When people think of Cancun, they think of the turquoise blue Caribbean Sea, white sand beaches and palm trees. However, the Cancun area is rich in other natural wonders, including cenotes. Many travelers to the Cancun area don’t know anything about cenotes and have never visited one.
A cenote is basically a sinkhole. Each one is unique, a wonder to be discovered. The Yucatan Peninsula, the region of Mexico where Cancun is located, is home to an estimated 7,000 cenotes.
The Yucatan Peninsula is primarily made up of porous limestone and for millions of years, rainfall slowly ate away at the limestone and formed a huge system of underground caves, caverns and rivers, most of which filled with water from rain or from the underground water table. Many feature huge stalactites and stalagmites.
A cenote is created when the roof of a water-filled cave collapses. The water found in a cenote may be fresh water, salt water, or both. Cenotes range from being open, like a lake, to almost completely closed.
Cenotes were very important to the ancient Mayan civilization as they were their main source of fresh water. The word “cenote” comes from the Mayan word “dzonot” or “ts’onot” which means sacred well. In addition, the Mayans considered cenotes to be portals to the underworld. Both artifacts and humans were sacrificed in Sacred Cenote (Cenote Sagrado) at the now archaeological site of Chichen Itza. Artifacts of gold, jade, pottery, and incense, as well as human remains with wounds consistent with human sacrifice were found in Cenote Sagrado.
There are many breathtaking natural sinkholes near Cancun and Playa del Carmen that are open to the public. Travelers can visit La Ruta de los Cenotes (Cenote Lane, if you will), located just south of Puerto Morelos, which is lined with dozens of cenotes where visitors can snorkel, swim and relax. There is nothing like a dip in a cool cenote on a steaming hot day.
Another option is Xenotes, a natural park run by Xperiencias Xcaret, where visitors can explore four different cenotes through kayaking, zip lining, snorkeling, rappelling or just relaxing and drifting in an inner tube.
For the skilled and adventurous scuba diver, cave diving is available in cenotes and the 95-mile labyrinth of underground rivers that connect them. However, this activity can be very dangerous, so it is important that both the guide and the divers have a lot of training and experience.
What is the first thing you think of when you think of Cancun? The beach of course! Cancun’s beaches are some of the most beautiful on the planet. Since Cancun is located on the Caribbean Sea, the water is an unbelievable turquoise blue. The beaches are made of white coral, so they never get hot. This unbeatable combination makes Cancun one of the most popular beach vacation destinations in the world.
When planning a vacation in Cancun, Playa del Carmen, or the Riviera Maya, it can be difficult to decide on dates. What will the weather be like? Will it rain? Will there be a hurricane? How hot will it be?
A Cancun vacation means white sand beaches and the turquoise blue Caribbean Sea, long relaxing days drinking cocktails on a lounge chair and endless evenings that begin with a leisurely dinner and end dancing the night away in a glittering nightclub.