Watching snorkelers at the surface while we complete a cavern dive at Dos Ojos cenote near Playa del Carmen. Beautiful rays of light shine through the crystal clear water with nearly unlimited visibility.
Located in the Ik Kil Archaeological Park, Ik Kil Cenote is a popular swimming hole that is open to the public. The water is 26m below ground level, and features a carved stairway leading down to swimming platforms. Used primarily for relaxation and religious ritual, the area is sacred to Mayans, with ancient Mayan ruins nearby as well.
Ik Kil is one of the many cenotes located in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. Cenotes are natural swimming holes formed by the collapse of porous limestone bedrock, which has revealed a secret subterranean world of groundwater pools. Most cave cenotes have fresh water - meticulously filtered by the earth, making them so clear and pure that you can see straight through to small fish frolicking in the plant life below.
The Mayans revered cenotes because they were a water source in dry times; the name cenote means ‘sacred well’. Mayans settled villages around these spiritual wells with the belief that they were a portal to speak with the gods. Today, you can still see why cenotes held the Mayans in awe. Swimming in the pristine waters feels like stepping into prehistory, where giant tropical trees and vines form wild cathedral walls leading up to shafts of sunlight.
Cenotes of the Yucatan Peninsula (1st: Dzilbilchaltun, 2nd: Ik Kil). Cenotes come from an underground river system, thought to be created as a result of a meteor that exposed the formerly submerged peninsula. These Cenotes were also viewed as portals to the underworld by the Mayans. (From my visit in May 2015)
Surrounded by the crystal blue waters of the Aegean Sea, near the northern coast of Greece, sits the island of Thassos. This island is said to be one of the greenest and most gentle islands, known for its enviable sandy beaches and forested mountains and holds a true natural gem - Giola, the natural swimming pool. The Giola is a beautiful natural lagoon, like a swimming pool carved into the rocks where the water is warmer than the sea and although it’s extremely difficult to access, it would be more than extraordinary if you could.