Lynn & Brian's Fabulous Yucatecan Adventure
©1996 by Lynn D. Troldahl Hershberger (
Cenotes near Valladolid
Antonio and Maria took us to two cenotes (sinkholes where the limestone "topsoil" layer fell through to expose an underground river). Cenotes were very important to the ancient Mayas as there are no aboveground rivers in the Yucatán peninsula, and this was the primary way to access fresh water for drinking. The first cenote we saw, Dzitnup, was actually in a cave, with a small natural "skylight" where the cave ceiling had broken through to the sunny natural light above. This cenote was clear turquoise water and very quiet, peaceful and spiritual. People swim in this cenote but we just soaked up the surroundings.

The second cenote, Sasil, was not in a cave; it was more like a sunken lake with cliffs surrounding it. Antonio took us to a thatched-roof restaurant overlooking this cenote. He says the family frequently goes there on Sunday for a meal. Apparently on Sundays someone dives into the cenote, a sort of cliff-diving experience. It looks very shallow, so either I was deceived or the diver is very skilled. This cenote, because of its exposure to the elements, was less striking in its looks. It was not as turquoise or clear and there was matter floating on its surface (water lilies of some sort according to one guidebook). The water had the look and size of a pond in the Midwest, though it was clearly distinguished by its magnificent cliff-like limestone walls.

Next: Pedro's Family

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