What is a Cenote?

A cenote is a deep, water-crammed sinkhole in limestone that is created when the roof of an underground cavern collapses. This creates a natural pool which is then stuffed by rain and water flowing from underground rivers. The word cenote comes from the Mayan word dzonot, which means “well.” Some cenotes are vertical, water-filled shafts, while others are caves that contain pools and underwater passageways of their interior. Cenotes tend to have very clear, cool, recent water.

Cenotes are prevalent within the Yucatan Peninsula the place the ground is primarily made up of limestone, and there are literally thousands of cenotes and underground rivers there; they’re the area’s main supply of water. These sinkholes performed an essential position in Mayan cosmogony, and nowadays are a big draw for vacationers who come to swim and dive and explore these refreshing natural swimming holes.

Significance of Cenotes
Cenotes have been ritually significant to the ancient Maya because they had been considered passages to the underworld. Many cenotes, including the Sacred Cenote at Chichen Itza and the cenote at Dzibilchaltún, had been used for sacrificial purposes: human and animal skeletons, as well as sacrificial objects of gold, jade, pottery, and incense, have been dredged from them.

Cenote Swimming and Diving
On a scorching day within the Yucatan, there’s nothing better than taking a refreshing dip in a cenote. Some of them are simple to access, with steps leading down to the water, and others are a bit more tricky, with ladders. In either case, take care when descending to a cenote because the steps will be slippery. Because the water filling the cenotes is rainwater that has filtered by the ground, it normally has few suspended particles, so the water is extremely clear, making for glorious visibility. They’re a delight to snorkel or dive in.

For those who visit the Yucatan Peninsula, you may have the opportunity to be blessed by a Maya shaman before coming into the cenote. This is a way of showing respect for the significance of the cenotes to the Mayan culture. The shaman or healer will burn some incense and say a number of words in Mayan, to bless you and cleanse you of any negative energy earlier than getting into the cenote. That can take care of your spiritual cleanliness, however it’s also a good suggestion to keep in mind what you are bringing into the cenote in your body – try to eschew chemical sunscreens and insect repellent as it may contaminate the water and it’s not favorable to the natural lifetime of the cenote.

Instead opt for biodegradable, environmentally-friendly options.

Gran Cenote, Tulum:

With its handy location on the road between Tulum and Cobá archaeological sites, the Gran Cenote makes for a perfect stop between hot walks around the ancient Maya ruins. Known as Sac Aktun in Mayan, this cenote has crystal-clear water with a depth of around thirty feet. There are accessible caverns (which are a little deeper) which might be home to small fish and some fascinating formations. The cenote is surrounded by jungle and gardens.

The Gran Cenote attracts each snorkelers and divers, who come to discover the caverns or just cool off within the lovely crystal-clear water. A shallow, sandy-bottomed snorkeling space near the stairs leading down to the cenote is the right spot for freshmen to discover the underwater world, while more skilled swimmers and divers venture into the large cave, which is hung with stalactites.

Dos Ojos Cenote:

Dos Ojos (that means “two eyes” in Spanish) is the world’s third-largest underwater cave system, and a must-see for divers and snorkelers eager to explore this fascinating world. It also incorporates the deepest passage within the state of Quintana Roo, an nearly 400-foot deep hollow called “The Cenote Pit.” The name Dos Ojos refers to the two neighboring cenotes related by a big cavern, said to resemble a pair of eyes marking the doorway to the underworld.

There is a safe, family-friendly part of the cenote that’s good for snorkeling, with access in and out of the water from large wooden decks. Cavern diving is the preferred activity here though: the cave system is so vast and the underwater sights so extraordinary that many divers make this their must-do cease within the region. Alongside with incredible stalactite and stalagmite formations, you’ll see bats (there’s an precise bat cave), small fish and a type of freshwater shrimp in the superbly clear recent water.

It is positioned just off Highway 307 between the towns of Akumal and Tulum.

Cristalino Cenote:

Common with each locals and visitors looking for a well-situated, simply accessible and exquisite swimming spot. The cenote is considered one of three close by (the other two are called Cenote Azul and EL Jardin de Eden). All are part of the Ponderosa cave system. The setting is picturesque, with mangroves and jungle surrounding. While most visitors use the cenote primarily for swimming – it’s especially well-frequented by locals, who gather with their families on sweltering days – it’s additionally attainable for divers to explore the cave here, which links Cristalino with Azul.

Given its relative obscurity, Cristalino is an efficient uncrowded dive spot, featuring an overhanging ledge and a beautiful cave beneath. Out within the open, there’s additionally a ledge with a ladder from which swimmers can dive or jump into the clear water below.

Cenote Cristalino is positioned just off the primary Highway 307, south of Playa del Carmen.

Ik Kil Cenote:

This cenote, additionally known as the Blue Cenote, is a really picturesque swimming spot positioned near Chichen Itza on the highway to Valladolid. Many visitors to the archaeological site make a stop right here to cool off before heading back to their hotel, so it can get very crowded, especially between 1 and 4 pm. The cenote is open to the sky and the water level is about eighty five feet beneath ground level, with a carved stairway leading down to a swimming platform. If you want to skip the steps, you’ll be able to bounce off the 15-20 foot wall.

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