What’s a Cenote?

A cenote is a deep, water-crammed sinkgap in limestone that is created when the roof of an underground cavern collapses. This creates a natural pool which is then crammed 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-crammed shafts, while others are caves that comprise pools and underwater passageways in their interior. Cenotes tend to have very clear, cool, recent water.

Cenotes are prevalent within the Yucatan Peninsula where the ground is primarily made up of limestone, and there are thousands of cenotes and underground rivers there; they are the world’s foremost supply of water. These sinkholes played an important role in Mayan cosmogony, and nowadays are a big draw for tourists who come to swim and dive and explore these refreshing natural swimming holes.

Significance of Cenotes
Cenotes were ritually significant to the ancient Maya because they have been 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 hot day in the Yucatan, there’s nothing higher than taking a refreshing dip in a cenote. A few 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 can be slippery. Since the water filling the cenotes is rainwater that has filtered by way of the ground, it normally has few suspended particles, so the water is extraordinarily clear, making for excellent visibility. They’re a delight to snorkel or dive in.

Should you visit the Yucatan Peninsula, you’ll have the opportunity to be blessed by a Maya shaman earlier than getting 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 few words in Mayan, to bless you and cleanse you of any negative energy before entering the cenote. That will take care of your spiritual cleanliness, however it’s also a good idea to keep in mind what you are bringing into the cenote on 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 go for biodegradable, environmentally-friendly options.

Gran Cenote, Tulum:

With its convenient location on the road between Tulum and Cobá archaeological sites, the Gran Cenote makes for an ideal cease between sizzling 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 can be home to small fish and some fascinating formations. The cenote is surrounded by jungle and gardens.

The Gran Cenote attracts both snorkelers and divers, who come to discover the caverns or just cool off in the stunning crystal-clear water. A shallow, sandy-bottomed snorkeling space near the stairs leading down to the cenote is the proper spot for learners 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 ” eyes” in Spanish) is the world’s third-largest underwater cave system, and a should-see for divers and snorkelers wanting to explore this fascinating world. It additionally contains the deepest passage in the state of Quintana Roo, an almost 400-foot deep hole called “The Cenote Pit.” The name Dos Ojos refers back to the neighboring cenotes connected by a large cavern, said to resemble a pair of eyes marking the doorway to the underworld.

There is a safe, household-friendly part of the cenote that is perfect for snorkeling, with access out and in of the water from massive wooden decks. Cavern diving is the preferred activity right here though: the cave system is so vast and the underwater sights so extraordinary that many divers make this their should-do stop 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 within the fantastically clear contemporary water.

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

Cristalino Cenote:

Well-liked with both locals and visitors looking for a well-situated, simply accessible and delightful swimming spot. The cenote is one of three close by (the opposite 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 possible for divers to discover the cave right here, which links Cristalino with Azul.

Given its relative obscurity, Cristalino is an efficient uncrowded dive spot, that includes an overhanging ledge and a good looking cave beneath. Out in the open, there’s additionally a ledge with a ladder from which swimmers can dive or bounce 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, 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 earlier than 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 stage is about eighty five toes beneath ground stage, 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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