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.
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 through 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.
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.
Entrance to Cenote Yáx - Há
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. 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.