Friday, August 20, 2021

Swim in a Mexican cenote

Among the most enticing natural wonders of Mexico’sYucatan peninsula are cenotes. These underground pools are fed by subterranean rivers.
 While cenotes can be found all over the world, the Yucatan Peninsula. and especially the Riviera Maya where we were last summer, has an unusually high number. 

A cenote is actually a deep sinkhole that occurs naturally in limestone rock when an underground cave collapses in on itself and exposes water underneath.

During ancient times, cenotes were regarded as entrances to the mythical underworld, which gave them sacred status among the Mayans. In those days a number of the cenotes were used for sacrificial purposes and objects such as gold, pottery and even human and animal remains have been found at the bottom of some cenotes. Because they provided a source of fresh water in the jungle environment, they were important in the Mayans daily lives.

Larry and I enjoyed a refreshing swim in the deep pool of Cenote Siete Bocas, located about half an hour’s drive, partially on a bumpy, jiggly dirt path, from Puerto Morelos. The name comes from seven entrances to the cenote.

The cool water provided a perfect interlude as we travelled from Puerto Morelos to tiny Isla Holbox for our adventure swimming with whale sharks (more on that later!)

The main entrance of Cenote Siete Bocas leads to an open pool that is exposed to the sun. Other entrances have smaller steps or stairs that lead down to the water and the underground cave of the cenote. At some entrances, you can jump right into the water, or you can exit at any. Cenote Seven Bocas is approximately thirty to forty meters deep making it a good dive site—but only for advanced divers since the water can be murky in certain locations.


Although there are thousands of cenotes in the region, the one we swam in has comparatively few visitors. That means you can have a peaceful time enjoying the natural beauty and scenery. Life jackets are required which helped as we meandered through dark passages and under low-hanging eaves of limestone. The walls provided a prime example of erosion by outlining the path of water through the cave for thousands of years.


There are showers, bathrooms, and changing rooms, and you can even bring a picnic if you want to stay awhile. Cost is around $16 per person.


Photos by Larry and Beverly  Burmeier

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