Located on the picturesque Yucatan Peninsula, Cancun is a vacation hotspot with plenty to offer, from luxurious accommodations and gourmet dining, to outdoor adventures and fascinating historical sites that were home to the ancient yet sophisticated Mayan society that once dominated the area. However, no trip to the region is complete without visiting at least one of the local cenotes, which were revered by the Mayans. With thousands of cenotes found near the coastlines of the Yucatan Peninsula, it is easy to indulge your senses at one—if not several— of these naturally occurring oases. Find out more about these aquatic escapes below.
What is a Cenote?
Translating as ‘sacred well’ in the Mayan language, cenotes were once a gathering place for the ancient civilization where its people believed they could communicate with their gods. Here, the Mayan people would often perform rituals that were important to their society, and cenotes were also a vital source for freshwater. They would choose to build villages near these natural wells in order to communicate with the gods while also taking advantage of the convenient water source.
Formed by the collapse of porous limestone bedrock, these enchanting subterranean groundwater pools feature crystal clear water that has been filtered naturally by the earth. You can see each and every detail beneath the surface through the perfectly transparent water. Cenotes are commonly surrounded by gigantic tropical trees, vines and lush foliage that will evoke a sense of wonder, and shafts of sunlight shine through to create a magical atmosphere. They are sometimes located within caves, which can make a visit feel even more otherworldly.
Nature’s Perfect Swimming Pool
When you are in the mood to cool down with a dip in the water, make your way to the nearest cenote for a swimming experience you will never forget. The clear turquoise water will beckon to you from the moment you set eyes on the cenote. Not only is the water beautiful and refreshing, it also happens to be rich in vitamins and minerals thanks in large part to the algae that is present. This fabulous concoction can do wonders for your skin by nourishing and protecting it, and you will emerge from your swim with a renewed glow.
Even More to Experience
While swimming and snorkeling are the most popular ways to enjoy a visit to a cenote, the clear waters create an ideal atmosphere for underwater photography and cave diving, too. Their dreamy surroundings make cenotes an aquatic wonderland for photographers seeking high-definition shots taken in jaw-dropping clarity beneath the surface of the water. Cave divers are also drawn to cenotes, where they can explore the fascinating cave systems that have been flooded over the centuries.
When you find yourself at one of the cenotes near Cancun, it is easy to understand why the Mayans were so captivated by these freshwater wonders. Plan your visit today!