My sister Margaret and my nieces are visiting us and we’ve introduced them to the thrill of cenotes. They know that any vacation with the Shermans is bound to include water. Together our families have played in water on the Oregon coast, Hawaii, San Diego, numerous visits to Arizona, Schlitterbahn and South Padre Island and now we can add cenotes to their list of Bodies of Water with The Shermans.
We went to Ek Balam today, which is the third Mayan ruins visited by the Shermans. In case you are keeping track, Chichen Itza is my favorite. But it was good to try something new, and we knew the kids would enjoy climbing on the ruins, which they can not do at Chichen Itza. On the same site as Ek Balam is a really cool cenote called X’canche. You pay separately for the ruins and the cenote so you can choose on or the other or both. We did both today, saving the cenote for the end when we were nice and hot. Definitely a good plan.
To get to the cenote you have to travel about a mile down a nice packed gravel road. A bike or a ride on a “Mayan Taxi” (a tricycle with a seat) is included in your cost of admission. If you want to just swim you pay 100 pesos ($5.25). If you want to do the zip line and tarzan rope swing you pay 250 pesos ($14.06).
So off we went down the road, feeling sorry for our Mayan Taxi drivers. It was a warm day and not all of us are 9 years old. But soon we were there and they have nice changing rooms and bathrooms and then we ventured down toward the cenote.
This cenote is open so there are no caves (and no bats!) and it’s inside what seems like a big hole! You have to travel down quite a few steps to get there, or take the short way and jump from a really high platform (no, gracias!). The zip line was across the top of the hole and you didn’t actually jump into the water from it, you just traveled across. As Mar and I were making our way down the steps we watched our 4 girls zip across one by one. They did it twice and then joined us in the water.
The water was very refreshing but not cold. It was not clear but wasn’t dirty either. The girls saw bigger fish but I chose not to see any. You could rent a life jacket for 20 pesos ($1.12US) or $2. You like that fuzzy math there? I actually think they aren’t trying to cheat you, they just will not take US money in change form, only in dollars, so they have to round up. Not so fuzzy now.
If you didn’t want a life jacket they had some rubber inner tubes floating around and you could grab those and go to your happy place. As with all cenotes, it’s fun to float around but equally entertaining is watching other people do some of the more daring feats. We watched two guys work up the nerve to jump from a REALLY high platform. It’s rather entertaining.
I manage to sneak in one quick rope swing jump even though I didn’t pay for it, but I justified it by saying we only got to swim for less than an hour because we were there at the end of the day. It definitely pays to get going early but there are 4 kids and we are burning the candle at both ends with all our activities so you can only do so much before they stage a coup.
When it was time to leave all the Mayan Taxis were waiting for us outside the changing rooms and they whisked us back to the parking lot. This cenote is a little off the beaten path but definitely very neat. The staff were very nice, as always, and an employee explained to me that this was a cooperative and by visiting the cenote you help out the town. It’s been open 6 years, he said, and he seemed genuinely appreciative that we had come. This cenote gets two thumbs up from the Cenote Whisperers.