By Erik Bartzik, Playa del Carmen.
Even though this region has a lot to offer when we speak about nature, one of the things that capture most people when they visit for the first time the Riviera Maya are the Cenotes.
Cenotes are underground rivers, which carry the water collected from the rain. Then this water is conducted through these rivers directly to the ocean. When you snorkel or swim in Playa del Carmen beaches and other places of the Riviera Maya, you can find this water springs around the rocks and reefs with clear, cold and fresh water coming from the cenotes which are feeding the ocean. When this happens an effect like the mix of oil and water is formed called adocline effect.
There are different types of cenotes: Open Cenotes (like a pool surrounded by plants and nature), semi-open ( Mainly caverns), closed Cenotes (caves ), and deep cenotes (More than 30 meters in depth).
65 million years ago, a 10 km diameter meteorite impacted the Yucatan Peninsula. It is believed that this event at Chicxulub caused the extinction of 75% of the living species of the planet.
Diverse studies show that this meteorite impacted the earth at 72,000 KM/h, this generated temperatures up to 18,000 degrees Celsius and caused the same force equal to 100 million of megatons of TNT.
I am telling you this, as I want you to understand that the Mexican Yucatan Peninsula was once below the ocean. And when this meteorite hit in Yucatan, caused the immersion of the Yucatan Península. All our ground used to be reef barriers.
As the Yucatan Peninsula emerges from the ocean after the hit, plus the combination of the high temperatures caused that our ground came out totally flat, and without any mountains as everything was pulverised. All our ground and floor was made of lime stone.
This is very important when I speak of cenotes, as all the water from the rain is filtered making the water crystal clear. Then it is conducted through underground rivers all the way until meets the ocean.
Beautiful formations and mystic places are found in these amazing rivers. Scuba divers also like to explore these unknown places.
We fully recommend you to go out there and swim in one of these beauties yourself.