Beside gorgeous beaches and Maya ruins the states Yucatán and Quintana Roo are also well known for their numerous Cenotes. A cenote (Maya: Ts´ono´ot) is a limestone hole filled with fresh water. They resulted from the collapes of the ceiling of caves. The approx. 2000 known Cenotes in Yucatán and Quintana Roo have an average depth of 15 meters, but can get up to 100 deep. The Maya not only used them as a water supply but also saw then as the gate to the underworld. They used them as religious sacrificial altars and threw living and dead people into it to thank the Gods.
The crystan clear water is not only suitable for a refreshment but also offers perfect conditions for snorkeling and diving. Especially for divers the cenotes have much to offer. They are form a unterground cave system and will impress diverse with a diverse flora and fauna. The longest cave systems are Ox Bel Ha and Sac Atun in Yucatán with length of 257 and 223 kilometers and are reachable from more than 140 differen cenotes. The total length of the already explored system in Quintana Roo was declared as 1085 km. Another unique phenomenon of the cenotes is the Halokline, the visible dividing line between salt- and fresh water. In the rainy season fresh water is running down the, with salt water filled, corridors, which causes a freshwater lense. This abrupt transition between fresh water and salt water is not only fascinating while diving but also very interesting, due to the different species that are living in the different waters.
For all, that are overwhelmed with the many options, we want to present some of the most impressive underwater caves.
Perfectly well located is the Cenote Ik Kil, which gives you a well deserved refreshment after the visit of the spacious and sunny ruins of Chichén Itzá. Even if this Cenote, with a depth of 46 meters, is one of the most visited, it's still worth a visit. The setting with an almost 20 meter high steep face and the droopy lianes will impress you.
In Cuzamá, close to Mérida you can experience an interesting arrival in combination with three Cenotes. Traditionally visitors will be transported by wooden carriages, that are on rails and are draged by horses. It's a one-way track but you will still be confronted by opposing traffic. In such a case the horse is getting removed from the carriage, the visitors need to leave and the carriage is getting lifted of the rails. After this exciting journey you have time to get a refreshment and to admire the dripstone formations in the Cenotes Chelentún, Chansinic´ché and Bolonchoojol.
The Gran Cenote is only five kilometers from Tulum and is also equipped with changing rooms and lockers. It's also perfect for diving and snorkeling. You can find turtles right next to you.
Another Cenote, that is great for diving is the Cenote Dos Ojos, which name means "two eyes". The numerous stalactites, stalagmites and pillars can also be explored by swimming or snorkeling. The Cenote is located on the way from Tulum to Akumal and was the used for the Hollywood film "The Cave" from 2005.