The first month we moved here, some good friends passed through town and took the girls to a favorite cenote. Since then — for eight months now — every time we set out to explore another stretch of beach or freshwater swimming hole, we hear, “The beach cenote!! We have to go to the beach cenote!!” And though eager, ourselves, to visit this clearly-magical coupling of two natural wonders, their first trip had been by combi (VW bus-style public transportation), and the route changed slightly each time they tried to give us directions.
“Ummm, yeah, it’s totally north of town, like five or ten minutes.”
“No, wait, I’m pretty sure you hang a left at the main road. Oh that’s south? Yeah, that’s what I meant.”
“There’s a sign past that one dirt road just before you get to that bright-colored building that’s falling apart. Yeah, turn there.”
“It’s really easy, just go right and then left and then go straight until you see the water!”
Needless to say, we’d never been — that is, until we heard some new friends describing one of their favorite cenotes, just a stone’s throw from the beach. We eagerly awaited the weekend and promptly packed a picnic.
The following photos start at the beach, pass through the swamps and end up in the cool, clear waters of the first semi-brackish cenote I’ve experienced. Just the slightest taste of salt in the water was a sweet reminder that the underground caves that feed this region’s 7,000+ cenotes also connect to the sea.
Our picnic spot offered both shade and fresh coconuts, the treasure hunting was endless and fruitful, and though the beach was too rough for swimming, a two-minute tunnel though a magnificent mess of mangrove took care of that.