Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Maya’

After Chichen Itza and a visit to the Sacred Well, the next stop on the Xichen tour was lunch in the colonial city of Valladolid. After some classic Mexican cuisine we set out to walk off the food and find the convent of El San Bernardino. The history on the colorful streets, churches and convent painted a much different Mexico.

this cenote was one of the biggest I saw

After a tour inside the catholic relic, we hopped on board the bus again for one final stop, the main cenote – Zaci.

it's been a great 20 days.... vaya con dios.

An enormous pool of refreshing water sat deep below. As I climbed down the stairs to capture a better view and better photo, I noticed a few folks down on the edge preparing to take a dip. Dry and refreshed thanks to the provided cool facial towels by Xichen, I did not join them inside the water. Yet, I definitely shared in their joy. Simply enormous.

Thanks for joining me on 20 days across Mexico.  Stay adventurous, Craig

Day 20 of the 20 day Mexico Bicentennial Tribute. Day 5 of Cenote Week.

A special thanks to Experiences Xcaret (via Riviera Maya) for providing passage to tour Chichen Itza via the Xichen Tour.

Read Full Post »

We found it...

I started my morning en route to San Felipe Ranch, a Mayan community, where Alltournative operates its adventure tours. My host Riviera Maya van sped down the main highway until a small sign and our guide both signaled us to turn off. Then the real journey began.

We drove slowly across the uneven dirt road and continued deep into the jungle. Staying in Playa you can easily forget how thick and vast the Mexican jungle is on Yucatan Peninsula. That morning I was reminded, I was on the Jungle Maya Expedition.

My all day adventure included a packed list of activities. The dance card consisted of: a 4×4 all terrain off-road ride, zip lines across the jungle from above,  mountain biking on trails, a Mayan ceremonial cleansing (possibly needed), and the prize – swimming three different cenotes (including one via a rappel entry).

the entry to the cenote...

But then, as my coffee just seemed the right temperature to drink, we started through this bumpy dirt road.  As I struggled not to spill it, I attempted to take a sip. I knew I’d need the caffeine fuel for this day.

We arrived and it seemed I was on the clock. My guide, an Austrian who now calls Mexico home kept us punctual as we switched from activity to activity. And although my group was just three of us, my Riviera Maya guide, my Alltournative guide and myself, the ranch buzzed with activity. I noticed many other tourists who came to enjoy the same experience, the Jungle Maya.

After an early morning hike, we eventually found ourselves at the first cenote, part of the Nohoch Nah Chich Cenote system.  These connected cenotes, part of the Planet Earth BBC documentary, is one of the longest explored underground river systems in the world. And as I understand it, more is still being discovered today.

enjoying the magic of a cenote...

After a rinse and changing, we obtained the provided gear; the wetsuit (not needed if you can handle 75-78 degree water), and snorkel equipment. We then walked down the steps to the cavernous entry and plunged into the clear, pools. Exploration began. We navigated through the waters admiring the stunning stalactite and stalagmite formations both from above and below. Intense and incredible.

my RivMaya Guide Liz and I explore the tight caverns

The second entrance known as “Heavens Gate”, provided more views of the caverns. Both beautiful and so refreshing, not just for the cool water on a hot day, but rather refreshing to the inner-self. A chance to explore and see an unknown and uncommon world. With bats above and even fossilized shells aged at 65 million years old, you truly enter a unique and different world.

down the Cenote I went...

The third cenote, I needed to rappel down the side of the cave to enter. My first time. Again so different.

Stimulation was unavoidable on the Jungle Maya tour, but looking back the chance to take an adventurous sample of the jungle and also swim in the cenotes remain memories that shall stay with me.

And for the cenote swims, I could have spent all day in the Nohoch Nah Chich Cenote underworld, but perhaps the taste I had will just make me hunger for more. Hunger for a return.

stay adventurous, Craig

Day 19 of the 20 day Mexico Bicentennial Tribute. Day 4 of Cenote Week.

Also a special thanks for Alltournative for proving me access to both Mayan communities and giving me a taste of all the activities available. Also, all photos where you see me – are by the imaginenative team (I purchased them to support the Mayan community)

Read Full Post »

My guide walked toward the cenote, but I couldn’t see any cavern entrance or surface water. Confused my paced slowed even with the sudden rainfall and darker skies. She started to descend. Stairs?

the descending stairs....

A spiral staircase descended below the surface and I followed her into the earth.

After 20-30 steps and still no sight of the cenote I thought, “How deep were we going?” Still deeper we traveled. Fifty steps, maybe more. I didn’t count. But when we finally came to the opening. Wow.

To my surprise a huge wooden deck platform was built over a vast a pool of crystal clear blue water in a deep, hollow cavern. Incredible. And all this infrastructure created underground for this single cenote. And now it was just the two of us. Essentially a private cenote. Simply amazing.

I’ve explored a few centoes in Tulum on a prior visit to the Riviera Maya and recently enjoyed a magical cenote swim at Hacienda Tres Rios, but this was different. I realized each cenote swim was different. All seemed to contain a magic of their own.

The Coba Ruins close by...

When we first arrived, I changed and rinsed to clean off any chemicals as instructed in an effort to keep the cenotes clean. But the few empty shower stalls made me question why this cenote? No one else was here. The itinerary listed Cenote Multun-ha, but I noticed other cenotes closer to Coba. And I noticed other tourists heading to those.

But now looking over this cenote, I smiled to my guide. I thanked her. Apparently, she knew. She knew of this special place. A place that before today I always wanted to swim in. Now I would. A breathtaking moment.

And after I dove in and swam a few strokes in the sacred pool, I actually started to lose my breath. I dove down to pick up a small stone, and surfaced with the need to pause, the need to catch my breath. I sat on the rope across the water surface to rest for a few seconds. Was I ok?

Yes. Suddenly ventilation switched on and oxygen started to be pumped in. And although we lost the calm of silence, I did appreciate a return to breathing normal.  Apparently, the beauty of this Cenote truly did take my breath away.

the breathtaking cenote-multun-ha

Stay adventurous, Craig

Day 17 of 20 day Mexico Bicentennial Tribute. Day 2 of Cenote Week.

Also, a special thanks to Riviera Maya for being an excellent guide and host. And special thanks for providing my access to this cenote. Magical.

Read Full Post »