Cenote Ik Kil is likely the most visited of all cenotes due to a combination of its location (a couple of miles from Chichen-Itza) and its size. Its dimensions are impressive: 200 feet in diameter, 85 feet to the water and an additional 130 feet deep.
The vast majority of people who visit Ik Kil do so via tour bus. Every day, thousands of tourists ride from nearby Cancun, Playa del Carmen or Merida to see Chichen-Itza. Many of these also feature a stop at Ik Kil to see the cenote and have a buffet lunch.
It is easy to drive yourself, although it takes a couple of hours from Cancun. Highway 180D runs between Cancun and Merida passing just north of Chichen-Itza and Ik Kil. It is a limited access road that is built like a US interstate, but there is a fairly expensive toll that requires cash so bring some along. It was something like 300 pesos when we drove it (each way). You can avoid the toll if you use other roads, but it will take much longer. Most Mexican roads are full of topes (big speed bumps!) that really slow the trip.
We drove ourselves, and stayed in Piste at Hotel Chichen-Itza the night before. This allowed us to get to Chichen-Itza when it opened for some valuable time before the masses arrived. There are other hotels in the immediate area for all price ranges, including the resort located right at cenote Ik Kil. For us, Hotel Chichen Itza was a great value for a fine motel.
Another reason to make the trip yourself is the abundance of other things to see nearby and on the way from Cancun or Merida. Just east of Ik Kil is the pleasant colonial town of Valladolid, which has its own cenote (Zaci) and two more in nearby Dzitnup (X’Keken and Samula). The underrated Mayan site of Ek Balam is a bit north of Valladolid and there are three cenotes up that way – Agua Dulce, Palomitas and one at Ek Balam itself. Tours are available from Cancun and Playa del Carmen that go to Ek Balam and its cenote if desired.
It cost 70 pesos each to enter cenote Ik Kil. The area is a resort, and it is setup to handle much larger crowds than was there when we visited. A large changing area with available lockers is next door and, as with all cenotes, guests are required to shower before entering. You should avoid lotions and perfumes on the day of your visit.
You have to descend 85 feet on a wide, winding staircase. The stairs can be wet, so watch your step. Once you reach the bottom, there is a ladder of sorts that leads into the water that might be treacherous if you have mobility issues. The water is 130 feet deep throughout, so if you get in the water, you have to tread water the whole time or bring a vest or float along. I didn’t see much reason to bring snorkel gear. There is no place to safely store things down here, although there is an area where folks spread out their belongings. On the day we visited, everyone was polite about the placement of things and thievery is likely rare, but take care of your valuables.
There is a restaurant on site, but as we drove up we couldn’t find a meal that suited us. It appeared to just be a buffet that was included in most tour group’s experience, but they wanted a price that was beyond what we were willing to pay. We snacked on cheese crackers we brought along instead. A few shops are here if you have a wish to browse. They took $US or pesos, but the pesos were a better deal.
To read about how to experience Ik Kil Cenote for yourself, click here.
A gallery of pictures from our trip is located here.
To read about my trip to nearby Chichen-Itza, go here.