Discover the Uniqueness of Cenote Sac-Aua

Every place has something special about it. Take, for instance, the exquisite Cenote Sac-Aua. This isn’t just the only cenote in Yucatan, with a tiny island nestled in its heart. It’s also off the beaten tourist track, setting it blissfully free of the crowds that typically throng the more famous cenotes. Without a doubt, it’s one of the best cenotes in Valladolid.

From my perspective, I revel in the serenity that this cenote’s interior has to offer. The fact that it isn’t overrun with tourists is a plus in my book.

Are you keen to learn more? Let’s continue then…

About SAC-AUA Cenote

Also known as “The Maiden’s Cenote” because of the history that supports it, they say it was used for maiden sacrifices. In addition, it is rumored to be connected to an ancient Mayan temple.

When we stepped into the SAC-AUA Cenote, we first noticed this natural island in the middle of the Cenote. A few rocks can be seen around the surface, where various trees standing atop natural sand catch the eye.

Above this small island is an opening that allows light to enter the SAC-AUA Cenote. It also features stalactite formations. If you need to become more familiar with this term, we’ll make it much easier for you: these are crystal-like formations on the ceiling.

Discovering SAC-AUA Cenote

Walking into SAC-AUA Cenote is like stepping into a scene from a movie. The sensation of gazing upon the natural island in the center, surrounded by a few scattered rocks and towering trees atop the sand, is something that words struggle to encapsulate.

The Light of SAC-AUA

Above this fascinating little island, a beam of sunlight filters through an opening, casting an ethereal glow upon the Cenote. As your eyes adjust, you notice the delicate stalactite formations dangling from the ceiling, their crystalline shapes reflecting the light.

A Story Told Through Time

The SAC-AUA Cenote carries a fascinating history, being linked to maiden sacrifices and an ancient Mayan temple. Imagine standing where individuals from thousands of years ago once stood, a place of significant cultural and historical relevance. The story of the Cenote changes your perception, turning your visit into more than just a simple tour – it’s an immersive journey through time.

✅ Thousands of years ago, the Sac Aua Cenote was closed, but after the roof almost completely collapsed, it became an open-air cenote. The roof fell in such a perfect circle that it formed a round island in the middle of the Cenote. It seems somewhat unreal, absolutely incredible. There are about 30 meters (90 feet) from the ceiling to the island.


Cenote Sac-AUA Valladolid

What struck me most when visiting Cenote SAC-AUA was the eclectic mix of visitors, from couples to families with kids, relishing the stunning landscape. But let me reassure you before any food concerns arise; there’s an onsite restaurant for you to satiate your cravings with delicious home-cooked meals. I recommend it, given the authentic flavours it offers.

Dive into the Shallow Depths of Cenote SAC-AUA

Unlike other cenotes that are pretty deep, SAC-AUA has a welcoming depth of about 8 meters. This feature makes it an ideal spot for families with young children, making their vacation safe but also historical and paradise-like.

Immersing yourself in the clear waters won’t pose a challenge, as its depth is perfect for swimming from one spot to another.

How to Get to Cenote SAC-AUA

The cenote is a short distance from the centre of Dzalbay, a small village northeast of Valladolid. By car, it’s roughly 30 kilometres (20 miles) from Valladolid and takes around 30 minutes to reach, and a mere 15 kilometres from the Mayan ruins of Ek Balam.

The issue is that you won’t find a car rental company in Valladolid – you’d need to rent in Mérida, Cancún, or Playa del Carmen before heading to Valladolid.

However, you have the option to rent a scooter in Valladolid. They cost around 100 Pesos (5 dollars) per hour or 500 Pesos (25 dollars) for the whole day. If you’re up for an adventure, look for a ‘colectivo’ (shared van) near Valladolid’s main bus terminal that goes to Dzalbay. The ride costs approximately 35 Pesos (2 dollars) per person.

If you rent a car or have your own, you can visit the ruins of Ek Balam, the Xcanché cenote, and Cenote SAC-AUA.

Upon reaching the cenote, parking is available. After parking, you’ll walk about 400 or 500 meters to reach Cenote SAC-AUA. The path is a well-marked trail, which you can take on foot (about a 15-minute walk) or rent a bike if you prefer to get there faster.

Visiting Cenote SAC – AUA

When you visit Cenote SAC – AUA, you’ll find a sense of tranquillity and connection to history and nature. But beyond this, there are many services and activities to enjoy with your family, friends, or partner.

The entrance to the cenote is a massive hole in the ground, safeguarded by a wooden handrail and steps. This precautionary measure is intended to prevent accidents and make access more accessible and safer.


But that’s not all! This haven also offers various activities to make your visit an unforgettable one. Here are some additional services you can enjoy:

  • Restaurant: Indulge in a meal after your adventure.
  • Bicycle Tours: Experience the natural beauty of the surroundings on two wheels.
  • Rappelling: Get your adrenaline pumping with some exciting rappelling.
  • Kayaking: Paddle along the tranquil waters for a peaceful experience.

SAC-AUA Cenote Hours

The staff at SAC-AUA Cenote opens the gates bright and early at 9:00 am, and they close at 6:00 pm. However, be sure to arrive by 5:30 pm for the last entry. Remember, SAC-AUA Cenote is about 30 km from Valladolid, so we recommend heading out early to soak up the entire experience.

SAC-AUA Cenote Pricing

Entering this natural paradise comes at a price, which varies based on your nationality. Yes, it sounds a bit odd, but that’s how it is.

Let me explain: There are two different prices at the ticket counter. One rate is for foreigners and another for locals from Mexico.

  • Foreigners: 100 pesos (approximately $5)
  • Locals: 70 pesos (around $3.50)

*Note: it is important that you confirm the price before you go because the prices mentioned correspond to the time when we visited it: Phone: +52 985 125 5944 (number listed on Google My Business).

The difference in cost is not racial in nature. Instead, it’s a strategy to maintain the premises and support the staff.

Now, these prices cover only the entrance to the cenote. Activities are charged separately, ranging from 70 pesos ($3.35) to 170 pesos ($8.50), depending on your choice.

cenote sac aua valladolid


As we mentioned, the place has a parking lot if you’re driving, which is highly recommended. They have attendants who will be looking after the safety of your vehicle.

Best Time to Visit SAC-AUA Cenote

We’ve visited other cenotes where you must arrive at a particular time to truly enjoy the place. That’s not the case here, as it is generally less crowded. However, the number of visitors can depend heavily on the season. We advise getting there early to make the most of everything, but there isn’t a specific “best” hour.

Rappelling and Kayaking

Without a doubt, these are some of the most popular services offered at the site. If you’re an adventurer, you’ll thoroughly enjoy the experience. As we’ve mentioned, each activity comes at an additional cost.

Rappelling is available at the cost of 50 pesos (approximately 2.51 dollars). This activity involves scaling up and down the cave walls, all under the watchful eye of a professional. It’s priced by the hour, but we recommend trying it at least once.


Kayaking: Fun for the Kids

Kayaking is an excellent choice for children, providing a delightful little journey that offers some exercise. While this service tends to be pricey at many cenotes, at SAC-AUA, you’ll find the most affordable rate: just 50 pesos (roughly 2.50 dollars) for an hour.

Swimming in the SAC-AUA Cenote

The cenote is quite shallow, which makes it a prime choice when planning family trips. Whether you’re an expert swimmer or prefer to rent a life jacket, depending on where you are within the cenote, you may even find areas where you can comfortably stand or even sit.

If safety concerns you, rest assured that one of the available services is a rescuer constantly supervising all the cenote activities. However, it’s worth noting that swimming in the cenote is done at each individual’s risk.

What to Bring

As we mentioned, you’ll need to walk (or rent a bike if you prefer) along a trail that winds through the wilderness to reach the cenote. We chose to walk to better appreciate the environment and realized there are three essential things: comfortable clothing as you’ll be walking for a bit, and comfort is crucial, even if you decide to bike. Also, light-coloured clothing is advisable as it tends to reflect the heat.

The other two must-haves are a hat for sun protection and sunscreen to apply after each dip in the water, given that the SAC-AUA has an opening that allows sunlight in. Additional items include comfortable, closed-toed shoes, mosquito repellent, and personal bathing items such as a towel and swimsuit.

Dressing Rooms and Restrooms

The main service that many visitors worry about is hygiene. At SAC-AUA, you’ll find restrooms, showers, and changing rooms. After immersing yourself in the clear, refreshing waters of the cenote, you can comfortably shower, change out of your swimsuit, and get dressed in clean clothes.

This service guarantees you the necessary comfort and cleanliness during your visit and before you depart from the cenote.


Lastly, we have the most delicious part of the entire journey. While it’s true that you can bring a small snack, it’s always a good idea to broaden your palate and sample the cuisine offered by the restaurants located at the cenotes, which mainly serve traditional local dishes.

The restaurant is called Places Dzalbay, and it serves homemade Yucatecan food. It’s not the only place to grab a bite, as you’ll also find vendors along the white trail to the cenote selling drinks, coconuts, and delicious snacks.

What we loved and found most surprising were the handmade tortillas we were served, delivering an authentic, homely flavour. The staff are incredibly friendly and regularly check in to see how you enjoy your meal and if you’d like anything else. Undoubtedly, it’s an experience we’d repeat a thousand times over.



How to Be a True Cenote Connoisseur!

When you pay a visit to any of the Cenotes in Yucatan, there are certain things you should avoid. The following items are a no-go:

  • Makeup
  • Skin products
  • Insect repellents
  • Sunscreen

After all, cenotes are a source of freshwater that forms part of the underground rivers. In the SAC-AUA cenote, you won’t find signs reminding you to protect this natural treasure. But as committed Cenote enthusiasts, we are dedicated to preserving it through any necessary means. We invite you to do the same and join this grand imaginary club of Cenote Connoisseurs♡.

Note: If you found this guide on the SAC-AUA Cenote helpful, we would be very grateful if you could share it. Your help would mean a lot to us! Thank you very much!


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