Cenote Saamal Valladolid

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Cenote Saamal Valladolid - 2023 Visitors Guide

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Cenote Saamal Valladolid Guide

When you’re in the Yucatan, Cenote Saamal is an absolute must-see. Whether you’re coming from Valladolid, Cancun, Tulum, Merida or Playa del Carmen – this cenote should not be missed! Blessed with plenty of natural light and boasting incredible facilities such as ziplining and bicycle rental options along with a bar for drinks and snacks, souvenir stores to buy memories home and even marquesita stands – visiting this site will undoubtedly make your itinerary a memorable one.

In addition to that great experience – what’s unique about it – is that you can combine it with the famous archeological site of Chichen Itza!  

View from the top

Saamal cenote, is located nearby some of Valladolid‘s most famous cenotes, such as Oxman, Dzitnup and Suytun. To maximize your exploration into the mystical beauty of the this natural wonder, read on for our tips on how best to experience all that this area has to offer!


🇲🇽 Mexico Travel Resources We Use:


View from the top
View from the top of the Cenote

What are the Cenote?

These submerged pools have been a frequent sight on social media, with Instagram posts featuring them frequently. Despite their sudden popularity, however, many people remain unaware of the actual significance they held to Mayans and how exactly they were formed. Cenotes are actually thousands of years old; when limestone caves crumble down over time an underground river is unveiled, which in turn gets filled up by rainwater – thus generating these marvelous underwater sanctuaries!

Originating from the Maya word “seh-no-teh” or “well,” cenotes are wells of captivating beauty and variety. These natural wonders come in four unique types, each with its own distinctive features that make it stand out.

  • Open Cenotes – Submerging yourself in the breathtaking, natural beauty of open cenotes is an unforgettable experience. Cenote Azul near Playa del Carmen and Zacil Ha cenote epitomize this with their varied depths that allow you to explore both above and below water! For those looking for something extra special; some even have underground river connections which can really make your adventure stand out from the rest
  • Semi-open Cenotes – True to its name, Cenote Zaci lies in the very core of a city and is made up of magnificent caverns and grottos that are partly unveiled while others remain concealed.
  • Cave Cenotes – Step into a world of wonder and enchantment with Cenote Xkeken near Valladolid! Accessed through a land-level entrance, this captivating underground oasis boasts both shallow and deep waters – perfect for swimming regardless of your experience. Explore the mysterious depths of this cave cenote to uncover an astounding paradise like no other!
  • Underground Cenotes – Divers with expertise are the only people who can access underground cenotes, like the Pet Cemetery Cenote located near Tulum. These cenotes prove to be among the most difficult to reach due to their location below ground level.

Cenotes were an integral part of Mayan culture and religion, as they believed these sites to be entrances to the underworld. As such, cenotes held tremendous spiritual significance for them; therefore, it is essential that we respect this sacredness when visiting a cenote. Please do your part by not littering or leaving any waste behind, and always use biodegradable sunscreen before swimming in one!

Cenote Saamal History

Saamal Cenote is one of the most ancient cenotes in Yucatan due to its collapsed cave roof, showing that it has been around for quite some time. Even more, aging are the lagoons with eroded walls and roofs – they have existed since time immemorial!

Where is Cenote Saamal? 

For anyone looking for an outdoor adventure, Cenote Saamal is the perfect destination! Located just five kilometers southwest of Valladolid’s city center and positioned along the main thoroughfare that connects Valladolid to Chichen Itza, this popular cenote can be conveniently visited as a day trip. Exercise enthusiasts rejoice – there is even a cycling route available! In addition, nearby attractions include Cenotes San Lorenzo Oxman, Samula and Xkeken.

  • From Valladolid | 3 miles (5 km) – 12 minutes drive
  • From Tulum | 90 miles 68 miles (112 km) – 1 hour 30 minutes drive
  • From Playa del Carmen | 90 miles (146 km) – 2 hours drive
  • From Cancun | 100 (161 km) – 2 hours and 15 minutes drive
  • From Merida | 102 miles (163 km) – 2 hours and 15 minutes drive
    Cenote Ticket office
    Cenote Ticket office

How to get to Cenote Saamal Valladolid?

Step into the mysterious and exquisite Hacienda Selva Maya!

From Valladolid

Rental Car

If you are departing from Tulum, Cancun or Playa del Carmen to visit the magnificent Cenote Saamal Mexico, the best option is to rent a car. Having your own transportation allows you maximum flexibility in crafting an itinerary that meets your needs and desires; plus, renting a vehicle provides cost-sharing opportunities if traveling with friends or family members. With your own ride at hand, there’s no need for rush: stay as long as you want at this wondrous site and head home when it best pleases you!

If you are traveling during peak season, I highly suggest pre-booking your car with an airport pick up or straight to your accommodation in Cancun, Tulum, Merida or Playa del Carmen.


You can also grab a taxi from Valladolid city centre to get to Cenote Saamal. Expect to pay around 100 pesos for a one-way trip. 

Cenote Rules
Cenote Rules

Is there Uber in Cancun, Tulum, Valladolid or Playa del Carmen?

Unfortunately, no. Even though the app is functional, there has been a lot of push-back from the local taxi-mafia and some violence so for your safety, we would suggest against using it.


If you’re a visitor of Valladolid and don’t have your own car, scooters are available for rent in the city center. Make sure to inquire with your hotel for their advice or search online for nearby rental shops. On average, renting costs approximately 500 pesos (approximately $24) every day/

View from the top
View from the top


For those looking to take a cycling trip from Valladolid, Cenote Saamal is the perfect destination. Many hotels in Valladolid provide bicycles for their guests, but if yours does not offer rental services, there are rentadoras de bicicletas around town that charge approximately 250 MXN each day (just over $12). Follow Google’s mapped out route from the center of Valladolid to cenote – an admirable 4 km journey through peaceful streets!


From Cancun

Rental Car

This is our preferred way of exploring the area. We highly recommend it. Its 2 hour and 15 minute drive each way.


If you don’t feel like driving, why not take a taxi for the entire day? Ask your hotel or resort staff about which taxi service is dependable and cost-effective. Before getting started on your adventure, it’s essential to work out both the fare and how much time will be spent at each location so that there are no unexpected charges or hiccups along the way! That way, you can enjoy yourself without any unwelcome surprises.

View from the Pool
View from the Pool


For those short on time, an organized tour that visits Cenote Saamal combined with Chichen Itza and Valladolid is a great option. This way you can take in all the sites without having to hire a car or navigate yourself via your own transportation. Plus, it’s super convenient!

Ado Bus

There are a few different ways to get from Cancun to Valladolid if you’re looking to explore the amazing Cenote Saamal Hacienda Selva Maya. You can take an ADO bus, which will take just over two hours, or book a private transfer through Viator. If your flight arrives during the day, you can also take an ADO bus to downtown Cancun and then another bus to Valladolid. Whatever option you choose, make sure to check schedules in advance so you can plan accordingly!

Expert Tip: If you’re arriving at Cancun Airport late, make sure to book your transfer in advance! The airport taxis are notoriously known for scamming tourists. Save yourself some money and the pain or arguing with a taxi driver.

Cenote Saamal Boardwalk
Cenote Saamal Boardwalk

From Tulum

Rental Car

This is the easiest and most comfortable way to explore the cenote and the area. Its 2 and half hour drive each way. Not too bad if you enjoy driving.


If driving is not your cup of tea, consider hailing a cab for the entire day. Ask around at your hotel to determine which taxi service is reliable and economical. Prior to departure, it’s crucial that you negotiate both the fare and how much time will be spent at each location. This way, you can ensure an enjoyable journey without any unwanted surprises!


Visiting Tulum? Don’t miss out on the chance to embark on a cenote excursion! It’s exactly like the one I highlighted in Cancun, just now from Tulum. An experience you won’t want to pass up!

Ado Bus

To get to Cenote Selva Maya quicker and more economically, take an ADO bus from a local station for only $8 (150 pesos) and arrive in Valladolid within two hours. Then it’s easy to rent a scooter or flag down a taxi that will bring you straight to your destination!

Tickets for Cenote Saamal

On the right-hand side of Hacienda’s entrance rests the ticket office, where you can seek out answers to any questions you may have about Cenote and discover what type of packages are available.

How much Cenote Saamal Cost?

To enjoy the stunning Cenote, you must purchase a 150 peso ticket ($7.4). For an even more delightful experience and a meal to match, I highly suggest spending 250 pesos ($12.3) for not only entrance into this wonderful place but also access to Hacienda Selva Maya’s all-you-can-eat buffet!

Cenote Saamal Opening Hours

Cenote Saamal is available for your exploration from 9 am until 5.30 pm every day!

What to expect at Cenote Saamal?

As you approach the hacienda that the cenote is in, your eyes are immediately drawn to its stunning courtyard. Follow the signs and head to the cenote where an enchanting azure hue awaits upon entering. Be sure to take a shower beforehand and use one of their provided life vests for safety! Looking for somewhere safe to store your belongings? Not a problem – there’re lockers available in case you need them as space is limited below deck.

Before heading down the steep steps to reach the cenote, be sure to take in the majestic view of this impressive pool from up high. Once you have descended, don’t forget to experience your first exhilarating jump off a platform into its refreshing depths! With two sets of stairs adding another way for access and a stunning small waterfall surrounding it all with natural light pouring through – swimming in this Valladolid cenote will provide an unforgettable experience!

Cenote Saamal is an awe-inspiring, open-air cenote with towering limestone walls draped in lush vines that stretch into the water. It also has wooden platforms and stairs for those wishing to explore its depths – a much safer option compared to other slippery stone stairways found elsewhere. Though visitors are required to wear life jackets when entering the waters (a sensible precaution!), if you’re short on time but still want to take advantage of this majestic sight, simply dip your feet in and make sure not miss out on Cenotes Xkeken and Samula down the road!

An added luxury of this cenote was that you don’t have to return to your car drenched; with its full restrooms and changing areas, it allows for complete comfort and convenience.

Swimming at Cenote Saamal

When we arrived at the breathtaking Cenote Saamal in Yucatan, Mexico, there was nobody else around! We could tell that although the water may be chillingly cool and crisp to the touch, its piercing blue hue is nothing short of captivating – a scene impossible not to photograph. 

In stark contrast to the swarming crowds at Cenote Ik Kil, we were delighted to discover that Saamal was practically empty. While there were a few tours buses when we arrived, but most visitors stayed in the restaurant enjoying tacos and drinking beer,  instead of visiting this picturesque cenote. We had been overwhelmed by people and noise in our previous stop; being almost alone here made us feel like it was an amazing reward for our hard work! It surely beat out having to deal with a packed place where enjoyment is sacrificed due to less elbow room.

Ik Kil is much more crowded because it’s only a 7-minute drive away from Chichen Itza, whereas Cenote Saamal is 36 minutes. Despite not having the same magnitude as Ik Kil’s cenote, I was still able to appreciate similar views without being surrounded by hordes of people. Can you scuba dive in Cenote Saamal? Absolutely! Although I’m no scuba diver myself, many reviews claim that this cenote offers fantastic opportunities for those who do enjoy such activities.

Saamal Cenote Valladolid is a premier cenote for swimming, as the expansive pool allows for an abundance of sunlight to shine through. If you prefer open-air activities and are feeling a bit stifled by others’ indoor subterranean alternatives, then this idyllic location is perfect – it’s the ideal spot to make sure your next sunlit swim will be worry-free!

At Saamal Cenote, Mexico, the striking blue hue of its waters is instantly recognizable. Unfortunately, it’s not always crystal clear, so snorkeling isn’t ideal here; however, with any luck, you may be lucky enough to spot a few fish! The best part about this cenote has to be the jumping platform though – trust us when we say that there’s no better feeling than leaping from it into such deep depths (150 feet or 46 meters)! There are also lifeguards on-site for added security and peace of mind while having fun.  

Facilities at Cenote Selva Maya Valladolid

Parking at Cenote Saamal

Cenote Saamal offers a seemingly endless lot for free parking! No matter the time you visit, there is enough space to accommodate all vehicles. Moreover, bicycles and motorbikes have their own designated area within the premises.


Bathrooms are located on the right side, passed the hacienda bar. 

Changing Rooms, Lockers & Showers 

Changing rooms and lockers are located under one roof, right in front of the entrance to the cenote cave. It is compulsory to take a shower before taking a cenote swim. The showers are located behind the changing rooms. A member of staff will also provide you with a key to your locker, where you can leave all your belongings. The use of lockers and changing rooms are free of charge. 

I recommend leaving anything you don’t need in the provided locker because, at the cenote, there is not much space. If you want to take some pictures, get one of the waterproof sleeves for your phone and then you can take your phone to the pool.


The use of lifevests at Cenote Hacienda Selva Maya Valladolid Yuc is compulsory. Access to lifejackets is already included in the standard ticket price, and you will receive one from the staff at the entrance to the cenote cave, right by the changing rooms and lockers.  

Shops at Hacienda Selva Maya

One of the souvenir shops at Hacienda Selva Maya.

If you’re interested in doing some souvenir shopping, the hacienda features a couple of shops, mostly selling local mezcal, tequila and other spirits, as well as some traditional Mexican souvenirs. You can find them inside the hacienda’s main building.  

Bar & Restaurant

The cenote restaurant is located outside of the main hacienda building, on the right side. If you’re planning on staying for lunch, make sure you buy the cenote ticket that includes their buffet lunch, which is the most cost-effective package. The buffet includes Mexican dishes as well as some western cuisine specialities, so there is something for everyone. Outside of the restaurant, to the right, there is also a large bar area, excellent for having a margarita or cold “carveza”.   

Saamal Cenote Zipline

If you’re up for more adventure, you can purchase a cenote ticket that includes the use of 3 zip lines and bike rental. 

Read Next our favorite cenotes in Mexico:

And don’t forget to stay up to date with the latest safety updates on Mexico.


More tips for visiting Cenote Saamal

What’s the best time to visit Saamal Cenote?

For the optimal experience, it is recommended to visit Cenote Saamal right after its opening time in the morning. Unlike other cenotes near Valladolid, this one does not attract large numbers of visitors due to its distance from Chichen Itza and lack of organized tours. When we dropped by around midday, there were only a few people present; we even saw a tour bus just leaving as we arrived!

Ultimately, the cenote pool is spacious and accommodating enough that you don’t need to fret about getting there at a certain time if there are more visitors. You can still have an enjoyable experience with plenty of room for swimming when it’s busy!

How much time do I need for Saamal Cenote in Yucatan?

To truly take in the beauty of this cenote, allow yourself 1-2 hours to change clothing, shower off and get some great photos. Jump into the pool for a few times and then take your time swimming before heading out to your next destination. For added enjoyment, rent their bike or even try out the zipline! If you’re feeling especially hungry after all that activity, make sure to grab lunch at the cenote restaurant too – just don’t forget about extra time if that’s what you plan on doing!

What to Pack for Cenote Saamal

Ensure a fulfilling and relaxed journey to the exquisite Cenote Saamal by equipping yourself with these essential items!

  • Swimwear: This is a must-have item for every cenote experience!
  • Snorkel Mask or Goggles: For optimal exploration of the beautiful depths of these enchanting sinkholes, you’ll need some snorkeling gear. Don’t miss out on any details; grab your mask and goggles before embarking on this adventure!
  • Water Shoes: Although not required for this particular cenote since it is an open one, I always suggest investing in a pair of water shoes if you want to explore Mexico’s various cenotes. These grottos can be full of sharp rocks, so having some comfortable footwear will make your journey much safer and enjoyable. Additionally, these waterproof shoes are also ideal for snorkeling on the coral reef!
  • Water Bottle: Don’t forget your refillable water bottle! With its hot, humid climate and the fact that tap water isn’t safe to drink, it’s important to prepare ahead of time. To make sure you stay hydrated while reducing your plastic waste footprint, bring along a durable reusable container — or better yet an ultra-convenient LifeStraw filter bottle — which will ensure any tap water is filtered before consumption.
  • Camera: The alluring beauty of these cenotes is impossible to resist and begs to be captured in photos. If you have a waterproof camera or GoPro, you can take the pictures even further by bringing them into the water with you for some truly extraordinary shots!

Is Cenote Samaal worth visiting?

Without a doubt, Cenote Samaal is the ideal cenote for swimming and diving into its revitalizing waters. It’s also an exemplary spot to visit after a Chichen Itza tour instead of Ik Kil – which can often be over-saturated with people. At Saamal, you’ll find yourself in picturesque surroundings enhanced by bar facilities, zipline activities, and even an exquisite restaurant perfect for lunchtime munchies!

Other Things to Do Near Cenote Saamal

After exploring the stunning Cenote Saamal, you may be wondering what else to do around this area. Having spent a good deal of time here myself, I humbly offer a few suggestions for activities that are sure to make your trip even more memorable.

  • Take a plunge and explore some of the lesser known cenotes near Valladolid, such as Cenote Oxman and Cenote Zaci – they are two gems off the beaten path!
  • Journey to Chichen Itza and explore the iconic Mayan pyramids, one of only seven Wonders of the World that has been honored with UNESCO’s prestigious World Heritage Site status
  • Visit the beautiful town of Valladolid.


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