Guide to Cenote Dzitnup by Valladolid

Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula is home to thousands of cenotes: & the little town of Dzitnup has TWO of them, side-by-side: Cenote Xkeken & Cenote Samula (together, they are considered “Cenote Dzitnup”).  Just a little over two hours from Cancun, this pair of underground swimming pools makes a great stop on road trips to Merida, Chichen Itza, or even the Pink Sea.  Each is unique: one is smaller, with distinctive stalagmites hanging from the “ceiling,” while the other has taller walls & a more cavern-like feel.  We’ll take a look at photos of both in this “Guide to Cenote Dzitnup by Valladolid.”

Guide to Cenote Dzitnup, Why is Tulum So Hot Right Now? Girl Who Travels the World

Enjoy this guide to Cenote Dzitnup, Xkeken, & Samula ~ all rolled into one easy-to-visit package… 

Map of Cenote Dzitnup

Cenote Samula, Dzitnup, Mexico


Cenote Xkeken

Hotel Posada San Juan

Cenote Dzitnup Information

  • Opening Hours: 8AM-7PM Daily
  • Entrance Fee: $60MXN for 1 person; $90MXN for 2 cenotes (approx. $4-8 US)
  • Two Cenotes in One: Xkeken & Samula are both located here
  • Nearby Towns: Valladolid & Dzitnup
  • How Far is Cenote Dzitnup from Cancun? About two & a half hours.
  • What to Bring: Chemical-free sunscreen, flip flops, & a cute bathing suit for your Instagram pics. Because of the very low light in the cenotes, I advise either bringing a waterproof camera, or a more high-end one with a long-zoom capability, in order to get the best, most crisp shots of these beautiful spots.
  • Where to Stay:  Check out hotels in nearby Valladolid, like stunning Hotel Posada San Juan.
  • Important Notes: Google Maps was incorrect on this one; their “Cenote Dzitnup” was out in the boonies, way past the real one.  The “real” cenote is only 2km from the main highway ~ don’t go all the way to Dzitnup.  If you do, you’ve gone too far. 

Cute Bikini

Long-Zoom Camera

Chemical-Free Sunscreen

 Photos of Cenote Xkeken

Cenote Dzitnup is a great stop since you’re getting TWO cenotes in one: Xkeken & Samula each have their own special features, & they share the same parking lot.  The small town of Dzitnup is located just outside of Valladolid, which is a two & a half-hour drive from Cancun.  My friends & I drove straight to Dzitnup after renting a car in Cancun; we stopped for lunch in Valladolid, visited both cenotes, then made our way to Chichen Itza (which I highly recommend visiting).  The toll roads in the Yucatan make for easy, traffic-free driving ~ just WATCH OUT for massive speed bumps which can be found in pretty much every town!!

***GWTW Insider Tip: I highly recommend renting a car in the Yucatan ~ & picking it up at Cancun International is an easy way to go. Make your reservations in advance to avoid the hassle of dealing with aggressive touts at the airport, & to get the absolute best price.

Guide to Cenote Dzitnup by Valladolid in Mexico, Girl Who Travels the World

Cenote Dzitnup is distinctive with its white-ish, deeply hanging ceiling stalactites…

Guide to Cenote Dzitnup & Xkeken by Valladolid in Mexico, Girl Who Travels the World

A long-shot of Xkeken.

What’s the Difference Between Xkeken & Samula?

Cenote Xkeken is smaller than Samula & “cozier,” if you will; Samula is a much taller, cave-like cenote with an opening at the top that allows light to come through.  Xkeken is a darker cenote, & what makes it unique are the giant, white-greyish stalagmites hanging from its ceiling: my friends & I thought they look like….large mop heads..??!  Ha ~ I know that may not sound very photogenic, but it actually is, & makes it distinctive amongst all the cenotes in the Yucatan.

Best Cenotes of the Yucatan, Cenote Xkeken, Girl Who Travels the World

My friend Eileen is looking up at some bats hanging around the stalagmites, at Cenote Xkeken…in case you’re wondering ; )

The photo above was taken with my camera phone, which usually takes great shots ~ but the low light in Xkeken really calls for a nicer camera in order to truly capture its beauty.

 Photos of Cenote Samula by Valladolid

So how close are Cenote Samula & Xkeken to each other?  Within walking distance ~ it’s a super easy stroll from one to the other, & they share the same parking lot with a few food vendors & a couple donkeys!  I thought both cenotes were STUNNING ~ but Samula is my favorite of the two.  It’s set in a truly spectacular & massive cavern, with incredibly high walls leading down to crystalline, turquoise waters.  The light coming in from the overhead aperture makes for gorgeous shots; stairs lead from the top of the cave down to the water.  My friends were able to get pictures of me from high above, making the scene even more dramatic…

Photos of Cenote Samula, Best Cenotes of Yucatan, Cenote Samula, Girl Who Travels the World

This is the first shot I took of Cenote Samula: you enter the cenote from the top, & take stairs down to reach the water.

Guide to Cenote Dzitnup & Samula by Valladolid in Mexico, Girl Who Travels the World

My friends stayed up top to take this shot: you’ll get the best shots & perspective from up above.

Guide to Cenote Dzitnup & Samula by Valladolid in Mexico, Girl Who Travels the World

Different times of day at Samula will give you different light exposures…

Guide to Cenote Dzitnup & Samula by Valladolid, Girl Who Travels the World

It’s hard to get a shot by yourself at any cenote: but my friends almost managed it here.

One of the biggest bummers about both cenotes at Dzitnup is the long, clothes-lines/zip lines that run through them; it’s hard to get a shot without them unless you zoom in A LOT ~ or shoot only of a small portion of the cenote. But don’t zoom in too much, because as you can see with the photo above, the image gets grainy. This is again why I recommend bringing a good camera, especially if you’re visiting several cenotes.

Sexy Suit

Cancun Guidebook

Underwater Camera

Goodbye…Cenote Dzitnup

That’s a wrap on the cenotes at Dzitnup!  If you’d like to read more articles on the Yucatan, check out my video tour of nearby Chichen Itza ~ or read about my favorite beachfront resorts in Tulum.  And if you love the water, check out this article on Cozumel’s great snorkel spots

xoxo Noelia

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Guide to Cenote Dzitnup, Xkeken, & Samula, Girl Who Travels the World