What are the Cenotes?

Interesting facts about cenotes

Cenote or Dz’onot is a Mayan word that means “cave with water”. The cenotes are water deposits of great depth, filled with the filtration of water from underground rivers and streams.

Did you know that the formation of the Yucatan Peninsula is associated to the Chicxulub Ring? It’s a semicircle of cenotes, which according to studies, constitute the edge of the crater that resulted from the impact of the asteroid that caused the extinction of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago.

  • Cenotes have their origin millions of years ago during the last Ice Age, when the Yucatan Peninsula was covered by seawater. When the level decreased, a coral reef barrier was exposed and formed a base of limestone.
  • The porous nature of the limestone, allowed the filtration of rainwater that filled underground tunnels and caverns, giving form to underground rivers. When the roof of a cave would collapse, a cenote would be formed.
  • In Quintana Roo known cenotes cover an area of 39 square miles. However, many of them remain undiscovered.
  • Ancient Maya communities had a strong connection with cenotes, as it was their source of water and the entrance to the underworld.
  • Cenotes are found in few places on earth, but the Yucatan Peninsula claims most of them.
  • Archaeological remains of prehistoric animals such as elephants, horses and camels have been found buried at the bottom of cenotes.
  • Did you know that little guardians called Aluxes take care of the cenotes? Come and get to know their legends!

What types of cenotes will you visit?

  • Their cylindrical shape characterizes them.
  • Open cenotes stand out for the spectacular flora of their high walls.
  • One of the most famous open cenotes is the Sacred Cenote for the offerings and pre-Hispanic artifacts found in its bottom.
  • Be dazzled by the various shades of green surrounding Kaa´k, the Fire Cenote
  • Recognized as the most enigmatic, these cenotes hide their surface inside a cave, where the Maya culture practiced many traditional ceremonies.
  • These cenotes are perfect for adventure activities due to their mysterious atmosphere.
  • Cavern cenotes can extend several miles below the earth, and some of them are connected to the sea.
  • Admire the play of light and shadows over the turquoise water of Lu’um, the Cavern Cenote.
  • Lush vegetation and tall trees frame the beauty of Ha’, the Water cenote.
  • It has fascinating underwater gardens and is home to diverse aquatic fauna.
  • Semi open cenotes are ideal places in Cancun and Riviera Maya to relax with the peacefulness of nature.
  • Feel the freshness which emanates from the depths of Ha', the Water Xenote.
  • It is very common that old cenotes, because of their age, are totally exposed.
  • When the roof of a cave totally collapses, ancient cenotes are exposed to the surface.
  • At first sight, they resemble ponds or lagoons, which in the past were a source of water for Maya communities.
  • Surrounded by the regional flora and fauna, Iik’ the Air Cenote offers a unique oasis in the middle of the jungle.

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