NATURE WONDERS: CENOTES

Hello folks!Are you doing well? Today I want to show you some of the cenotes we visited this summer in México. “What are cenotes?” you may say. I discovered myself that a “cenote” is a natural pit, or sinkhole, resulting from the collapse of porous limestone bedrock that exposes groundwater underneath. Especially associated with the Yucatàn Peninsula, cenotes were sometimes used by the ancient Maya for sacrificial offerings. The term derives from a word used by the Yucatec Maya – ts’onot – to refer to any location with accessible groundwater.
While the best-known cenotes are large open water pools measuring tens of meters in diameter – such as those at Chichen Itza in Mexico – the greatest number of cenotes are smaller sheltered sites, hidden in the jungle.

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DSC00712Cenote Tamcach-Ha – Cobà

Most cave cenotes have fresh water that has been meticulously filtered by the earth, making them so clear and pure that you can see straight through: you’ll be surprised about how many small black fish inhabit the plant life below. Open-air cenotes also have clear water. The Mayans revered cenotes because they were a water source in dry times; the name “cenote” means “sacred well”. Mayans settled villages around these spiritual wells and believed that they were a portal to speak with the Gods. Today you can still see why cenotes held the Mayans in awe. Swimming in the waters feels like stepping into prehistory, where giant tropical trees, mangroves and vines form wild walls leading up to shafts of sunlight seeping in through the open ceiling.

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DSC00860Temozón – Cenote Hubiku

Cenotes may be fully collapsed creating an open water pool, or partially collapsed with some portion of a rock overhanging above the water. The stereotypical cenotes often resemble small circular ponds, measuring some tens of meters in diameter with sheer drops of several meters from the edges. Some of them are easy to access, with stairs leading down to the water, and others are a bit more tricky: however, we had to take care when descending to a cenote because the ground was a bit slippery. After seing this, I can say one more time that Nature has boundless creativity, that always leave me speechless.

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DSC00824Laguna Bacalar – Cenote Azul

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