Jessi’s Blog: Cenotes
Mexico is full of natural wonders, from the underground river caves to the cave paintings of the Great Murals. Another one to add to the list are cenotes, underground well pits due to collapsing limestone ceilings that have been eaten away from rainwater. They create giant underground pools, and the Maya used them for sacrificial offerings, but today they are used by cave divers and archaeologists for excavations. In Mexico, they are mostly found in the Yucatan region, like Chichen Itza, Tulum, or near Playa Del Carmen. They average a depth of 25 to 50 feet. However, they have been found in places like the United States, Canada, Belize, even as far as Australia. Part of the cave divers’ expeditions in these cenotes are attempts to map out the underwater systems.
The Maya believed that within these cenotes lived the god of rain, Chac, and was also the entryway to their underworld, called Xibalba. In times of drought, they brought sacrificial offerings to Chac in exchange for rain. There were special cenotes for offerings and seperate domestic cenotes that were used for everyday drinking water. The Maya were ahead of their time even though they didn’t have a present day understanding of the human body or diseases.
If you’re ever in the Yuacatan Peninsula, you can go scuba diving to these cenotes and see how beautiful they are.
More of Jessi’s blogs:
“Indigenous Body Art”
“Jose Guadalupe Posada”
“La Virgen de Guadalupe Defendiendo Chicano Rights”
“Aztec Death Rituals”
“What was Mexico Like?”
“El Dia de Los Muertos”
“Baja Cave Paintings”
“Mexico & WWII”
“History of chocolate in the new world”