Ek Balam Xcanche Cenote: Discover the Jewel of Mayan Heritage

Do you feel the call of a stunning cenote? Have you heard tales of the Cenote Ek Balam Xcanche? Don’t miss the chance to explore it, it’s a true spectacle!

The Xcanche cenote is nestled next to the renowned Mayan archaeological site, Ek Balam. This place is a must-visit for tourists flocking from all corners of the country, especially on excursions from Cancún and Playa del Carmen to Mérida.

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An Unforgettable Experience at Cenote Xcanche

It’s stunning. An open-air cenote where you can enjoy swimming, rope diving, taking phenomenal pictures of the waterfall and embracing nature.

Cenote Xcanche is located right next to the ruins of Ek Balam, part of the renowned Maya archaeological site. It’s a must-visit for tourists from all over the country, particularly on excursions from Cancun and Playa del Carmen.

A Closer Look at Ek Balam

The Ek Balam archaeological site is smaller than Chichen Itza, but it stands out: Ek Balam allows you to climb the pyramids. Unlike its larger counterpart, this less crowded yet equally majestic site offers a unique perspective on Maya history, providing a personal and immersive experience that’s only possible to remember.

During my visit, I was taken aback by the breathtaking vistas and the tranquillity the place offers. Swimming in Cenote Xcanche, I was surrounded by nature’s beauty and a profound sense of history. After all, this was once a critical spot in the Maya civilization.

Fun and Adventure at Cenote Xcanche

Jumping off a rope into the refreshing waters of the cenote was an experience like no other. Between swimming and diving, I found time to appreciate the lush surroundings and the captivating waterfall that appears out of nowhere.

Taking pictures was equally thrilling. Every corner of Cenote Xcanche and the nearby Ek Balam ruins is picture-perfect, capturing the unique blend of natural beauty and ancient history that makes this place unique.

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About Ek Balam Xcanche Cenote

The Xcanche cenote is part of the Ek Balam archaeological site; hence it’s one of the most popular destinations or one of the region’s most sought-after excursions. Most visitors come primarily from Valladolid, Playa del Carmen, and Cancún to this area of the Yucatán Peninsula.

Ek Balam: A Hidden Treasure of Mayan Culture

Despite being one of the most exciting ruins from the Mayan culture, Ek Balam is less frequently visited than one might think. That may be why not many tourists know about the beautiful Xcanche cenote located within these archaeological ruins.

The Undiscovered Paradise: Xcanche Cenote

The Xcanche Cenote is an awe-inspiring open cenote that allows you to swim in its refreshing waters, enjoy zip-lining, and have fun jumping off swings.

Being lesser-known—possibly a plus point in disguise—it can be considered a tranquil spot. You might even get the surprise of being the only person there if you arrive early. Can you imagine having the Ek Balam Cenote all to yourself and capturing that moment in a photo?

For a long time, entry into the waters of the Mayan Ek Balam cenote, owned by the indigenous Mayan community, was uncommon. However, the need to create a source of income to improve the quality of life for their community prompted them to organize and form a cooperative that manages and maintains the cenote as a tourist spot.

Sustainable Ecotourism: The Community’s Commitment

The community is mainly focused, with great dedication, on sustainable ecotourism. Hence, we invite you to be mindful of the care needed to maintain the cenote, ensuring you enjoy it responsibly, like true cenote enthusiasts.

The Xcanche cenote is an ideal place to cool off and relax after a busy day exploring the Ek Balam ruins. We particularly recommend taking the time to visit both: the Ek Balam ruins and the Xcanche cenote. It’s an experience you won’t regret!

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Where is Ek Balam Xcanche Cenote Located?

On my last adventure, I discovered that the Ek Balam ruins are just 28 km away from the city of Valladolid. Truly a journey worth making.

Located within the same area as the Ek Balam archaeological ruins, you’ll find the mesmerizing Ek Balam Xcanche cenote. Although it’s a bit tucked away—1.5 km from the main ruins—it’s definitely an integral part of the experience.

A refreshing oasis amidst the historical marvels, if you will.

How to Reach Ek Balam Xcanché Cenote?

Sadly, there’s no public transport that directly goes from Valladolid to the archaeological ruins of Ek Balam. Hence, you’ll have to rent a car or a scooter.

Remember, no car rental companies have offices in Valladolid, so your best bet is to reserve online before your trip. I used Kayak car rental services since they offered the best rate.

As mentioned, Ek Balam Cenote is about 28 km north of downtown Valladolid. It’s straightforward to find with road signs to guide you.

If you plan to rent a scooter in Valladolid, it’ll set you back 100 pesos per hour (about 5 dollars). Alternatively, you can rent it for a whole day for a flat rate of 500 pesos (approximately 25 dollars). This option is ideal when you’re travelling solo or as a pair. Moreover, if you go for the day rental, you’ll explore more cenotes around Valladolid.

Regardless of your option, taking the highway to Tizimin Yucatán would be best. Once you reach the town of Temozón, continue for about 6 kilometres, then make a right and drive for another 4 kilometres. When you reach the intersection, don’t stop; keep going straight for another kilometre or so until you get to the Ek Balam Ruins Zone. The entrance to the Xcanche cenote is located near the Parador.

Ek Balam Cenote Price

Access to the ruins and the cenote is separate; you can visit the Xcanche cenote without visiting the Ek Balam Mayan ruins.

Upon arriving at the ruins zone, there’s a separate entry booth where you can pay for entry to the Ek Balam cenote. The cost is 70 pesos ($3.5 USD).

*Note: It’s crucial to confirm the price before you go as the prices mentioned here are as of our visit: Phone: +52 985 116 6296 (This is the number listed on Google My Business)

Once paid, you must walk along a dirt path for about 1500 meters (1 mile) to reach the cenote.

If you do not enjoy walking, you can rent a bike for 80 pesos (USD 4) or hire a tricycle service, which will transport you there and back for 120 pesos ($ USD 6).

At the Xcanche Cenote, there are plenty of things to do for a fun-filled adventure. If you purchase the 400 pesos (USD 20) ticket, you’ll gain access to two types of zip lines and rappelling, and bike rental is included.

Remember, this is not just a recounting of what you could experience. I had the chance to enjoy these adventures firsthand, and I assure you, it was worth every peso!

cenote xcanche triciclos bicis


Ek Balam Cenote Price

Access to the ruins and the cenote is separate; you can visit the Xcanche cenote without visiting the Ek Balam Mayan ruins.

Upon arriving at the ruins zone, there’s a separate entry booth where you can pay for entry to the Ek Balam cenote. The cost is 70 pesos ($3.5 USD).

*Note: It’s crucial to confirm the price before you go as the prices mentioned here are as of our visit: Phone: +52 985 116 6296 (This is the number listed on Google My Business)

Once paid, you must walk along a dirt path for about 1500 meters (1 mile) to reach the cenote.

If you do not enjoy walking, rent a bike for 80 pesos (USD 4) or hire a tricycle serviXcanche Ek Balam Cenote Operating Hours.

The Xcanche Ek Balam cenote opens from 8:00 AM to 3:30 PM.

Compared to most cenotes in Valladolid, Xcanche’s hours are somewhat limited. The final entry allowed, as told to us by the local staff, is at 3:30 PM sharp.

Best Time to Visit the Xcanche Ek Balam Cenote

Like nearly all cenotes in the region, the best time to visit Xcanche is early morning, ideally up until around 11:00 AM.

However, this is not a hard rule. During our last visit, we arrived close to 12:00 noon and were pleasantly surprised to find very few people around. We took full advantage of the cenote’s water for almost two hours – perfect for a 30-degree Celsius day.

As we were leaving the area around 3:00 PM, there were still few visitors at the Xcanche cenote. This is because many people come to see the Mayan ruins of Ek Balam without knowing the cenote even exists.

cenote xcanche


What Can You Do at This Cenote?

Are you ready to explore the mystical depths of the Xcanche Ek Balam cenote? This breathtaking natural wonder isn’t just a feast for the eyes – it also offers visitors a wide range of activities. From swimming in the fresh, clear waters to simply enjoying the scenic beauty, the Xcanche cenote is a treasure trove of experiences. Let’s dive into what you can do at this cenote.

Steep Indoor Stairs

The cenote features two staircases leading to the water, both rather steep. So, I suggest you take it slow and steady.

Nonetheless, it remains an incredible adventure, and the views from above are magnificent.

Ecotourism: A Crucial Factor

The community managing the life of the Ek Balam cenote holds a strong sense of ecotourism, something we greatly appreciate. After all, these wonders require specific care from all of us who enjoy them.

When you visit the cenote, you’ll notice signs everywhere with guidelines for area preservation. There are even various containers provided for trash separation.

Proudly, the staff told us about the awards they’ve won as an “ecotourism project”. They even aim to make the Ek Balam cenote plastic-free shortly.

Showers and Changing Rooms

When you pay the entrance fee at Ek Balam Cenote, the staff will ask if you plan to get into the water. All visitors wishing to swim in the cenote must shower before entry!

The place provides lockers and changing rooms. Lockers come for 30 pesos ($1.5), but you might not need to use the lockers if you’re travelling light. There’s enough space around the cenote to leave your belongings.

Swimming in the Maya Ek Balam Cenote

This cenote is perfect for swimming. It’s approximately 30 meters (90 feet) deep. You can snorkel, but there’s not much to see underwater, so there may be better choices than renting snorkelling equipment.

However, if you’ve bought snorkelling gear (like the one we purchased and used), as we did and brought to every cenote we visited, you lose nothing by trying.


Another activity you can partake in at the Xcanche cenote is rappelling.

Remember that it’s not included in the regular entrance fee. But if you purchase the 400 peso ($20) package, it’s one of the included activities.

If you’ve paid the regular entrance fee and want to try rappelling, speak to the staff, who’ll likely guide you on how to do it—the staff is super friendly.


Zip-lining is another activity included in the complete package.

There are two types of zip lines, both of which have very friendly cenote staff to help and care for you.

If you enjoy these activities, I suggest you buy the whole package—you’ll love it.

The Rope Swing

There’s a rope swing that you can use at no extra cost—it’s free for every visitor to the Xcanche cenote.

Jumping from the Edge

Jumping from the cenote’s high edges is allowed. At least for us, before doing it, we asked the staff, and they gave us the green light.

You’ll notice a spot on the staircase stretch with a decent jumping height. Additionally, you’ll find a platform about 3 meters high that you can use.

To be safe, if you’re a fan of these jumps, consult with the staff before doing it to ensure it’s still allowed.

The Restaurant

Upon visiting Ek Balam Cenote, you’re in for a delightful treat. Their on-site restaurant offers delicious and affordable traditional cuisine.

We decided to sample the tasty quesadillas, getting three for just 80 pesos (around 4 dollars). To wash it down, there’s nothing like a cold beer; at just 2 dollars, it’s a steal. They also offer other beverages for as low as a dollar.

After lunch, why not unwind a bit? You’ll find a relaxation area next to the restaurant featuring freely available hammocks.

Camping at the Cenote

The cenote also boasts a camping area. The cost is just 100 pesos per person, but you must bring your tent.

From my observations, the camping area has its regulars, with several tents. In fact, we spoke with a couple of fellow Mexican tourists at the restaurant. They’d spent the previous night camping out and reported having an enjoyable experience so far.

The Cabins

But what if someone else is the camping type? No problem. For more comfort, you can rent one of the on-site cabins. The rate is around 600 pesos per night (30 dollars), and trust me, it’s worth every penny for the enhanced experience and convenience.

Whether you’re here to connect with nature or enjoy some local cuisine, Ek Balam Cenote is an experience to be noticed.

How to Care for the Cenote

Being a good Cenote-Goer!

During your visit to any of the Cenotes in Yucatan, we kindly ask you to avoid using the following:

  • Makeup
  • Skincare products
  • Insect repellents
  • Sunscreen
  • After all, cenotes are a source of fresh water that forms part of the underground rivers. At Ek Balam Xcanche cenote, you won’t find signs reminding you to care for the cenote. However, as proud cenote-goers, we strive to protect it by all means necessary, and we invite you to do the same and join this grand imaginary club of Cenote-Goers ❤️.

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