Cenotes (pronounced cenote) are one of the most typical geological manifestations of the Yucatan Peninsula. The entire peninsula would have no less than 10 cenotes, of which only a quarter would be known and listed. The surroundings of Tulum are the most famous of them among divers. We had the privilege of discovering 000 around Mérida. Indeed, Phocaea Mexico just created this new extension, in order to add once again if necessary, a new string to their bow. In the company of 6 members of scuba-people.com, we therefore went to see for ourselves. As much to tell you right away, it was well beyond our expectations ...
The province of Yucatán is not crossed by any river, and the map of the peninsula, which has two other provinces, Campeche and Quintana Roo, has few rivers and lagoons. However, the region does not lack fresh water. The territory is as if eaten away from the interior by rivers that flow in underground caves. It is to this network that the cenotes are connected, which can be described simply as natural underground wells. This is, moreover, what the etymology of the word “cenote” sums up quite clearly, which is the Hispanization of the Mayan word “dzonot” which means “cave with water”.
the Yucatan Peninsula seen from the sky
The unpublished cenotes extension of Mérida
This trip can be done all year round by divers N2 minimum with good diving experience to their credit. And a perfect control of the buoyancy… under penalty of being lynched by the other divers at the exit of the immersion… Indeed, very little frequented, the sediment which rests at the bottom of these cenotes is very light and therefore very volatile. The groups are of 4 divers minimum and 8 maximum, in order to confirm the extension. This is sold for around € 800 all inclusive in order to soak your fins in Mérida (transfer Playa - Mérida - Playa, hotels, dives, full board - excluding flights).
FOCUS ON TRAVEL
It takes a good 4 hours by road to reach Mérida from Playa del Carmen. This is good and the journey is going quite comfortably. Our guides have planned a visit to Samula, which allows you to soak in cool water but also and above all to become aware of the “normal” attendance of a tourist cenote! Once in Mérida, an hour's drive morning and evening is necessary to reach the “secret” cenotes. During this extension, everything is included and in particular the dinners which allow you to discover the Mayan gastronomy.
REMINDER: All the dives carried out during this mission are “cavern” dives, ie we always see the light of day. These are carried out without any specific training, unlike “cave” dives.
From the incredible to the magical, that's how I decided to present these cenotes to you. This is why you will discover them in the opposite direction of the extension, from the last to the first.
It is THE cenote that leaves you speechless as the atmosphere and the relics there are so exceptional. It is a real underwater museum which commands respect and allows the diver who has the chance to discover it to become aware of the immense privilege granted to him.
This cenote deserves an article all by itself!
Moreover, in June 2001, Curt Bowen was in charge of an exploration mission made up of 20 scientists. They were able to unravel the mysteries of the ways of life of these peoples and their way of treating their dead. The debate persists but it is already certain that the teams of scientists have irrefutable evidence of accidental deaths, funeral rites and even human sacrifices. In a remote niche, exploration divers led scientists to a chamber where more than one body lay carefully placed in a mortuary position among modest offerings meant to accompany souls lost in the trials of the world of the world. beyond.
But this well reveals much more than the most exciting discoveries about the Mayan people. In addition to ceramics from the time of the settlers and the bones of Mayan peasants, deposits taken from accumulated layers of mud bear witness to the flora and fauna that existed before the region was occupied by humans. Extinct horses, the bones of camels and llamas were brought up in order to list them before putting them back in their place in the cenote for
better conservation. Learn more: Cenote Kanun
Cenote Kanun: Hot Prints
Who better than the members to give you their opinion on this immersion in history? Between the abseiling and unique archaeological pieces, all we needed was the whip and the hat to take us for Indiana Jones ...
The real question is to know if we will be able to dive there for a long time… the quality of the site, protected by its remoteness and by the logistics to be deployed, has for the moment kept it away from tourist routes. During our immersion, the police came to carry out a surprise raid to find out what we were doing there ...
The images of the cenotes below describe much better than a text, the Superb Adventure, with a capital “A”, that we lived. Good immersion.
cenote noh moson
lunch at the Maya
It is also one of the specificities of this extension, allowing you to go and meet the Mayans. To enter villages where the daily language is still the Mayan language. A real discovery! We had the chance to share 2 lunches with families, one of which had prepared a deer hunted for us by the father of the family in “ceviche” fashion. A culinary treat.
As usual, the same observation: it is those who have “nothing” who give everything ...
GUIDES AT THE HEIGHT ... OF PARTICIPANTS
The whole Team scuba people would like to thank our 2 guides, Tristan and Max, who demonstrated during the entire stay an unfailing patience, a real knowledge of the field, an availability at all times and a humor that we have almost succeeded in undermining 😉 Gracias niños !!!
Left TRISTAN, right MAX. And in the middle… ??? Don't know… a young Mexican who was passing by…
Thanks also to Juan, the king of knots and carabiners, thanks to whom we were able to descend and climb safely.
Thank you also to all those who allowed this mission to take place in the best conditions: Dyonisos, Luis, his wife, his kids, the bus drivers, the porters ...
The Scuba People Team with some friends
“This trip was a discovery of geological wonders: the cenotes. These are magnificent natural sites made up of caves and submerged casings used by the Mayans as places of ritual sites. After having reached Mérida, capital of Yucatán in the Mexican peninsula, we had the extraordinary chance to discover cenotes little or not at all frequented. Accompanied by guides who know the area perfectly, we dived in cenotes, some picturesque, others mysterious, in the Mexican jungle during a 5-day journey. They are bewitching places with magical and almost supernatural lights. A larger or smaller access hole, tree roots falling into the cave in search of water, at the foot of the roots of crystal clear water and below the surface in water with incredible visibility of scenes that make one think of a submerged sanctuary: human and animal bones, pottery, pieces of plants and so on, all crossed by rays of breathtaking light. It is these images that will remain engraved in me, as well as the intense moments spent with the Mayas, family meals and steam bath in Temazcal. In short, unforgettable moments. ”
Hubert (he uses his wife's profile ...):
“Far from the tourist noise of Playa del Carmen, the cenotes of Mérida offer calm and serenity, with a feeling of discovery out of time. In the middle of the jungle, at the bend of abandoned haciendas overgrown with vegetation, the difficulty of access, the absence of stairs and the abseiling to reach them preserve them, but until when?
The pleasure of discovering these sacred wells with intact remains is opposed to the future vision of a plundered and over-exploited natural pool.
A big thank you to our guides who were able to share their passion with us, by immersing us in the Mayan world. The Temazcal, the welcoming of the inhabitants and the protection of the spirits will remain an unforgettable memory. ”
“Mérida, direction the heart of Yucatán, off the beaten track… and tourists!
For me it was the discovery of cenotes, accessible water holes… or almost, play of light and scenes of life still intact.
In the middle of the vegetation, a clearing, a large tree and at its foot a more or less easy access to water, blocks lowered with the hoist and the feeling of being alone, one of the first to immerse oneself in these places. . This feeling of being a privileged discoverer grew crescendo and ended in apotheosis. Abseiling 20 meters in a well, intact scenes of life, fireplace, pottery, animal skulls or human skeletons, a jump of 15000 years or more, all this while sharing a meal with our “Sherpa” and his family… In short, an “Authentic” and “Rare” stay. ”
“Legendary cenote, wide and sunny, a white dune hit by rays and I dive into a fan of turquoise blues that change their hue as I progress. More closed, a white cloud of suspended matter stretches, wraps itself around the trunks of calcified trees and a ghost prowls. An abseiling, total darkness, bones, columns and cathedral drapes, it is the sanctuary of the Mayan ancestors. A perfect peace reigns in these places and a single desire when the breadcrumb trail crosses, follow it to slide further. Last surprise from our guides, Tristan and Max, a temazcal to continue the initiation! But that's another story."
“Very far from a simple diving trip, we lived a real adventure, a journey back in time to discover Mayan vestiges resting for centuries in some of the most beautiful but most confidential cenotes of the Yucatan peninsula . Thank you to all those who worked to give us this fabulous experience, in particular to our two guides, Tristan and Max, as well as to Phocéa Mexico who offered us flawless support and logistics. ”
“Merida and its cenotes! I had documented myself, but my discovery of the cenotes was a dazzling one. After a long journey through the pampas, almost a jungle, an abandoned hacienda already allowed us to imagine the suffering of the Mayan people to complete the construction. Then porters helped us bring all the heavy equipment to the entrance of the cenote, and there, a simple glance made me discover the Grail, 15 meters below! A rappelling, winched with confidence by 3 men under the direction of a professional climber, it is, at 72 springs, a unique experience! Sweet sensation, by the light of the lamps, that this fabulous course! A cathedral, a museum took shape before us: pottery, human skulls, tibias, entire skeletons, pillars, colors, everything inspired a respectful silence in the face of death, present and so bewitching in these places. Each of the cenotes discovered will bring me its harvest of images of crystal-clear waters dazzling with beauty and light: so many unforgettable memories that only a flawless organization and well
and well-established can deliver. ”
I would also like to thank Nicolas Barraqué who gave me some of his underwater images… following a lighting accident on the 1st dive which severely penalized me for bringing you back the sequences I wanted to do .. Thanks also to Patrick Masse for the interviews.