We felt like Alice in Wonderland falling down the rabbit hole. Except we were climbing down a ladder instead. And this hole was one of the fabled Riviera Maya cenotes.
But what we gaped at inside was every bit as trippy as what Alice encountered.
Magical Riviera Maya cenotes
Cenotes are sinkholes in the limestone ground, where the roof has caved in. Most are fed by underground rivers and so they’re filled with freshwater.
Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula is pock-marked with more than 8,000 cenotes.
The Riviera Maya alone has about 300 of these natural pools. And swimming in these cenotes is one of the most unique things to do in the Riviera Maya.
Cenotes with stalactites and stalagmites
Many Riviera Maya cenotes are adorned with fantastically-shaped stalactites and stalagmites.
Swimming in cenotes
With their crystal spires, and water that shines an unearthly brilliant blue, the Riviera Maya cenotes look like wondrous underground cathedrals.
In several cenotes, you can swim and snorkel – sometimes exploring dreamlike subterranean passageways that connect to other cenotes.
We even spotted catfish and bats in some.
The cenotes in the Mayan Riviera are truly magical places – and an absolute highlight of a visit to the Riviera Maya!
Have a look at these additional photos, and then check out some of the best cenotes in the Riviera Maya at the end…
Diving in a cenote
You can also go scuba diving in cenotes – that’s jumping on our to-do list when we next visit the Riviera Maya!
Photo credits: 4, 5, 8 and 11 © Janice and George Mucalov, SandInMySuitcase | 2, 6, 7, 9, 10 and 12 Alltournative Ecological Adventures