swim.
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Second, the stalactites are amazing. They hang down from the ceiling like giant icicles, and they create a truly magical atmosphere. Third, the cenote is located underground, which adds to its sense of mystery. it's perfect for that Instagram-worthy shot!
Another highlight is that the water in Cenote Xkeken is refreshingly cool, which is a blessing, especially when you're visiting in the scorching Mexican heat.
However, it's worth noting that because of its popularity, Cenote Xkeken can get crowded during peak hours. So, try to visit early in the morning or later in the afternoon for a more serene experience.
There are some things you should know to get yourself informed before the visit.
Cenote Xkeken is located about 5 kilometers outside of Valladolid and you've got a few options to get there.
If you're looking for the most flexibility and convenience, renting a car is the way to go. It allows you to set your own schedule and explore other attractions around Valladolid too. Just take Highway 180 west out of Valladolid to the Dzitnup turnoff and follow the signs to Cenote Xkeken. If your GPS can’t find Cenote Xkeken, try with the other name—Cenote Dzitnup.
But if you prefer to leave the driving to someone else, you can join a guided tour arranged by one of the multiple tourist companies in Valladolid or Merida. This is of course a more expensive option than driving yourself, but you will get more historical and local insight.
You can also hop on a colectivo (a shared van) in front of the bus station. Tell the driver the name of the cenote you’re going to, to make sure you have chosen the right bus! The bus ticket will be around $35 pesos (a bit less than $2 USD) for a one-way ticket.
If you start your trip from Valladolid, you can also get there by bike and it should take you around 45 minutes. There are plenty of rental places in Valladolid and the cost is between $100 and $150 pesos a day (between $5 and $8 USD). Part of the route will be a bike trail but there is also a part when you need to pedal along the road.
Alternatively, if you're feeling fancy or short on time, a taxi will drop you off right at the entrance. Negotiate your price, it shouldn’t be more than $100 pesos ($5USD) one way, but it will probably be more than double if you want the taxi driver to wait for you to take you back to the town.
Cenote Xkeken usually opens its doors around 8:00 am and closes at 6:00 pm. Be sure to double-check the hours before you head out, though, as they can change depending on the season.
As for the admission fee, it's typically quite reasonable, costing you around $80 pesos (about $4 USD). There should be a lower price for kids, only about $50 pesos ($2.50 USD).
You'll be relieved to find that Cenote Xkeken offers some essential facilities. Maybe not asfancy as in others, as it is a community-run cenote, but you will get everything you need.
Lockers are available to store your valuables safely while you swim for a small fee. Changing rooms and bathrooms are also on-site, so you can freshen up before and after your dip. Remember that a shower is always a must before entering a cenote to wash off any chemicals from sunscreens or mosquito repellents.
If you're not the strongest swimmer, don't worry! Lifejackets are provided, both for adults and kids. You only wear them if you want, they are not mandatory as in some other places.
Feeling peckish after all the swimming? No problem! There are food stalls around where you can buy some tasty local treats and drinks. You cal also bring your own food and enjoy t in a picnic area.
Now, let's talk packing essentials. Here's a quick checklist for your day at Cenote Xkeken:
The best time to visit Cenote Xkeken is during the early morning or late afternoon as these hours are less crowded.
Once you arrive at Cenote Xkeken, take a moment to marvel at its unique beauty. Then, without hesitation just get into the cool, turquoise waters and let yourself float away. Beware that jumping or diving is not permitted so get inside gently.
Swim among the fish and enjoy the feeling of being one with nature. If you are not a strong swimmer, you can rent a life jacket or hold to ropes strung across the cenote.
If you brought goggles or a snorkel, you can enjoy the underwater world. The water in Cenote Xkeken is crystal clear and it’s easy to watch plants and animals.
And of course, don't forget to snap those amazing photos of this paradise. Your Instagram followers will thank you!
Cenote Xkeken is an absolute must on your visit to Valladolid. With its breathtaking natural beauty, cool waters, and serene atmosphere, it's a slice of paradise you won't forget anytime soon. So pack your bags and prepare to be amazed by this magical cenote! Your journey to Cenote Xkeken awaits—don't miss it! It will surely be one of your highlights during your vacation on the Yucatan Peninsula.