Ik Kil Cenote – Yucatan Peninsula
The Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico is littered with cenotes of all shapes and sizes but not every cenote is created equal. Ik Kil is considered to be one of the best there is in terms of swimming and its beauty and is based in the Ik Kil Archaeological Park near Chichen Itza.
What is a cenote?
In the Yucatan Peninsula there are no surface rivers – all the rivers are underground. A cenote is created when the surrounding limestone collapses into the underground river creating an opening. There are approximately 7,000 cenotes in the Yucatan peninsula alone although not all of them are open to the public. Some of them are suitable for scuba diving while others like Ik Kil are ideal for swimming and cooling off in the hot Mexican weather.
The Ik Kil cenote
The Ik Kil cenote is sacred to the Mayans and was used for both relaxation and Mayan rituals. The water level sits at approximately 26 meters below ground level with a carved stairway leading down to the swimming platform. The circular cenote, also referred to as the sacred blue cenote, is about 60 meters in diameter and 40 meters deep; therefore diving and jumping in the deep water is permitted. There are multi-leveled platforms carved out of the limestone specifically for these purposes – if you dare!
The walk down provides a stunning view of the cenote below. Surrounded by hanging vines and mini waterfalls, it is easy to see why this cenote often appears on the lists of top cenotes to visit in the area. There are access windows offering great views as you make your way down the stairs – and, of course, don’t forget to take pictures on the way down. There are more than 100 steps before you reach the water’s edge. The view from the bottom looking up is equally as picturesque and is as tranquil as it is beautiful. Photos do not do this cenote justice at all – the lush exotic rainforest makes an ideal setting for this sacred spot.
The crystal clear water in the cenote is refreshingly cold and will give you a break from the humidity above. The cenote is also home to black catfish, goldfish and even some small turtles. However, they will keep their distance from the swimmers who enter the sinkhole for recreation purposes. The water is often seen as a brilliant blue due to the high content of limestone and plankton in the water.
There is a buffet restaurant on the grounds serving up delicious local fare for those who wish to extend their stay at the cenote. Lockers are offered for your convenience if you wish to store your belongings while you swim. It is important to wash off any sunscreen before entering the cenote in the showers provided. Life vests are also available for those who prefer to be cautious when entering the deep water. Shopping opportunities are also provided in the form of silver art and other souvenirs.
If you do get a chance to visit the infamous Ik Kil cenote on your Mexican holiday, you will not be disappointed. If you are interested in visiting this cenote or even pairing it with a trip to Chichen Itza, we can help. Contact Jeromi Transfers for more information.