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Mexico> Yucatan Penninsula> Mayan Cities> Cenotes

Mexico - Yucatan Penninsula


( Nature’s Beauty / Nature’s Beauty )

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Mayan Cities

The surface of the land in this part of the Yucatán Peninsula that lies in the state of Quintana Roo is basically a limestone shelf, beneath which flows a network of underground rivers. Occasionally the limestone collapses, exposing the water below and forming natural wells, which the ancient Maya called cenotes. The location of these cenotes determined the location of many of the Mayan cities, where they not only provided a source of pure water, but also served for religious ceremonies. Today these cenotes are popular places for the tourist to visit. Some people like to swim in the crystal-clear, turquoise water, while others don scuba gear and enter a cenote at one point, swim underground in the river, and pop up at another cenote. Large theme parks, such as Xel-Ha and Xcaret, have developed to highlight natural wonders in the area and include underground rivers in their list of attractions. These places are fun, especially if you are traveling with children, but extremely commercial, and we definitely prefer the secluded, lesser-known cenotes. Ask the concierge at your hotel where you are staying to recommend one nearby—they are dotted throughout the landscape.

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