There are so many cenotes near Chichen Itza archeological site because it’s located in the heart of the Yucatan peninsula where you will find a major concentration of these sacred sinkholes.
In this post, I will tell you about all the cenotes near Chichen Itza that you can visit during your trip and how to get there.
It’s no doubt that Chichen Itza is one of the most visited archeological sites receiving up to 15.000 visits per day in the high season. It’s a lot.
The site is incredibly appealing for the majestic building of el Castillo and all the other huge temples from the ancient Mayan civilization. And the heat and the huge crowds shouldn’t stop you from visiting this historical wonder.
There are several ways you can visit Chichen Itza, either with an organized tour, by bus, or by car rental (which I always recommend).
Whether you are coming from Tulum, Playa del Carmen, Cancun, or Merida, a visit to Chichen Itza is a full day trip and it’s always a good idea to include a visit to one of the spectacular cenotes near Chichen Itza and a visit to Valladolid while you are there.
All the organized tours combine a visit to Chichen Itza with a stop at a cenote and a quick visit to the charming Valladolid historical center, the gateway to the Colonial Yucatan.
👉 Planning on joining a tour to Chichen Itza, Cenote and Valladolid All-Inclusive Tour – Book the most highly rated tour ahead of time on VIATOR.
The top 5 cenotes near Chichen Itza
1. Cenote IK Kil
Cenote IK Kil is one of the most popular cenotes near Valladolid and definitely THE MOST popular tis included in almost all the Chichen Itza tours. There are two reasons why it’s the most popular.
- It’s the closest to Chichen Itza.
- It’s spectacular
In fact it’s considered one of the best cenotes near Chichen Itza, although one of the most crowded, unfortunately.
Although it’s a natural cenote the owners have grown an incredible natural landscape around it with lush vegetation and plants cascading down the cenote hole creating some of the most instaworthy pictures.
You also have fancy facilities that you can enjoy such as showers, lockers, bathrooms and a restaurant.
Although it’s really beautiful it’s always crowded unless you go first thing in the morning even before Chichen Itza.
If you are in the area for a few days and you are visiting on your own, I would visit this cenote, not on the same day you are visiting Chichen Itza so you can visit them both first thing in the morning and avoid the crowds.
This place really gets packed.
Entry fees – 180 MXN
Opening hours – 9 am to 5 pm
Insider tip – the cenote Ik Kil is also a hotel. So you can stay there and have access to the cenote outside the opening hours. Rates start from 60 USD. You must book on their website.
Or you can check out other hotels in the area on Booking.com
2. Cenote Yokdzonot
Cenote Yokdzonot is a spectacular huge open Cenote at about 30 minutes drive from Chichen Itza. It’s usually also considered a great day trip from Merida for its closeness.
The cenote takes the name from the town where it’s located and it’s managed by a local community well engaged in keeping the cenote nice clean and worth visiting.
They also offer a zipline, rappelling and a great restaurant serving simple local dishes
The access to this cenote is very easy with wooden stairs but for the more adventurous there are jumping platforms as well.
There is a cord to help you cross the huge cenote and life jackets are mandatory for your safety.
You can also find a small artisan shop where you can purchase some local products as authentic Mexican souvenirs.
Entrance fee 150 MXN
Opening hours – 9 am to 5 pm
Zip Line – 70 MXN
Rappelling – 70 MXN
3. Tsukán Santuario de Vida
Located at only 20 minutes from Chichen Itza, Tsukan is a private cenote that has recently opened. It’s located in a beautiful park with interpretative paths and great facilities.
You can find a restaurant serving local dishes, an ice cream bar, elegant showers and bathrooms, and a shop with some t-shirts and accessories.
The cenote itself is a spectacular cave cenote with incredibly turquoise water. The platform from where you access is quite small so it’s not suitable for big groups and when it gets crowded it could be a problem.
However, I believe the high price keeps many people away.
You have to climb 180 stairs but they are not steep and very easy to walk.
The cenote is often home to the beautiful Mot Mot bird, which is said to be a sacred bird for the Mayans. It has a colorful plumage and a long tail that resemble a pendulum.
I saw three of them while I was there but they were too far for my camera to catch them.
Entrance fee: 230 MXN
Opening hours: 9 am – 5 pm
Life Jacket is mandatory and included in the price for safety reasons, because the cenote is really deep, and you need to sign a responsibility release form when you enter.
4. Cenote Kax Ek
Cenote Kax Ek is quite a detour from the usual Chichen Itza route, at 40 minutes from the archeological site and 30 minutes from Valladolid.
It’s less popular than the above-mentioned cenotes, probably because of the bad condition of the dirt road in the last 5 km before reaching the cenote. So keep that in mind.
Also if you are traveling with a pet, dogs are not allowed ( just like in the majority of the cenotes).
The Cenote Kax Ek is huge and although the water doesn’t seem as transparent as you would expect, it gets quite clear once you are inside, also depending on the weather, of course.
Although the cenote is quite isolated, it offers all the facilities you need, showers, changing rooms, toilets, and a tidy and clean environment.
And of course, there are guards there so if you feel uncomfortable driving alone in the middle of nowhere, just know that you are not alone in the cenote.
Entrance fee: 150 MX
Opening hours: 9 am to 5 pm
Another spectacular cenote near Chichen Itza that you can visit during your day trip. Cenote Lol Ha is located in the town of Yaxuna, where you can appreciate an authentic Mayan community.
It’s another open cenote with easy access to the water, but also a couple of platforms for the more adventurous who love to jump into the underworld.
I haven’t been there yet but I will go soon and will share pictures, I wanted to include them here for the sake of information.
In the cenote there are toilets but not showers, although I hope they change that soon because as an important rule you should always shower when you enter a cenote, to rinse off any residual chemical from body lotions that may pollute the water.
Entrance fee – 100 MXN
Opening hours – 10 am to 5 pm
Life jacket rental available
Chichen Itza cenotes – Cenote Xcolot and Sacred Cenote
There are two cenotes in the archeological site of Chichen Itza, one is barely visible and almost abandoned, close to the prestigious Mayaland hotel.
It’s called Cenote Xcolot and it’s hidden beyond the think vegetation.
The other one, more popular is the Sacred Cenote (cenote Sagrado).
Although you can’t swim in it, it is a beautiful site and fits very well within the majestic complex of the ancient Mayan city.
For the Mayans all the cenotes were sacred, and used both for ceremonial purposes and as water wells, it seems that Chichen Itza Cenote was particularly used for human sacrifices.
If you are wrenching now you may be relieved to know that for the ancient Mayan culture it was a great honor to be sacrificed for the Gods. Difficult for us to understand.
Anyway, from the Castillo you have to walk for about 1 km to reach the sacred cenote. It’s kind of the walk of shame because your path is lined with many different vendors calling you and trying to sell you stuff.
So instead of being a sort of spiritual walk to the Sacred Cenote, it becomes a sort of a challenge to get to the cenote without buying anything.
Once you arrive, though give yourself a few minutes sitting in the shade of the secular trees and look for the precious Mot Mot bird.
It was also considered a sacred bird for the Mayans and there are many around the area.
The previous time I was in Chichen Itza I was lucky enough to spot some (see picture below). Not this time, though.
More cenotes near Valladolid
These above-mentioned cenotes are the ones that are closest to Chichen Itza. However, if you are looking for more cenotes closer to Valladolid, this list of the best Valladolid Cenotes will certainly help you find more.
Visiting the Chichen Itza cenotes on your own by car
I always suggest renting a car in Mexico, if you want to explore the Yucatan Peninsula because it’s one of the safest areas and you will have the opportunity to discover amazing hidden treasures that local transportation won’t get.
When it comes to renting a car in Mexico or anywhere, I recommend checking on discover cars site because there you can compare different prices from various international and local car rental companies.
If you get a Mexican SIM card (which I highly recommend), you can download Google Maps if you haven’t it yet and get anywhere you want without getting lost, find nearby places where to stay and where to eat and you are going to have a blast.
Browse through international and local car rentals and find the best deal.
Find a tour that includes cenotes near Chichen Itza
Chichen Itza tours are some of the most popular in the Yucatan Peninsula and they all include a visit to one of the cenotes near Chichen Itza.
Here below I am listing the ones that are more highly rated from each of the major cities.
The best Chichenitza + Cenote tour from Merida
👉 Tour to Chichen Itza + Cenote from Merida. I recommend booking your tour ahead of time through VIATOR.
The best Chichenitza + Cenote tour from Cancun
👉 Tour to Chichen Itza + Cenote from Cancun. I recommend booking your tour ahead of time through VIATOR.
The best Chichenitza + Cenote tour from Playa Del Carmen
👉 Private tour to Chichen Itza + Cenote from Playa del Carmen – Book your tour ahead of time on VIATOR.
The best Chichenitza + Cenote tour from Tulum
👉 Small group tour to Chichen Itza, Cenote and Valladolid All-Inclusive Tour – Book your tour ahead of time on VIATOR.
More Chichenitza + cenote tours
How to get to Chichen Itza
I am working on detailed articles on the different ways to get to Chichen Itza from the most popular cities and towns in the Yucatan Peninsula.
How to get to Chichen Itza from Tulum in 2022 (coming soon)
How to get to Chichen Itza from Merida in 2022 (coming soon)
Is it safe to visit the Chichen Itza Cenote on your own?
Yes, it is totally safe to visit Chichen Itza, just like all the major touristic sites in Mexico.
You will find a lot of people around you all visitors like you.
The only issue may be the pickpocketers although it’s very rare to find them in the site. Just make sure you keep your personal belonging on you or lock them in the lockers available at the entrance.
My Mexico packing list will help you pick up what you really need for your trip and leave the unnecessary items behind.
The basic cenote rules
There are simple rules to follow when visiting a cenote.
✅ Always shower before entering a cenote, and if there is no shower in the premises, make sure you know it in advance and avoid using any body lotions or repellent that may damage the environment.
✅ Do not hold on to tree roots or stalactites and stalagmites
✅ Do not take away anything from the natural environment
✅ Do not trash. Take your trash with you.
✅ Do not shout or be loud, respect your surroundings and fellow travelers’ space
✅ Let’s just respect the precious and fragile natural environment
✅ Ask permission from the Aluxes. You can do it in your mind of course. The Aluxes are tiny creatures and guardians of nature, especially cenotes. and caves. They are quite mischievous and if you don’t behave correctly they can hurt you. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. 🙂
✨ Mexico Travel Planning Guide ✨
👉 Do I need travel insurance to travel to Mexico?
I would do it if I were you. You never know what can happen and knowing that no matter what, you will be covered with any expenses will give you peace of mind, and make your travel worry-free. You can check out World Nomads or SafetyWing which I have used alternatively depending on my needs of the moment.
🚰 Can I drink tap water in Mexico?
No, you can’t! Maybe in some areas or in some homes where they have installed water filters but to be on the safe side, I would say, never drink tap water in Mexico. Carry a water bottle with you and fill it up where you find available potable water sources. Most of the hotels have those.
🚗 Is it safe to drive in Mexico?
The short answer is: depending on where you are. Although in general if you stick to the main roads and don’t drive at night you should probably be safe. In lesser tourist areas you should probably check the local news to stay up to date. Driving in the Yucatan Peninsula is easy everywhere, even at night, although I would still avoid it. I usually use Discover Cars because the site offers the options to compare prices among different car rentals and you can add their own full coverage.
Read more on my guide on Renting a car in Mexico.
📱 Will my phone work in Mexico?
It will probably work, especially if you have a European or US phone, but your roaming rates may be to the stars (check with your SIM provider). Even if have an affordable international rate, you will be much better off by buying a Mexican SIM Card. It’s cheap, easy to set up, and it will keep you connected with your friends, family, and, more important, google Maps so you will never get lost!
🤕 Is it safe to travel to Mexico right now?
The short answer is, yes it is. However, there are parts of Mexico that are indeed troubled and you should avoid for now, and others that are super safe and easy to travel around.
Regardless of where you are you should always use some common sense rules such as, never flaunt expensive clothing, accessories, electronics, or money and keep a low profile.
Read more on my detailed guide on safety in Mexico. If you are traveling to a specific destination I have got you covered as well:
💉 Do I need any vaccine to travel to Mexico?
No, there is no vaccine requirement (of any kind) to travel to Mexico
🇲🇽 Do I need a visa to travel to Mexico?
If you are coming from the US or Europe you don’t need a VISA to enter Mexico. Once you get in you need to fill out a form which you need to keep with you until you leave. If you don’t have it you will pay a fine.
Although the tourist visa for US and European travelers used to be 6 months long which you could easily renew by leaving the country for a couple of days and going back, nowadays they have been stricter. You may be asked how you would sustain your living and other similar questions. Sometimes they even ask you to show your credit cards.
It seems odd but they can do that. If you intend to stay longer than a usual couple of weeks’ vacation time, just be honest and explain your plans. If you are not from the US, check this site to see if you need a visa
💸 Where do I find the best travel deals for Mexico? 💸
A trip to Mexico can be expensive if you love to travel with all the comforts (like I do). There are a few tricks that will help you find the best deals. Here are my tips:
👉 DON’T travel in the high season, which is Holy week, Christmas and winter in general, and August.
👉 Book months in advance to find early booking discounts
👉 Use aggregators such as Discover Cars to find price comparisons and VRBO for vacation rentals!
👉 Look for packages flights+hotels on Expedia or Skyscanner as usually, that’s where the best deals are.
👉 Check on Booking.com or Hotels.com for hotel deals