Cenotes are natural sinkholes with waterfalls, caves and all kinds of crazy underworld type shit. They are formed when water wears away the limestone (weak ass rock) of an underground cave and causes it to collapse into itself.Ancient Mayans gave cenotes their name and thought the formations worthy of praise and sacrifice. Filled with ground-filtered rain water, the naturally formed pools of cenotes are super clean and clear, but also scrotum scrunchingly cold. Dive into the depths of these five mindfucking natural wonders from around the world.
Playa Del Carmen, Mexico
Cenotes have sunk in all over Mexico's Yucatán peninsula over the past few million years because the land is mostly made up of porous limestone. You can check out any one of the region's estimated 7,000 cenotes, but to really get your mind blown, don't miss a trip down in Angelita. This cenote creates the underwater illusion of a river beneath a river, all below the ground. The magic is actually called halocline and it separates waters with different salt levels into individual layers. Don't forget which way is up if you decide to dive down.
Bayt al-Afreet, Oman
130 feet wide and sixty feet deep, the Bimmah Sinkhole connects all the way to the ocean and makes for a postcard-perfect place to strip and jump in. A long jump from the top of Bimmah's outer rim, the descent is a ball-flapping sixty feet up above the water. Hold your breath and cannonball into this bright blue oasis. Cenote too shabby.
Mt. Gambier, South Australia
From crustacean spiny crayfish to rainbow-colored algae, Ewens Ponds makes a great dive site for any of you flora and fauna fanatics. The Ponds is in a conservatory park and part of South Australia's Mount Gambier region which is mostly limestone and thus littered with cenotes. Go way down under and explore through the whole site–Ewens ponds is three bodies of freshwater connected by long and dark, cenoteworthy tunnels.
Great Blue Hole
Lighthouse Reef, Belize
A perfect dark blue circle in a sea of surrounding cyan, the Great Blue Hole is consistently ranked among the top diving spots in the world. Jacques Cousteau famously loved this spot so much that he blew up parts of it to bring his ship, the Calypso, inside to investigate. Even today, divers examine the death-inducing depths of Discovery Channel's #1 Most Amazing Place on Earth, trying to find new tunnels and connecting caves within its waters.
Quintana Roo, Mexico
Mexico's got this stunning cenote shit on lock and Dos Ojos is the mackdaddy of them all. A two-fer, Dos Ojos is comprised of two humongous, circular cenotes connected by an even bigger cave system between them. This place was founded in the late 1980s and continues to grow every year. In 2012 the system was conjoined with the Sac Actun caves (which house some of the area's biggest cenotes, like Gran Cenote), extending Dos Ojos' total length to nearly 200 miles. The rooms and cavernous hallways of this network of endless cenote-hopping, are organized by name. Our favorite? The Bat Room.
Cenotes are another reminder of why Mother Nature is still the boss of all things natural. Whether you swim, snorkel or dive into their depths, they will offer you a deeper knowledge of our world below the surface and it's absolute bananas down there.