There are places that have a special charm, like San Manuel, where we find a town that takes you to the heart of this beautiful land.

The archaeological finds in the San Manuel cenote have placed this small Yucatecan town on the tourist map. San Manuel would be the typical anonymous Yucatecan town if it were not for the discoveries they made in the local cenote. Sometimes there are stories that are worth listening to, will you join us?

san manuel cenote


Once upon a time, there were two divers from the United States who were enjoying the cenotes of Yucatan. The explorers have a thirst for curiosity that makes them put their noses anywhere, they are like cats. I am lucky to meet several explorers and I assure you that they see where others pass by.

Knowing the cenote that they explored in San Manuel, one wonders, how does anyone think of going there? In the middle of the square of this town of 400 inhabitants there is a well, I show you the photo so you can see what we are talking about.

cenote San manuel mayan finds
Mouth of the well through which the divers entered

Normally the cenotes that are close to archaeological areas are places that give rise to exploration due to their proximity to the vestiges, and where various evidence has been found; the X'Canché cenote in Ek Balam, the Sacred cenote of Chichén Itzá or the Xlakah of Dzibilchaltún

The curious thing about the San Manuel cenote is that it is not close to Mayan remains, although they have found sacbé (old cobblestone road) that connects it with Kulubá, a notorious archaeological zone in the eastern Yucatan area.

Do you want to know the archaeological zone of Kulubá?

The biggest surprise is when they go to explore the cenote and find several bone and ceramic evidence. From here and correctly following the protocol in the event of a discovery, they contacted the INAH (National Institute of Anthropology and History) to proceed with the investigation of the findings.

The good thing about this exploration is that it has been carried out by National Geographic, who contributes incalculable value to the dissemination of the places and findings.

You can discover what was found and history in the community museum that was created in the town of San Manuel, do you continue with the story of this adventure?

community museum san manuel


I love community museums, they are vital to give relevance to places that would go unnoticed by the visitor. Finding these little treasures in places like El Naranjal, Tahcabo or Yaxunah (if you are interested in finding information about them in the blog search engine) has provided us with knowledge and especially good moments on this fabulous uninterrupted journey through Mayan lands. Why am I saying this?

Notice that community museums are managed by someone from the population who has a real interest in the subject, either because he is someone restless who participated in the explorations directly or someone proud with the desire to explain his culture and history. Our community museum experiences have always been sensational in part to the keepers.

In San Manuel km.11 we met the young manager of the community museum Lizbeth Chí. She will tell you with pleasure the experience of the days of exploration, how the people took it, the will of her neighbors and that part of unwritten history that is normally the most humane story one can learn. The conversation with Lizbeth was great, if you ever read this, we send you our love and we hope to return soon.

community museum san manuel km 11
Fausto and Lizbeth at the entrance of the community museum

Focusing on the museum itself, they are usually small places where they show some replica of what was found and the story related. In San Manuel there are bone and ceramic remains, up to 6 chocolatiers were found, some brought from present-day Guatemala and Belize.

Cocoa was drunk only by certain social classes and was used in ceremonies, something that gives it sacred value.

The bones and ceramic remains and chocolate makers indicate, as researcher Helena Barba Meinecke, from the INAH underwater archeology department, tells us in the NatGeo documentary, that this cenote was the place where the body of an important person of the time was deposited with honors. The ceramics date from 1500 years BC to 1450 AD, a very extensive period of the Mayan civilization.

The San Manuel museum focuses on the history of cocoa, with interesting replicas of other discoveries in the Belizean and Guatemalan Petén. A teaching material that, thanks to the good work of the person in charge, makes it a highly recommended place. But there is also more in San Manuel, will you continue to accompany us in this story?

COMMUNITY MUSEUM HOURS:Open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 13:30 p.m. and from 15:30 p.m. to 18:XNUMX p.m. Admission is free. Unfortunately, the last few times we've been wanting to visit it, we've found it closed. I hope the situation changes.

San Manuel community museum km.11
San Manuel community museum km.11
San Manuel community museum km.11


Thanks to the initiative of Ma'aloob K'iin, a family business located in San Manuel, we can enjoy hiking, camping and exploring cenotes. If you like nature tourism, you have come to a good place.

From the beginning I liked the performance of Ma'alob K'iin, the good attention and quick response on social networks by Erika Cupul, who deals with communication with the client, was excellent. She shows you how to get to her dad's house.

The adventure with Ma'aloob K'iin begins in the patio of Güero and Magali's house, who live with five dogs, the relaxed cat, a friendly parrot, and the ducks with their babies. At the entrance to the land, a golf cart is parked, the vehicle with which you begin the adventure.

San Manuel km 11, discover the Mayan community museum and a hiking route between cenotes 1
San Manuel km 11, Yucatan

Walking tour between cenotes with observation of the spider monkey

We got on the golf cart and headed across the town to the first cenote, the so-called Cenote Kukulcán or Lettuce. The place is equipped for camping, with basic services, a campfire place and a palapa.

To the cenote one descends by a rustic wooden staircase. It is not a place to bathe, rather it is to enjoy the surroundings of the place: a great natural watering hole in the Mayan mount, which makes it gather diverse local fauna.

cenote kukulcan san manuel
San Manuel km 11, discover the Mayan community museum and a hiking route between cenotes 2
Cenote Kukulkan

From the Kukulcán cenote there is a two-kilometer path that leads you to the Juul K'iin cenote through the high jungle, where you have the opportunity to spot birds, and mammals such as spider monkeys, which have also seen saraguatos.

There are few places for the nature lover to stretch their legs in the bush in Yucatan, so these little trails are appreciated, plus you walk in the shade.

San manuel trail
Juul K'iin cenote trail
hiking san manuel
Poaching is a widespread problem in the area.

The Juul K'iin cenote is a cave cenote where you can enjoy a totally natural space in the middle of the mountain. Despite being a cenote enabled by a wooden staircase to go down, do not expect any other comfort. The natural thing is that nature is not comfortable, although it is magnificent.

Juul K'iin cenote
Juul K'iin cenote entrance
Juul K'iin cenote
Juul K'iin Cenote


We pass you the contact of the family agency so that you can enjoy your adventure in San Manuel.

Ma'alob K'iin Facebook: Ma'alob K'iin
Erika cupul
Cell 984 108 03 03


San Manuel is 11 kilometers from the junction of Colonia Yucatán towards El Cuyo / Kantunilkin / La Sierra. At the junction you should take the direction of Popolnah / La Sierra.

San Manuel km 11, discover the Mayan community museum and a hiking route between cenotes 3
Ir a Google maps


You have a complicated way to get there by public transport because there are few buses to San Manuel. You can get to Colonia Yucatán from Tizimín or El Cuyo and from here go by jeepney or motorcycle taxi to San Manuel.


  • light and light clothing,
  • hat,
  • insect repellent,
  • closed shoes and long pants.
  • Bring water in your own water container, so we don't use as much plastic.

We hope that you will be encouraged to enjoy the adventures in San Manuel, I am convinced that if you are a curious person with nature you will like the place.

Good way,

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Sandra Salvadó Training photographer, traveler by vocation and certified tourism guide by the Government of Mexico. We promote natural wonders and contemporary Mayan culture. Great fan of pre-Hispanic history. Author of the blog and co-founder of The Shortest Path Travel, agency that guides you through alternative paths in Mayan lands. Social and sustainable tourism in the Yucatan Peninsula and Chiapas.
I am at your disposal for whatever you need. Let's talk.

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