The cenotes (“sacred wells”) of Mexico are secret pools with beautiful clear waters. These developed naturally around the Yucatán Peninsula when cavern roofs collapsed. The ancient Mayan people believed cenotes were entrances to the mysterious underworld of the gods.
The Yucatán Peninsula is known for its porous limestone. Over time heavy rainfall caused the rock to give way in places, revealing spectacular groundwater pools underneath. The Mayans set up home nearby, making use of the pristine water supply. They thought the gods communicated at cenotes, so religious ceremonies were also performed there.
All that Remains
Underwater archaeologists exploring Mexico’s cenotes have found human skulls and bones, suggesting that the Mayan people carried out human sacrifices to honour their gods. The discoveries have scared villagers living near the cenotes today, who steer clear of these pools.