Published On: Wed, Jan 22nd, 2014

10 things you should know about the sacred “Cenotes”

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Among the large number of tourist attractions that can be enjoyed in Yucatan, the “cenotes” are places of great natural beauty that attract hundreds of tourists from around the world each year.

There are several states in which people can experience the enjoyment of swimming in these fantastic natural formations, and obviously, the states of Yucatan and Quintana Roo have the largest number of cenotes in all Mexico.

The cenotes store in its crystal clear waters stories and legends of the Mayan culture, who still consider them sacred and believe they are inhabited by gods. Ancient Maya citizens thought the cenotes were windows to the other world and a connection to the afterlife;  hence their rituals to the underworld gods were organized around them.

Cenote Kankirixche (Photo:

Cenote Kankirixche (Photo:

Find out more about these amazing water holes  in the following 10 facts that you should know about the sacred “Cenotes”.

1) The term “cenote” comes from the Mayan word ” dzonot “, which means “pit” or “hole in the ground”, and it is used to designate a natural well .

2) These large underground cavities are made of limestone formations, and when the roofs collapse, they leave a large body of water.

3) Some cenotes may contain only a few inches of water, while others can be hundreds of meters deep.

4) Some of these deep natural pools of fresh water are connected with beautiful underground lakes.

5) Mexico’s most important cenotes are: the Sacred Cenote in Chichen Itza, the cenote of Xtacunbilxunan in Campeche and the cenote known as Zacatón in the northern state of Tamaulipas.

6) In the Yucatan Peninsula there are three types of cenotes : open that look as ponds or springs, semi – open that are partially covered by a dome shaped rock formation, and the underground cenotes, mostly hidden inside a cavern, with just a small entrance through a crack in the limestone.

7) The classification of cenotes is related to their age; mature cenotes are those that are covered and the young remain with an intact dome.

8) Some cenotes have a wide variety of fresh water flora and fauna; while others have been populated with new species due to meteorological events.

9) The ancient Maya used the cenotes as their main source of water supply, which they utilized for different uses in their daily activities.

10) These enigmatic sites were also ideal for the practice of rain, life and death rituals, and they were also considered the home of the water gods by the ancient Maya.

Cenote in YHomun, Yucatan

Cenote in Homun, Yucatan



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