There is nothing I love more than being in a place I've never been, and I pretty much just want to go everywhere...
I can't get enough of travelling and sightseeing, so this blog is dedicated to the cool little places I would someday like to go.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

“Sacred Blue Cenote” : Cenote Ik Kil

It’s March Break and right about now I’m really wishing I was somewhere tropical. So how about Mexico?
 
Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula is known for its Cenotes. There are no above ground rivers in the Yucatan – all freshwater is underground in natural caves and subterranean rivers. A Cenote (pronounced “sen-oh-tay”) is a natural sinkhole, formed when the roof of an underground water-filled cave collapses. Cenotes can be open like lakes or almost completely covered, except for a tiny hole at the top. The holes in the roofs allow natural sunlight to filter in, making for an enchanting atmosphere. “Cenote” means “sacred well,” since Cenotes were considered holy by the ancient Mayans, who believed the Cenotes were portals to the underworld and the realm of the Gods.
 


Cenote Ik Kil
 

There are thousands of Cenotes along the Peninsula, but one of the prettiest is Cenote Ik Kil. Many of the Cenotes are highly developed tourist centres, but in Mexico it’s usually wiser to stick to the well travelled paths.   
 
Cenote Ik Kil is 200 feet across and almost perfectly round. The water surface is about 85 feet below the ground above. A stairway carved into the rock leads down to a swimming platform, where visitors can swim and snorkel in the natural pool. The staircase is lit up beautifully in the evening. The water in the Cenote is very deep. Vegetation hangs in over the edges of the Cenote, including vines which reach all the way down to the surface of the water, and small waterfalls pour over the edges. Apparently there are catfish that live in the Cenote which would really be a problem for me, because I absolutely hate fish… but hopefully I could get over it and just enjoy the Cenote.
 
The Cenote is surrounded by cottages for visitors to rent, a restaurant, gift shop and changing rooms.
 
What to do? Cenote Ik Kil is part of the Ik Kil archaeological park, and is very close to Chichen Itza, a set of Mayan ruins and a very popular site for tourists. Cenote Ik Kil is also very close to Ek Balam, another set of ruins, which I would chose over Chichen Itza because it is apparently much less of a tourist trap and you can actually climb the temple.  
 

Ek Balam

Ek Balam also has its own nearby Cenote, called Cenote Maya. After you explore the Mayan ruins, you can swim and zipline in the breathtaking Cenote Maya, which is quite a different experience from Cenote Ik Kil, since the two are so different geologically.
 

Cenote Maya
 

What to eat? There is only one restaurant at Cenote Ik Kil, so not much choice there… but it is apparently excellent and buffet style, so wahoo!
 
You can also stay at one of the many resorts and take bus tours through the entire area, depending on what kind of experience you are looking for.
 

7 comments:

  1. I really find countries like Mexico fascinating. They're so deep and rich with history, with all the ancient ruins and such. Unlike in Canada,I think the oldest building is like a couple hundred years old. Also, I never knew they were called Cenotes. I've seen many pictures of them. But they do look really holy. I think it would be a very good place to just relax.

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    1. Yeah I love the Mexican ruins! Canada is cool too but like you said, everything is relatively new

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  2. I am always curious as to how you find these plaes, because like you said they seem to be off the travelled path? This definitely looks like the kind of place that I would visit as it looks calm, relaxed and not too busy. I honestly think that the best tourist attractions, while I enjoy human development, are natural.

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    1. For most of my places I find the pictures first and then look into them, but I learned about this one from my Aunt, she actually went to Ek Balam and Cenote Maya.

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  3. very cool, your blog makes me sad that I'm a poor student. I want to go to all of these places, and I don't want to wait around to do them. This place makes me think of a cool like bad guy headquarters, or think of movies like The Cave... spooky! It's not a place I'd want to go alone

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  4. Mexico is one of the places that I have personally wanted to travel to. Mostly because I can'r handle going in a plane, and Mexico is a place you can actually train or bus too. After this post, I am fully convinced. Before I die I will visit this place. It is so beautiful.

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  5. Chase I knooow, writing this blog just makes me wish I was rich! And Autumn I'm glad my blog could be so convincing/inspirational hahaha

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