Hacienda San Lorenzo, in Valladolid
Just a bit southwest of the city of Valladolid lies the historic Hacienda San Lorenzo. The Yucatán peninsula in Mexico is littered with the ruins of abandoned haciendas, and as you travel through the area, you’ll see the remains of these great estates, slowly returning to nature.
But the Hacienda San Lorenzo is different. This is no grey shadow of a place, though it surely has its ghosts. Today, this hacienda is a brightly painted, beautifully maintained property, with a hidden treasure. It’s a delightful place to while away an afternoon. And if you want a place to camp, this is also a good spot to spend a blissfully quiet night on the outskirts of Valladolid.
The hacienda’s main attraction – Cenote Oxman
The reason most people come to the Hacienda San Lorenzo lies underground – the spectacular Cenote Oxman. This place will take your breath away.
Cenotes in the Yucatan come in many different types, shapes and sizes. Some you can wade in, while others are unfathomably deep. Some are at ground level, others require a long descent. Some are enclosed in a cave, while others are open to the sky.
Cenote Oxman is one of the prettiest cenotes you’ll find. This is a deep one – both deep underground, and deep water too. It’s open at the top, like a giant sinkhole. The vertical walls are lined with plants, making a hanging garden display. And trees at the surface dangle their roots all the way down, to grab some of the life-giving water below.
One thing all cenotes share is that on a hot day in the Yucatán, there’s nothing quite so refreshing as a swim in the crystalline water of a cenote! The water in this one is a remarkable deep blue.
When you swim out into the middle, you get the full effect – the blue blue water, the walls stretching high around you, and the roots that connect to the world above. It’s a magical experience.
Thrill seekers will want to try the Tarzan swing and leap into the water. Others will enjoy a more peaceful swim. Life jackets are available but not required.
Facilities at the Hacienda San Lorenzo
There’s more at the Hacienda San Lorenzo than just Cenote Oxman. They have made this a place where people can easily hang out and enjoy a couple of hours before or after swimming in the cenote.
You’ll also find a brilliantly clean swimming pool, with a green grassy area around it, and numerous lounge chairs. There is a small bar and restaurant, with palapa roofed tables. There’s also decent wifi available in the pool area.
No wonder people like this place, and come here even though it’s out of the way down a bumpy dirt road!
Visiting Hacienda San Lorenzo
I was here on a Saturday afternoon in the winter, and there were quite a few visitors, though it was not crowded by any means. At this time, there were perhaps a dozen guests at any one time, split between the pool area and the cenote below, so there was plenty of space.
You can expect the most people on holidays, weekends, over spring break, and during the summer (when everybody in the city wants to cool off!) If you want a more private experience, shoot for a weekday in the off season.
One of the best things about camping here? You can be the last person here in the afternoon, and the first person here in the morning. This gives you an excellent chance of having the fabulous Cenote Oxman all to yourself, and that is glorious! 😊
Prices (subject to change):
- Basic entry to cenote only – 70 pesos
- “Plus” entry (includes cenote, pool, bar, restaurant, and wifi) – 100 pesos
- Overnight camping (includes all of the above for 24 hours) – 150 pesos
Camping at Hacienda San Lorenzo
This isn’t an official campground, though they are happy to have people stay on the grounds of the hacienda. When you arrive, just tell them that you’re planning to spend the night.
You can park a camper in the parking lot of the hacienda, or set up a tent on the grass. There is plenty of room for big rigs in the parking lot. It’s nothing special, just a parking lot, but it is safe, quiet, and gives you access to the cenote and facilities.
Don’t expect campground facilities like electric and water hookups or a dump station. You will find flush toilets, and cold outdoor showers. There are plugs available in the bar if you want to charge a phone or laptop, but there’s not a hookup for your rig. Wifi works around the bar, but not out in the parking lot.
The owner told me that this is a super safe place to stay, and it certainly seemed that way to me. You’re away from any traffic or city noises, and it’s peaceful once the day use people leave. I had it all to myself when I stayed, and spent a wonderfully quiet night.
Where it is, how to get here
The Hacienda San Lorenzo and Cenote Oxman are located on the southwest side of Valladolid, just inside the Periférico (ring road) around the city.
People arrive for the day by bicycle, scooter, taxi and car. If you are staying in Valladolid, you can easily take a taxi to get here. It’s also possible to rent a bike in town, and pedal your way to the hacienda,
If you are driving yourself, the best route is to come down from the northeast on Calle 54, then take the dirt road turnoff for the hacienda. This means driving through the town of Valladolid a bit, but it’s not difficult. I have to admit that I was starting to wonder if my GPS was taking me the right way, but every now and then there’s a small sign, and sure enough, the navigation program was correct.
The last part of the drive is on a bumpy dirt road. This was a bit slow, but should be passable in all sorts of vehicles, at least when it’s dry. (Rainy season might be trickier.)
Do NOT try to cut in from the Periférico southwest of here, even though that looks like an easier route on the map. Believe me, I did it both ways. The shorter route to the Periférico was a sloppy muddy mess that went right by the town dump. You will be happier if you go the other way! 😊
Hacienda San Lorenzo – Camping in the parking lot
Private facility. Restored hacienda with access to Cenote Oxman. There’s also a pool and restaurant/bar on site, bathrooms with flush toilets, and cold outdoor showers. Wifi at the restaurant, good Telcel service. The parking lot isn’t much, but the cenote is wonderful, and it’s a quiet and safe place to stay.
Rating: 3 ***
Altitude: 72 ft
GPS: 20.66831, -88.22995
Price: 150 pesos (about $8 USD)
The Yucatan has hundreds of cenotes, and it’s fun to explore them because they vary so widely. This is one that’s particularly lovely, and it’s easy to access, too. Have you checked out any cents in the Yucatan? I’d love to hear about your experiences in the Reply section below. Thanks! 🙂
PHOTO CREDITS: Deanna Keahey