Published On: Tue, Apr 15th, 2014

The Cenotes of San Antonio Mulix

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MÉRIDA, YUCATÁN – The ruined hacienda of San Antonio Mulix is not far from Mérida, in fact we were there around 45 minutes after leaving the periferico, but after driving the last ten kilometers down a narrow country road into the monte (bush), it felt like another world.

To get there from Mérida, head towards Campeche, then take the road to Muna, leaving the highway at kilometer 39, and turning right to Cacao, a small village with another ruined hacienda. The road deteriorates considerably after Cacao, but it is not far from there to San Antonio Mulix, and the entrance to the cenotes (and the hut where one must register and pay) are clearly visible.

06 - Cenote X-Batun - photo credit Jesus Herrera

Cenote X-Batun – (Photo: Jesus Herrera)

 

At the hut, entrance fees are paid: $10 pesos for Yucatán residents (including foreign residents with local ID), $25 pesos for Mexicans from other states, and $50 pesos for foreign tourists. Getting to the cenotes involves a choice – you can drive your car though the gate and along the narrow dirt road, walk, or rent a bicycle (with helmet) from the entrance hut for $40 pesos. It’s approximately five kilometers from the gate to the cenotes, and in view of the heat, we chose to drive our car. The road was dusty, and the car was filthy by the time we were finished.

 

There are two cenotes at San Antonio Mulix – Cenote X-Batún and Cenote Dzonbacal, clearly signed at the end of the road (please leave your cows outside!!!) X-Batún is by far the prettier of the two, and the more worthy of your time. It’s also more easily accessed, and, being largely open, it is brighter and sunnier. By all means visit Dzonbacal as well, but I would suggest to go there first, to avoid an anticlimax.

There’s a restaurant a short distance inside the access gate, serving Yucatán staples, which apart from a couple of very basic options in the village, is the only place to eat in the area.

01 - Registration and payment hut - photo credit Stewart Mandy

Registration and payment hut (Photo: Stewart Mandy)

 

02 - Bicycles available for rent - photo credit Jesus Herrera

Bicycles available for rent (Photo: Jesus Herrera)

03 - No cows please! Photo credit Stewart Mandy

No cows please! (Photo: Stewart Mandy)

The cenotes are open daily from 9am to 6pm. If you don’t want to drive from Mérida, a ‘combi’ operates from the city to Umán and onwards to San Antonio Mulix, and the cenotes are also included on tours offered by various operators. If you do drive, make sure you follow the road through Cacao as detailed, and don’t believe Google Maps, which indicates the village to be extremely close to (and on the wrong side of) the main highway.

09 - Cenote Yax-Ha - photo credit Jesus Herrera

Cenote Yax-Ha (Photo: Jesus Herrera)

Cenote Yax-Ha (Photo: Stewart Mandy)

Cenote Yax-Ha (Photo: Stewart Mandy)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the way in to San Antonio Mulix, a couple of kilometers before arriving, you will notice a sign for another cenote (Cenote Yáx Há – meaning green water in Maya) to the left. Not part of the main complex, it is an additional $10 per person, and a torturous two kilometer dirt road to access it. Almost completely covered, there is a steep but sturdy wood staircase which descends into the depths, where the water is cool and clear. It’s dark down there, but after a few minutes your eyes will adjust.

 

05 - Cenote X-Batun - photo credit Jesus Herrera

Cenote X-Batun (Photo: Jesus Herrera)

04 - Cenote Dzonbacal - photo credit Jesus Herrera

Cenote Dzonbacal (Photo: Jesus Herrera)

Entrance to Cenote Yax-Ha (Photo: Jesus Herrera)

Entrance to Cenote Yax-Ha (Photo: Jesus Herrera)

The advantage of this cenote seems to be that it is less popular, and therefore, especially away from weekends or holidays, you may have it to yourself.  Yáx Há is also open daily.

By Stewart Mandy

Questions or comments? Let us hear from you below, or send an email to stewart@theyucatantimes.com

 

Stewart Mandy

Stewart Mandy

Born in Europe, raised in the Middle East, and a long-time resident in the Americas, Stewart has been based in Mérida, Yucatan since 2010, and has lived and worked worldwide in the media, travel, tourism and transportation industries for well over 20 years. His local contacts and global knowledge provide him with unmatched access to the stories ‘behind the stories’ and he likes to take you to the places that others don’t or won’t go. From the Arctic Circle to Tierra del Fuego, from Moscow to Melbourne, from Bergen to Buenos Aires, Stewart has been there. Chances are, wherever you are heading, he knows the score.

In addition to The Yucatan Times, Stewart contributes (or has contributed) to “The Examiner” (www.examiner.com), “Business Briefings”, “Cruise & Ferry Magazine” and “The Apollo Magazine”. He is a former editor of “rolling pin CRUISE” magazine.

He can be contacted by email at stewart@theyucatantimes.com or smandy@gmail.com

 

 

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