After I visited all the cenotes around Valladolid in Yucatan Peninsula there was only one beautiful cenote left on my bucketlist. In April 2019 I finally got time to visit cenote Ik Kil and wrote down all my tips for you. In this travel blog you will find everything you need to know when you visit Ik Kil.
From late February till end of April 2019 I traveled around Yucatan for almost 10 weeks and saw all the amazing places to visit in Yucatan Peninsula. For my Valladolid cenotes blog post I had seen so many cenotes already that I was a little cenoted-out! A couple weeks later I got back to Valladolid Mexico again and this time cenote Ik Kil was on my list. In the following YouTube video of me you can see my vlog about visiting Ik Kil and how to get there.
1. How to get to cenote Ik Kil
If you are driving yourself cenote Ik Kil is very easy to get to as it is just off Highway 180 between Piste and Valladolid. From Piste to Ik Kil is only 7 kilometers (4.5 miles) and 3 kilometers (2 miles) from Chichen Itza. A taxi from Chichen Itza or Piste should never cost more than $5.
From Valladolid to cenote Ik Kil
There are three options if you travel from Valladolid to Ik Kil cenote. You can either take a bus, hop on a colectivo or grab a taxi. Taxis charge at least 300 Pesos ($20) one-way. From Valladolid to cenote Ik Kil is about 40 kilometers (25 miles) and takes 40 minutes.
Colectivos can be found on Calle 39 half way in and between Calle 44 and Calle 46. They cost 35 Pesos and drop you right at the cenote Ik Kil entrance. They leave throughout the day whenever they are full.
The best way to get to cenote Ik Kil from Valladolid is to take a Oriente bus from the bus station in Valladolid. The bus station is at the corner of Calle 46 and Calle 39 and there are almost 20 busses per day, starting at 08:30am, 09:30am, etc. I took the bus at 10:30am. I took a photo of the departure times for you.
From Merida to cenote Ik Kil
It is a long way (130km/80miles) but it is possible! From the Merida Mexico bus station you take a bus to Piste. There you will have to take a taxi for a couple dollars to the entrance of cenote Ik Kil.
This is what the entrance of cenote Ik Kil looks like.
2. What are the cenote Ik Kil opening hours?
The cenote is open every day from 9:00am till 5:00pm. The last entrance is at 5:00pm, but you can hang out till around 5:30pm, until they get everyone out of the water and make you go back to the top.
3. What is the cenote Ik Kil entrance fee?
As of March 2019 there is an entrance fee of 80 Pesos ($4) for adults and 40 Pesos ($2) for children. Some foreign currencies are accepted but at a very bad exchange rate. There are no discounts for groups.
4. Bring cash
They don’t accept any credit and debit cards so make sure to bring cash when you visit cenote Ik Kil.
5. Is there a parking space at cenote Ik Kil?
Yes and a really big one actually as you may have seen in my Ik Kil vlog. If you are coming by car there is no need to worry about parking spaces. Parking is free of charge at cenote Ik Kil.
6. Best time to visit Ik Kil cenote
If you want to enjoy cenote Ik Kil the best way possible then come early. After 11:30am tour groups are arriving and big busses show up at the parking lot. When I arrived at 11:00am it was still pretty quiet and there were only about 30 people inside the cenote, an hour later there were surely more than 100 people around.
7. Ik Kil tours
Tour busses come and go, but not in the early morning. Most people combine Chichen Itza tours with cenote Ik Kil and therefore it can get super busy at times. Tours to Ik Kil won’t show up anymore after 4:00pm, so the last hour is also a good time to visit Ik Kil as well.
8. Lockers and changing rooms
There are loads of changing rooms and toilets next to the stairs that lead down to the water. This is also where you can rent lockers for your valuables. Lockers cost 30 Pesos ($1,5).
9. Lifejackets for rent
There is the possibility to rent a lifejacket for those that are not the best swimmers. You will find them next to the changing rooms and they cost 30 Pesos ($1,5).
10. You can rent a towel
In case you will forget to bring a towel you can also rent one at Ik Kil. Towel rental is 30 Pesos ($1,5) and 70 Pesos deposit.
11. Why is cenote Ik Kil the most beautiful cenote in Yucatan?
The walls of cenote Ik Kil are covered in green leafs and vines hang down from the top of the cenote. Most of the vines reach the water below what gives cenote Ik Kil this dramatic look. Also the straight walls of Ik Kil form a perfectly round cirkel, which makes it one damn good looking sinkhole. Its size, its vines and its straight high walls covered in green leafs make Ik Kil one of the most beautiful cenotes in Yucatan.
12. Do NOT touch the vines
Although it seems tempting when swimming in the cenote it is forbidden to touch the vines and lifeguards and security on duty will keep an eye out. Pleas preserve the beauty of Ik Kil cenote!
13. Help preserving cenotes
When visiting cenotes in general please do not wear any make up, skin products, insect repellents and sunscreen. After all cenotes are a fresh water source part of underground rivers. At cenote Ik Kil there are multiple signs asking you to take a shower before entering the water and rinse your body.
Side note: when I was visiting Ik Kil, the public showers didn’t work and there was no alternative!
14. Why is cenote Ik Kil so popular?
First of all because of its beauty of course, but also because of its location directly next to Chichen Itza, one of the 7 World Wonders. From Chichen Itza to Ik Kil is only about 5 minutes by car. A lot of visitors that want to cool off after a Chichen Itza tour, swing by at the Ik Kil cenote. On top of the cenote gained popularity in the past because of a Red Bull cliff diving event.
15. Chichen Itza cenote
Because of its proximity to this world wonder, cenote Ik Kil is often referred to as Chichen Itza cenote.
16. Red Bull Cliff diving event at cenote Ik Kil
In has been a couple years already since cenote Ik Kil hosted one of the Red Bull cliff diving events. Red Bull Cliff Diving in Ik Kil was organized in 2010, 2011 and 2014. This way cenote Ik Kil gained a lot of popularity.
17. How deep is cenote Ik Kil?
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 meter (150 feet) below the water level, which makes this sinkhole 80 meters (240 feet) deep.
18. Jumping from the top is NOT allowed
In case you are feeling brave for your visit to Ik Kil: jumping from the top is NOT allowed. There are a couple signs around as well as security guards.
19. No drone policy
It is forbidden to fly drones within the Ik Kil cenote park.
20. Lifeguards on duty
There are always two lifeguards on duty in cenote Ik Kil. Although swimming is at your own risks, the lifeguards keep an eye out. There are ropes in the water to hold on to when you are tired as there is no shallow area. There are two ladders to enter the water.
There are actually some small black catfishes in the water, but snorkeling in cenote Ik Kil is totally not worth it, there is nothing to see.
21. Cliff jumping at cenote Ik Kil
There is a staircase that leads up to an elevated platform. This is where the lifeguards sit, but from here you can also jump into the cenote. The jumping platforms slightly differ in height between 3 meter (9 feet) and 6 meter (18 feet). If you are looking for cliff jumping then Cenote Zaci in Valladolid is a great one.
22. Why is cenote Ik Kil also called sacred cenote
According to archeologists cenote Ik Kil was a place where the Mayans prayed to the rain god Chaac. Apparently cenote Ik Kil is where humans have been sacrificed to the rain god and therefore it is also called the sacred cenote. On the bottom of the cenote remains of humans have been found.
Side note: I learned on my 2 month Yucatan trip that lots of archeologists disagree about the Mayans actually performing human sacrificing! It is likely to be propaganda made up by the Spanish.
23. There are sun beds and hammocks
For those willing to maximize their cenote Ik Kil day trip they can lounge in one of the many hammocks or sun beds. Of course you are also able to buy a drink. Hanging around till the end of the day and then enjoying the cenote when everyone is gone is a great idea. Perfect for those on a Yucatan road trip that have their own car.
24. Ik Kil restaurant
There are two restaurants and a couple little shops that sell ice cream and drinks. The snack bar is a great place to have a drink after you went swimming in the cenote. A guacamola only costs 55 Pesos ($2,5), it was a big portion and delicious, a beer is a little expensive with 65 Pesos ($3) per bottle. A cheese burger or a club sandwich is 70 Pesos ($3,5).
There also is a buffet restaurant and for a set price of 180 Pesos ($9) you can eat as much as you want.
25. There is even an Ik Kil hotel
On site there are a couple bungalows that can be booked for around $50 per night. I asked around at the restaurant and no one could actually tell me more info about them, apart from the price.
On the other side of the road there is Hotel Doralba Inn Chichen with a swimming pool. It is along the highway and pretty affordable for about $40 per room per night. Breakfast is included in this 3 star hotel, rooms are pretty ok. Review score is 7.8 from more than 1,000 reviews.
I hope all these tips for visiting Ik Kil cenote were helpful. Im sure once you get there and admired the beauty of this natural world wonder you agree that this is one if the most beautiful cenotes in Yucatan.
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