Outside of Merida, marvel first at the « cenotes» sinkholes, that were once used by the Mayas as fresh water wells. They sometimes still do so ! Having a swim in a sinkhole definitely is an incomparable experience ! There are so many in the peninsula, you can not miss them !
At La Calle spanish school, we particularly like those in Cuzama.
To go there, hop on a « combi, » those minivans that can be found everywhere in the country, at the corner of 50th street with 67th. In general, you’ll be on your own, very few tourists take them, so take the opportunity to start a conversation with the locals and practice your spanish ! After a 1-hour ride, you’ll be arriving in the little village of Cuzama. Some tricycle-taxis can take you for the last 2.5 miles. Once you are at the entrance of the sinkholes, you’ll be surprised to discover another spectacular means of transportation : a « truc » (pronounce « trook »), a horse-drawn wooden carriage.
The « truc » driver will follow old railroad tracks to take you and visit 3 sinkholes (price of the visit, from 1 to 4 persons, is $MXN 250). Once again, don’t be shy and start a conversation in spanish with your guide. They are more than happy to share their history, villages anecdotes and special knowledge about the sinkholes.
Plan around 3 hours on the spot since your guide will let you enjoy each sinkhole for 30 minutes and it can take quite a while to go from one to another.
When you’re back, be sure to tell us how you liked it !
Because there are around 600 sinkholes in the peninsula, make sure to visit more than one :
– Cenote San Ignacio, in Chochola (20 minutes outside of Merida)
– Cenote Xlacah, open-air sinkhole in the middle of Dzibilchaltun ruins, a few miles east of the highway between Merida and Progreso
– Cenote Zaci, in Valladolid (surrounded by luxurious flora)
– Los Cenotes X’keken and Samula, in Dzitnup, 3.1 miles west of Valladolid
– Los cenotes Ik-Kil and Yokdzonot, near Chichen Itza
and every single one you can find during your travels, which sometimes are not indicated. Keep your eyes wide open, as you could have beautiful surprises !