Cenote Ik Kil is a sacred site to the Maya people, who once performed sacrificial rituals here. Located in the middle of the Yucatan Peninsula and surrounded by tropical vines and small waterfalls, the so-called “Sacred Blue Cenote” is now a lush swimming hole popular with Riviera Maya tourists.
Nearly all excursions to Cenote Ik Kil are combo tours that include a visit to Chichen Itza, as well as possible stops at archaeological sites such as Coba or Ek Balam, or at towns such as Valladolid. (Tours typically last eight to 14 hours given the number of sites visited.) Unlike other cenotes in the Yucatan region, Cenote Ik Kil is open to the sky without a cave cover, giving the natural pool an ethereal feel with sunlight streaming down into the water. Part of Ik Kil Archeological Park, the cenote features vines hanging down from the rock walls. To get in the water, you must climb down 85 feet (26 meters) of steps. The pool is 196 feet (60 meters) wide and about 130 feet (40 meters) deep.
Things to Know Before You Go
The cenote can be difficult to access for those with limited mobility.
A restaurant and changing rooms are located on-site.
To access the cenote, you must pay the admission fee for Ik Kil Archeological Park.
How to Get There
Cenote Ik Kil lies inland from Mexico’s Caribbean coast, roughly 125 miles (200 kilometers) from Cancun, 115 miles (186 kilometers) from Playa del Carmen, and 90 miles (145 kilometers) from Tulum. Private tours and transportation are available for those who want a more intimate experience without the hassle of driving.
When to Get There
If you wish to visit the cenote on your own, arrive in the morning to beat the crowds.
Visiting Chichen Itza and Cenote Ik Kil
On the Yucatan Peninsula, cenotes and Maya culture go hand in hand. Archaeological sites featuring ancient Maya ruins abound, but the biggest and most popular destination is Chichen Itza, set just three miles (five kilometers) from Cenote Ik Kil. Once one of the largest Maya cities, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is known for its vast Great Ball Court and El Castillo, a step pyramid nearly 100 feet (30 meters) tall.