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Cenote Oxman is a hidden gem in Mexico, and an absolute must-visit when exploring the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. This guide will break down everything you need to know about planning your visit.
What are cenotes?
If you’ve landed on this blog post after doing some research, you may already understand what a cenote is. However, if you’ve never traveled to Mexico and are just starting your travel research, you might be wondering what the heck a cenote is. If so, keep reading to learn more! Cenotes (pronounced sei-now-tay) are sinkholes that were created by the ceiling of caves collapsing. This results in sinkholes that hold salt-free water, making them great areas of swimming, diving, and scoping out the wildlife. Seriously, these cenotes are some underground magic. The water in any of these cenotes tend to be quite cold, but often a refreshing break from Mexico’s heat. There are actually three different types of cenotes. There are covered cenotes, open air cenotes, and a mix of the two. Cenote Oxman is an open air cenote, with crystal clear and (very) deep water.
Cenotes are extremely popular throughout the Yucatan peninsula. I think it would be impossible to visit the region with hearing about these water pools, and they are definitely something that should be on any Tulum itinerary. Although Cenote Oxman is closer to Valladolid, it still makes a great day trip from Tulum.
The Yucatan peninsula is full of thousands of cenotes to explore, so you’ll want to narrow down your list of must-visit cenotes. I’ve been to quite a few cenotes throghout Mexico, and I think this one is my favorite of them all. But ere are a few of my other favorite cenotes:
- Gran Cenote – just 10 minutes from Tulum and the most “insta-famous” of the cenotes near Tulum
- Cenote Choo-Ha – located near Coba, this is a great cenote to combine with a day trip to the famous Mayan ruins
- Cenote Azul – located between Playa del Carmen and Tulum, Cenote Azul is one of the best cenotes for a day of swimming
Where is Cenote Oxman located?
Cenote Oxman is located just outside of Valladolid, approximately 10-15 minutes by car. It is also located on the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico, meaning it is not too far from major tourist hot spots such as Tulum, Playa del Carmen, and Cancun.
Here are some distances from major cities:
- Valladolid – Cenote Oxman: 10-15 minutes
- Tulum – Cenote Oxman: 1.5 hours
- Cancun – Cenote Oxman: 2 hours
- Playa del Carmen – Cenote Oxman: 2 hours
How to get to Cenote Oxman
How to get to Cenote Oxman from Valladolid
In order to reach Cenote Oxman from Valladolid, you will need to take a taxi or private car. There is not currently any public transportation to get your from the city to the cenote. If you are planning to take a taxi, rather than renting a car, I recommend negotiating and arranging your pickup as well.
How to get to Cenote Oxman from Tulum
By far the easiest way to get to Cenote Oxman from Tulum is by car, either a rented car if you feel comfortable or a taxi. We hired a taxi driver from Tulum and paid 2800 MXN ($138 USD) plus tip. This included the 1.5 hour drive each way to get to the Valladolid region, two cenotes, and a stop for lunch in Valladolid proper. The full day was about nine hours, so well worth the price in our opinion, especially if you have 2-3 travelers in your group.
If you are traveling to Tulum on a budget, or exploring Tulum solo, then the ADO bus is a great option as well! Tickets start at 140 MXN ($7 USD) each way from Tulum to Valladolid. Once you arrive at the bus station, you should expect to pay around 100 MXN pesos ($5 USD) to get to cenote oxman.
Swimming at Cenote Oxman
By far, the highlight of Cenote Oxman is the famous rope swing. I think I must have swung at least 25 times, and had such a blast. Arriving early meant that we didn’t have the share the cenote with other travelers, with easy access to the swing. Tip: if you’re trying to get the swing, pull really hard to yank it back! It took us a while to nail the rope swing retrieval method.
Because the water at Cenote Oxman actually gets a lot of sunlight, the water isn’t too cold. And trust me when I say that because I’m a total baby when it comes to swimming in cold waters. I would highly recommend bringing your own snorkel gear, as the few under the water is absolutely incredible. I was so bummed that I didn’t have an underwater camera or GoPro with me, because the underwater light rays were insane!
Cenote Oxman Hours and Prices
Cenote Oxman Hours
The cenote is currently open daily from 10AM to 5PM. That said, when we arrived at 9:45AM, they let us right in. I recommend arriving as close to opening time as possible, or slightly before, to avoid the crowds. Many tours will stop at Cenote Oxman after visiting Chichen Itza which you’ll definitely want to avoid!
How Much Does it Cost?
There are two different ticket options when visiting Cenote Oxman, but make sure to bring cash. The first option costs 150 MXN ($7.50) and gets you admission into the cenote only. The second option costs 250 MXN ($12.50) but includes a 200 peso credit to the on-site restaurant and access to the pool. This is a great option if you’re already planning on eating at the restaurant. We stopped by to check it out and the food is pretty decent, especially the traditional Longaniza. But if you’re heading back to Valladolid you can get better food for cheaper.
There is no fee for using your camera, but if you’d like to fly your drone there is a 150 MXN ($7.50) extra fee.
Dining at Cenote Oxman
There is a poolside restaurant on-site at the cenote which is open the same hours as the cenote itself. The dishes are reasonably priced and sized, and quite tasty as well. As I mentioned above, if you pay 100 pesos extra for your entrance ticket, you get a a 200 peso credit to the restaurant, so it’s a great deal!
Things to Know
- There are showers, changing rooms, bathrooms, and lockers on-site for use.
- There is a restaurant located at Hacienda Oxman.
- Don’t get suckered into buying any of the tequila that they sell on the property – it’s a scam!
- It is mandatory to wearing your life vest while in the water or swinging on the rope swing – and they will yell at you if you don’t!
Where to Stay
- Hacienda San Lorenzo Oxman: For as little at $50/night, you can actually stay right at the cenote. While there isn’t a ton else to do on the property, this is a great opportunity to enjoy the cenote without the crowds.
- Turquoise Petit: If you’re visiting the cenote on a day trip from Tulum, then I highly recommend staying at Turquoise Petit in Tulum town. Located in La Valeta, it is super close to some of the best restaurants in Tulum.
- Hotel Fundadores: If you’re planning to stay in Valladolid, which I definitely recommend if you have the time, you’ll find plenty of great budget-friendly options. Hotel Fundadores is one of the best for rates starting at only $35 USD/night.
What to Pack
- Underwater camera or GoPro – don’t be me at forget to bring one along! My biggest regret from visiting this cenote was not being able to capture any epic underwater shots. And I promise you, they will be absolutely epic!
- Bathing suit – it would be nearly impossible to visit this beautiful cenote and not go for a swim in the crystal clear water. I prefer to wear a one-piece for more support when swinging, in this suit from Aerie is my fave lately.
- Flip flops – your shoes may get wet so I recommend wearing flip flops or cheap sandals.
- Cash – the cenote, like many others in Mexico, is cash only!
Visiting Tulum, Mexico? Here are some other articles to check out:
- Tulum on a Budget
- Top Tulum Instagram Spots
- How to get to Tulum from Cancun Airport
- Ultimate Tulum Itinerary
- Tulum Solo Travel Guide
- Restaurants in Tulum