Visiting a cenote is a unique experience, for many it symbolizes stepping into the sacred Maya underworld, and in the cenote-cave Zazil Tunich it becomes so much more. It’s a different and authentic experience that brings together the mysticism and wonder of the more than 80 monumental stalactites and stalagmites that are located there, which guide you to a beautiful cenote with shallow, crystalline waters where you can swim freely.
The tour – approximately one hour and 15 minutes – takes you 20 meters underground and can be easily navigated by children and seniors. The walkway goes through nine levels, with steps that are 18 cm high at most, and plenty of resting places. This makes it an accessible and comfortable way to appreciate nature’s stone creations while a specialized guide tells you the legend of Xibalbá (the underworld).
On your tour, you’ll pass several stalagmites until you reach the biggest one in Yucatán, as well as the stone formations named for the twin gods Hunahpú and Ixbalanqué. Next, you will find the stalagmites that give cenote Zazil Tunich its name meaning “shining stone.” Finally, you’ll encounter the cave of the Alux that guards the cenote, and the Maya Kiss stone formation. Upon arriving at the main platform, a Maya ceremony is performed by a local Chamán, who uses smoke and water to clean and purify the area, leaving you ready to enjoy the waters of the sacred cenote.
You can choose the Maya Underworld tour that includes the services of a specialized guide, the Maya purification ceremony, and of course, a swim in the cenote, by reservation only and available for couples and families. In the case of groups, a maximum of 20 people are permitted and the Ki’huic market is set up with local handcrafts, chocolate products, among others. The space is also available for marriage proposals, anniversary celebrations, or for private romantic dinners with your partner.
Located 25 km from Valladolid and 20 km from Ek Balam, you can first visit the archaeological site and then take the guided tour every day at 3 pm, 5 pm, and 7 pm in Spanish or English with prior reservation. Admittance: $250 pesos per person, $400 pesos with food. They also have cabins for couples. It’s recommended to bring light clothing, sandals, or other comfortable shoes.
Editorial by Violeta H. Cantarell
“Meridana,” traveler, animal lover, passionate reader, commentator, and enthusiastic promoter of the natural and human beauty of Yucatán.
Photographies by Violeta H. Cantarell and Zazil Tunich for use in Yucatán Today.
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