Cenote Xcanche, also known as the Ek Balam Cenote, near Valladolid in Yucatan, is one of the state’s most beautiful cenote. The color of the water is incredible, when the sun is reflecting on it, the water takes a turquoise tint, and is more of an emerald color in the darker areas.
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The cenote is located inside the Ek Balam archaeological area. Ek Balam is an ancient Mayan city you should visit if you have time. Only a few buildings have been excavated, but it’s an incredible place to visit, and it’s a great opportunity to learn more about the Mayan culture and history.
Cenote Xcanche: What to expect
Near the Ek Balam Cenote, you’ll find a restaurant serving local food, prices are around 100 pesos per dish. There are also showers, a changing area, and lockers (without locks). You have space down in the cenote to leave your bags, I wouldn’t trust the lockers (even with a lock) if I had any valuables.
Before entering the cenote Xcanche, you’ll be asked to shower, you cannot put on any mosquito repellent or sunscreen before going into the cenote. This measure is to keep the water clean and uncontaminated.
Once you’re ready, head down to the cenote. The stairs are pretty steep so be careful. The top of the cenote is fully open, so if you don’t like tight spaces, it’s the best cenote for you. There’s a platform going all around with a hanging bridge, several spots to jump from and a rope you can jump from too.
Cenote Xcanche is filled with black cat-fishes, but don’t worry they don’t touch you and will go away if you move the water around you. From the top, there are a lot of roots hanging, dropping into the water. Mayans believed these trees were inhabited by spirits protecting the cenote.
You can rent life-vests inside the cenote, and there’s a rope in the water going from one side to the other you can hold on to.
How to get to Ek Balam/Cenote Xcanche
It’s relatively easy to get to Ek Balam/Cenote Xcanche, there are shared taxi leaving from Valladolid, at the corner of Calle 44 and Calle 37. It costs 50 pesos one way, and you’ll have to wait for it to be filled. If you don’t want to wait you can offer to pay for the remaining seats or just grab a regular cab (there are no Ubers in Valladolid).
Once you get to the entrance of Ek Balam, the cenote is located 1 mile further. Motorized vehicles are not allowed. You can rent a bike, walk or take a « Bicycle-Taxi.» The entrance fee is 70 pesos for foreigners.
Learn more about the Ek Balam Archaeological Area on their website.
Related articles to help you plan your trip to the Riviera Maya:
- Great places to visit in Mexico
- Things to do in Holbox: farniente and wildlife watching
- Things to do in Valladolid: cenotes and colonial charm
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