How to Visit X’Canché, the Hidden Cenote of Ek Balam


Why You Should Visit the Cenote X’Canché (Valladolid)

As soon as we arrived, I understood why X’Canché is considered one of the most beautiful cenotes in Yucatán: located 50 ft underground, this large turquoise cenote is protected by towering walls from which roots and a waterfall fall.

We arrived around 10 am, after exploring the ancient ruins of Ek Balam. The place was amazingly serene. There were only three other people there, and one of them was meditating quietly.

I could sense why: as we climbed the long and steep wooden stairs to enter the site, we felt dwarfed by the majestic natural scenery.

The tall stone walls seemed to cut us off from the outside world. The only sounds we heard were the waterfall and the occasional swallows circling in the air, always in the same spot.

I noticed that most visitors spoke softly, as if not to disturb the natural wonder.

Around 11 am, we dried ourselves off and headed back to Valladolid. It was the perfect timing to leave, because we saw a small crowd coming in!

Cenote X’Canche in Ek Balam
cenote ek balam
The crystal clear water of Cenote Xcanche

What to do in Cenote Xcanche

Besides swimming and jumping into the water from different platforms, you can also enjoy other activities in Xcanché: Tarzan rope (free), 3 zip lines (100 pesos, 150 pesos, 170 pesos) and rappel (150 pesos)

For a more immersive experience, you can also stay overnight in the rustic cabins or in their camping site.

  • For more information, you can contact them by Whatsapp +52 1 985 116 6296
carte cenote xcanche
The map of Xcanché with all the activities offered

My personal opinion about Cenote Xcanché

I think Xcanché is a must-visit cenote in Valladolid.

A few years ago, families from the Mayan community decided to work together and offer visitors safe access to the cenote, respecting nature, in order to earn income.

It is an opportunity to support the local economy while enjoying a natural cenote with rustic charm.

It would be a pity not to combine the two visits (archaeological site + cenote)!

Visit Cenote Xcanché: My Advice

  • If you want to visit Ek Balam, I recommend starting with the archaeological site, and then refreshing yourself in the cenote!
  • To make the most of the site, it’s best to get there early in the morning (from 8 am to 10 am)
  • The lockers are free, but you need to bring your own padlock because they don’t provide any. You can also take your backpack to the cenote
casiers cenote xcanche
Lockers and changing rooms in Cenote Xcanche

Cenote Xcanché: prices and schedules

  • Entrance fee: 170 pesos
  • Open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily
  • Optional life jackets, available free of charge

How to get to Xcanché cenote (Ek Balam)?

First you have to go to the entrance of Ek Balam, then take the road to Xcanché cenote. Here is how to get there:

1. From Valladolid to the entrance of Ek Balam

Whether you are in Merida (2h25), Cancun (2h15) or Playa del Carmen (2h), you will have to pass through Valladolid (30 min) to get to cenote Xcanché.

How to get from Valladolid to Xcanché:

By car

  • 30 min from downtown Valladolid on Mexico Highway 295 towards Tizimin and Rio Lagartos
  • After paying the entrance fee to the cenote, you will have to take a road (accessible by car) to the cenote
  • Parking 100 pesos

Renting a car is for sure the best way to explore Valladolid and make the most of your stay!

To rent a car, personally, I always use, for a few reasons:

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Simply click on the green button to find your rental car at the best price:

Xcanche parking

By public transportation

You can find the colectivo drivers at the corner of 44th and 37th streets, a 3-minute walk from Valladolid’s ADO terminal.

The colectivo is a shared cab, so if you can find other passengers (which is much easier in high season!), the one-way fare is only 70 pesos per person, otherwise you will have to pay 280 pesos for the trip.

The colectivo will drop you off at the Ek Balam parking lot and for the return trip to Valladolid you can take another one at the same place.

colectivo valladolid cenote ek balam
Departure point of colectivos in Valladolid

2. How to get to Xcanché from Ek Balam

It is very easy to get to the cenote of Ek Balam, as it is located 1 mile away from the archaeological site.

After visiting Ek Balam, go back towards the exit and you will see a sign indicating Cenote Xcanché.

entrée cenote xcanche
The entrance to Cenote X’Canché

You will need to pay your entrance fee at Xcanche, and then follow a dirt road to the cenote, where you will have to show your ticket, so don’t lose it!

You can drive, walk (30 minutes) or bike (10 minutes) there. The bikes are free, and that’s very handy!

velos cenote xcanche
Bicycles available for visitors to ride to the Xcanche cenote

Where to sleep in Valladolid?

  • Candelaria Hostel: The best budget option in Valladolid! A colorful hostel that is very well located in the centre, with a garden, access to the kitchen, and a bike rental. Good breakfast options are also included, from 17 $usd for a bed in a shared dorm or 38 $usd for a private room.
  • Real Haciendas: A small, charming, yet very quiet hotel with a swimming pool, clean rooms with comfortable king size bed, and a very good welcome. Starting from 57 $usd per night.
  • IMIX Hotel: A typical colonial house in the centre of Valladolid on the beautiful Calzada de los Frailes, nicely decorated with spacious rooms. Breakfast included, starting from 127 $usd per night.
  • Le Muuch Hotel: A hotel located 5 minutes away from the main park Francisco Canton Rosado. Excellent service, with indoor and outdoor swimming pools with hammocks, rooms with garden view, air conditioning, and a bar and restaurant. A la carte breakfast included, starting from 140 $usd per night.
  • Hotel Zentik Project: This is definitely one of my favorite hotels in Mexico and the best hotel in Valladolid! Beautiful Mayan-style cabanas with murals done by local and international artists. There’s a restaurant and bar, an outdoor pool with hammocks, and a saltwater pool in an underground cave. Very good breakfast included, starting from 380 $usd per night.

Is it possible to get to Valladolid by plane?

Valladolid doesn’t have an airport, so you’ll have to fly to either Merida or Cancun first.

Cancun is a better choice because you can find cheaper and direct flights from Europe and North America, while flights to Merida usually stop in Mexico City.

To get the best price on your flight to Cancun or Merida, as well as your international flight to Mexico, I recommend using our flight comparison tool in partnership with Skyscanner. It will help you save money and time!

Book your trip now and save money!

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visit cenote xcanche


I have created this blog to give you all my best tips to plan your next trip to Mexico, regardless of your budget. I share detailed itineraries, advice about places to visit as well as recommendations for transportation, hotels and restaurants. I hope I will also help you to discover amazing off the beaten path destinations in Mexico!

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