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FOTO: YUCATÁN TODAY

CENOTES

S

ome of the most important and unusual natural wonders of the state of Yucatán are the cenotes, or sinkholes. On the Yucatán Peninsula there are over 6,000 cenotes, with only 2,400 actually studied and registered. There are different types of cenotes: completely underground, semi-underground, at land level and open wells. Cenotes are magical, enigmatic and unique in the world, and are the only resource for fresh, sweet water in the local Yucatecan jungle. Sacred to the Maya because they represented the entrance to the underworld.

DZUL-HÁ Its Maya name means “Gentleman of the water” and it is located at the Hacienda Sotuta de Peón. Monday to Sunday half tour package includes: tour in “truck” and visit to Casa Maya. There is optional restaurant service. Adults $300 pesos. Children: $150 pesos. www.haciendaviva.com HOMÚN Located only 50 minutes from Mérida, there are more than 15 cenotes here: Open, closed, some with caverns and caves. There are small hotels and places to camp. From downtown Mérida there are colectivos which depart from Calle 67 x 50 y 52, that take you directly to the main plaza in Homún where there are guides ready to take you to the cenotes. Or you can contact Gabriel, to reserve your experience, including transportation from Mérida if you wish: Cel. 9993 55 51 51. SAN IGNACIO Just 20 minutes from Mérida, on the highway to Campeche, in the village of Chocholá, is the cenote San Ignacio, safe and ideal for swimming in its transparent, turquoise waters. Found inside a cavern, there is artificial lighting and even music! For your enjoyment and comfort, you will find palapas, a restaurant, bathrooms, showers, and dressing rooms. www.cenotesanignacio.com CENOTILLO This village has a large number of cenotes located within the town and the outskirts. According to locals, there are more than 150 cenotes. The main ones are Kaipech, Xayín, Xoch, Yook Chac and Ucil.

Cenote Canunchén, Homún

CUZAMÁ There are three cooperative groups managing the cenotes here. The three cenotes Chelentún (turquoise blue water and excellent visibility), Santa Cruz, and Dzapakal are managed by Grupo Organizado Chelentún, at Hacienda Chunkanán, 3 km south of Cuzamá. El Parador Ecoturístico manages the four cenotes San Felipe, Ayuso, Saak-Pakal and X’tohil. Cenotes Chansinic’ché and Bolonchoojol are managed by another group. The means of transport with all three groups is a “truck” (wooden cart pulled by small horses).

XLACAH Located at the Maya site of Dzibilchaltún, this is the closest cenote to Mérida. It is an open, ground-level cenote, great for swimming. It is a great place to jump into after a visit to the archaeological site and its splendid museum. YOKDZONOT Just 10 minutes from Chichén Itzá, a swim in this cenote is a magical experience. Small fish dart all around you, birds are swooping overhead and singing and dragonflies flutter above the water’s surface. The water is cool and clean. There’s a kitchen offering inexpensive Yucatecan cuisine. ZACÍ Located in Valladolid, this semi-open cenote is ideal for swimming in the refreshing emerald green waters. You will see a rare species of eyeless black fish that are commonly known as “lub.”

IK KIL Located in the Eco-archaeological Park Ik Kil, just 3 km from the archaeological site of Chichén Itzá. It is a well-type cenote with exuberant vegetation and waterfalls. Stairs lead down to the water. There is also an excellent buffet-style restaurant here, and bungalows, so enjoy a delicious lunch in this spectacular place. X’KEKÉN AND SAMULÁ Located in Dzitnup 5 km southeast of Valladolid, these cenotes are underground with a hole in the ceiling. Deep, refreshing, crystal-clear waters await you.

Where to Go and How!

CHIHUAN This crystalline underground cenote is clean, safe, well lit, and has easy access. Swim, dive, snorkel. Km 80 Mérida - Cancún “Libre” road. FB: Cenote Chihuan

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