The Amazing Cenote Saamal: Full Guide (2023)

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Welcome to our blog post about the AMAZING Cenote Saamal!


In this post, we’ll share ALL YOU NEED to know about this incredible location, including its amenities, things to do, accommodation options, and how to get there.


So come along with us on this journey, and let’s explore!

Where is Cenote Saamal?

Cenote Saamal is located within the Hacienda Selva Maya park, just outside the historic city of Valladolid in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.


The park is approximately 7 kilometers from the central Valladolid, making it a short 15-minute drive.


For those staying in Cancun, the journey is a bit longer, approximately 160 kilometers, or around a 2-hour drive.


If you’re in Merida, the capital of Yucatan, expect to travel approximately 100 kilometers and the journey should take around 1.5 hours.


What is a cenote?

A cenote is a natural sinkhole resulting from the collapse of limestone bedrock that exposes groundwater underneath. These geological formations are particularly common on the Yucatan Peninsula.


Cenote Saamal, like many of its kind, holds a rich history.


The ancient Maya civilization, which once flourished in the region, considered cenotes sacred as they provided a source of freshwater and were believed to be gateways to the underworld.


How To get there

Taxi in Mexico

By Taxi

Taking a taxi is one of the most convenient ways to reach Cenote Saamal. Taxis are readily available from Valladolid, Cancun, and Merida. Do negotiate the fare before you embark on your journey. From Valladolid, the taxi ride should take approximately 15 minutes.


By Bus

You can also reach Cenote Saamal by bus from Valladolid, Cancun, and Merida. From the Valladolid bus terminal, take a bus towards Tinum and ask the driver to drop you off at Hacienda Selva Maya. From Cancun or Merida, take an ADO bus to Valladolid and then a local bus or taxi to the cenote.


By Rental Car

If you prefer to drive, renting a car gives you the flexibility to travel at your own pace. From Valladolid, take the 180 highway towards Merida, and you will find signs directing you to Hacienda Selva Maya. If you’re coming from Cancun or Merida, follow signs for Valladolid and then for Hacienda Selva Maya.


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First and foremost, offers a seamless booking experience. No hassles, no delays. Just a few clicks, and your car is booked and ready to go. And even better, whether you need a compact car for a solo trip or a spacious SUV for a family outing, has it all. They provide an extensive range of vehicles to suit every travel need and preference.



Book A Tour with a Local

Cenote Saamal


For a number of reasons, we truly love booking trips with local guides.


First is authenticity. Local guides offer an unfiltered perspective of the region by offering observations and tales that traditional guidebooks frequently omit.


Personalization comes next. In contrast to generic tours, local guides can customize the experience based on our preferences, offering a personalized, unforgettable experience.


Third, supporting the local economy By booking a local tour, we’re directly contributing to the livelihood of the local community.


Finally, connection. Interacting with locals provides a unique opportunity to learn, understand, and connect with the culture and people in a way that’s not possible otherwise.


Another option, if you are a last-minute planner, could be booking a tour with Get Your Guide.  They curate tours with local guides and offer instant confirmation, so you can be sure of getting your place. Plus, they provide a secure online payment system that keeps your credit card information safe.



Things To Do

cenote snorkelling

Snorkeling  and Swimming

Cenote Saamal is perfect for swimming and snorkeling. Its crystal-clear, turquoise waters are ideal for exploring the underwater world of cenotes. You can bring your own snorkeling gear or rent some on-site.



For thrill-seekers, Cenote Saamal offers a zip-lining adventure that will take you soaring over the cenote’s waters and lush greenery. It’s a great way to get your adrenaline pumping while taking in the beautiful views.


Horseback Riding

For a more relaxed adventure, you can go horseback riding through Hacienda Selva Maya Park. Enjoy a peaceful ride through nature and take in the sights and sounds of the Yucatan Peninsula.


Facilities for Visitors

Cenote Saamal amenities

Restaurant and Shops

Within the Hacienda Selva Maya park, you will find a restaurant serving traditional Yucatan cuisine. It’s a great place to try local dishes after your cenote adventure. The park also has a souvenir shop where you can pick up some unique gifts.


Changing Rooms and Lockers

For your convenience, there are changing rooms and lockers available near the cenote. This makes it easy to change into your swimwear and secure your belongings while you explore.



If you are driving to Cenote Saamal, you’ll be pleased to know that A LOT of parking is available on site. So don’t worry, you can have a hassle-free experience, especially during peak visitor times.


Lifeguards and Safety Measures

Safety is a priority at Cenote Saamal. Lifeguards are on duty to ensure everyone’s safety while swimming or snorkeling. Additionally, life jackets are mandatory for all visitors.


Practical Information

Cenote Saamal Facilities

Admission Fees

Visiting Cenote Saamal comes with a small fee, which is used towards the maintenance of the cenote and the surrounding facilities. The current admission fee is 70 MXN for adults and 50 MXN for children.


Opening Hours

Cenote Saamal is open to visitors from Monday to Sunday. The opening hours are from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM.


Prohibited Items

To preserve the natural beauty and integrity of the cenote, certain items are not allowed, such as sunscreen or any skincare products that are not biodegradable. Plastic bottles and food items are also not allowed near the cenote.


Best Time to Visit

While the cenote is open year-round, the best time to visit is during the early hours of the morning, when it’s less crowded. Avoid visiting during weekends or holidays, as it can get quite busy.


What to bring

Cenote Saamal


When packing for your visit to Cenote Saamal, there are several essentials you should not forget.

Swimwear: You’ll definitely want to dive into the cenote’s clear, refreshing waters, so don’t forget to pack your swimwear!

Towel: A towel for drying off after your swim is a must.

Snorkeling Gear: If you want to explore the underwater life in the cenote, bring along your snorkeling gear. However, equipment rental is also available onsite.

Comfortable Shoes: For walking around the park and exploring the surroundings, comfortable footwear is highly recommended.

Sun Protection: Even though the cenote itself is shaded, other areas of the park are open. Therefore, a hat, sunglasses, and biodegradable sunblock are advisable.

Water and Snacks: While there is a restaurant at the park, having water and some snacks on hand is always a good idea.

Cash: Remember to bring cash for admission fees, locker rentals, and any additional activities you might be interested in.

Feeling like you might be missing gadgets? Check out our blog post

15 Must-Have Travel Accessories for Any Trip

Are drones and cameras allowed?

Yes, drones and cameras are allowed at Cenote Saamal. However, please be mindful of others and avoid flying your drone over the cenote or disturbing other visitors.


Nearby Attractions

Cenote Saamal is located in close proximity to a host of other exciting attractions.


1. Hacienda Selva Maya: Just a short walk from the cenote, you can discover the Hacienda Selva Maya, a beautifully restored hacienda offering a glimpse into the region’s colonial past.


2. Ek Balam Ruins: A short drive away, Ek Balam offers a less crowded but equally impressive alternative to the more well-known Mayan ruins. The structures here are well-preserved and provide a unique insight into Mayan architecture and culture.


3. Valladolid: The charming colonial town of Valladolid is a 15-minute drive from the cenote. With its colorful buildings, cobblestone streets, and local crafts markets, it’s an excellent place to absorb local culture and try traditional Yucatan dishes.


Cenotes Nearby

Cenote Ziiz Ha: Just a short drive from Saamal, Cenote Ziiz Ha offers a unique swimming experience in its natural, open-air setting. It’s a great choice for those looking to escape the crowds and connect with nature.

Cenote Oxman: Famous for its deep blue waters and a picturesque vine-covered opening, Cenote Oxman is a must-visit. Here, you can also enjoy a refreshing dip and an unforgettable swing rope jump.

Cenote Samula: Known for its impressive stalactite formations and the tree roots reaching down into the water, Cenote Samula is a spectacular sight. Its semi-open structure allows a ray of sunlight to shine through, creating an ethereal atmosphere.

Cenotes Dzitnup: Actually comprising two cenotes, Xkeken and Samula, Cenotes Dzitnup is a location that offers double the fun. Xkeken, known for its narrow entrance and crystal-clear waters, contrasts beautifully with Samula’s expansive, open-air design. Be sure to visit both for a well-rounded cenote experience.

Where To Stay

Oriundo Luxury Nature Villas: Located just a few minutes away from Cenote Saamal, these luxurious villas are perfect for those seeking an immersive nature experience. Each villa is beautifully designed and comes with its own private pool and outdoor terrace.


Hotel Villas del Ángel: This charming hotel in Valladolid offers comfortable and spacious rooms, a pool, and a peaceful garden for relaxation. It’s an excellent option for those looking to stay close to the town but still within reach of Cenote Saamal.


Los Frailes Hotel Boutique Yucatan: Located in Valladolid’s historic center, this boutique hotel offers a mix of modern and traditional design elements. It’s within walking distance to the town’s main attractions and an ideal base for exploring Cenote Saamal and other nearby cenotes.


Oriundo Luxury Nature Villas
Oriundo Luxury Nature Villas –


There you have it! We have spilled all the beans about the amazing Cenote Saamal, definitely one you shouldn’t miss when you’re in Mexico!

Let us know in the comments below how your experience was!


What is the history of Cenote Saamal?

Cenote Saamal has been a natural wonder in the Yucatan region for centuries, with local Mayans considering it a sacred site. The cenote was used for both recreation and religious rituals by ancient Mayans, who believed that the cenote’s waters were connected to the underworld. In recent years, Cenote Saamal has become a popular tourist destination, welcoming visitors from all over the world to experience its natural beauty and rich history.


What is the significance of Cenote Saamal to the Mayan people?

Cenote Saamal holds great cultural significance for the Mayan people. In ancient times, the cenote was viewed as a sacred place and believed to be a gateway to the underworld, or Xibalba. It was also used for religious ceremonies and offerings to the gods. Today, it continues to hold spiritual value for many indigenous communities in the region.


What is the best time of year to visit Cenote Saamal?

The best time to visit Cenote Saamal is during the dry season from November to April. This ensures optimal conditions for swimming and exploring the cenote, as well as avoiding any potential rain or storms that may occur during the rainy season. However, keep in mind that this may also be peak tourist season, so plan accordingly.


What wildlife can be seen at Cenote Saamal?

Cenote Saamal is home to a variety of wildlife, both in and around the cenote. Visitors can expect to see different species of birds, fish, and reptiles such as turtles and iguanas. You may also encounter some friendly spider monkeys who occasionally visit the area. Be sure to respect their natural habitat and observe from a safe distance.


What are some of the activities that are available at Cenote Saamal?

Aside from swimming and exploring the cenote, visitors can also enjoy hiking and birdwatching in the surrounding area. Additionally, many tour companies offer guided excursions to nearby attractions such as Ek Balam ruins or Hacienda Selva Maya. Some even offer yoga sessions or traditional Mayan ceremonies at Cenote Saamal for a more immersive experience. Be sure to check for guided tours and activities before your visit to make the most out of your trip.


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Laura & Alexander

Laura & Alexander

We're two full-time Belgian travellers sharing our experience through our blog. Our aim is to inspire your next travel adventure with our best tips and tricks from every country we visit.

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