Read our review & guide of the Dzitnup Cenotes – Samula & Xkeken – how much it costs, getting there & other cenotes to visit in Valladolid.
The two cenotes Samula and Xkeken are located in the one complex under the name Dzitnup, which is very close to Valladolid. In fact the Dzitnup Cenotes are some of the best to visit if you are staying in Valladolid. Read our post for everything you should know about Samula and Xkeken cenotes, from what to expect to opening timings.
The number of options available makes choosing a cenote kind of overwhelming! After visiting this part of Yucatan, Mexico not once, but twice we have experienced and explored a number – not all – but many of the best cenotes near Valladolid.
As a result, we can help you narrow down which ones to visit on your vacation to Valladolid. From open cenotes to enclosed cave cenotes, we review all that we visited and share everything we discovered. Use these guides to help you find which cenotes to visit and which ones to combine with other nearby cenotes. We have also included some of the best local cenote tours to visit if you prefer the private guided option.
The Dzitnup cenotes are very close to Valladolid and therefore some of the best and easiest enclosed cave cenotes to visit. Our in-depth review explains it all!
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Key Things to Know
🌀 Type of Cenote – closed
💰 Price – 220 MXN pesos adults / 175 MXN pesos kids
🚿 Amenities – changing facilities, locker, showers, life jacket compulsory
🚲 Best way to get there – scooter, bicycle or taxi
⏰ Timings – 8am to 5pm, 7 days a week
🎒 What to Bring – towel & swimmers, Go-Pro, reusable water bottle
About Dzitnup Cenotes
Dzitnup Cenotes near Valladolid feel like a cheeky bonus cenote – because you get two cenotes for the price of one. Situated in one complex and only a 5 minute walk between each, are the Samula Cenote and the Xkeken Cenote. Both are cave-like covered cenotes with small openings in the roof which let a dappled light through.
Samula and Xkeken cenotes can easily be combined with Saamal Cenote which is a 20 minute walk down the quiet road of Dzitnup. To know more about this, read more below about getting to the cenotes and how to plan your visit.
These Dzitnup cenotes can get quite busy given that they are close to Valladolid. But despite the number of visitors that they attract, they are something pretty special. The wonderful stalactites in Cenote Xkeken form in a giant cluster from the ceiling down into the water. While the turquoise waters in Samula Cenote will take your breath away as you enter the cave and catch your first glance.
Getting to Dzitnup Cenotes & Map
Dzitnup cenotes are to the south of Valladolid, 20 minutes by car or 30-40 minutes by bike. In addition, nearby is the Saamal Cenote at the Hacienda Selva Maya. If you choose to combine these cenotes, you can tick off three in a morning or afternoon of cenote hunting. Start at one complex, then make the 20 minute walk, or 10 minute bike through the trees to the next cenote complex.
In terms of transport – you have several options in getting to the Dzitnup Cenotes. These include, bike and scooter rental, taxi or colectivo.
IF you want to visit several cenotes in one day, then we suggest a scooter rental. This gives you the freedom to come and go at your will, and with the scooter you’ll cover more ground than you would with a bicycle.
We didn’t take the collective option, but according to locals we came to know in Valladolid, it is possible, albeit somewhat a hassle.
The collectives to Dzitnup depart near the ADO bus station, but you’d need to ask in the vicinity for the exact location. It’s also important to note that the collectives leave at irregular timings, so you’d need to prepare to wait until it fills with passengers. If you’re an intrepid traveller, with time on your hands and you thrive on a transport challenge then give it a shot!
Alternatively, if you’re in search of a peaceful vacation without transport struggles then we say – rent a bike or hail a taxi!
🛵 Book your Valladolid scooter rental here, with options 6, 12 or 24 hours available. Prices range from 550 to 642 MXN pesos.
Renting a Bicycle
The quickest easiest way to get around the cenotes to the south of Valladolid are by bike. Bicycle rental is extremely easy and reliable and there are endless rental outlets available within Valladolid. Prices range between 100 to 150 MXN pesos for a daily rental.
And if you’re worried about biking on the somewhat sketchy roads in Mexico, you needn’t panic. From the centre of Valladolid, follow Calzeta de los Frailes, the brightly colourful street well known for shopping. Then continue straight onto Calle 49. This leads toward the main highway 18, turn left connecting onto the biking lane. Next, look for the signs for Dzitnup road and Hacienda Selva Maya, turn left here and follow the bike lane towards the Dzitnup Cenote Complex.
However, families sorry this is not going to be an option for you. Trust us we tried! Unless kids are tall and old enough to ride a bike by themselves outlets won’t allow bike rental. We thought we’d be able to double our kids, but they have a strict no doubling rule. In which case – read below for how to rent a taxi and how much it costs.
Taking a Taxi
Taxis are cheap and easy to catch, just 100-120 MXN pesos each way. It’s also a cheaper option in comparison to bike rental if you’re travelling as a group of three or four.
Flag a taxi in Valladolid to Dzitnup cenotes, putting aside enough time to take a dip in both Samula and Xkeken and then taxi back. If there are no taxis waiting, simply ask around or wait for the next. We caught a taxi from Dzitnup Cenote to Valladolid at 5pm and had no trouble finding one.
But if you want to visit Saamal Cenote, follow the bike track 20 minute on foot. Or slightly further, is Cenote San Lorenzo Oxmàn which is an hour walk or a 7 minute taxi ride.
Dzitnup Cenotes – What to Expect
Tickets to Dzitnup Cenotes & Cenote Etiquette
The entrance to the Dzitnup Cenotes isn’t as grand as the Saamal Cenote for example, but the cenotes themselves are no less impressive.
Get tickets at the office and then decide which cenote to visit first: right to Samula or left to Xkeken?
I asked the helpful staff and they pointed us in the direction of the Samula cenote, given that a large group had just arrived and gone left.
Before, you walk towards the cenote of your choice, pick up your compulsory life jacket, a chaleco in Spanish. Look towards the left, just beyond the entrance for the staff handing out life jackets. A copy of identification is required in exchange for the groups life jackets.
You can find the changing rooms very near the entrance to both cenotes. These are monitored by bathroom staff, so it’s good to bring a tip when using the changing and showering facilities. The lockers are also located within these bathrooms. However we took our gear down inside the cenote, and found a sheltered place to put everything.
The next step is very important! After you have changed into your swimwear, and before entering the the cenote, you must shower. Any body lotions, sun tan lotions, mosquito repellant or such, can be massively harmful to the cenote waters.
What we noticed at the Dzitnup cenotes is that the staff don’t remind visitors of this fact. So be a responsible traveller and remember to shower!
Walking Between Samula & Xkeken Cenotes
In my opinion, neither cenote is better than the other. Each is unique in it’s own way, so like we did, ask the staff which is quieter at the time you visit and follow their recommendation.
It’s a good idea to put footwear back on when walking between Samula and Xkeken, because the walk requires a road crossing.
So gather all your belongings and follow the signs, over the pedestrian, past the small local vendors selling food and gifts, until you reach the entrance of Xkeken Cenote.
You can expect a 5-7 minute walk between each.
Swimming in Samula Cenote
As mentioned above both of the Dzitnup cenotes are enclosed. A stairway leads from the entrance down into the cenote chamber. It is basically like walking into a large underground cavern with beautiful fresh water.
The narrow entrance of the Samula cenote opens into an extremely large enclosed area and the first thing you notice is the colour of the water. The small hole in the cenote ceiling of Samula, lets in enough sunlight to make the blues of the water pop!
Down the slippery steps you go and with every step the humidity seems to increase.
We found a small hole in the rock to put our shoes and gear, and made our way down to the water. It was cool and fresh for sure, but not so cold that you wouldn’t get in. Ropes stretching over the cenote provide extra support to swimmers. But there is no going onto Samula’s small rocky island in the centre under the hole in the ceiling. This is strictly forbidden and security use the whistle if swimmers get too close.
Swimming in Xkeken Cenote
The entrance into Xkeken Cenote is not quite as deep as Samula and so there are less stairs in and out. Towards the back of the cenote are stairs for seating, almost like a small set of stadium stairs. We put our towels and gear here which was dry, and in plain sight while we swam.
Once again Xkeken feels humid inside the enclosed cenote. And the hole in the ceiling is slightly smaller so it feels a little darker.
What makes Xkeken Cenote extra special are the stalactites and the tree roots. These giant naturally occuring structures hang down from the ceiling dipping ever so slightly into the cenote water. The best part, is that the swimmers are free to swim around and admire them up close, so long as they look but don’t touch!
Keep an eye out for the small curious fish, who like to come up to say hello. We had mask and snorkel with us, but honestly it was very dark and almost impossible to see. So instead we recommend, float and enjoy the surroundings above the water.
How Much Does Entrance to Dzitnup Cenotes Cost
Entrance into the Dzitnup Cenotes costs 225 MXN pesos per adult and 200 MXN pesos per child. This was as per the price structure and tariffs displayed at the entrance. However, for whatever reason we only paid 210 and the kids 175.
We felt this was good value for money, given that we got to see, experience and swim in two cenotes.
Cenote Tours Near Valladolid
There are no specific tours with Viator or Get Your Guide that specifically visit Samula and Xkeken Cenotes at Dzitnup. This is probably due to the fact that there are just so many cenotes in and around Valladolid to choose from.
But if it’s the cave like cenotes that you are looking for then we have included these links above from Viator. These cenotes are near Valladolid and allow you to book your entrance tickets in advance. Though you will still be required to arrange your own transport.
Private Guided Tours from Valladolid
If it’s a private guided day tour you seek, then we have hunted through for the best. Above are three private tours with transport included, that combine cenotes and other sightseeing attractions near Valladolid.
💎 Don’t miss our post on the best cenotes to visit in Valladolid for a more general overview of all.
Final Thoughts & Review of Dzitnup Cenotes
Combining Saamal and Dzitnup cenotes makes sense… they are just outside Valladolid and relatively close to each other. While the complexes are very different, the experiences that each offers is also very different between the open and enclosed cenotes.
The Dzitnup cenotes are both very beautiful. We loved the fact that we could visit two for the price of one and that they were a short walk between. Our key tip for the Dzitnup cenotes, is that if you prefer to avoid larger groups we suggest arriving earlier in the morning.
We hope this guide helped you decide whether to visit Dzitnup cenotes and also to plan your visit. Don’t miss our other guides from in and around Valladolid – click through to read more on the below topics.
- Where to stay in Valladolid – A review of the Oryx Hostel
- Planning your visit to Saamal Cenote – A review and guide to Hacienda Selva Maya
- Visiting Chichen Itza from Valladolid – + get our self-guided tour of Chichén Itzá
- Visiting Ek’ Balam ruins from Valladolid – + get our self-guided tour of Ek’ Balam (Post coming soon)
- Guides to the best northern cenotes near Valladolid – Cenote Secreto Maya & Cenote Sac Aua
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