You may already have come across the word “cenote” or even visited one of the world’s most famous cenotes. Derived from the Mayan word “tz’onot” meaning well or abyss, it is used to describe a deep pool of water. In Mayan cosmology cenotes were the gateways to the afterlife and were used as sacred sites where members at this ancient civilization would make their sacrificial offerings and perform other rituals.
Cenotes are geological depressions formed by a natural process. These pits subsequently/ill up with water and many are interconnected by subterranean tunnels. which is what makes them so distinctive. A cenote starts out as an underground cavern that takes shape when rainwater filters through the ground and dissolves the limestone. Over time, the cavity grows larger and when its walls and roof eventually cave in the cenote becomes exposed. Some cenotes are connected to spectacular underground lakes. giving rise to a new and increasingly popular underwater sport known as archaeological diving.
In Mexico, most cenotes are found in the Mayan Riviera and across the Yucatan Peninsula. The best-known ones include Dos Ojos in Quintana Roo, the Sacred Cenote in Chichén Itzá, Zacatón in Tamaulipas and Xtacunbilxunan in Carnpeche. Other very famous cenotes are the Neversink Pit in Alabama ( United States) . the Krubera or VomnjaCave in Abkhazia (Georgia) and the Big Hole in Kimberley (South Africa).
The Dominican Republic is also fortunate enough to have cenotes that can be visited as part of its tourist oﬀer. We have the opportunity to enjoy them in Scape Park at Cap Cana, a natural theme park with a large number attractions where an adrenaline rush is guaranteed. The most impressive cenote is called Las Ondas.
A winding trail through distinctive vegetation, a combination of dry forest (cactus) and rainforest (ferns), takes us to this natural wonder. This relaxing stroll also gives us an opportunity to appreciate some of the flora of the region, including orchids, rose cacti and bromeliads. Bird species include the Antillean common gallinule, the green heron, the pied-billed grebe and other species common to these habitats. The varied ecosystem in this area is also rich in reptiles, amphibians and insects.
The traces left by the former inhabitants if these islands are evident in this attraction. After reaching the cane entrance. we climb down some steps leading to the cenote, giving as a view of the original cave drawings or pictographs made by the Taino people. irrefutable proof that our ancestors made use of this fascinating place. This is the perfect moment to enjoy a refreshing dip in the crystal-clear turquoise waters.