March 11, 2012

Mayan Pyramids and The Old Swimming Hole

While at the Mayan Riviera on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico last month (February), my son (in the photo) and I toured the Mayan ruins at Chechin Itza. [Map] More on the site here.

On the bus trip back to the coast we stopped for only 30 minutes for a swim in a cenote. It was a Sunday and this was a very popular place for people on the weekend. My son took this photo. 

Only a few from the tour group swam, but it was so refreshing after a hot day walking among the ruins.

While too brief, it was a wonderful experience, unlike any before. The closest was as a teen skinny dipping at abandoned granite quarries in our hometown. No vines there, though, and the water was much colder!

"...The Yucatán Peninsula is a porous limestone shelf with no visible rivers; all the fresh water rivers are underground. Being porous, caverns and caves formed where the fresh water collects – hence the cenotes or water sinkholes. The water that gathers in these subterranean cenotes is a crystal clear turquoise color with a very pleasant temperature of 78° F (25.5º C). 

The stalactites and stalagmites that form inside the cenotes are true natural works of art. In many, holes in the ceiling allow the sunlight to filter into the cenotes, giving the scene a magical feeling..."
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