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Ik Kil Cenote
Wikipedia | Google | Google Images | FlickrIk Kil Cenote is a natural sinkhole located in the Yucatan, Mexico. It is not only a beautiful spot for swimmers but some of the most breathtaking photos have been taken there.
What is a CenoteThe word ‘cenote’ comes from the Mayans . It means “ts’onot” or “dzonot” which stands for “sacred well.” A natural phenomenon, a cenote is actually a sinkhole. There are more than 7,000 of these in the Yucatan Peninsula alone and this is because of the land there being a porous limestone. These cenotes are formed when the rainfall, over millions of years, wore down the limestone, creating caverns and caves. Once these water tables were formed, sometimes the roof would collapse and what you get is the cenote.
Each one is unique and can have a large opening at the top or even a tiny one that is barely visible. The other unique feature is that they can contain different types of water, depending on each cenote. There is no set rule in whether the cenote has saltwater, freshwater, or a combination of both.
The Mayans believed that these cenotes were a sacred area and had healing properties. From these cenotes, they got their fresh water and some were even used for human sacrifice but all were believed to be portals to the underworld or communication devices for the Gods. Many times, people would be sacrificed by throwing them into the cenote and leaving them to drown. Obviously, there weren't convenient stairs carved into the landscape in order for someone to get out.
What You'll Find at Ik Kil CenoteLocated just a few miles or kilometers from Chichen Itza, Ik Kil Cenote is especially beautiful. It has a depth of around 40 meter and is an amazing 26 meter from the surface area. It can be reached by a wooden staircase that is carved into the limestone. This staircase is lit so the tourists can easily make their way down. The entire cenote is immensely popular, especially with swimmers and snorkelers.
There is vegetation and waterfalls covering the drop all the way from the surface, and in the water you may see black catfish there but they are perfectly safe and don't tend to bite the swimmers.
Another thing you will find is plenty of people. Ik Kil Cenote is a very popular swimming area which means there are numerous people there at any given time, especially since the water is not as cold as you might expect it to be. However, it is a nice cool swim away from the heat of the Mexican sun. The temperature of the water is around 25 degrees Celsius or 26 °C for those of you in the United States. There are long queues for even the basic things such as getting in the water, getting out of the water, and even to be able to jump in the water.
Keep in MindThere is an admission fee to the cenote which cost $ 6.00 USD . There are extra fees for things such as locker rental, life jacket rental, bottled water etc, and there is a buffet that you can partake in which costs around $ 15 USD but does not include drinks. However, if you'd rather have a sit-down meal at a restaurant, there is a place called Hacienda Chichen which offers a fusion of fine cuisine and gourmet food based on the chef's Mayan heritage. There is also the Chilam Balam Restaurant and it is also located at the Hacienda Chichen Resort. This one is located inside but for those that love a cigarette or cigar, the Hacienda Chichen offers outdoor dining. Another alternative is the ala carte menu at Chichen Itza Bar and Restaurant, also at the same resort.
Many tour buses can take you there and the travels cost would be inclusive. This would usually range in price but the average price is approximately $ 71 USD from Riviera Maya and includes your visit to Chichen Itza. The prices will vary depending on where you originate from such as Cancun or Playa del Carmen. The great thing about taking a tour bus is that, typically, you would have an air-conditioned bus with a bathroom which is perfect for a long drive through the jungle. Not to mention that you won't have to worry about getting lost.
Things to do NearbyThere is plenty of activities offered nearby the cenote of Ik Kil. The closest is Chichen Itza, just a couple of miles away. The area has overnight stays in small, palapa homes and even a restaurant. These are the closest activities to Ik Kil Cenote but if you are staying in the area for more than a day or so, there are other places to have fun that are within a few hours of driving time.
At around 161 kilometers or 173kmyou can enjoy a day at the Eco-park, Xcaret or enjoy bars, restaurants, shopping, and the beach at the world famous Cancun is just another 48 kilometers or so away.
For other beautiful cenotes, you can visit either Rio Secreto or Xkeken, and both are under 402 kilometers away, which is a little bit of a trip but well worth it.
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Author: Karsun. Last updated: Jan 12, 2015