Palenque and Valladolid: Waterfalls and Cenotes

img_1032I’m currently cowering in the hostel courtyard under a leaky tin roof, while rain comes down gatos y perros. Deafening.

It is a massive relief after one of the most unbearably hot days. The kind when as soon as you step out of the cold shower you are already pouring sweat. Or the kind when you buy an ice pop to cool off but the rate of melting is higher than the rate of consumption so you wind up creating a sticky mess in the hostel room, creating a field day for the ants.

So you understand, it’s been hot and it’s been sticky. Those are the main points.

Anyway, I wanted to share some photos from the last couple of days, which have been a whirlwind of jungle, buses, waterfalls, and cool deep (read: terrifying) water holes called cenotes (seh-NOH-tehs).   Wikipedia tells me that cenotes are sinkholes formed by collapsing limestone into groundwater, and they are everywhere in the Yucatan.img_1003img_1004We are in Valladolid now, the closest real town to Chichen Itza, and there are about 7 cenotes within a 15 minute drive, and even one right in town.   They can be from 30 to 330 feet deep and are usually a pretty turquoise. The water is “agua dulce” (fresh water) as opposed to “agua salado” (salt water), and catfish are the primary inhabitants.img_1006Today we took a taxi down a gravelly road to a practically deserted cenote called “San Lorenzo Oxman” and paid 35 pesos each to swim in the cenote and use the normal pool. So we entered a little hut where we descended flight after flight of wet stairs, into what felt like a cave deep in the earth. Finally we saw blue, and it was truly spectacular. When the sun hit the water just right, it was an intoxicating turquoise. Otherwise it dark and the only things you could see in the water were small to medium sized whiskered catfish, and long roots of trees from up above. img_1022There were lots of smaller caves around the perimeter and you could walk nearly half way around on the muddy floor. Ben and I, plus the only other person there, a quiet European guy, finally gathered the courage to jump in.img_1025I am proud to say I was the first person to use the rope swing, and it was downright petrifying.  I did not do it again.img_1036img_1021I’m also going to throw in some photos of some cool waterfalls we visited (Agua Azul and Misol-Ha en route to Palenque in case you are interested… pro tip: don’t visit Agua Azul in September- it won’t be blue due to rain), but I don’t have as much to say about those because I was in a state of serious delirium due to being shepherded in a nauseating van from 5 am to 5pm.img_0962img_0939img_0932img_0985img_0996img_0981img_1000

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