What is a Cenote?

A cenote is a deep, water-stuffed sinkhole in limestone that’s 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 in their interior. Cenotes are inclined to have very clear, cool, contemporary water.

Cenotes are prevalent within the Yucatan Peninsula where the ground is primarily made up of limestone, and there are millions of cenotes and underground rivers there; they’re the realm’s essential source of water. These sinkholes performed an important function in Mayan cosmogony, and nowadays are a big draw for tourists who come to swim and dive and discover these refreshing natural swimming holes.

Significance of Cenotes
Cenotes were ritually significant to the traditional Maya because they were considered passages to the underworld. Many cenotes, together with the Sacred Cenote at Chichen Itza and the cenote at Dzibilchaltún, were 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 in the Yucatan, there’s nothing higher than taking a refreshing dip in a cenote. Some of them are straightforward 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 via the ground, it usually has few suspended particles, so the water is extraordinarily clear, making for wonderful visibility. They are a delight to snorkel or dive in.

If you visit the Yucatan Peninsula, you could have the opportunity to be blessed by a Maya shaman earlier than 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 coming into the cenote. That will 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 bug repellent as it may contaminate the water and it’s not favorable to the natural life of the cenote.

Instead opt for biodegradable, environmentally-pleasant 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 sizzling walks across the historic 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) that are residence to small fish and a few fascinating formations. The cenote is surrounded by jungle and gardens.

The Gran Cenote attracts both snorkelers and divers, who come to explore the caverns or just cool off in the stunning crystal-clear water. A shallow, sandy-bottomed snorkeling space near the steps leading down to the cenote is the perfect spot for learners to explore the underwater world, while more skilled swimmers and divers venture into the big cave, which is hung with stalactites.

Dos Ojos Cenote:

Dos Ojos (meaning “two eyes” in Spanish) is the world’s third-largest underwater cave system, and a should-see for divers and snorkelers wanting to discover this fascinating world. It additionally comprises the deepest passage in the state of Quintana Roo, an virtually 400-foot deep hollow called “The Cenote Pit.” The name Dos Ojos refers back to the two neighboring cenotes linked by a large cavern, said to resemble a pair of eyes marking the entrance to the underworld.

There’s a safe, family-friendly part of the cenote that’s good for snorkeling, with access out and in of the water from massive wooden decks. Cavern diving is the most well-liked activity here although: the cave system is so vast and the underwater sights so extraordinary that many divers make this their should-do stop within the region. Along with incredible stalactite and stalagmite formations, you’ll see bats (there’s an actual bat cave), small fish and a type of freshwater shrimp within the fantastically clear recent water.

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

Cristalino Cenote:

Fashionable with each locals and visitors looking for a well-situated, simply accessible and beautiful swimming spot. The cenote is certainly one of three shut 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 doable for divers to explore the cave here, which links Cristalino with Azul.

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

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

Ik Kil Cenote:

This cenote, also known as the Blue Cenote, is a very picturesque swimming spot situated close to Chichen Itza on the highway to Valladolid. Many visitors to the archaeological site make a cease right here to cool off earlier than heading back to their hotel, so it can get very crowded, particularly between 1 and four pm. The cenote is open to the sky and the water level is about 85 ft under ground level, with a carved stairway leading down to a swimming platform. If you wish to skip the steps, you possibly can soar off the 15-20 foot wall.

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