Last time I wrote about some of the cenotes one can visit just a few minutes from Merida. We continue our cenote summer with a look at a fantastic little cenote in the town of Chochola, just 10 minutes from Merida’s main square.
For 17 pesos each we hopped a van to Chochola. The driver let us out in the main square, and we walked three blocks to San Ignacio cenote. From the front it is nothing special to look at; we could see a couple of palapa buildings. You never know what you’re going to get when you arrive at one of the over 3,000 watering holes in the Yucatan. The San Ignacio cenote exterior belies its stunning cenote cave.
Inside a woman took our 70 pesos each, and put a paper wristband on our wrists. We then headed to the little outdoor restaurant on the premises to get a key to one of the free lockers. The lockers are made of plywood, with small locks on them. I wondered if this was a fool’s paradise, but I needn’t have worried; we have found people very honest in the Yucatan.
After shoving our backpack and shoes in the locker, we headed to the cenote entrance. There is a narrow cement staircase with high stone walls that drops dramatically down into a hole in the ground. Ducking our heads as we passed through, we saw before us a small, multi-colored cave filled with crystal clear water. We put our towels down on an available stone and gingerly scooted ourselves down into the water. It was about 80 degrees, cool and refreshing, a glorious respite from the 102 degrees topside.
The water at one end of the cave is just the right depth to sit and relax while the opposite end is about 10 – 12 feet deep. We sat a while, swam a while, then climbed up on some rocks on one side and enjoyed watching as others did the same. Children splashed and swam the length of the cave while their mothers and grandmothers sat in the shallow end, enjoying their brood.
The cave roof is only about 6 feet above the water, and shows many colors. Brown and red stones turn to gentle shades of green in some areas, and back to amber. Stalactite bases hang everywhere from the ceiling, but the stalactites themselves were broken off years ago. I have been in a few cenotes, but never one that was a cave. This one definitely rates a 10 on the “wow” factor.
About 45 minutes later we were beginning to get a bit pruney, and decided it might be time to tear ourselves away from this magical under-world and head back to the surface.
Back on terra firma we took a walk around the cenote grounds, then headed back to town and our bus back to Merida. A very relaxing time was had by us both, and we’re already planning part III of our cenote summer.