Friday, June 12, 2015

The One with the Cenote and the Turtles

While in Mexico, my mom and I went on a half day tour to swim in a cenote and later to swim with sea turtles. We were taken to Cenote Caracol, which was lit up pretty and somewhat Disneyland-esque and snorkeled/swam around the chilly waters checking out the stalactites all around.

A cenote (see-no-tay) is a groundwater pool which was opened up by the collapse of the limestone around it. The name 'cenote' means sacred well, because in times of droughts, the Mayans used the cenotes as a water source, and they also believed the cenotes were a portal to speak with the gods.

Cenote Caracol

After the pretty, dark cenote and it's chilly waters, we went to sunny Akumal to snorkel in the warm waters and search for green sea turtles. I was able to get away from the group and follow a couple of turtles on my own - what a magical experience!
-They swim so much faster than I imagined.
-The underwater sand is covered in sea grass, which the turtles munch on all day.
-The turtles lay their eggs between June and October, and at that time many areas of the beaches on the coast are closed off to protect the turtles and the eggs.
-What is really remarkable is that the female turtles lay their eggs in exactly the same place they themselves were born!

Tip: You can actually swim with the turtles in Akumal for free or cheap. The beach is busy with sunbathers and swimmers, just grab/rent a snorkel set and head out. You don't even have to go very deep!

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