Disclaimer: if you are traveling, please follow all COVID-19 regulations in the area.
Cenotes (pronounced like sen-OH-tays) are limestone sinkholes found in areas where collapsed rock has revealed groundwater. There are a large variety of cenotes! There are 4 types: pit, cylinder, basin, and cave cenotes. Some are large, natural pools fully open to the land surrounding it, others are semi-covered, and some are entirely enclosed. In some of the deeper cenotes with cave systems, you can free dive and scuba as there can be extensive passageways below! Typically found in Mexico in the Yucatan, cenotes are also found in locations like Australia, Belize, Dominican Republic, Canada, and the U.S. The water is usually very clear, as the water primarily comes from filtered rainwater and/or underground rivers.
These underground caverns are breathtaking, and 100% worth experiencing one day. While they were once used as a water supply for cities like Chicken Itza and sometimes even for sacrificial offerings in the Mayan culture, nowadays they are enchanting places to explore and feel connected with nature and history.
It’s so important to keep these incredible sites as preserved as possible to keep them clean and unspoiled from pollution and waste. Cenotes can be high-traffic travel sites as people from all over the world come to experience their beauty and wonder for themselves. With that in mind, Mexico has decided to enact some regulations. Read on to learn about them!