Thursday, April 12, 2012

Swimming in a Yucatan Cenote


A highlight of visiting the Yucatan Peninsula is swimming in a cenote (se note tay).  These natural wonders are underwater sinkholes found in caverns and caves, which are the hallmark of the areas' geography. The peninsula is composed of  porous limestone with no visible rivers. The rivers are all underground, formed where fresh water collects. There are supposedly 6000 cenotes all over the Yucatan peninsula. The Maya considered them cleansing and sacred. They also believed that they symbolized the entrance to the underworld . As you can see from the photo above, climbing down into the dark cavern with caution signs decorating the opening ,does give the feeling of  entering the netherworld.



This cenote is called X-keken and it boasts a natural sky light that floods sunbeams into the darkness. The effect is stunning, like a glistening underground pond. When we visited, the cenote was filled with locals dipping into the cool water. Outside, the temperature was about 88 degrees Fahrenheit but  underground, it was about 65 degrees.


The limestone was extremely slippery  but once in the water, I could see gold and orange fish swimming around and bats hanging from the ceiling. I didn't stay in very long but it was an otherworldly experience.


The only time the light was bright enough to really see was on the way out, near the ropes to help you climb the stone steps. With the sunlight sweeping down, it felt like a brief dip into the Mayan world.  Catch a quick glimpse of the cenote in this travel video (my first!) that I shot:




11 comments:

katie said...

OMG. The beautiful colors! The limestone! It's jus beautiful! I haven't watched the video yet, as I just had to comment right away.(I might have gotten a little scared over how dark it is, but it sounds like as long as you travel in a group and support each other, you'll be okay.

katie said...

I forgot to add that I have a blog award for you! I wanted to pass it on to a bunch of my favorites. :) Thanks for recording your fabulous adventures for all of us to read! You can pick up your award here, :)

http://dreamsinthepalmofyourhand.blogspot.com/2012/04/i-won-award.html

Fly Girl said...

Katie, it really was beautiful and I didn't even think about being scared but you're right, when you're in a group it's more secure.I probably would have been a little hesitant alone. Thanks so much for the award!

Angela said...

Omg - swimming down there must be an absolutely epic experience! Maybe scary at the beginning, but I would so love to do it!

Dee said...

What an amazing adventure. Swimming in an underground sinkhole in a cavern... wow!. I'll have to add that to my bucket list. By the way, you are rocking that bikini, girl.

Fly Girl said...

Angela, it was!

Dee, it was on my bucket list once i discovered it! Thanks for the compliment, it was so cool down there that I wished I wore a one piece.

Fly Girl said...
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Catherine said...

I do envy you being back in Mexico - I do miss my time there very much - these pools have such lovely luminous colours....

Fly Girl said...

Catherine, Mexico is still the vibrant, lively place you left and it's waiting for you!

Rachel Cotterill said...

That looks amazing! Definitely an experience to search for if I'm ever in the area :)

Fly Girl said...

Rachel, you won't have to search too far in the Yucatan, cenotes are all over the place.