Ikil Cenote Near Chichen Itza

One of the most strikingly beautiful swimming spots of the Yucatan is Ik Kil Cenote- a natural sinkhole near the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza. The cenote (sometimes called Ikkil Cenote, Cenote Ik Kil, or just plain Ik Kil), is part of the Ik Kil Archaeological Park, and is a popular tourist destination.

The pool of water in the cenote is located 85 feet (26 meters) below ground (the pool itself is 40 meters or 130 feet deep), and is framed by rays of light, vines, vegetation, and small waterfalls. Visitors can get to the pool by walking down a carved staircase, but some folks choose to jump or dive in- at lest on special occasions. Ik Kil was part of the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series in 2011 and 2010!
Though normal visitors don't have the opportunity to jump from the mouth of the cenote into the center like professional divers, there is a platform inside the cenote (maybe 15-20 feet up) from which people can jump into the water (I highly recommend it).

Click thumbnail to view full-size
The cenote as viewed by aboveA swimmer splashing into the water after a nice hop off the ledgeFloating amidst the vinesIt's quite the nice spot!The barThe restaurantYour gentle author and her fatherLook at 'em float!
The cenote as viewed by above
The cenote as viewed by above
A swimmer splashing into the water after a nice hop off the ledge
A swimmer splashing into the water after a nice hop off the ledge
Floating amidst the vines
Floating amidst the vines
It's quite the nice spot!
It's quite the nice spot!
The bar
The bar
The restaurant
The restaurant
Your gentle author and her father
Your gentle author and her father
Look at 'em float!
Look at 'em float!
The view from inside the cenote
The view from inside the cenote

Visiting Ik Kil

Ik Kil is around 37 minutes from Merida and practically next door to Chichen Itza.

If you plan on swimming at Ikkil Cenote on the way to, perhaps, a visit to Chichen Itza, be sure you do it before 1:00pm. After that point, the crowds of tourists tend to ruin the nice effect. That said, the cenote is pretty clean when one considers how much traffic it must get. There are showers at the mouth of the cenote, and everyone is encouraged to rinse off before diving in. What's more, there are lockers for stashing your goods, nice clean bathrooms, and changing areas.

The entrance fee for adults is 70 pesos (around 5 dollars) and is 35 pesos for kids (around $2.50), and the park is open from 8:00am to 6:00pm. You’ll also find Mayan ruins on the site, along with a restaurant, a bar, and a gift shop.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Convenient lockers for your stuff!Keep it clean, kids!Convenient showersThe stairway downSwimmers and watchers
Convenient lockers for your stuff!
Convenient lockers for your stuff!
Keep it clean, kids!
Keep it clean, kids!
Convenient showers
Convenient showers
The stairway down
The stairway down
Swimmers and watchers
Swimmers and watchers

Swimming in Ik Kil Cenote is a fabulous experience. Though most cenotes I've swam in are pretty chilly (especiailly compared to the warm ocean), Ik Kil feels quite warm, and it's dreadfully fun to jump off the ledge into the water, get splashed from the water falls, and watch the small catfish swirling around.

Keep in mind that if you DO swim, you'll end up in a lot of photos. Not everyone who visits the cenote strips down and dives in, in fact, most visitors present when I was there were perfectly content standing outside the cenote with their camera and watching people paddle around on their behalf (that said, it was a cool, cloudy day).

Ik Kil is definitely the most touresty cenote I've been to, but it's also very beautiful, so I say it's well worth the visit!

A markerchichen itza -
Chichen-itza, Yucatán, Mexico
[get directions]

Ik Kil Cenote is about 4km away from the entrance to Chichen Itza.

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Comments 20 comments

livelonger profile image

livelonger 5 years ago from San Francisco

Wow...that's just about all I can say, looking at the fantastic pictures you've provided here. I'll say it again: WOW. I've only read about how cenotes are formed, but never seen one illustrated so nicely, and enjoyed by tourists like this. Helpful information for interested tourists to Chichen Itza, too!

Ercolano profile image

Ercolano 5 years ago from Vancouver, BC

Simone, enjoying your trip to the Mayan Riviera as it unfolds, this sure looks like great fun, and good advice too, getting there before 1pm. You've certainly given me some unusual alternatives to look at the next time I'm in the Yucatan. The cenote looks like its right up my alley.

shea duane profile image

shea duane 5 years ago from new jersey

Incredible! The photo - View from Inside the Cenote - is beyond words... like a house of prayer. Did you take those photos?

davenmidtown profile image

davenmidtown 5 years ago from Sacramento, California

Awesome Simone: What a beautiful place to visit. If I ever get to the rain-forests they will probably have to drag me out. I would be stuck forever admiring all the historical items/locals and the plants, insects and wildlife...

SirDent 5 years ago

This sure looks like it was fun. You should have put on a helmet cam and dived in so we could all experience it.

It is a beautiful place and the photos are awesome.

tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 5 years ago from New York

Amazing! I envy your visit. Your photos make me want to jump - though I'm not a good swimmer. Looks like you were totally enjoying the water like I enjoyed your hub.

Claudia Tello profile image

Claudia Tello 5 years ago from Mexico

I have been to Chichen Itza and many other ruins in the area, but the cenote I chose to visit is X Keken, a beautiful underground cenote. X-Keken has a cavernous sealing with a small hole through which a nice ray of light comes in, illuminating the cave and making the water blue. You probably saw it in postcards all over the place. I had never heard of the cenote you describe in your hub though, looks quite nice.

melbel profile image

melbel 5 years ago from New Buffalo, Michigan

Oh wow! That looks absolutely beautiful! How deep is the water there?

Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 5 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

I have visited no better tourist attraction than the one at Chichen Itza. I didn't get to this cenote, but I will on my next visit! Thank you for sharing.

JT Walters profile image

JT Walters 5 years ago from Florida

The photos are absolutely breath taking. Thanks for sharing.


carol3san profile image

carol3san 5 years ago from Hollywood Florida

Lovely hub. Your pics are awesome. Voted up

carcro profile image

carcro 5 years ago from Winnipeg

Awesome pics and a great description of what to expect. Thanks for the info Simone! Voted Up and Awesome...

50 Caliber profile image

50 Caliber 5 years ago from Arizona

Definitely cool, I need to see this in person. Great pictures and article on a new to me, place to visit!

Thanks, 50

Simone Smith profile image

Simone Smith 4 years ago from San Francisco Author

Whaaa? livelonger, you've never been to a cenote before??? THIS MUST BE AMENDED!!!

You'd totally dig this place, Ercolano. I highly recommend it!

Thanks, shea duane! I did take those photos. It's a very photogenic spot!

Oh, you'd apprecaite these spots so much more than I do, davenmidtown, which is saying a lot because I love them! I hope you'll have the chance to go south of the bordere sometime soon.

The cenote is 130 feet deep, Melbel. Not bad, eh?

And thanks for the kind comments, yall!! Thanks for stopping by!

Ooooh. A helmet cam. You're giving me some fun ideas, SirDent!

And tillsontitan, they even provide life jackets, so you'd be covered!

Dude, Claudia Tello, X-Keken sounds amazing. I'm sorry I missed it!

davenmidtown profile image

davenmidtown 4 years ago from Sacramento, California

I'd be the first one eaten and dragged off to the Jaguar buffet... while engrossed in centepeds or what-have-you.

Simone Smith profile image

Simone Smith 4 years ago from San Francisco Author

I did see both on that trip, davenmidtown. Though neither harmed me! They just add to the local awesomeness.

mary615 profile image

mary615 4 years ago from Florida

You did a beautiful job with this Hub and the video. The video certainly adds to the Hub. Beautiful place I'd sure like to visit after this Hub. I will vote it UP, etc.

Pyretta2 profile image

Pyretta2 4 years ago from Whitney, Ontario

awesome just brought back some awesome memories of swimming there, a magical place.

sccanseco 3 years ago

Hi Simone,

Ikil Cenote is absolutely gorgeous! Another great video and what beautiful pictures as well. Looks like a wonderful way to spend the day! Great hub....Cheers!

Simone Smith profile image

Simone Smith 3 years ago from San Francisco Author

It's a must-see if you're stopping by the ruins, sccanseco. I do hope you'll check it out!

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