Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Ik Kil Cenote, Mexico

Last week, I reminisced about my vacation to Mexico and let you in on the fascinating information that I had the pleasure of learning while visiting the Chichen Itza site. I touched on everything from Mayan architecture to human sacrifice to how the Mayans used astronomy in their daily lives.

But the most beautiful, breathtaking site we went to that day wasn't man-made at all.

For those of you who don't know (and I didn't), a cenote (pronounced se-no-teh) is essentially a natural sinkhole that is most common in Mexico and Central America. It forms when limestone collapses, revealing the water underneath.

This particular cenote is called the Sacred Blue Well, or Ik Kil, and it is said that this is where the Kings and their courts enjoyed contact with nature, for meditation and rest.
The cenote itself is perfectly round, at around 200 feet in diameter, is 130 feet deep, and is actually located 85 feet below ground level. A grand stairway made of limestone, slowly leads you down to the pristine, crystal clear water.

I made my way down the staircase, making deliberate moves while clutching onto the chains at the side for fear of slipping down the limestone steps that were covered in a trail of wet footprints.
When I reached the bottom, all I could do was look up at the sky, the warm sun shining down illuminating my surroundings. I studied the cenote in awe, sure that this type of thing only existed in paintings and stories. My eyes followed the long trails of vines that hung from the opening leading all the way down to the water, accompanied by small waterfalls. It was too beautiful to even be real.
What else could I do? I launched my body into the water. It was warmer than I had expected but still cold. It was hot that day, with the sun beating down on us, and after a long morning looking at Mayan ruins, it was a burst of refreshment that I needed.
I floated on my back in the water, making sure to take in everything, not forgetting the details, which over time, can become blurred memories of something wonderful. I let the water incase me while surrounded by vines and the sounds of running waterfalls.

I would go back again just to see that.

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