A colorful culture awaits in Tulum, Mexico. The geology is unique in itself with amazing cenotes, the jungle and wildlife. But it is also very rich in history, dating back to an ancient civilization of the Mayan peoples.
We spent our time here doing a bit of everything, but mostly enamored with the numerous Cenotes. A Cenote is a natural pit or sinkhole, resulting from the collapse of limestone bedrock that exposes underground water beneath.
The geology of the Yucatan Peninsula and the Ring Of Cenotes is believed to have been created from the Chicxulub Impact Crater, the same crater that took out the dinosaurs.
Cenotes are such unique geological features, some being open and others deep and cavernous. It is safe to say, they are protected as natural national parks of Mexico and conservation efforts go towards protecting these beautiful areas for generations to come. For instance, they do not allow chemicals to pollute the water, such as sunblocks, lotions, or repellant sprays. Before entering most Cenotes they ask you to shower and wash off anything from your skin to ensure the pristine conditions of the waters. Just like anywhere in Nature, it is important to be respectful, what you pack in, pack out. Do not leave trash or do anything you are not supposed to. Safety is a big thing at Cenotes too; most Cenotes are very deep, some extending down hundreds of feet and although you may be a good swimmer, most Cenotes require life jackets which they supply either in the entry cost or for a small additional fee. I (Tyema) was very grateful for this because I am not a strong swimmer and it made my experience much more comfortable. Plus it’s super relaxing to be able to just float with the vest and enjoy the views without getting tired from swimming. Snorkeling in the Cenotes is definitely recommended, fish swim about beneath you and you can truly get a sense of how deep and crystal clear the water is.
I personally loved each and every Cenote we visited. Each one was more amazing than the next and I was filled with such a child like bewilderment. These experiences were like no other I have ever felt before. Upon walking through the jungle down a staircase to our first Cenote, my face lit up in sheer amazement. The whole scene was enchanting and surreal and once again, Mother Nature took my breath away. Our first Cenote was partly cave, part open to the sky like an alcove with a waterfall trickling over the top of the alcove down into the water. We were fortunate enough to practically have this Cenote all to ourselves. The chatter of the jungle and the sound of water falling were the only sounds in the air. The sun peered through great big leaves, bouncing light here and there. We were eager to get in, we walked through the water on rocks until the rocks escaped from beneath us and we were fully submersed in the cool water.
We laughed, we played, we swam. Tranquil and fully at peace. We had our snorkeling gear and swam about looking deep down beneath the surface. Kayaks were available in each Cenote and we had fun kayaking around, enjoying the beautiful blue.
When we entered into the deep cavernous Cenotes my heart filled with so much beauty words cannot even express it. These Cenotes are a part of an underground system, the longest underground river in the world. Stalactites and stalagmites decorated the interior reflecting back in the mirrored crystal clear water. Bats hovered in the darkness snickering at us and casting shadows upon the cave walls. The water seemed to extend down endlessly beneath us, a plethora of blues. In this moment, we were purely present and enamored by our surroundings. We were still and silent, listening to the soft trickle of water flowing and gazing at the water reflections dancing on the ceiling. We were in a trance, meditating and feeling the energy of nature within us.
There are so many different Cenotes to choose from when visiting Tulum, signs litter the highway. We would recommend arriving at places early like as soon as they open, because it can get quite busy quickly. For us we like to enjoy nature with as minimal noise as possible, so we always seek out the lesser known locations to adventure to. We were fortunate enough to enjoy most of the Cenotes we went to with minimal people around and it made the experience much more serene.
No matter where we go, I have always been more partial to freshwater. It’s something in the way that I’m wired. From waterfalls, creeks, rivers, lakes, estuaries… and now, cenotes! I found a new, completely unique way to love another fresh water source. By far these cenotes must be the most breathtaking spectacle of nature that I have seen. Each one an entirely different experience, yet all rooted from the same historic foundation. Constantly changing, morphing through the years. Their pristine, crystal blue waters beckon the eyes and body to gander; to take a plunge, basking in the infinite beauty.
We spent our days chasing down various secluded spots to enjoy this natural phenomenon. We avoided the major cenotes attractions such as Gran Cenote and Dos Ojos for reason alone of overcrowding. Hoards of cars littered the sides of the street like an endless train by late morning every day. Packed in like sardines, swimming head to toe disrupting the tranquil peace and beauty. We were lucky enough to have a private cenote to ourselves during our Shamanistic Sound Healing experience. We were surrounded by the sounds of the jungle above, birds unknown to us chirping and chanting a mid afternoon lullaby. Even at another location where we experienced four different cenotes we mostly had them to ourselves. Kayaking around, jumping off walls into the water. Pure magic! With over 6000 cenotes in Mexico alone, we could spend a lifetime trying to find them all!