My main reason for choosing the Yucatàn Peninsula as my families’ destination was to experience the ancient history this land held, maybe be able to feel a spiritual connection to this particular land base, to see jaw dropping turquoise ocean rather than seeing it as a screen saver and to feel the flour like sand between my toes. There are thousands of cenotes scattered around the Peninsula, which were formed supposedly 65 million years ago from the asteroid that collided with the earth. This area is covered by a large sheet of limestone, creating natural underground cisterns. The Mayan civilization believed these underground grottos were passageways to the underworld and considered them to be very sacred. We’ve only visited the Cristalino Cenote so far, in the Quintana Roo state, and it wasn’t hard to imagine why these ancient people came to such a conclusion. The water is deliciously clear and fresh, this clarity offers you an ability to see deep into incredible underwater canyons. Since there are so many to choose from, it has made it difficult to decide which one to visit with our limited time in each region.
We noticed like everywhere else on this planet, many corporations have capitalized on these natural wonders privatizing some of them by building so called Eco Parks around the cenote with opulent entrance gates while charging exorbitant entrance fees. It is simply unjust.
During our stay in Quintana Roo, we have been led off track from our personal choices on quite a few occasions by eager tourist guides pushing the conglomerates. Just remember you’ll get better advice from locals who live there than from those who are hired to advise you. More money always result with better marketing and advertising strategies. The locals around Progreso were recommending we visit the Cuzamà Cenotes. I can assure you after visiting it that this is by far one of the top must-see sites while vacationing in the Yucatàn State. You are offered three cenotes for the price of one. If you were searching for a TRUE unique Mayan/ Mexican experience, something you will remember for years to come, this is the activity.
Arriving in the town of Cuzamà by colectivo and disembarking, we were instantly greeted by smiling Mexicans asking “Cenote??” They pointed to their rugged motor taxi public transportation; a motorcycle with constructed front frame seat and awning, able to accommodate 4 people. They asked us to climb on and the adventure we were seeking begun. Driving down a country road with our wind swept faces, I noticed smiles from ear to ear on everyone. You couldn’t help yourself, it was fun, I mean really FUN. About 5 minutes later we arrived at the entrance. Noticing horses attached to several different trees; I wondered if the horses were also going to be part of this experience. After paying 450$MXN for the five of us, we were asked to climb on a type of mining cart on tracks. A horse was then harnessed and led to the front of the cart. These same carts were once used to collect agave leaves deep in the jungle. Processing the leaves into henequen fiber to be spun into rope. They now used the carts to transport tourist to the cenotes.We were soon pulled through the dry forest towards what we understood was one of the cenotes. The first ride took about 5 minutes before we were asked to get off and get on to another motor taxi. We zoomed through the off road dirt path for another 5 minutes or so to arrive at another set of tracks with a new horse and cart waiting for us and travelled for another 5 minutes. At this point, our minds started wondering how on earth did these people ever find the entrance to these cenotes in the first place. Finally arriving we looked upon a hole at the roots of a very large tree and understood with their broken English and our broken Spanish that we were to venture down into the abyss. Being afraid of tight spaces, heights and spiders I was not so sure about our decision of visiting this place. But decided to face my fear head on. ‘What the hell!’ We only live once, might as well experience it. It look like nothing I had imagined. From above was a dry, scraggly forest and from below was an incredible cavern with magnificent stalagmite formations. It took my breath away, I felt elated.
We then continued on by horse drawn cart to another hole in the ground. This time my fear of heights reared its ugly head. I looked down this very tight hole with what seemed as a crudely constructed 20ft ladder. I thought for sure I was going to back down on this one. Owen, my 8 year old, was eager and wanted to climb down. The thought made me feel woozy to my stomach and gave me the necessary propulsion to climb down first in order to inspect if it was safe. Thank you Owen! Below lay an underground oasis of sapphire blue where only a small opening at the top allowed for some sunlight to pour in. The water was perfect about 78ºF. It’s one of those places on earth where pictures and videos don’t do it justice. It is precisely sublime.
They really kept the best one for last. You descend this metal frame staircase towards a blue water lagoon. You notice immediately the many brave swimmers leaping into the water from a 15ft. ledge. A larger ceiling hole hollows for natural light to peer in. This place was truly heaven on earth. Enjoy the video!