Enjoy cenotes in the Yucatan


Enjoy cenotes in the Yucatan


If you’re reading this article, you’re probably thinking of taking a vacation in Mexico. During your research, you’ve probably come across a strange word several times: cenote. But do you know exactly what it is?


In the Mayan language, a dzonot is literally a well. They are actually water holes formed some 66 million years ago, following the impact of the meteorite that caused the dinosaurs to become extinct. They are dispersed around the 110-mile Chicxulub crater and are filled with water from underground springs.


For the ancient Maya of the Yucatan Peninsula, which has virtually no rivers, the cenotes were of crucial importance as their only sources of fresh water. That’s why most Maya cities were built near one or more of them. The Maya also considered cenotes to be passages between this world and that of the gods, sacred places where offerings and sacrifices were made. We have to admit that the most impressive cenotes create a mystical ambiance that is conducive to meditation.


Nowadays, cenotes are first and foremost jewels of Mexico’s natural heritage, and serve as a relaxation spot for both Yucatan Peninsula residents and tourists. It’s very common for Mexicans (especially those who don't live near the coast) to swim in them, just as one would go swimming in a lake in Europe. Don’t worry when you dive into a cenote: archaeologists have had time to remove the bones that used to cover the bottom. And for budding Indiana Joneses, I’m sorry to tell you that the jewels offered to the Maya gods were also brought to the surface long ago and now adorn museums in Mexico and elsewhere. Sorry, but you’re not going to find a treasure this time!


A visit to a Maya ruin often goes hand in hand with a visit to the nearby cenote. That's why it’s always a good idea to have a swimsuit and towel with you, even in the middle of the jungle. Come and swim in these memory-filled, relaxing places!