Visiting cenotes is a must if you have time why you are exploring the Yucatan peninsula. They come in all shapes and sizes, from large open air cenotes, to dark underground caves (my personal favorite).
A cenote is a natural sink hole in limestone that gets filled by fresh rain water through underground aquifers. Because the water is rain water getting filtered through rocks, in most cenotes (that do not have bus loads of tourists swimming in them) the water is stunningly crystal clear and you can look down 50 feet and see the bottom perfectly. They are amazing!
I wanted a unique cenote experience, so I told Sam I planed for us to visit Cuzama, where a horse drawn cart on a rail track takes you to visit three remote cenotes. It is an almost full day excursion, and they will let you camp for free in the parking lot if you want to stay the night (they had primitive bathrooms and a place to eat). This was a super fun day with a rustic adventure that has not yet been taken over by the zip-lining crowd of the mega resorts of Cancun. I think it is safe from mass tourism because it is not that easy to get to from the coast. I hope it stays the sleepy little treasure that it was.
Cuzama- Three cenotes
To enter the cenotes you had to climb down wet ladders into dark holes. If you are scared of heights or not in decent shape, there are easier cenotes to visit that Cuzama, but they were perfect for us.
The first cenote was pitch black inside, you needed a flashlight. The water was amazing and you could swim around in a dark cave. We took pictures not knowing what they would look like until the flash went off because it was so dark. Here is one of them.
This is what it looked like when the flash did not go off. The light behind me was the flashlight of our guide. If he turned that off, I don’t think I could see my hand in front of my face.
Close up of Sam in the “dark cenote”. Love the crazy face, I assume that is what both of our faces looked the entire time swimming around in a dark cave. Look how clear the water is!
And me in the dark hole. If you would have told me a year ago that I would love swimming in dark underground caves I would have said that you were insane. Now I love it.
Riding along on the horse drawn carriage to our next cenote.
Entrance to the second cenote was even crazier. No tree roots to grab onto.
This cenote was the most beautiful one we swam in. The water was so clear and there were little tropical fishes.
Some of the cleanest water I have swam in. So much fun. The tree roots hung from the ceiling, it made it feel like an Indian Jones cave.
The final cenote was the biggest and had to largest opening to the outside so there was a lot of light.
We also stayed at at campground that had a cenote you could visit with the price of camping that was very photogenic, but not very clean to swim in. There were lots of swallows and bats in the cave, and I think their droppings are polluting the water a bit. It felt murky….And the only fish we saw were black cat fish, not sure how much this water is flowing through underwater river systems but it sure was lovely.
View from the top.
We were alone in the cenote for about 45 minutes, when suddenly this loud Mayan chanting music started. We were trying to figure out what the heck was going on when we saw a bus load of tourists enter. I guess us solo travelers don’t get Mayan mood music (thank god!).