swimming

Swimming in a Cenote by AW on March 12, 2012 Source: imgur.com via Amanda on Pinterest One of the highlights of our 2009 trip to Riviera Maya was the excursion to Chichen Itza followed by a visit to Ikil Cenote. More on Chichen Itza another time (as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, it certainly warrants its own post). Today I’ll focus on the cenote. After touring the ruins all day in the sweltering, unrelenting sun, our group stopped at Ikil Cenote (translation: “Sacred Blue Cenote”). A cenote is an amazing, magical sinkhole filled with fresh water. Cenotes are created when the original limestone landscape of the Yucatan Peninsula collapsed. If you want to know more about how cenotes are formed, go here. The blue-green water is 120 feet deep after you already stepped 90 feet below ground. It’s a beautiful site and the water was so refreshing, especially after the long, hot day. I should warn, however, that there are no lifeguards and no life jackets available so it is definitely at your own risk. That being said, dozens of elementary-aged children were diving off the 20-foot cliff and swimming to their hearts’ content. That’s Pete, diving in to the clear blue water Pete dove off the aforementioned 20-foot cliff (an infamous photo I circulate often) and I, being scared of heights, did not. It doesn’t matter though – one of the most exceptional swimming experiences I have ever had. Admittedly, we have only spent time at the Ikil Cenote, which is rather far (2+ hours) from Playa del Carmen. I highly recommend it if you are staying a few extra days and especially if you are planning an excursion to Chichen Itza. Below are some other cenotes closer to the area where we will be, though I have never been to any of them. They are open to the public for swimming, diving, and exploration, though they vary in size. If touring one of these parks is of interest to you, please let us know! Kantun-Chi Hidden Worlds Gran Cenote Rio Secreto Xcaret Xel-Ha Dos Ojos More photos from the Ikil Cenote visit below. Stairway down to the sinkhole

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