About Underground World
Cave Formation in the Yucatán Peninsula
For millions of years, the Yucatán Peninsula of Mexico was submerged beneath a prehistoric ocean and was largely made up of coral reefs. These reefs thrived in the shallow and warm waters of their environment and lithified to form over 1300 m of limestone strata during the Cretaceous period. During the Tertiary period, another 1000 m of carbonate deposits accumulated, creating the great limestone platform that makes up the Yucatán Peninsula today. Due to the carbon dioxide present in the atmosphere, precipitation in the area is slightly acidic. This acidic water is thus able to dissolve and percolate through the porous limestone until it reaches the aquifer below the surface. The combination of the aquifer and acidic precipitation carves the long caverns that characterize the peninsula today.
Throughout the Sangamon Interglacial and the Wisconsin post-glacial periods, the sea level fluctuated. As the sea level dropped during active glaciation, the water table also dropped, leading to the drainage of caverns that were previously filled with water. This caused the ceilings of the caves to collapse because they were no longer supported by the water, thus creating new karst windows that carried stream beds along their bottoms. In time, this karst water eventually eroded the limestone walls of the caves leading to the broadening and lengthening of cave passages. As the sea level rose again, these passages, initially filled with fresh water, mixed with the incoming salt water from the ocean.
Cenotes and the Maya
Another geologic formation that characterizes the Yucatán Peninsula is the cenote (pronounced say-no-tay). This word is derived from the Mayan word, 'Dzonot' which means; sacred well. More specifically, the word cenote refers to a large natural sink hole whose limestone covering has caved in years ago to reveal the running stream below. While some of these structures are simply vertical shafts filled with water, others are composed of underwater passageways.
With over 700 kms of explored caverns in the Riviera Maya, no wonder there are so many caverns to discover. The unique landscape of the Yucatan Peninsula has made it the place to see this underground river system as an explorer, a snorkeler, or even a scuba diver. But where does one begin? Which cenote is best? If I am to experience a cenote on my vacation which one should I see? Every single cenote has unique features in and of themselves. Some cenotes are true caverns with an overhead environment. Some cenotes are open to the environment an feel like a giant swimming pool.
But what truly makes each cenote unique is what lies underneath the surface. This is what defines and differentiates one cenote to another. It is what lies beneath the surface that makes each and every location unique and incomparable to another.
WHY GO? This is a good half or full activity for all ages. Entrance fees include snorkel gear, life jackets and helmets. There are a few entrances into this fresh water cenote and lots of jungle paths to explore.Perfect for all ages
Become a cave explorer for a day while you snorkel through centuries old stalactites and stalagmites wading through the underground rivers that nurture de Mayan Riviera.
This two hour guided excursion will take you back in time as you visit three underground caves. Put on your safety equipment and jump into crystal clear blue waters as you observe the life that exists underneath.
- TOUR INCLUDES
- Snorkel Equipment
- One Water Lamp per Couple
- 1 water or soda per person