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Cenote Sagrado

Visit a beautiful natural pool that once played a dark role in Mayan culture, as revealed by the many ancient skeletons found beneath its waters.

Cenote Sagrado, or the Sacred Cenote, is a tranquil natural pool with a fascinating and disturbing history. Come here as part of a trip to Chichén Itzá, the ancient Mayan archaeological site located close by.

Cenotes are sinkholes filled with water, often completely or partially covered by a cave and enclosed by jungle. Visit the Yucatán Peninsula and you will be surrounded by around 6,000 of these wonders. It is thought that the cenotes were considered holy places by the Mayans, the people of the ancient civilization that occupied this area long before Spanish colonizers arrived. Cenote Sagrado gets its name from the fact that it is believed to have been particularly sacred. Look into its deep, murky waters and imagine the many people who were thrown into its depths as human sacrifices, many of them well over 1,000 years ago.

The Mayans believed that throwing people into this cenote would help placate Chaac, god of rain, and ensure that their crops would thrive. Come here on a guided tour and hear how archaeologists’ understanding of this ritual was developed by the many objects pulled from the waters of Cenote Sagrado. These include precious materials such as gold, jade and obsidian, as well as skeletons belonging to adults, children and even babies. 

Look up from the cenote and see steep cliffs rising around 89 feet (27 meters) high on all sides. The water itself reaches a depth of around 49 feet (15 meters) in places. Today it is not possible to swim in Cenote Sagrado, but those who have dived its depths in the past include famous explorer Jacques Cousteau. 

Walk to Cenote Sagrada directly from Chichén Itzá’s central edifice and star attraction, the grand pyramid known as El Castillo. On the way, look for the Temple of Venus, another well-preserved Mayan ruin. Explore the ruins and the cenote yourself, or join a guided tour to hear the ancient stories of the Mayans brought to life. 

How about making your visit to Cenote Sagrado even more special? Don't miss the chance to try one or two of these activities:

For many more things to do, have a look at our Chichen Itza - Valladolid things to do page.


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Best Lodging Options Near Cenote Sagrado

See all 134 properties near Cenote Sagrado
Mayaland Hotel And Bungalows CA $127
Mayaland Hotel And Bungalows

Mayaland Hotel And Bungalows

Km 120 Ctra Merida, Zona Arqueologica, In the heart of Chichen Itza, Chichen Itza, YUC
     
    4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

    This family-friendly Chichen Itza resort is located in a national park, just steps away from El Caracol and Pre-Hispanic City of Chichen-Itza. Cenote Ik kil is 1.8 mi (2.8 km) away.

    Hotel Okaan CA $135
    Hotel Okaan

    Hotel Okaan

    km 122 Carr Merida-Puerto Juarez, Chichen Itza, YUC
       
      3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

      Situated in a rural location, this spa hotel is 1 mi (1.6 km) from Cenote Ik kil, and within 3 mi (5 km) of Court of the Thousand Columns and Pyramid of Kukulkan.

      The Lodge at Chichen Itza CA $212
      The Lodge at Chichen Itza

      The Lodge at Chichen Itza

      Carretera Merida-Cancun, Km 120, In the heart of Chichen Itza, Chichen Itza, YUC
         
        4.5 out of 5.0 Stars

        This family-friendly Chichen Itza lodge is within 3 mi (5 km) of Court of the Thousand Columns, Pyramid of Kukulkan and Cenote Ik kil. Pre-Hispanic City of Chichen-Itza and Cenote Xkeken are also within 25 mi (40 km).

        Hotel Chichen Itza CA $51
        Hotel Chichen Itza

        Hotel Chichen Itza

        Av. Principal Piste num. 45, Piste, Tinum, YUC
           
          3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

          This family-friendly hotel is located in the city centre, within 2 mi (3 km) of Pre-Hispanic City of Chichen-Itza, Pyramid of Kukulkan and Court of the Thousand Columns. El Caracol is 1.7 mi (2.8 km) away.

          Hotel DORALBA INN Chichén CA $35
          Hotel DORALBA INN Chichén

          Hotel DORALBA INN Chichén

          Km 122 Carretera Merida- Cancun, Chichen Itza, YUC
             
            2.5 out of 5.0 Stars

            Situated in the historical district, this hotel is 0.1 mi (0.1 km) from Cenote Ik kil, and within 3 mi (5 km) of Pre-Hispanic City of Chichen-Itza and Court of the Thousand Columns. Pyramid of Kukulkan is 2.1 mi (3.5 km) away.

            Villas Arqueologicas Chichen Itza CA $109
            Villas Arqueologicas Chichen Itza

            Villas Arqueologicas Chichen Itza

            Km 120 Carretera Merida-valladolid, Chichen Itza, YUC
               
              3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

              This family-friendly Chichen Itza hotel is located in the historical district, within a 5-minute walk of Pre-Hispanic City of Chichen-Itza and El Caracol. Cenote Ik kil is 1.5 mi (2.4 km) away.

              Hacienda Chichen Resort & Yaxkin Spa CA $242
              Hacienda Chichen Resort & Yaxkin Spa

              Hacienda Chichen Resort & Yaxkin Spa

              Carretera Libre 180 KM 120, Chichen Itza, YUC
                 
                3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

                Situated in Chichen Itza, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Court of the Thousand Columns and Pyramid of Kukulkan.

                Stardust inn CA $31
                Stardust inn

                Stardust inn

                Calle 15 Num 34A x 2Ay 2B Piste, Tinum, YUC
                   
                  2.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Situated in Tinum, this hotel is 1.4 mi (2.2 km) from Pyramid of Kukulkan and 1.4 mi (2.2 km) from Court of the Thousand Columns. Cenote Ik kil and Cenote Yokdzonot are also within 12 mi (20 km).