Take a look at one of the Mayan’s best-kept secret. The natural wonders of Cenotes. Ancient Mayan language word, which is pronounced as cey-no-tays, means hole with water.
More like a lavish and lush natural swimming pool, these Cenotes are naturally formed as sinkholes in the ground that are filled with water and thriving with its own aquatic ecosystem over time. There are many breathtakingly beautiful Cenotes found scattered across the Mexican plains and a trip to one of them will give you many unforgettable memories.
Historically, the Cenotes were believed to be pathways to the underworld, during the period of the ancient Mayans. Often, these natural swimming holes would be used as sites for ancient mystical rituals, including a sacrifice as well. Nevertheless, in today’s modern age, these beautiful natural wonders are prime locations for sightseeing, photography and even a little snorkelling.
The Mexican Cenotes are mostly easy accessible from major towns and cities. What’s most notable is that not all Cenotes are above ground. Some may be found hidden beneath underground caves, which give them an even more unique appearance and it makes the trip to view them all worthwhile.
Cenote Suytun is a prime example of one of the most aesthetically pleasing Cenotes and is definitely instaworthy. It’s a cave Cenote that only has one opening on the cave ceiling that allows a small ray of sunshine through, providing the water hole with a picturesque and otherworldly atmosphere. A walking platform takes visitors right to the center of the Cenote. It serves as a great photo-op location for shutterbugs and Instagram enthusiasts. There is also a second Cenote located not too far off from Cenote Suytun. it is located underground and it is worth exploring. Cenote Suytun can be accessed via Cancun, so it’s easy to get to.
Not too far off in the Mexican town of Valladolid is the Cenote Zaci. It is the only Cenote in the country, which is located in a town itself. It’s another famous area surrounded by lush greenery and nature.
While Cenotes are usually part of a much larger system of underground caves and structures, some of them are very sensitive to the environment and require utmost care and maintenance, in order to ensure their preservation and conservation. They are also a historical treasure for Mexico as their roots trace back to indigenous traditions. This is why most Cenotes are protected and regulated by Mexico’s National Institution of Anthropology and History (INAH). Many of the Cenotes that are on government-owned land are regulated and tourist activities: tours, diving and sightseeing have to adhere to strict rules and regulations to ensure the conservation of the land. This does not apply to the Cenotes that are on private-owned land though, which are free under their own regulations.
So, whether you’re a photography enthusiast, a nature lover, or just someone who wants to visit new and unique sights and a thrilling dive, Mexico‘s Cenotes are bound to amaze you.