Even for me, it is rare that a one-day adventure will include rappelling, cliff jumping, kayaking, snorkeling and zip lining. Very rare. But, all the aforementioned happened on the Xenotes Oasis Maya cenote tour leaving from Cancun and traveling through the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico.
5 Adventures. 4 Cenotes. 1 Day. Holler.
Cenotes are natural water-filled sinkholes that form when rainfall causes the layer over the cavern to collapse. The Yucatan Peninsula has an estimated 7000 of them. With so many, traveling to only four of them in one day doesn’t seem like such a feat.
Peter and I were picked up from our hotel at 9 in the morning, which was welcome after the 6:25am call time to swim with whale sharks the morning before. We were immediately on our way to the first cenote.
Cenote K’áak´ – Fire
The premiere cenote was named K’áak´, meaning fire. The adventure for this one was to grab onto a zip line, ride it until you are in the middle of the cenote and then drop into the brisk water. I was a little bit afraid of how cold the water was in this first sinkhole, so I may have held onto the zip line a couple seconds too long, which meant that my drop into the water wasn’t so deep.
Cliff jumping from 12 feet up will make up for that.
After the zip line, we took a short swim through the cenote and then reached the optional cliff jump. There was not really an option for me. I knew I was jumping. The platform looked about 12 feet up from the water, which doesn’t sound like that far…until, you are looking down.
I took two steps and jumped. My face said it all. Fear.
Lu’um Cenote – Earth
Cenote Lu’um was of the semi-open variety, a young sinkhole that is still partly closed on the top. This next stop required a short rappel to get inside, a little less scary than my recent rappel down a 100 foot waterfall in Costa Rica. The guide controlled the speed and offered a choice in ride: slow or fast. Since the drop into the dark hole lacked length I opted for the latter of the two, which got me to the waters edge in under ten seconds.
The water was cold.
When my feet hit the water, a chill went up my spine. Though it was frigid, the complete opposite of Cancun’s lukewarm ocean, I didn’t want to pass up swimming inside this semi-closed natural creation while the bats flew overhead. So, I jumped in.
Iik’ Cenote – Wind
The third cenote offered three ways to get inside of it’s lily pad filled waters. You could either do a handheld zipline, a seated zip line or do another cliff jump from the platform that was about 20 feet above the water.
I did two of the three.
After zip lining and plunging into the water, I walked back up to the platform and took a jump off.
After the first three cenotes, and before the last, we fueled up with a buffet style lunch.
Much needed nourishment.
Ha’ Cenote – Water
The final cenote, started with a short kayak ride, where I was doing all the work while Peter relaxed after his beers at lunch. What’s up with that?
It ended up being a very long, yet adventurous day traveling through the Yucatan Peninsula. What other excursion can you check 6+ goals off your bucket list in one shot? It also turned out to be a great addition to my list of the top things to do before you die.