Visitors to Valladolid are spoilt when it comes to the choice of cenotes nearby; there are big ones, small ones, open ones, cave-like ones, tiny off-the-beaten-track ones and commercial ones. Its hard to get round them all!
I had always put off visiting the cenote at Hacienda Selva Maya because from the big fancy gates and manicured gardens, I imagined it to be super commercial and basically not so fun.
I was WRONG! We recently visited and I 100% recommend it!
Yes, it has been turned into a business. Yes, coaches do stop there. But the cenote is deep and majestic and wonderful. It is also really convenient, if you like that kind of thing, with changing rooms, bathrooms etc. And the food at the buffet is delicious and well-deserved if you’ve come by bike!
If you pay to eat the buffet (approx. 150 pesos) they don’t charge you the cenote. There is so much food to choose from and its all really delicious and authentic (speaking as an adopted Yucateca!). Poc-choc, papadzules, chayitas, tortillas hechas a mano, sopa de lima, tamales, cochinita, relleno negro, rajas poblanas, platanco frito……the list goes on! I ate so, so much and could have carried on eating had I not been afraid of the bike ride home.
The cenote is beautiful, with steep sides and turquoise water. The waterfall into the cenote is obviously fake (there is no ground-water in Yucatan) but its added something fun and unique to this cenote.
I’d say time your visit right. We went in the morning, swam in the cenote straight away and had an early lunch. This meant there was only 1 family with us in the water and at lunch a scattering of people. As we were leaving though, at about 2pm, a couple of buses pulled up and many, many people were heading for the cenote/buffet so, if you don’t want crowds, I guess go early or go late.
I would definitely take visitors here in the future. Its really close to the cenotes Samula/X’keken and the chance to try a huge range of Yucatecan and Mexican food all in one go is fantastic!
http://www.mesondelmarques.com/esp/hacienda_selva_maya.cfm – take a look at their website for more info!