Cenote Samula is a picturesque natural cavern that is sought after by tourists who come to the Yucatan Peninsula. The crystal clear water is suited for swimming but there are plenty of other things to enjoy. It is also located within close proximity to another cenote – Cenote Xkeken – so you can check out both cenotes during your visit.
Cenote Samula is a sacred sinkhole that is located in Valladolid, Mexico. It is one of many cenotes that are found scattered all over the Yucatan Peninsula. If you must visit just one cenote during your stay, you need to seriously consider Samula in that list.
Indeed, Cenote Samula stands out as one of the most beautiful cenotes in Valladolid – which is saying a lot given that there are plenty of cenotes in the area. It is part of a large complex that includes another cenote, Cenote Xkeken. Even though they are popular, they are located far enough from Mayan Riviera that it is not as crowded as other cenotes.
Of the two cenotes, Cenote Samula is the bigger one – so it is a good idea to start on this one first. It is a semi-open type of cenote that can be accessed through a set of stairs that are made of stone. There are different levels that you can go down to. The first level of stairs enables you to marvel at the spectacular view of the dome and the body of water below.
This is a pretty massive cenote that measures 35 meters long and 30 meters wide. The depth of the water can go as deep as 35 meters. There is a huge hole at the center of the structure wherein tree roots hang from the ceiling to create a picturesque view. This is also the part wherein sunlight beam enters to the cenote creating a beautiful effect inside the cavern.
The water of the cenote is crystal clear, as you would expect. This enables you to see the bottom of the cenote floor. You can even spot the fishes that live in the cenote. The shallow depth (in comparison to other cenotes) makes it a suitable site to swim in.
Cenote Samula is currently managed by the Board of Units of Cultural and Tourist Services within the state of Yucatan. They are responsible for caring for and maintaining the cenote and its facilities.
This is where the entrance fee that visitors pay goes to. With that said, the use of sunscreen is not permitted so as not to spoil the natural conditions of the water. Everyone is also required to take a shower before swimming.
- Opening hours: 8 AM to 7 PM
- Entrance fee:80 Pesos (or 125 Pesos for two cenotes, which includes access to Cenote Xkeken)
- Good for Scuba diving: Yes
- Good for swimming: Yes, but shallow
- Facilities: Yes
- Car parking: Yes
Cenote Samula is a beautiful, cavernous pool that is located close to another cenote. However, these two cenotes have different characteristics so each can offer a unique experience to visitors. Samula is more popular of the two, not just because it is larger in size.
As mentioned above, Cenote Samula has a few distinctive characteristics such as large sinkhole, open roof, and roots hanging down from the ceiling. What is most impressive about Samula is the array of facilities and amenities you will find. From locker rooms, to changing rooms, souvenir shops, and snack bars, you can find them all.
Unlike Cenote Xkeken, Cenote Samula is enclosed so you can swim inside a cave with a streak of light coming from the roof. This makes for a magical swim and for great photos, too! Once you go down to the second level of stairs, you will have a spot to place your belongings in (if you do not want to use a locker). Take the last level of steps to reach the water and go for a swim.
Aside from the facilities mentioned above, Cenote Samula also has life jackets for rent. This is important as all swimmers (even the ones who are good swimmers) are required to wear one.
If you want to take advantage of the scenic views of the cenote, it is recommended that you visit at noon time. This is when the sun is at its peak allowing you to enjoy the spectacular view of the sunlight beaming into the walls of the cavern and the water.
HOW TO GET THERE
To get to Cenote Samula, you must head west via old Highway 180 that is headed for Chichen Itza. Once you reach the circular road and you spot the Hacienda Selva Maya, turn right after it on the left. You will be traversing a narrow road for about two minutes until you reach the parking lot for Cenote Samula.
WHERE TO STAY
Valladolid is a good vantage point for visiting Cenote Samula. It is only a short drive away – about 15 minutes. This makes the cenote highly accessible from Valladolid. You can also find a variety of accommodation types to suit your budget or needs.
Experience the true beauty and culture that Valladolid and the nearby attractions in Yucatan Peninsula has to offer. Start off your day with a visit to the famed archaeological ruins of the Mayans – the Chichen Itza. Learn from your guide about the history and culture of these sites.
You will also get the chance to visit the sacred sinkholes, which were the site of rituals for the ancient Mayans. You can treat yourself to a refreshing swim at these famous cenotes.