So what are Cenotes?

You have probably heard me mention Cenotes a few times on this blog. You may also have seen a few photographs from me, trying to capture how beautiful they are. It is, though, exceedingly difficult to explain to people what an amazing phenomenon these natural bodies of fresh water are, or how good it feels to stumble through a hot summer day in Mexico and suddenly see this crystal clear water beckoning. But what is a Cenote?

A cenote is an underground body of water with a surface connection. Mexico, particularly the Yucatan Peninsula, has literally thousands of cenotes, most as yet undiscovered. They have been this part of Mexico’s primary source of fresh water for thousands of years. Miles of underground rivers flow beneath our feet here, and at certain points, erosion, rising and falling water levels, collapsing limestone and time create these amazing watering holes and cave systems.

I have only been to eight different cenotes, and yet each have their own unique beauty. Some are almost completely covered and only reachable by a thin staircase leading underground, and almost devoid of life. Others are open to the elements with jagged walls and boulders littering their depths. There are a surprising amount of fish in the more exposed cenotes and even the occasional falling Iguana. Each is unique and equally enthralling to explore.

Millions of years ago this part of Mexico was the bottom of an ancient sea. The resultant limestone is what now makes the shell of these incredible crystal pools and their dissolving, collapsing walls. When you swim through their depths you can almost see ancient Mayans swimming alongside you.

Here is a short video of some of our cenote experiences. In case you haven’t already realized, I love a good cenote.

[vimeo 67248986 w=640 h=360]

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0 thoughts on “So what are Cenotes?”

  1. You should visit them, map them, rate them and write a book about them!!! A guide to Mexico’s Cenotes! I’d buy it when I get to Mexico.

    1. Saw some scuba dudes at Jardin del Eden. Juzt swimming down fo their depthz I thought my ears were gonna pop. “No scuba for you, eh, me.”

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