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Finding Mayan Cenotes In Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula

Tom Malone/Adventure Tribune
The Yucatan Peninsula is full of underground lakes called centotes just waiting to be explored. But, how do you find them?


MEXICO - Thousands of years ago, the predecessors of the Maya began to cultivate and maintain the Yucatan Peninsula just inland from Mexico's Caribbean coastline. However, unlike most civilizations of the time, this area featured no major river that allowed large-scale farming to occur. Instead, the Maya looked underground.

The Yucatan Peninsula's ground is composed of erosive rock that allows water to collect just under its surface. Overtime, groundwater collected into dozens of massive caves that the Maya were able to utilize for agriculture. Legend has it that many of these underground caverns, or cenotes, were sacred and often used for religious purposes as well.

As a traveler, you can access many of these cenotes on your own or with a group. Some cost just a few dollars to enter and explore, while others are free. And, of course, some are still inaccessible due to their sacred purpose (the Mexican government is increasing their efforts to reestablish Mayan culture after centuries of subjugation).

If you look hard enough, you'll find that cenotes even allow you to swim around in the underground caverns. Of course, this may come with a small fee, but it's completely worth it to swim in an underground cavern once used by one of the most advanced civilizations in the ancient world.

Interested in exploring some cenotes? Ask your hotel concierge, or review a travel guidebook before exploring to ensure the underground cavern offers what you seek. And then, share your photos with The Adventure Tribune so others can follow in your footsteps.

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Tom Malone is the Editor-In-Chief of The Adventure Tribune and author of adventure novels, like Across Americana. He is based in Denver, Colorado, where he adventures through the Rocky Mountains while not traveling abroad.
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