SCUBA DIVING VALLADOLID
Valladolid is located inland, in the middle of the Yukatan Penisula of Mexico. Although it is more known for it’s incredible Mayan ruins and incredible history, part of that history includes a number of incredible, sometimes ceremonial, cenotes. The Mayans loved them, us divers love to explore them, so Valladolid cenotes deserves it’s spot on this site!
For scuba diving, all Valladolid really has to offer are a bunch of incredible sinkholes, cenotes, caverns and caves. But for divers or even just snorkelers, cenotes are a pretty awesome thing to have in your back yard.
We will name a bunch of the cenotes in the Valladolid area in a minute, but first let’s talk more about the city itself. There is so much do see and experience above the water, making it an incredible destination.
Valladolid’s closer neighbors would be Cancun, Playa Del Carmen, Tulum and Merida to the north. Just like Valladolid, these locations are also well known and loved for their own cenotes, but the difference is, that Valladolid is a much quieter, more relaxed destination, slightly further from the tourist beat.
BEST DIVE SITES
Here are just a few of the cenotes closer to Valladolid. If you want to see a more comprehensive list of cenotes all around the Yukatan, see our guide to 72 Best Cenotes in Mexico.
Even though beautiful, there isn’t much light, or things to see underwater here, so this isn’t the best place for diving or snorkeling. But swimming and hanging out here makes it one of the most frequented cenotes around. There is even a life guard. It is also called Cenote Xkeken.
Read our guide to Cenote Xkeken.
Samula is near Dzitnup (or Xkeken), and is the bigger of the two. These two are popular cenotes, and are well developed with good facilities. Samula is famous for it big light shaft beaming into the water, as well as lot of tree roots and formations.
Read our guide to Cenote Samula.
Not to be confused with Zacil Ha, Cenote Zaci is right in the city of Valladolid. There are thousands of cenotes in Mexico, but Zaci might just be the only one right in the middle of a city. This is a mostly open air cenote, so you claustrophobic people can enjoy it more.
Read our guide to Cenote Zaci.
This small but beautiful cenote complex can be crowded, because it is set up for groups and tours as part of ruin trips, but it is still worth a visit, and you can do it on your own.
Read our guide to Cenote Hubiku.
After exploring and climbing the ruins at Ek Balam, just north of Valladolid, head to the gorgeous Cenote X’Canche for a refreshing swim at this natural and serene cenote. It’s located about 1.5 km into the jungle via a gravel path stemming from Ek Balam’s entrance area and parking lot.
Read our guide to Cenote Xcanche.
BEST TIME TO DIVE
There is really no bad time to visit the cenotes, as the weather is warm year-round, and the waters are not wave prone like the oceans. That said, the water is a little warmer in the summer months, if that is important to you.
HOW TO GET TO VALLADOLID
It is very easy to get to Mexico, and Valladolid, as they are such big tourist destinations. If coming by air, and most people are, you will need to fly into Cancun, which is a very short flight from most of the US.
Once you arrive in Cancun, you can either stay a couple days and explore the cenotes there, as well as the ocean dives, or just get a bus or rental car and head straight to Valladolid, inland and a little north on the main highway.
HIGHLIGHTS OF VALLADOLID
It’s not just a bunch of holes in the ground that you should visit in Merida, a old city steeped with ancient and interesting history. Here are a few above-ground attractions you might also want to check out during your visit.
- Take a day trip to Rio Lagartos and Las Coloradas. Want to see pink lakes and even pinker flamingos? Take a easy and fun day trip from Valladolid down to the coast.
- Visit the Chichen Itza pyramid. The area is full of Mayan ruins, but the most awesome might be the giant Chichen Itza pyramid. You can also swim in the cenote Ik Kil while there.
- Visit the yellow city of Izamal. Get those iconic Instagram shots at this incredible little city that is completely painted yellow.
- Visit the Mayan Ruins of Ek Balam. More awesome ruins, and while there be sure to visit the Cenote Xcanche in the area.
WHERE TO STAY
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