Mexico, North America

What the heck is a Cenote?

Cenote, photo by Cancun Yucatan on Pinterest

After signing up for yet another social media site, Pinterest, I stumbled (or pinned- haha) these images from different users. What were these magical looking, sink hole like, private little swimming areas? Why was the water so clear? How in the world do you get to one? Where could I find them? So many questions!! At the bottom of one of the photos read, “awesome cenote, can’t wait to go back”. And, I thought-

What the heck is a cenote?

Well, a little wikipedia and Internet investigation later I found out. google knows all.

A Cenote is a natural sinkhole and underground water system that has an opening to earth’s surface. Cave divers from all over the world swim through cenotes to discover the underwater cave systems. One of the most well known cenotes in the world is near Chichén Itzá about 75 miles from Cancun, Mexico.

What?! Cancun has more to offer that drunk co-eds and silly spring breakers? Yes, I know. I was happily surprised too.

Yucatan Mayan Cenote, from Pinterest

The Yucatan Peninsula, including Cancun, is made of thick limestone with no rivers or streams. The cenotes were the only access to the pure water.

In Pre- Colombian Mayan culture, the cenote near Chichen Itza was known as a scared well.The Mayans would sacrifice animals and people into the wells for the Mayan Rain God, Chaac. Years later, the cenote was dredged to find many artifacts, such as jade, gold, special pottery and human remains.

Today, cenotes are a great tourist attraction. After visiting the Mayan ruins and temples, many visitors will stop off at a cenote to cool off and enjoy swimming and exploring in the crystal clear waters. Um- Yes, sounds like the perfect way to chill out!

Heading to Cancun? Check out these tours of cenotes in the area!

Hidden Worlds, Cenote Diving and Snorkeling

Mayan Eco Tours, Tour Chichen Itza and Snorkel the Cenote

Have you dived or visited a cenote before? How awesome was it?!