Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico is world renowned for its hidden treasury of the natural marvel called, the ‘Cenotes’! The unique underground world of cenotes is the sensational natural phenomenon that has become the proud possession of Mexico.
A cenote is basically a natural sinkhole filled with the fresh water, which is formed due to the toppling of porous limestone bedrocks. The porous attribute of the limestone in this region has resulted in the formation the networks of underground rivers as the water gets absorbed through the pores of limestone. Thus, a cenote forms a natural hole of fresh water that has been cautiously filtered by the earth. The water in a cenote is so clear that one can see its bottom without straining the eyes. The azure & pristine water is enriched with the vitamin & mineral rich algae, which is an excellent natural skin protector.
The ancient Mayan people used to hail the cenote as it was their only water source in dry periods. The cenote, which means ‘sacred well’, was the Mayan’s passage to summon the gods spirits. Today, the holy cenotes are considered as one of the major tourist attractions in Mexico. Enthusiast divers & photographers flock these places in large numbers to enjoy swimming in the crystal clear waters of the cenotes surrounded by the thick foliage of massive tropical trees & a sturdy network of vines! Here we present a list of top 5 spectacular cenotes in Yucatan Peninsula, which are considered as the sheer paradise for the divers.
- Cenote Dos Ojos, near Tulum:
The place hosts a pair of stupendous cenotes- one that shines like cobalt & the other that looks pretty dark & mysterious. The name itself is clear indicative as it means ‘Two Eyes’! The ‘dark eye’ attracts the most of the tourists & it offers snorkeling & diving in the dark. A humble flashlight is your only companion that assists you to explore the secrets hidden in its dark bowels. The tapering stalactites hanging off the roof also add up to it supernatural appearance. The place is however, claustrophobic & exploring its caverns isn’t a piece of cake for beginners!
The azure cenote, on the other hand, is ideal for snorkelers & offers a good opportunity for underwater photographers as the bright sunshine lights up the thriving life at its bottom. This cenote is more relaxing & enjoyable than its darker fellow!
- Cenote Yokdzonot, near Chichen Itza:
The cenote Yokdzonot offers serene conditions for swimming & diving as most of the crowd clings to the more famous cenote situated near the world renowned ancient Mayan city named ‘Chichen Itza’, which is at a 10 minutes driving distance from Yokdzonot. The cenote near ‘Chichen Itza’ always gets flooded with a multitude of tourists &, unlike ‘Cenote Yokdzonot’, gets lost in the chaos. At ‘Cenote Yokdzonot’, you will find only a handful of swimmers accompanying you & enjoying the tranquility of the surroundings, which is disturbed very rarely, by the chirping of adorable hummingbirds!
- Cenote Azul, near Tulum:
Cenote Azul is an open-air pool which is ideal for the swimmers of all ages. The place has its own grace & also offers tranquility as it is not exposed to the heavy crowds. The flourishing submerged life offers plenty of opportunities to the divers to explore the world of frolicking tropical fishes & its shallow base is just ideal for the kids to learn the basics of diving. Tracing your way to this cenote is also very economical as the local minivans at ‘Tulum’ or ‘Playa del Carmen’ can take you to cenote Azul at relatively reasonable rates.
- Cenote Samula, near Valladolid:
Cenote Samula is a splendid cavern pool that features in many photographs depicting the immaculate beauty of Yucatan cenotes. The long Alamo tree roots that stretches down several feet from a wide outlet in the ceiling is one of the most fascinating scenes at this venue. The tree fosters on the cenote’s water sucked by its stretched roots. The opening in the ceiling also provides a passage to the sunlight, which creates a spotlight effect to enlighten the navy blue water of the cenote. The clear most water reveals every detail of its rocky base.
- Cenote Ponderosa, near Playa del Carmen:
The Cenote Ponderosa was one of the holiest places of the Maya dynasty as they used to perform here several rituals including human sacrifice to appease their gods. Innumerable artifacts & relics of ancient Mayans can be found resting deep inside this cenote. The cenote is 15 m deep on an average & is partly covered by a rocky ceiling which provides a perfect platform to leap into the freshwater & make a splash! The rugged surrounding around the cenote & its mysterious appearance hasn’t been changed much for years & it roughly demonstrates the situation when the Mayan culture was flourishing in this part of the world!