What is a cenote?
A cenote is a natural sinkhole resulting from the collapse of limestone rocks that exposes an underwater cave system. This underwater system is part of the two longest underground water systems in the world (Sac Actun 353 km and Ox Bel Ha 270 km) which was the reason why 13,000 years ago people settled in the Yucatan peninsula. In history, these ancient Mayas used the cenotes for sacrificial offerings. But nowadays, visiting cenotes is a fun experience and in most of the cenotes you can even swim or go scuba diving!
There are four different types of cenotes, the ones that are completely underground, semi-underground, cenotes at ground level such as a lake or pond and those that are open wells such as Cenote Ik Kil and this one, Cenote San Lorenzo Oxman.
How to get to Cenote Oxman
The Oxman cenote is just 4,5 kilometres outside of Valladolid located at Hacienda San Lorenzo Oxman. The easiest way to get there yourself is with a rental motorbike, bicycle or with a rental car. For around 150 MXN pesos per day you can rent a bicycle from one of the rental bike shops in town.
If you’re not comfortable driving yourself you can also arrange a taxi from Valladolid to Cenote Oxman for about 100 MXN pesos. But there won’t be taxis waiting for you outside of Hacienda San Lorenzo Oxman. So if you want to get back to town, they have to call a taxi from town to pick you up. Unfortunately a service such as Uber isn’t operating yet in Yucatan. So getting back to Valladolid can even cost you double the price.
But you can also book one of the tours including a visit to Chichen Itza together with Cenote Oxman or other cenotes in Valladolid.
Entrance fee Cenote Oxman and opening times
The entrance fee for Cenote Oxman depends on if you want something to eat at the restaurant as well. There are three different choices for entrance cost.
80 Pesos is entrance to the Oxman cenote only.
100 Pesos gives you access to the cenote and a 50 pesos discount in the restaurant.
150 Pesos gives you entrance to Cenote Oxman and access to the pool area of Hacienda San Lorenzo Oxman as well.
The parking area is free.
The opening hours for Cenote Oxman are from 8 AM to 6 PM daily. If you want to order food, make sure to do this before the kitchen closes at 4.30 PM.
Best time to visit Cenote Oxman
The best time to visit Cenote Oxman is in the morning if you want to have the cenote for yourself and spend some time by the pool without too much other people around. When we visited Cenote Oxman in 2018 it wasn’t that popular yet, but nowadays more and more tourists flock to this adventurous cenote because of the fun rope swing and beautiful surroundings. So there might be a chance that tour buses stop during midday and in the afternoon. So to avoid that, the morning is the best time to go to Cenote Oxman.
In terms of light for the best pictures you don’t have to be too picky. The open roof brings enough light in, but it’s too big to create a magical light ray as Cenote Suytun has. But, if it’s a super sunny day, the bright sunlight can can create a huge white, blown out spot on the water during midday. This isn’t what you want for a ‘technically beautiful’ picture. So in combination with the fact that the morning is quieter and better in terms of light, you have your answer in what the best time is to visit Cenote Oxman.
What to expect at Cenote Oxman
Once you’ve entered the Hacienda San Lorenzo Oxman and payed the entrance fee, you will pass the tropical lush garden of the hotel until you reach the swimming pool with changing rooms. Here you will find a viewing platform from where you’ll have a super cool top down perspective of Cenote Oxman.
To get inside Cenote Oxman, you’ll have to shower first which is required at every cenote. With showering before swimming in a cenote, you help to preserve the water as you can damage the natural environment in a cenote with all the chemicals on your skin (such as oils, lotions, mosquito repellent etc). That’s why using biodegradable sunscreen is a must on your vacation!
After showering you can go straight into the cenote via a small staircase that’s leading you down in to the sinkhole. Here you will have a beautiful sight on the hanging vines, natural freshwater pool and the open roof. You can leave your stuff on the stone benches when you go swimming because there are no lockers on site.
For the adventure seekers there is a super fun rope swing in Cenote Oxman which we highly recommend to use! We haven’t seen another rope swing at other cenotes in Valladolid, so grab your chance here! The drop is about 3 meters, but that depends of course on how far you swing. Release your inner Tarzan and Jane, and swing as many times as you like from the rope swing into the cenote!
If you don’t like jumping in the water, you can also go snorkeling. The cenote is about 45 meters deep and especially on sunny days the water is super clear. So bring your snorkel and check out the underwater world of Cenote Oxman!
What to prepare and take with you to Cenote Oxman
If you plan on visiting a few cenotes and want to snorkel in them as well, you will be off cheaper (and more hygenic) if you just buy a snorkel and mask. Find here the other things we recommend taking with you to the cenotes:
- Biodegradable sunscreen. With this you help the fragile eco system of the cenotes stay healthy. But in some cenotes it is even forbidden to use any kind of sunscreen and mandatory to shower before you get into the water to wash off the oils and chemicals you have on your skin. Did you know there are lots of chemicals and other bad ingredients in some sunscreens? These chemicals do not only damage your skin, but also reefs, cenotes and more eco systems when they are often exposed to them. So be a conscious traveler and if you use sunscreen, make sure its biodegradable.
- Swimsuit. Make sure to bring this because you want to dip in that pool!
- A camera or GoPro
- Snorkel and mask
Other amazing cenotes to explore near Valladolid
Not only Oxman is a must visit cenote in Valladolid, but there are many more cenotes to explore in and near Valladolid, so hear a quick overview for the best 5 other cenotes to visit.
Cenote Suytun is definitely one of the most unique and magical cenotes because of the light beam and perfect platform in the middle of the cenote. And with a huge stalactite at the entrance, this cenote is also super photogenic. It almost feels as if you enter a cave when you make your way down into cenote Suytun. But luckily this cenote has very tall walls with its ceiling almost completely intact despite the small hole where the light shines through. This magical light beam is what makes Suytun so photogenic in combination with the stone pier which makes a perfect ‘catwalk’ or platform to put a person in frame.
Read in this blog post everything about Cenote Suytun
We found this a really pleasant cenote to swim in! The water was deep enough and crystal clear. You can even spot fish swimming around! Besides a rope to pull yourself up the slippery rocks, there is also a rope stretched underwater. This is actually the case in every cenote where you can swim in. It’s for safety because not all world citizens are good in swimming. So with this rope stretched underwater and attached on both side of the cenote, there is always something to grab on when you’re tired of swimming, get cramp, or just want to hang in the water and admire the beautiful cenote!
Cenote Ik Kil
Ik Kil cenote is one of the most popular cenotes in Yucatan. So you can be sure it is busy when you visit. Or you have to be there right after opening time. Cenote Ik Kil is another beautiful and big jungle feel cenote with crystal clear blue water and the option to swim. There is also a dive platform for the adventure seekers! The entrance fee is 80 MXN pesos and there are lots of restaurants and shops around.
On the same location as Samula, you will have 2 cenotes for the price of one. The interior of XKeken is also a cave kind of cenote with a hole in the roof and a swimming pool. If there is sunlight, you will also here have the chance of seeing the lightray.
More Mexico travel guides
We hope you enjoyed this blog post about Cenote Oxman! For more Mexico travel inspiration, head over to these blog posts:
Best things to do around Tulum
Most amazing cenotes to visit in Yucatan
Best things to do on Isla Holbox