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Curiosities Cenotes (Yucatán, Quintana Roo)

Mystic underground caves filled with water are a big attraction of today´s Yucatan. The peninsula is literally drilled by them, no-one really know how far they go. The sun penetrates through their fallen roofs, reflects on the motionless surface of dark water. Lianas and tree roots crawl the walls thirsty into the depths and bats float under the roof. The interiors are often decorated by stalactite formations. Cenotes used to be the precious source of drinking water for the Mayas. They also served as ceremonial centers and were (and still are) believed to be gates to the Mayan underworld called Xibalba. That is why many ceremonial and scary objects were found on their bottom. But don´t worry, the places that are accessible to today´s tourists don´t hide more secrets and the dark waters mean no danger (except to inexperienced divers).

Interesting fact: Cenotes were probably formed as a result of the impact of a huge meteorite some 65 million years ago that felt to Yucatan peninsula. It is the same meteorite that is blamed to end the era of dinosaurs on the Earth.

What here: Swim, dive (there are many experienced diving centers in Playa del Carmen or Tulum) or just walk and watch. Most interesting cenotes for watching are nearby Valladolid town, those good to swim, dive or snorkel are more likely to be found around the coast between Playa del Carmen and Tulum. You can also visit Río Secreto or Xcaret Explore. In both they let you walk through amazing system of underground caves, sometimes filled with water. But beware these are touristy attractions, pricy and as far as Río Secreto … you are not allowed to take your own pictures :(
How to get here: You can come on your own and pay the entrance fee which is usually about 4-5 USD. They charge extra if you will dive. Bring your own water and snacks, usually there is nothing to buy and that´s the beauty of it, most of them remain very uncivilized. You can also contact any diving center in Cancun, Playa del Carmen or Tulum.