Dirk and I had an exciting day trip last weekend from Merida in Mexico – we went swimming in cenotes! This is definitely a travel hihlight for me. In the area that is known as the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico there are hundreds of cenotes. Some are larger than others and some are easier to have access to. Keep reading and enjoy the pictures to find out what a cenote is…
When we got off the collectivo (a kind of minibus taxi) that drove an hour and a half from Merida to Cuzama, there were a few of the above bicitaxis awaiting us. A mexican guy named William drove us to the start of the cenote horsecart tours for sixty pesos.
We climbed onto a cart, a horse was fastened to pull us and we were on our way! The cart followed a track to the cenotes; we didn’t understand why the track was needed as there was a horse pulling it?
The entrance to the first cenote was underwhelming – we entered a abandoned looking cave…
…to be amazed by the incredible stalactites inside!
These stalactites had a brown colour as if something had burned it:
Dirk taking a closer look:
We walked deeper in the cave and saw the black pool that we were going to swim in:
A cenote is a natural pit or sinkhole, resulting from the collapse of limestone bedrock that exposes groundwater underneath.
The water was cool and very refreshing – Merida is a hot place, so it was great to swim. There were small black fishes that swum with us. Apparently these fishes don’t have eyes and will die if you shine a light directly on them.
The bottom of the cenote was rough and not slimy as I expected. There were other tourists that arrived just after we did:
After our refreshing swim our cart and guide (who didn’t talk a lot to us) took us to the next cenote.
At the second cenote we had to climb down a ladder for about ten meters – we think the 24m depth (as per the sign) of the cenote maybe includes the part where you climb a ladder.
The steps of the ladder was slippery from many wet feet. I held onto the handrail for dear life.
This cenote felt deep. I was scared that some unknown creature lived down there.
The last cenote was the biggest of the three. The staircase down was a bit scary:
The water of the cenote is a deep blue colour!
Above us bats and sparrows flew around their nests in the stalactites. The tourists and noise must have bothered them.
We jumped off a ledge into the water:
There were many other tourists at this cenote. It’s like a big swimming pool inside a cave!
This cenote tour took a little less than four hours. If you are in Merida, this is a must-do activity.
How to get to Cuzama from Merida: We walked to the Noreste bus terminal in downtown Merida, in 67th street. A man approached us and asked if we wanted to go to the cenotes in Cuzama and we got into his collectivo for a price of 45 pesos. The cenote horsecart tour cost us 150 pesos per person. If you are a group of four you can pay 100 pesos per person.