Ik Kil. Yucatán. Mexico
Cenote is a natural well, lake or cave formation with water reservoirs. The Spanish word “Cenote” was formed from the language of the Maya of Yucatan “dzonot” or “ts’onot” and meant “well”. The Yucatan Peninsula is known for such wells or underground lakes. They were formed during heavy tropical rains, when they washed away the limestone from which mainly Peninsula consists.
Yucatan includes about 6,000 cenotes; only 2,400 of them are officially registered. Cenote Ik Kil is one of the most famous and most visited cenotes in Mexico on the Yucatan Peninsula. It is located 5 km from the entrance to the archaeological complex of Chichen Itza, on site of the hotel “Cabañas y Bungalows Ik keel.” This cenote is included into all tours to the complex, so it is always crowded here. Entrance to the Ik-Kil costs 70 pesos per person ($ 5.5).
Here is one of the deepest comfortable karst lakes – a popular tourist attraction in Mexico. Initially, Ik Kil was an underground cave with fresh water. When the upper wall collapsed due to heavy rains, the cave turned into a karst lake. Its depth is more than 40 meters and diameter – 60 meters, the distance from the water to the earth’s surface – 25 meters. It is a lake of natural origin, but it has a perfectly round shape. Water in the well is very clean with a blue tint due to the high content of limestone and plankton. The water temperature is very pleasant. It ranges from 22 to 25 degrees above zero throughout the year.
To get here, you have to go down the stone stairs inside the tunnel, coming down the wall, like a spiral. There are also specially constructed balconies where you can enjoy views of the cave. The surrounding atmosphere is truly cosmic – the walls are decorated with stalactites and waterfalls: the roots of the trees descending to the water like a magic fringe.
Everything here is intended for tourism. On the territory there are several bungalows, restaurant, souvenir shop, changing rooms, toilet and shower. You can also rent a life jacket for swimming. While in the old days, it was a sacred place. Such cenotes had religious significance for the ancient Mayan tribes. These wells were sacred and considered to be the gateway to the world of the kingdom of the dead, the sacred places of performing sacrifices to the gods and, that is no less important, sources of fresh drinking water. They called such wells “eye” or “mouth” of the earth. And the name Ik Kil is translated as “a place where the wind is born.”