When we finished up with lunch and exploring at Hacienda San Pedro Ochil, we traveled over to Hacienda Cenotes Mucuchye (“tree of the turtledove”) which is only 13 Kilometers away. We were a bit confused when we saw a rope blocking off the parking lot, but an old man came out and let us in. We attempted to speak with the man at the “cashier building”, but of course, he only spoke Spanish and our Google Translators were not working. Ugh!! We did understand that he was going to get someone who spoke English, so we waited and a wonderful woman named Fernanda came by and was so helpful. She helped us by letting us know how much it cost to get in. Rich has an INAPAM card which is issued to senior citizens by the government. It offers discounts to restaurants, events and even cenotes we found!! So I believe, my entrance was approximately 400 pesos (around $20) where Rich got in for half price!! Woo Hoo!!
Fernanda was a wonderful guide and asked if we wanted to walk around and see the hacienda. We advised that we had just been to another hacienda and Rich wasn’t feeling up to walking around anymore, so we skipped that part of the tour and went straight to the cenotes.
We did not have anything to compare it to as this was our first cenote (other than the one at Costco), but they had nice newly built showers and lockers and then gave you a life jacket to wear. They also had goggles and snorkels that could be rented. It was mandatory to take a shower to get any lotion, deodorant or insect repellant off as those types of items could possibly do harm to the water quality of the cenote.
There are two different cenotes, Cenote Carlota and Cenote Azul (Blue), which are attached by a long walled canal covered in lush vegetation.
Cenote Carlota was named after its most famous visitor. In 1865 the cenote was visited by Empress Carlota of Belgium who saw the cenote and advised that she wanted to swim there. At that time, there was really no access to get in or out of the cenote, so she traveled on to see other parts of the Yucatan Penninsula and when she returned a few months later, steps had been built so she could swim in the cenote. Cenote Carlota is approximately 8 meters (26 feet) deep and the water is crystal clear and perfectly cool on a very hot day!!
Rich had open heart bypass surgery years ago, but when swimming, if the water is too cold, it bothers the scar on his chest. We explained this to Fernanda and she said, “no problem”. They went and got an inner tube, Rich got in and one of the employees at the cenote pulled him around on the tube!! The folks who work there are absolutely wonderful and we really appreciate how they went above and beyond to accommodate us.
We swam in Cenote Carlota for a bit and then went through the long canal which is covered in algae due to the sun hitting it. We then went to Cenote Azul which was almost totally dark (unfortunately, we didn’t get any photos in there).
Cenote Azul is 20 meters (65 feet) deep!! I wanted to wear my glasses so I could see the stalactites growing from the ceiling, but I was so afraid that I might lose them (never to be found again). So I went without them and although I had a guide with me who lit up the beautiful “cave”, I really could not see much of anything!! Next time, I think I will take an old pair of glasses with me and if I lose them it won’t be a big deal. Cenote Azul is really unique, the water is cool and gorgeous and I would love to go back there someday.
I know we kind of over-did it with the photos, but we really had such a great time at our first cenotes and cannot wait to go explore some others!!
From what I have heard, most cenotes are not as “guided” as this one was. No life jackets, goggles or snorkels. No guides and not as costly. Some have people there selling food and drinks. Many are just holes in the ground that you jump in and swim. I have even seen one where you climb down a big ladder through a hole in the ground!!
I think we will skip that one as we are not quite that adventurous!!