While most people flock to cenote Suytun, cenote Ik Kil or cenote Xcanche when they travel to Valladolid there are a couple less popular cenotes that are equally stunning. Off the beaten path in Yucatan, not touristy yet very unique is Sac Aua. One of the 12 cenotes around Valladolid worth visiting.

When I was visiting cenote Palomitas & Agua Dulce I stumbled upon cenote Sac Aua by coincidence. I had never even heard of this cenote to be honest and just drove past. When I opened Google Maps it did show on there, but as it is a little away from the tourist trail not many people get to see this beauty. When I asked the staff at the entrance they told me that it is mostly locals that come here. While backpacking in Yucatan I got mostly inspired by locals, as in the end they know best! For next time you travel to Valladolid Mexico add this one to your list of places to see.

At the time I was visiting there was a professional photoshoot going on with a couple models and a complete film crew. The cenote was open for any other visitors as well so I made my way down, but I thought when locals come here to shoot professional photos then it must be one of the better places to visit in Yucatan.

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Have a look at my vlog about cenote Sac Aua...

14 Cenote Sac Aua tips

1. What does Sac Aua mean

This cenote is named after the massive tree that is growing on the rim of the roof of the cenote. Its vines and roots are hanging down all the way to the bottom. The name of the tree is Sac Aua.

2. Open sky cenote

Thousands of years ago cenote Sac Aua was a closed cenote, but after the roof collapsed almost entirely it became an open sky cenote. The roof collapsed in such a perfect circle that it formed a round island in the middle of the cenote. It looks a bit unreal, but absolutely amazing. From the roof to the island is approximately 30 meters (90 feet).

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3. How to get to cenote Sac Aua

The cenote is located on walking distance from the city center of a village called Dzalbay, a tiny pueblo northeast of Valladolid. By car it is 22 miles (35 kilometers) from Valladolid and it takes about 35 minutes. There is no car rental company in Valladolid, but you can rent a scooter in Valladolid. They cost 100 Pesos ($5) per hour or 500 Pesos ($25) for the whole day. If you are up for an adventure than find a colectivo near the main bus terminal in the direction of Dzalbay. It cost around 35 Pesos ($2) one way.

4. Opening hours cenote Sac Aua

The cenote is open from 9.00am till 6.00pm and last entrance at 5.30pm. There is no such thing as best time to visit cenote Sac Aua, like other popular cenotes around Valladolid. Most of the time you will have the cenote all for yourself as it is so off the beaten path.

If you want to chill a little at cenote Sac Aua then I recommend you to come around mid day as the sun will hit the island for a bunch of hours. You can chill here a little like on the beach but then inside a cenote.

5. Entrance fee cenote Sac Aua

The cenote belongs to the community living in Dzalbay and they charge 90 Pesos ($3.5) entrance fee.

6. Showers & changing rooms

After you pay entrance fee and follow the white path towards the cenote entrance you will find showers and changing rooms on your right hand side. Please if you decide to go swimming take a shower first. Cenotes are part of underground river systems full of fresh water.

7. Rappeling

If you are a little adventurous you can abseil into the cenote. This is not included in the entrance fee. Rappelling at cenote Sac Aua cost 50 Pesos ($2.5) per time.

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8. Kayak for rent

Renting a kayak at cenote Sac Aua is cheaper than in the nearby cenotes of Agua Dulce and Palomitas. At Sac Aua you pay 50 Pesos ($2.5) to use the kayak for an hour.

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9. Swimming

There is always a life guard on duty. He will be around on the island in the middle of this open sky cenote. With him you can arrange the rappelling and the kayak rent as well. Swimming is at own risk of course and you don’t need to wear a life jacket. You can rent them in case you want one.

10. Depth cenote Sac Aua

The cenote is very shallow at some places and you can wander through and sit in the water close the island. Close to the cenote walls it can get up to 14 meters (40 feet) deep.

11. Jumping platform

There is in fact a diving platform of I would say 2 meters (6 feet) high. There is no such thing as cliff jumping at cenote Sac Aua. The best Valladolid cenote for cliff jumping is cenote Zaci in Valladolid.

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This is the view from the jumping platform.

12. Explore the caves

There is more than just a beautiful cenote at Sac Aua. If you pay 160 Pesos ($8) you get a guide that will lead you on a 20 minute guided walk into a cave system. I didn’t do it myself, but I asked a family from the UK about it and they loved it. 

13. Drones are allowed

Unlike many other cenotes around Valladolid you can use your drone at cenote Sac Aua without any problem. You don’t need permission, you can just fly it.

14. Restaurant

There is a small restaurant close to the parking lot as well as some vendors on the white path towards the cenote. They sell drinks, souvenirs, coconuts and snacks.

My experience visiting cenote Sac Aua

As I didn’t even hear of this Valladolid cenote before my expectations were very low and I had no clue what to expect. Now Im pretty enthusiastic about visiting Sac Aua cenote. There is free parking next to the entrance fee booth. When you pay entrance it is a little walk of about 400 meters (0.25 miles) to the entrance of cenote Sac Aua. It is an easy path and only takes 5-10 minutes. I didn’t take a shower as I was not intended to enter the crystal clear blue water. It was already pretty late that day. Walking down the staircase I realized that cenote Sac Aua was a unique cenote and Im super happy I drove down to see it with my own eyes. The island in the middle of cenote Sac Aua even has trees on it and some other vegetation. It looks pretty odd, but super cool. This would be a great place to have a 360 camera. It almost looks like this cenote looks too good to be true, as if it was man made. I sticked around for a little while, took a lot of photos and had a little chat with the local staff members. If you have time and want to see some less touristy cenotes then head to Sac Aua.

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Thanks for keeping up with the adventures of Traveltomtom and if you want to know more about traveling in Yucatan, then check out some articles like: Isla Mujeres, Merida Mexico tips, Isla Holbox travel guide and tips for traveling to Rio Lagartos.

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Tom Grond
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