I’ve been neglecting my blog so much during the past few weeks. For those of you who don’t know (and you probably don’t, as my social medias have just as many crickets chirping as the blog), I’ve been traveling the Yucatan Peninsula the past month!
August has been filled with some pretty kick-ass activities all over the ever-alluring Mayan Riviera. And while this post isn’t *technically* set in the Mexican Caribbean, I’m pretty sure I’ll convince you to take a couple of days off from all the beach-side goodness to head further inland.
By far one of the highlights of the trip has been cenote-hopping around Valladolid, a stunning colonial town lined by quaint and colorful buildings that sits just a short bus ride away from Tulum.
With that said, today I bring you the first post of my Yucatan Peninsula series: How to cycle your way to some of the best cenotes in Valladolid.
Cenote-Hopping in Valladolid
Valladolid and its outskirts are home to thousands of cenotes, so picking the ones you want to visit is no easy task. Luckily for us, Elvia, the co-owner of our hotel gave us some pretty cool pointers when we arrived and we set out to explore some of the best cenotes Mexico has to offer based on her recommendations.
How to rent a bicycle in Valladolid
This route will take you through four stunning cenotes that you can easily reach using a bicycle in half a day. There is a bike lane on the side of the road, so it’s perfectly safe to do so.
I loved biking my way around some of the coolest cenotes I’ve ever visited and had the freedom to linger in the cenotes for as long as we felt like without the pressure of a tour guide rushing us around.
We rented our bikes for 20 pesos/hour at Calzada de los Frailes #215B
First Stop: San Lorenzo Oxman Cenote
This should be your first stop on your cenote-hopping endeavors and you can pair up your visit with breakfast at a hacienda.
Set just four kilometers (2.5 miles) outside of the city center of Valladolid, the cenote is tucked inside a gorgeous hacienda and has a fun rope swing for the brave ones!
San Lorenzo Oxman Cenote is a bit less popular than the rest. If you manage to be there by the time it opens, you’re very likely to get it all to yourself! We actually ended up at Oxman totally by mistake en route to another cenote when we took a wrong turn, but I am so glad we did because it was the highlight for me.
Essential things to know about Oxman Cenote:
Opening times: 8:00 am to 6:00 pm daily
Cost: The entry fee to the cenote is 70 pesos, but they also have a pool-side restaurant and you can book a package for 150 pesos that includes your entry fee + discount coupon of 150 pesos at the restaurant, which was enough for a meal and a drink.
Second Stop: The Cenote Inside Selva Maya Hacienda
Time to head back to the main road for the next cenote on the list!
Set inside another gorgeous hacienda, this cenote boasts an underground natural pool that will make you swoon! Much like Oxman, they also offer buffet-style breakfast and lunches until five in the afternoon.
Essential things to know about Selva Maya:
Opening times: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm daily
Third Stop: Cenote X’kekén & Cenote Samulá (inside Dzitnup)
These are two different cenotes that are set in the same grounds and as far as striking natural wonders go, they’re both sure to please. Set completely underground, they’re a totally different experience from Selva Maya and Oxman, so make sure not to miss out on visiting!
My pictures don’t do them justice as it was way too dark there, but seriously, come to see for yourself.
The only downside to X’kekén and Samulá was that they felt a bit more touristic, with handicraft stand-owners trying to sell you something on the walk to the cenotes and tour guides touting at newcomers. Still, once you get past that, it’s totally worth it.
Essential things to know about X’keken and Samulá cenotes
Opening times: 8:00 am to 7:00 pm daily
Here’s the full route on Google Maps. The one tagged as “unnamed road” is San Lorenzo Oxman Cenote. It’s set this way as there is an entrance there, but for some reason, Google Maps tries to take me further in through a much longer route 🙂
Where to Stay in Valladolid
One of the things I loved the most about Valladolid (aside from its old world charm and striking cenotes, obviously!) is that you get a pretty good bang for your buck. Unlike many other parts of the Mayan Riviera, Valladolid remains quite off-the-beaten-path and hence, prices for accommodation in the city are significantly lower than, say, Cancun.
WHERE I STAYED: I stayed at Casa Sisal, a pretty new boutique hotel with double rooms starting at $32 and fully-equipped apartments with kitchen starting at $42. We both loved our stay here, the tiny pool was lovely, the wifi worked wonders, and the rooms were stunningly decorated and clean. Elvia, the owner, gave us some amazing recommendations on the best things to do in Valladolid.
BUDGET: For those backpacking Yucatan on a budget, Hostal Tunich Naj sounds like a pretty cool option with dorm beds starting at $7.
SPLURGE: If your budget is a bit higher and you don’t want the cenote-hopping fun to end once you get back to your hotel for a break, then book yourself a room at Hotel Zentik Project & Saline Cave. Not only are the rooms splattered with gorgeous decoration, but it comes with an underground pool that looks like an underwater cave!
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