Discovering the Hidden Gem of Zaci Cenote in Valladolid
As a passionate traveller, I’ve been to places across the globe. But nothing quite compares to the stunning beauty of Zaci Cenote in Valladolid, a must-see spot that captivates tourists from around the country and the world.
A trip to Valladolid is incomplete without immersing oneself in this cenote’s wonders. This city, a vibrant hub that welcomes thousands upon thousands of tourists month after month, is not merely known for its mesmerizing colonial architecture, trendy new cafes, charming crafts shops, or its inhabitants’ slow-paced, friendly lifestyle.
Cenote Zaci: A Cenote in the Heart of Valladolid
Visiting the Zaci cenote is undoubtedly one of the best things you can do in Valladolid. Especially on those scorching hot days, this cenote offers a relaxed, pleasant respite from the tropical heat.
Each of the four times I visited, the temperature hovered around 35 degrees Celsius, making swimming in the Zaci cenote always a rewarding experience.
Remember, even on a hot day, the water in a cenote can be pretty refreshing. Diving into the clear, calm waters of Zaci is like stepping into another world. It’s an experience I cannot recommend highly enough. So next time you’re in Valladolid, don’t forget to stop by Cenote Zaci for a little slice of paradise.
Where is the Zaci Cenote?
One thing’s for sure; the Zaci Cenote is one of the most conveniently accessible cenotes in Yucatan. Nestled just two blocks from the city’s main square, this natural wonder is an easy addition to any travel itinerary.
As you might have guessed, there’s no need to arrange any special transport to reach the Zaci Cenote. Instead, a simple five-minute stroll from the city’s heart will land you at its welcoming entrance.
About the Zaci Cenote
The Zaci Cenote in Valladolid is a semi-open cenote, indicating that a ceiling shelters part of it. This captivating feature is a vast cave that has only partially collapsed over time.
Most of the cenote is concealed by the roof, but a gigantic gap spanning 40 by 50 meters ensures plenty of natural light graces this natural spectacle.
The open-sky side of the Zaci Cenote is a verdant display of beautiful green leaves. And if you glance upwards, you’ll spot multiple stalactites dangling from the ceiling, adding an extra layer of intrigue.
One of the Zaci Cenote’s most impressive features is the water’s depth. The shallower areas vary between 25 and 30 meters deep, while the most profound can reach over 100 meters. It’s pretty astounding to imagine such a large cavern existing smack dab in the middle of the city!
To enjoy a serene and crowd-free experience, I’d recommend avoiding a visit around midday or early afternoon. That’s when the cenote tends to attract the most visitors.
Wandering around the cenote, you’ll find a pedestrian path surrounding it, with stairs chiselled into the natural rock descending behind the stalactites right down to the water’s surface. It’s an awe-inspiring experience and one you will remember sometime soon.
Be warned, my friend. The path is often slippery, thanks to the residual water left by those bold souls who choose to leap from the cliffs.
If you’re feeling a rush of adventure coursing through your veins, you, too, can take the plunge from one of the ledges, some reaching heights of up to 26 feet. But remember, bravery must always be paired with caution.
If the thrill of the jump is different from your style, carefully descend the stairs until you reach the water’s edge.
The water, a delightful shade of blue, can be somewhat cloudy due to algae. Hence, you should reconsider if you have plans to snorkel in this cenote.
This cenote is more than just a pool of water; it’s a thriving habitat. Several species call this place home, including bats and a unique type of fish. These aren’t your usual kind of fish – they’re black and eyeless, an intriguing sight if you’re lucky enough to spot one in the water.
If you prefer to stay dry, don’t worry – the cenote offers another enchanting experience. Sit comfortably on a ledge by the cenote, dip your feet in the water, and receive a “complimentary fish pedicure session.” It’s an experience like no other, guaranteed to put a smile on your face.
Remember, every journey is an opportunity to explore, experience, and cherish. So, let’s dive in and embrace the adventure!
Visiting Zací Cenote in Valladolid
Upon arriving at the Zací cenote, the first thing we did was inquire about the meaning of its name. Zací, in the Mayan language, means “white hawk.” Please don’t ask me why this cenote shares a name with a bird because we tried to find out, but nobody could tell us, or maybe we didn’t understand well. However, if you’re interested in history, you can learn more about this cenote here, which is undoubtedly one of the best tourist spots in Mexico.
The main entrance is on 39th Street, surrounded by many souvenir shops you can visit before entering and purchasing some mementoes. Another entry is on 36th Street, where you’ll also find the entrance to Zaci Restaurant.
Are you coming in your car or a rental? Then you can park for free. At both entrances, the Zací cenote has free parking available.
Zaci Cenote Schedule
Zaci Cenote is open every day from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. The last entry is at 5:00 PM, but everyone will be cleared from the water around 5:30 PM.
Zaci Cenote Price
The entrance fee is 30 pesos (about $1.6). When you pay, you’ll receive a green wristband. This is one of the cheapest cenotes in Valladolid, with most other cenotes asking for between 80 and 120 pesos (USD 4-6). You can also rent a life vest at the entrance for 30 pesos (USD 1.6).
*Note: it is important that you confirm the price before you go because the prices mentioned correspond to the time when we visited them: Phone: +(01) 9858560721 (number listed on Google My Business)
The Best Time to Visit Cenote Zací
Cenote Zací, essentially a public swimming pool, attracts locals and tourists alike, each seeking to appreciate this splendid gift from Mother Nature.
Because of its popularity, the optimal time to visit Cenote Zací is on a weekday morning. Therefore, when we were there on a Tuesday morning, we shared the experience with only five other individuals. However, during another trip on the weekend, the place was bustling with over a hundred visitors.
Tour buses often stop by Cenote Zací as part of their tours in the afternoon or on weekends. These tours, usually starting from Cancún or Playa del Carmen, primarily cater to first-time visitors of Ek Balam or Chichen Itzá.
Taking a Dip in Cenote Zaci
Given the sometimes sweltering heat in Valladolid, taking a refreshing dip in the Cenote is necessary.
Swimming can be a little daunting, knowing that the depth of Cenote Zací is approximately 100 meters. But don’t worry; there are a few safety measures in place. For one, you can revel in the cool water by staying in the shallow areas at the sides of the Cenote. While small, these areas are pretty helpful.
Moreover, if you’re eager to swim and make the most of this natural pool, there are three ropes you can hold onto to rest. Or better yet, you could rent or purchase a life jacket, especially if you plan to visit several cenotes.
In our case, we brought our life jackets. At the same time, we sometimes chose not to use them for better mobility while swimming, but most of the time, we did. Wearing them made us feel more secure, relaxed, and free to enjoy the Cenote’s waters.
Snorkeling at Zací Cenote
As someone who’s journeyed through the crystalline waters of numerous cenotes in the Yucatan, I’ve seen folks snorkelling in the Zaci cenote, but here’s a word of advice: you might want to leave your gear at home. The reason is pretty straightforward — there’s not a lot to explore. The walls of the cenote plunge straight down, and besides a few black catfish, there’s little life beneath Zaci’s waters.
Unlike other cenotes in Valladolid, the water here is a tad murky, which isn’t ideal for snorkelling. However, your surface view is limited, and you’re not missing much.
No Lifeguards at the Cenote
As with all cenotes across Yucatán, swimming is at your own risk. While some cenotes reassure on-duty lifeguards, Zací is not among them. We aren’t entirely sure why, but we have spotted security personnel patrolling the area.
The Waterfall at Zaci Cenote
If you’re planning your first visit to this cenote and stumbled upon photographs of Zaci’s waterfall, I should clarify a little misunderstanding. Those photos you’re seeing were likely taken during a bustling weekend.
Why’s that important? Because Zaci’s waterfall isn’t natural but an artificial creation. It’s only active during peak visitation periods, primarily on weekends (a fun fact we learned during our visit). You might be slightly disappointed if you were expecting a waterfall on a weekday.
Changing Rooms and Bathrooms
Upon entering the main entrance of Zací, one of Valladolid’s beautiful cenotes, I was greeted with changing rooms for both ladies and gentlemen. I found it incredibly convenient and quite a bargain at just 5 pesos (roughly $0.25) for usage.
However, do note that lockers are not available, which led me to leave most of my belongings at my hotel in Valladolid. Therefore, you should follow suit and bring the essentials needed for a fun-filled time at the cenote. Nevertheless, once you’re inside the cenote, there are designated areas to place your bag or backpack while you dip.
Cenote Zací stands out as one of the top cenotes in Valladolid for cliff diving.
You’ll find several diving platforms ranging from about 2 meters (6 feet) to an adrenaline-pumping 15 meters (45 feet). So Zaci will undoubtedly add excitement to your visit if you’re a thrill-seeker like me. But please bear in mind diving from the top of the cenote itself is strictly prohibited, and you’ll see signs reinforcing this safety rule.
Right next to the Cenote Zací, there’s a restaurant bearing the same name. This is fantastic because you can dine at this restaurant without paying the cenote entrance fee.
The restaurant’s operational hours align with the cenote’s, and they’ll bring your check promptly at 5:00 pm. I found the food tasty, and the prices were quite reasonable. For example, a local dish will cost you up to 80 Pesos (around $4), a ceviche is about 120 Pesos ($6), and a refreshing Corona beer is priced at 45 pesos (just a bit over $2). In addition, the restaurant boasts a stunning view of the cenote and offers restrooms.
Here’s a great perk: if your bill at the Zaci restaurant exceeds 100 pesos per person, your entry to the cenote is complimentary! So essentially, you’re scoring a $1.5 discount just by dining at the restaurant. A pretty sweet deal, wouldn’t you agree?
How to Care for the Cenote
Be a Good Cenote Guardian!
When you visit any of the Cenotes in Yucatan, please refrain from using the following:
- Skin products
- Insect repellents
After all, cenotes are a source of fresh water that’s part of the underground rivers. At the SAC-AUA cenote, you won’t find signs telling you to take care of the cenote, but as the dedicated cenote guardians we are, we’ll do our best to protect it by all means necessary. We invite you to do the same and join us in this grand imaginary club of Cenote Guardians ♡.
We hope this guide about the Zaci Cenote has helped you plan your next trip to Valladolid. If it has, we’d love for you to share it on your social media with friends and family. That would be a tremendous help for us. Thank you so much!
Fantastic Hotel Deals in Valladolid
In my travels, I’ve had the unique pleasure of visiting the enchanting city of Valladolid, Spain. The architecture, the history, and the vibrant culture left an indelible mark on my memory. What I found equally appealing was the plethora of fantastic hotel deals available in the city. If you’re planning a trip to this charming part of Spain, let me share some of the best options for your stay.
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