Many have heard of cenotes, but a few have experienced their magnificence of them. If you find yourself in the Yucatan Peninsula or if you’re planning to jump into an adventure to go see the Great Pyramid of Kukulkan in Chichen Itza, we encourage you to explore a little further, we promise it will be worth it. Ik Kil cenote is the perfect example, located only 10 minutes away from the ruins!
On the highway to Valladolid Yucatan, you can easily stop by Ik Kil cenote and immerse yourself in one of the most beautiful cenotes in Mexico. So there is no reason to wonder, here is something for everyone to enjoy!
Ik Kil is a cenote outside Piste in the Tinum Municipality, Yucatan, Mexico. It is located in the northern center of the Yucatan Peninsula and is part of the Ik Kil Archeological Park near Chichen Itza. Cenote Ik Kil, as we mentioned before, is on the highway to Valladolid Yucatan. In the Mayan language, Ik Kil means The Place of The Winds, and it was considered sacred by the Mayans who used the site as a location for human sacrifice to their rain god, Chaac. Bones and pieces of jewelry were found in the deep waters of this cenote by archaeologists and speleologists.
The water level of Cenote Ik Kil is about 30 meters (90 feet) lower than the surface. The walls of Cenote Ik Kil go straight down to the bottom of the cenote at 50 meters (150 feet) below the water level, which makes this sinkhole 80 meters (240 feet) deep.
Add this stop to your bucket list, and to make the best out of your vacation, we suggest you visit the cool waters of the Ik Kil cenote after your morning hike around the Chichen Itza ruins. Don’t worry about doing both activities on the same day, we have the best option for you and it is to take private transportation. If you do so, a vehicle will be waiting for you at your location, and with no time to waste, ready to start the experience. Remember, the Archeological Park of Chichen Itza opens at 8:00 am, and it takes about 3-3 ½ hrs to get to the ruins, either from Cancun or Playa del Carmen, so arriving early is highly recommended. By doing so, you are likely to have the Chichen Itza ruins all for yourself! Isn’t that a treat? No crowds or people photobombing in your pictures. And don’t forget, sunburns are less likely to occur between 8-11 am and by constantly applying sunscreen, so waking up early is very convenient.
Get a guide to show you around and share historic facts about the area. Keep in mind that Chichen Itza is more than just one pyramid, so be aware that the tour may take about 2-3 hours! Besides the archaeological views, Chichen Itza is home to a variety of wildlife including reptiles, iguanas, and different birds like woodpeckers and green parakeets. So be camera ready to capture one of these beautiful creatures in their natural habitat. Chichen Itza is surrounded by other buildings, including the Tzompantli, the Temazcal, and the Ball Game arena. You can see the map here.
Now picture yourself after walking and enjoying the breathtaking views of Chichen Itza. Now you want nothing more refreshing and relaxing than to jump into a cenote. Ik Kil cenote is ready for you. The entrance fee for Ik Kil cenote is $80 pesos (about $5 USD). This doesn't include lifejackets or locker space. At the site, you will find a store, a restaurant, and changing rooms. The cenote is open to the public every day from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. And if you’re up for more, you can book accommodation on-site and also schedule your private transportation to get you to your next adventure, which may be Ek Balam or other cenotes that are close by.
Thanks to their affordability and family-friendly ambiance, cenotes are a great way to finish the day off but also a great site to visit at any point of your stay in the Yucatan Peninsula. And if you are into history, getting to know the stories and meaning behind the cenotes makes the experience much more amazing. Some researchers have discovered that ancient priests would stay the night by the shore, fasting, and dancing to their gods. Drums and songs would echo on the walls of the cave. This was the way to worship and thank their gods for allowing the client and for the rain that watered the fields. The interaction between K’inich Ajaw, the sun, and the sacred waters of Chaak, represented the dance of life, which they believed made the corn grow in the field. So next time you visit Ik Kil cenote or any other cenote, think of the Mayan history and the mysteries that hide in the cool waters and the tall caves that have been here for hundreds of years.