There’s something quite otherworldly about El Corchito, the ecological reserve just outside Progreso. For starters, it’s sort of hidden in plain sight and is completely inaccessible except by lancha (small boat). The light here particularly gets to me: everything has a green glow to it due to the way in which the sun works its way through the tall mangrove trees above.
Once you’ve located the jetty (never fear, details are below!), grab your mosquito repellent and bottle of water and take the five-minute boat ride across the water. As you enter the reserve, look out for the coatis who come to greet you and immediately understand why there’s a “no food” rule!
El Corchito has three open air cenotes and is a great starting point for people who aren’t entirely convinced that they’re ready for some of the larger, deeper and more grandiose cenotes. Here, you can idle away the hours swimming or simply relaxing and enjoying the tranquility of the reserve. The smallest cenote is shallow enough that any adult can stand. The second, Cenote El Corchito, is deeper and larger, and the third, Cenote Pájaro, feels like a small lake.
As you follow the well maintained paths through the trees, look out for wildlife. Quite apart from the coatis and raccoons who will wish to know if you brought them anything to eat, you will likely see tortoises, all sorts of bird-life, fish and possibly even a small crocodile or snake.
The best way to enjoy El Corchito is to arrive by 9 am, just as the (metaphorical) doors open. There’s nothing quite like being the first people into a site, to appreciate the total stillness before everyone else arrives and the day’s chatter begins. Take a moment to stand on one of the small bridges and breathe it all in before deciding which cenote you’d like to start with.
Down by the largest of the three, Cenote Pájaro, you can buy water and rent rubber rings should you desire to float out to the middle of the cenote and just ‘be,’ or should your kids (or you, of course) wish to splash around.
And, of course, it isn’t all serenity and breathing deep! This is a popular spot for locals (that’s how you know it’s a good one) so it does get busier as the day progresses. The site is big enough that you can always find a peaceful spot if that’s what you’re after, or, if, like me, you’re there with kids, you won’t need to worry about their noise. This is a great location for everyone. The kids will have a fabulous time, as will everyone else.
9 am – 4 pm
Calle 27 at the glorieta with Calle 46, Progreso
Non-Mexican adults and children: $90 pesos. Mexican adults: $45 pesos. Mexican seniors and children: $35 pesos,
Editorial by Cassie Pearse
Photography by Cassie Pearse and Julio Marín
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