Published On: Mon, Apr 14th, 2014

Cenotes: from sacred sites to recreational centers

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The crystal clear waters of the cenotes all around the Yucatan Peninsula, receive thousands of visitors who want to admire its natural beauty, relax and swim in them during the “Semana Santa” (Easter Week) holiday period.

The cenotes an alternative for recreation, relaxation and fellowship for domestic and foreign tourists that arrive by plane to the Riviera Maya, in the State of Quintana Roo, and also to those who arrive to the Mérida International Airport, in the State of Yucatán.

All these families are looking to escape the routine and experience different alternatives of the so called “ecotourism” .

Places of entertainment
It is well known that these places were sacred sites for the Maya, and today these spots have become family gathering places where children can practice diving and play freely in the water while their parents relax and enjoy the natural beauty of this sinkholes and their surroundings.

Prices for access to these natural attractions range from 30 to 200 pesos ($2 to $18 USD) , and visitors the use of chemicals is forbidden to preserve the pristine nature of these crystal clear waters.

In many cenotes the rental of life jackets and snorkeling equipment is available.

While the best-known cenotes are large open water pools measuring tens of meters in diameter, such as those at Chichén Itzá, the greatest number of cenotes are smaller sheltered sites and do not necessarily have any surface exposed water.

It is a fact that The Yucatán Peninsula has almost no rivers and only a few lakes, and those are often marshy. The widely distributed cenotes are the only perennial and principal source of potable water in most of the Peninsula.

Water pollution is a growing problem in the area, and it occurs when pollutants are directly or indirectly discharged into water bodies. Unfortunatelly if the people of Yucatan, Quitana Roo and Campeche don’t take care of these precious sources of potable water, that are also being exploited as places of entertainment, we will end up with two bigger problems: 1) The quality of the water. 2) Water supply due to the accelerated migration to the main cities of the Yucatan Peninsula.

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