Swimming Holes at Cuzamá

Sun comes out and so do we. Joy and I ventured out to visit ‘cenotes’.

Off, by bus, to Cuzamá. Much of the road is one lane, a little tense when trucks or other buses come our way. Once in town and puttering along in a motor powered bike built for three, we are told there are many cenotes in this area, hundreds!

Today we take in three, Cheletún, Chansinic’che and Bolonchoojal. These are located on a huge ranch with an old hacienda, Chunkanan that still stands from the days of ‘green gold’, when henequen was king in this area.

Henequen comes from the agave cactus and looks like a green yucca. Its fibers produced rope and other fabrics used all over the world until oil brought in synthetics to replace it. Now the place is in ruins but parts of miles of mini-track still remains and are used for carting tourists back and forth across rocky jungle full of cacti, vines, and all sorts of pointed and thorned plants.

Much of the henequen plants still grow abundantly here and the carts were once used to transport crops to the processing plant at the hacienda. Some production continues here but not like the ‘old days’. (more can be found here if you are interested) http://www.belize1.com/BzLibrary/trust408.html

We transfer from bike to rail cart that seats 4 (plus our driver), sharing the $200 peso cost with a young couple from Montreal. Our first cenote stop we get 30 minutes in the true ‘underworld’. As we climbed down, warm moist air replaces cool dry air from above. There is no way to describe how clear this water is. If it was not blue (from being so deep) and a few fish I might have not known it was there. The only light came in from whatever opening there was above and shown into the water like a heavenly spotlight into this world beneath.

Bats flapped, not happy I am sure, with our intrusion to this underworld. Although they had been cut off and taken away, there had been petrified tree trunks down here and they still stood about 10 inches high. Many stalactites and such hang from the ceiling and fall from the walls from mouths of intersecting caves.

Such heavenly blue water!

The Yucatan is said to be above an enormous underground river, many cenotes and caves that wind for many miles. Some of these cenotes are so deep no ones knows yet how deep they really are (or what is down there!) The ones we visited today are up to 115 feet deep. Fossils, Mayan art and pottery, tools and stories of a Mayan prince and princess being lost fill these places and many are yet to be explored!