"Cenotes" - The Mayan entrance to the underworld
The natural wonders of the state of Yucatan are innumerable. Some of the most significant and rare are the sinkholes or “Cenotes” in Spanish.
Cenotes are huge underground caves filled of blue crystal water.
These wonders of nature are formed by the slow process of erosion or gradual removal of slightly soluble bedrock. It normally takes millions of years before the sinkhole is complete. The water contained on them is so old that it is consider as fossil water.
It is estimated that there are more than 6,000 Cenotes, although only 2,400 are registered.
The Mayans called them “Dzonot”, which the Spaniards translated as “Cenote”.
Geraldo Diaz Alpuche, a military commander in the 16th Century, was greatly impressed with these underground caverns. He tried to explain the meaning of the word Cenote in the Spanish language as meaning "deep thing".
The Motul dictionary (a dictionary of Mayan hieroglyphics) defines Dzonot as "abysmal and deep".
Cenotes are magical, enigmatic and unique in the world.
They were considered sacred places for the Mayans. Not just because they were their only source of fresh, sweet water in the Yucatecan jungle, but also because they represented the entrance to the underworld.
Here is a list of some of the most accessible cenotes:
Cenote Cuzama – 3 in 1
The students' favorite tour! The town of Cuzama is becoming well known for the large number of cenotes found in there. The Institute offers a unique tour where you can visit and swim these three Cenotes. You will go on a private tour, with a bilingual guide and then take a ride on a platform buggy pulled by horses through the Yucatecan jungle. The main cenotes are: Chelentun (laying down rock), Chansinic’che (tree with small ants) and Bolonchoojol (nine drops of water).
Cenote Ik kil
Ik-Kil is located only 1.5 miles away from Chichen Itza. Called the “Sacred Blue Cenote”. The visit to the Ik-kil Eco-archeological Park is optional for our students after visiting Chichen Itza. It is a perfectly round well-type cenote with exuberant vegetation and waterfalls. This is another ideal place for swimming in the clear blue water.
Located at the Mayan site of Dziblichaltun, just 30 minutes north from Merida. The tipical after class visit for every student. The word Xlacah means “old village”. It is an open ground level cenote. Great for swimming!
Zaci – in Valladolid
Located in the heart of Valladolid, this is a semi-open cenote. It has a diameter of 150 feet and a total depth of 260 feet. This is a popular cenote for swimming in the refreshing turquoise waters. One third of the cenote is covered with stalactites and stalagmites. There is a walkway around the entire cenote.
Here some videos:
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