Valladolid was one of my stops on my Yucatan road trip and with Ek Balam cenote only about 30 minutes drive from Valladolid I had to visit this famous cenote in Yucatan too. There are so many cenotes near Valladolid: Zaci, Suytun, Ik Kil, etc. but some locals told me that visiting cenote Xcanche was more than good fun and that is why I went.
My expectations weren’t really that high to be honest. Why would I go to a cenote next to one of the most popular places to visit in Yucatan? The Xcanche cenote is right next to the Ek Balam ruins and is part of the archaeological site, a popular day trip from Cancun and Playa del Carmen. These Maya ruins are often seen as the little brother of Chichen Itza, but here you can still climb the pyramids. Therefore I thought visiting Ek Balam cenote would be too touristy.
When you travel to Valladolid it is hard to make a choice which cenote is best to visit. Therefore in this Xcanche blog I will tell you all my experience and there is also a video about my day at this cenote, so you can decide for yourself if this is a cenote you want to put on your to do list.
This is my vlog about cenote Xcanche, the Ek Balam cenote.
16 cenote Xcanche tips
1. Cenote Xcanche is cenote Ek Balam
In case you were confused, we are talking about the same cenote. Xcanche cenote is located within the Maya site Ek Balam. To visit the Ek Balam cenote you will need to pay an additional entrance fee on top of the Maya archaeological site.
2. Entrance fee cenote Xcanche
You can visit cenote Xcanche without visiting the Ek Balam Maya ruins. There is a separate entrance where you just pay for the cenote. Entrance to the Ek Balam cenote is only 70 Pesos ($3.5).
To get to the Ek Balam cenote you need to follow a dirt road for about 1.5 kilometers (1 mile). But there are bicycles for rent for 80 Pesos ($4) or a return trip on a tricycle for 120 Pesos ($6). There are many things to do at cenote Xcanche and therefore you can buy a 400 Pesos ($20) entrance ticket that allows you to do 2 different ziplines, rappelling and includes the bicycle rental.
3. Opening hours cenote Xcanche
Keep in mind that the Ek Balam cenote is not open till late like many other cenotes around Valladolid. The opening hours for cenote Xcanche are from 8:00am till 3:30pm, although the staff told me 3:30pm is last entrance. For more up to date information you can give them give them a call: +52 985 100 99 15.
4. How to get to cenote Xcanche
There is no public transport from Valladolid directly to Ek Balam so you will either have to rent a car or a scooter. Mind you that there is no car rental company in Valladolid. From the city center it is about 28 kilometers (17 miles) North and easy to find. Renting a scooter in Valladolid cost 100 Pesos ($5) per hour or 500 Pesos ($25) per day. Worth doing when you going to visit more Valladolid cenotes.
5. Best time to visit cenote Xcanche
Like all cenotes around Valladolid it is advised to come early of course, so before 11.00am is best. But in I was there at 2.00pm and as you can see in the video there weren’t many people at all. I stayed for about 2 hours and didn’t see that many tourists. I expected the opposite to be honest. Apparently most tourist just come for the Ek Balam Maya site.
6. Ecotourism is cornerstone
While speaking with the staff of cenote Xcanche I quickly found out that sustainable tourism is rated very highly. With a lot of pride they showed all the awards they won for ecotourism projects. There are signs all around to remind you to not leave any trash, trash is separated and plus they want the Ek Balam cenote to be plastic free in the near future. Also all guests that want to enter the water HAVE TO take a shower!
Their eco-tourism approach is something I really loved when visiting Cenote Ek Balam! Great staff.
7. Showers and changing rooms
When registering the staff will ask you if you are going to swim. In case you will you will be directed to the showers. There are changing rooms and lockers as well. Lockers cost 30 Pesos ($1.5), but you can best just take your stuff into the cenote. There are plenty places to put your bag.
8. Steep stairs
There are two staircases that lead into cenote Xcanche and both are pretty steep. Great adventure and the views from above are great.
Cenote Xcanche is great for swimming although the water could look a little murky at times because of all the surrounding nature. The cenote is around 30 meter (90 feet) deep. You could potentially snorkel, but there is not really that much to see in cenotes so I wouldn’t recommend renting a snorkel.
There is also a chance to abseil into the cenote, this is not included in the normal entrance fee. You will need to purchase the complete entrance package of 400 Pesos ($20). Im pretty sure you can also arrange this once you are in the cenote. The staff is super friendly.
Also part of the package deal are two different ziplines. In my cenote Ek Balam vlog you have may be see already that you can cross the cenote on a zipline. Also there is another zipline with a water landing, which I tried.
12. Rope swing
There is a rope swing every cenote Xcanche visitor can use for free.
13. Cliff jumping
Cliff jumping is allowed from basically anywhere. I asked the staff and they didn’t really seem to care. So there is even a spot from the staircase you could basically jump from. Also there is a jumping platform of about 3 meters (9 feet) which you can use.
The restaurant serves local food for reasonable prices and the food is good! I had quesadillas and they were damn tasty: 3 pieces for 80 Pesos ($4). Drinks are around $1. They have beers for $2.
Next to the restaurant there is also a chill area with hammocks free of use.
There is a camp ground next to the cenote which is open for visitors. You will have to bring you own tent and when I understood it right it was 100 Pesos per person.
When you are looking for a little more comfort you can rent a cabana onsite. There are two options:
- Unajil Ecotourism Cabins - La Casa del Jaguar.
- Genesis Eco-Oasis and La Chaya Restaurant, this one has a pool as well.
The cabanas are around 600 Pesos ($30) per night. They are the best way to visit cenote Ek Balam as you will have the site all to yourself after opening hours. For more info get in contact with them directly through mail: email@example.com or phone number: +52 985 100 99 15 or +52 985 107 47 74.
I hope the above tips for visiting cenote Xcanche in Ek Balam were helpful. If you are interested in more cenotes around Ek Balam then I can also recommend you Agua Dulce & Palomitas and Sac Aua which are within a couple minutes drive. If you are looking for inspiration for your Yucatan itinerary then click on the link or grab some essential backpacking Yucatan tips from this article.
Thank you for keeping up with the adventures of Traveltomtom.