Monday, September 5, 2011

Cenote Chaak-Tun in Playa del Carmen

For the 3 years we have been living in Playa del Carmen, we never knew there was such a nice cenote in town.  Cenote Chaak-Tun is situated across the highway on Juarez, approximately 1 mile past where the pavement ends and dirt road begins.  It's frequented in the mornings by various tour groups and has proven to be most popular.  We arrived around 1pm after the crowds had left and enjoyed a quiet afternoon in the cool depths, worlds away from the blazing summer heat.

Pay only $50 pesos for locals or $100 pesos for foreigners at the main entrance, grab your hard hat and life jacket which are included in the admission price and take a pleasant jaunt back a few hundred feet down a well-maintained walkway through what remains of the jungle in Playa, among a variety of singing birds, lush green trees and canopy of winding vines.  My mind began to imagine what it would have been like for the Mayans living in the jungle.  How did they manage to navigate through the thick brush amid a myriad of crawling creatures?

The walkway continues to the mouth of the cave, past some low ceilings where one has to duck (hence the hard hats).  The cave opens to a center courtyard with tall trees rising into the jungle and a variety of singing birds which sound like monkeys.  The cenote then continues deeper, greeting visitors with a ceiling of stalactites, which almost looks like something out of a horror movie.

Janet, Marilou and I customarily explored the dry part of the cenote on the well-marked path, appreciating the intricate limestone formations, which are ornate and sizable.  However, my primary desire besides getting out of the office on a Friday was to take a cool dip into the very fresh crystal clear water.  We spent about 1/2 hour in the water which ranges from several inches deep to way over my head.  Snorkelers can appreciate a stone replica of the Virgin of Guadeloupe in the water at the bottom at the back of the cenote.  It takes a bit of luck and a bit of courage to actually find the carving, but it is well worth the visit.  The swim also affords the opportunity to better explore up close the limestone formations which are just as worthy as almost any other cenote we've visited.

After visiting the first cave, we exited the cenote, past the main entrance to visit a second one next door which is actually part of the same attraction.  The second one is accessed by a winding staircase that ends at a ceremonial alter which appears to be autentic.  The water in the second cenote was much cloudier.  (We could not see the bottom.)  Regardless, it was well worth the jaunt as the rock formations on the walls were this white milky color which almost looked haunting.

In short I'd say Cenote Chaak-Tuk is well worth the very short trip down Juarez for some local cenote fun.  We will surely be returning to help cool off during the hot summer.  As winter approaches us locals find the cenote water too cool, so we will have to visit now as we won't be going back until next summer.

Janet and Marilou at the entrance to Cenote Chaak-Tun

Marilou and Janet before entering the cave

The horror movie like entrance to the cenote

Janet and I posing with pleasure

Meaning through the water

The milky ghost-like limestone formations

The Virgin of Guadalupe carved into the limestone

1 comment:

KfromMichigan said...

The entrance photo could be a horror movie .. did you see a ghost!!??