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Swim in Clear, Pristine Blue Water Hidden Away in the Yucatán Peninsula

These freshwater "cenotes" could be the perfect spot for your next relaxing vacation.
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Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula is famous for its beautiful and stunning beaches, but there is much more to the area that may not be immediately obvious to most people. Hidden from the open world, and masses of tourists, are freshwater pools, known as the cenotes, with clear blue water.

Most of the cenotes are in concealed locations around the Yucatán Peninsula. The water is often found in caves, or beneath the thick jungle vegetation. This will make swimming in the mineral-enriched water seem magical and surreal.

According to Lonely Planet, “cenotes are natural swimming holes formed by the collapse of porous limestone bedrock, which has revealed a secret subterranean world of groundwater pools.”

The cave cenotes are full of fresh water, which has been filtered by the earth, so that the water is clear, clean, and it allows anyone to see straight to the bottom. “Open-air cenotes also have clear water, and often are home to vitamin- and mineral-rich algae that nourish and protect your skin,” Lonely Planet claims.

According to the Cancun travel website, the top five cenotes that any traveler must visit are in Tulum. “Located in the heart of the Riviera Maya, Tulum is a stunning place to spend a summer vacation. The Riviera Maya is a destination famous for its beaches and ruins, but there are also an abundance of cenotes,” the website says.

One of the best cenotes to visit is Cenote Dos Ojos. The name of this cenote is Spanish for “two eyes,” which refers to the two connected sinkholes. One sinkhole is crystal clear and the other is dark and hollow. The two sinkholes are connected by a cave system.

“The underwater cave system is among the longest in the world, featuring very clear water and the deepest known cave passage in the state, ‘The Cenote Pit,’ at almost 400 feet deep. One interesting feature of this cenote is a cave with a resident population of bats,” the article reads.

Another recommended cenote is the Cenote Calavera, which is Spanish for “skull cenote.” According the Cancun travel site, this cenote is “complete with impressive rock formations and crystal-clear water, it is a breathtaking place to enjoy a refreshing swim, or a fascinating exploration below the surface. From inside you can look up to the ceiling and, with a little bit of imagination, see the holes that create the image of the skull… that the cenote is named after.”

Cenote Escondido is especially hidden. Get ready, because the travel site says that “this cenote has it all: wooden platforms for accessing the water, 5 to 15 foot-high rocks to jump from, and underwater caves to explore. Sunbathe under the thatched roof palapa, or put on your mask and admire the fish swimming below as you make the most out of this beautiful natural setting.”

While the admirable cenotes are famed among tourists for being popular places to swim, dive, and explore, the cenotes are especially popular among the indigenous population.

According to Lonely Planet, “the Mayans revered cenotes because they were a water source in dry times; the name cenote means ‘sacred well’. Mayans settled villages around these spiritual wells and believed that they were a portal to speak with the gods.”

Sacred among the Mayans, and popular with visitors, the beautiful cenotes make the Yucatán Peninsula a desirable destination to visit.

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