Cenotes are freshwater pools formed when limestone beneath the Earth’s surface dissolves or collapses exposing the water table. Invisible until some of the rock ceiling caves in, the most famous cenotes like Zaci are large: 80 meters deep (265 feet) and 45 meters (148 ft) wide. Crude numbers that don’t capture how visually surprising Cenote Zaci is at first glance at the end of its narrow staircase entrance.
Mayan communities often centered themselves physically and culturally around cenotes as these freshwater supplies were believed to be windows to the afterlife. Valuables (plus the occasional young woman) were ritualistically thrown into them to appeal or appease any number of Mayan gods. These days only tourists toss themselves gently into the chilly waters from steps leading into them; while a blogger’s cold toes recommended they instead snap photos from higher above.
Globally cenotes are usually isolated formations, but on the Yucatan Peninsula over 6,000 connect along what happens to be part of the 565 kilometer (350 miles) Chicxulub Crater‘s edge. A massive hole caused by a 10 km (6 mile) wide asteroid (or comet) which sent most dinosaurs to the reptile afterlife 66 million years ago. Cenote Zaci is a window to that world as well, watched over by dinosaur’s last living descendants we call birds, who swirl in flight at the entrance above the caves.
Wow. Breathtaking shot Anil.
I heard the spirits of Mayan children whispering in this cenote. One of my all time favorite cenotes.
Mine too. I just wish I had gotten a picture with someone in it for scale. I remember talking about this before with you, the temptation to avoid people in travel photos!
Wow – what an amazing place, Another place added to my list now! 🙂
Sounds like the list just got even better 🙂
i’d afterlife there
The parties are probably pretty amazing and the acoustics… 🙂
Great shot. I really liked that cenote, the little fish nibbling at your feet add to it. One of the best I came across was out in the middle of nowhere with a handwritten sign. It was hot so I decided to stop and after a 10min walk we got to this amazing cenote that was run by a family. It was as big as a cathedral.
There are so many in the area that are literally in people’s backyards (plus all of those yet undiscovered) that go unnoticed because the more famous ones monopolize tourist visitors. Glad you got to see one of the lesser-visited ones.
amazing place , simply marvellous
It is, absolutely.
I am currently in Yucatan and I intend to visit a cenote. As I passed through Valladolid, I think make it a near Tulum. Have you visited them and do you think they are as good as the one you found?
Hi Rachel, I’ve seen a few but Zaci is one of the largest and best to see. It’s not too far from Tulum if you’re heading there?
Thanks for the information… finally after your answer, i decided to go to Valladolid to visit Zaci. But finally i visited the Dzitnup who is in a cave. It’s was very beautiful, but a little bit to much touristic.
I hope the crowds didn’t take away too much from the experience and something that’s good to note, I should have mentioned. The earlier you arrive the fewer people you’ll find. It was practically empty at Zaci when I showed up around 8 or 9am.
Awesome Blog, this place looks beautiful, I will defiantly adding this to my list! xD