Two of the best cenotes near Valladolid are Cenote Dzitnup and Cenote Oxman. But how do you get to them without spending tons of money on a tour? In this post, I’m going to tell you EXACTLY how to get to Cenote Dzitnup and then how to get to Cenote Oxman by bicycle.
It’s easy as long as you know the right way to get there.
If I can do it, you can!
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How to get to Cenote Dzitnup
Located 3.7 miles (6 kilometers) outside the city of Valladolid, Cenote Dzitnup (Google Maps) is a bit of a hidden gem. The great thing is that it’s really easy to get to by bicycle. You will be biking most of the way on a safe bike path.
The day before my trip I reserved a bike at Le Kaat restaurant (Google Maps) for MXN$150 (US$7.50) and then at 8:00 am the day of my trip I paid for the rental and picked up the bike from the restaurant.
I was informed by a local that I paid way too much for the bike rental. So, you might want to check around for a better deal.
However, I felt the service at Le Kaat was pretty good. The owner sat down with me and told me how to get to Cenote Dzitnup and then how to get to Cenote Oxman. They also had the bike all ready and in good condition when I showed up at 8:00 am. The owner gave me his cell phone number in case I had any problems with the bike. If my bike broke down, they said they’d come and get me.
Google Maps says that it takes 21 minutes to get to Cenotes Dzitnup from Le Kaat restaurant by bicycle. It took me longer because I stopped to take photos and because Google Maps is not 100% correct, I drove past the cenote entrance and had to backtrack a bit. I left at around 8:15 am and arrived at 8:45 am.
Once you leave the city proper, you’ll get to a bike path that goes along a highway. The path felt 100% safe as there were a few people biking to and fro on the path.
You’ll eventually come to an intersection with traffic lights. Cross the highway here. Not to worry. There are traffic lights, so it’s quite safe.
After crossing the intersection, you’ll have to bike for a few minutes on the side of the highway. Look for signs pointing to “Dzitnup” and turn left.
You’ll go along another safe bike path that goes beside a narrow paved road.
Google Maps says that Cenote Dzitnup is on the left side of the road. Technically this is partly true (the road you’re biking on runs through the park). But the entrance to and parking lot for the Cenotes Dzitnup Complex is on the right side of the road.
I missed the parking lot and sign for Dzitnup completely and drove past it. A local pointed out my mistake and after riding back I figured out where the entrance was.
When I arrived at Cenotes Dzitnup at around 8:45 am, there was only one other visitor. The whole time I was there until noon, there were four people including myself at the park.
What can you do at Cenotes Dzitnup
There are two cenotes at Dzitnup: Cenote X’Keken and Cenote Samula.
You pay one price to visit both. It cost MXN$125 (US$6) in July 2021 for the 2 cenotes. You’ll get a wristband indicating that you paid.
There are no restaurants here, but you’ll find vendors selling snacks. But they don’t open up until close to noon.
You can do either of the cenotes one first.
I chose Cenote X’Keken, which I think is the best cenote.
Just follow the path and signs to Cenote X’Keken.
Cross the road that you came in on to get to Cenote X’Keken. That’s why Google Maps says the cenote is on the left side of the road–Cenote X’Keken is on the left side of the road and Cenote Samula on the right.
There are independent vendors selling drinks and snacks and renting out life jackets. I paid MXN$25 (US$2.50) to rent a life jacket. You’ll have to return the jacket and then rent another one for Cenote Oxman. The shop in the photo was the only vendor open in the whole park until noon.
There are restrooms and changing rooms at Cenote X’Keken. But as you can see from the photo, they’re pretty dirty. Still, you’re supposed to take a shower before entering a cenote.
Cenote X’Keken is a newer cenote, meaning the ceiling has not completely collapsed. So, the only way to get into the cenote is through a small hole in the ground, where you’ll find some narrow stairs that’ll take you underground.
It’s may not be the largest cenote in the world, but it is incredibly beautiful.
You’ve got really cool stalactites and rock formations.
And well, I was completely alone the whole time, so it was pretty incredible.
There are enough places to put your stuff down without it getting wet.
After Cenote X’Keken, I crossed the park to Cenote Samula.
Cenote Samula is larger than Cenote X’Keken, but I didn’t like it as much, probably because the park staff was there watching me and the two other people swimming around the cenote. Part of the cenote was blocked off as well.
The bathrooms and changing facilities were cleaner at Cenote Samula than at Cenote X’Keken.
Like Cenote X’Keken, this cenote is also covered and completely underground. There is a small hole in the ceiling and then another small entrance where you walk down some stairs.
The water is clear, clean, and refreshingly cool.
Overall I found Cenotes Dzitnup to be a fun place, but the facilities need some spiffing up, the staff needs to be trained in customer service, and the people who work there are not friendly at all.
How to get to Cenote Oxman
Cenote Oxman (a.k.a. Cenote San Lorenzo Oxman) is as stunning as Cenote X’Keken and Cenote Samula, but it’s not as secret as those other two.
You can easily combine a visit to Cenote Dzitnup with one to Cenote Oxman (a.k.a. Cenote San Lorenzo Oxman). Here is how I did it:
It’s 4.4 kilometers from Cenote Dzitnup to Cenote Oxman. Google Maps says it’ll take 14 minutes, but I think it must have taken me 20 minutes.
I visited Cenote Oxman in the afternoon after my visit to Cenote Dzitnup.
You’ll need to travel on the side of a highway for about 8 minutes. The highway can be a bit scary as the cars speed past you. But it’s also not that busy, and if you take care by listening carefully and watching out for hanging tree branches (I got whacked in the face by one), you should be ok.
Look for a sign for Cenote Oxman on the left side of the road. Google Maps again is not very clear and at the time I was visiting, it had the cenotes on the right side of the road.
What to do at Hacienda Cenote Oxman
Cenote Oxman is stunningly beautiful and a lot of fun to visit.
It’s an open-air cenote. The ceiling has almost completely collapsed so that you can peer over the opening from above and see the people swimming in the cenote.
While Cenote X’Keken has stalactites, beautiful vines and tree roots hang from the ceiling of Cenote Oxman.
There’s a rope that you can use to jump into the water.
I went in the afternoon, so the place was pretty crowded. It was still fun to swim around in, though. I heard that if you go in the morning, you have the place to yourself.
The people working at Hacienda Cenote Oxman were friendly and professional.
How much does Hacienda Cenote Oxman cost?
Hacienda Cenote Oxman has two payment options.
- MXN$250 (US$12.50) – This includes entry to the cenote, life jacket, and MXN$200 (US$10) to spend on food at their restaurant.
- MXN$150 (US$7.50) – This includes only the cenote and life jacket.
I did option 1 because I was hungry and there weren’t any other restaurants nearby. The dishes on the menu are really pricey. Chilaquiles cost MXN$150 (US$7.50) and MXN$35 (US$1.50) for a bottle of mineral water. That’s MXN$185 (US$9). You don’t get any change back. Plus it’s Mexico, so you need to leave a tip.
The Hacienda also has a swimming pool and a bar to buy alcohol.
How to get from Cenote Oxman to Valladolid
According to the staff at the cenote, DON’T follow Google Maps’ advice on how to get back to Valladolid from Cenote Oxman.
This is the route I was told to take:
According to Google Maps, It takes 21 minutes to get from Cenote Oxman to Valladolid. I didn’t time my ride, but I road really fast because it looked like it was going to rain. I got back just in time.
Where to stay in Valladolid
I usually book my hotels and hostels through Booking.com. I find that they usually have the cheapest prices. During my two visits to Valladolid, I stayed at Hotel Casa Rosario and Hostel Tunich Naj.
Hotel Casa Rosario – (Booking.com | Agoda) Hotel Casa Rosario is an absolute steal! I stayed at this very comfortable and affordable hotel perfectly located just a couple blocks from the ADO Bus Station, the Street of Friars, and Parque Principal. There’s a small pool, showers with great water pressure, free water and coffee, and a great balcony to sit on in the morning with your cup of coffee. The only problem is that the WiFi is slow and unstable in many of the rooms. I wasn’t able to teach on Zoom.
Hostel Tunich Naj – (Booking.com | Agoda) I also stayed in a private room at Hostel Tunich Naj. The people who work there are unfriendly and unhelpful. But the rooms are decent and the WiFi is good. They take no COVID precautions.
Hostel Candelaria – (Booking.com | Agoda) I didn’t stay at Hostel Candelaria, but I met other people who did and they absolutely loved it. They raved about the people who worked there and the breakfast.
Casa Tia Micha – (Booking.com | Agoda) Located a block and a half from Parque Principal, Casa Tia Miche is a highly-rated mid-range hotel in a colonial-style building. Breakfast is included. There’s a beautiful garden that you can sit and relax in.
So, that’s about it! I highly recommend visiting these two stunning cenotes while in Valladolid. For me, swimming in a cenote was the best thing I did in Mexico. It’s an unforgettable experience that you can’t find anywhere else in the world.
If you want more info on traveling to other cenotes in the Yucatan, check out my article on how to get to the cenotes in Homun and my soon-to-be-published article on all the great things to do near and in Valladolid.
Have you been to any other cenotes near Valladolid or near Merida?
PRO TIP: No one likes to think about insurance, but accidents do happen. I highly recommend getting World Nomads. This is what I’ve used for short-term travel. When I quit my job to travel around the world, I switched to Safety Wings. They’re very affordable (less than US$100 a month depending on age) especially for those of us who are over 40 years old. They now cover COVID19.
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LOOKING FOR MORE TRAVEL INFO ON MEXICO?
- You can find lots of fun things to do in Merida in my list of 23 things to do in Merida
- Looking for things to do in the Yucatan? Here is a list of 15 day trips that you can take from Merida! Includes detailed instructions on how to get to each place by public transportation–tried and tested!
- Here’s a detailed guide on how to visit some of the best cenotes near Merida.
- Read this post on travel info on what fun things to do in Campeche. Lots of detailed info on how to get to each place by public transportation.
- Find out how to visit the best ruins and waterfalls in Palenque. Loads on info on getting around on your own and taking tours.
- Here’s a step-by-step guide on visiting my favorite waterfall in Mexico: Roberto Barrios Cascades.