Video / The Secret Cenote Yokdzonot

The Secret Cenote Yokdzonot

The Secret Cenote Yokdzonot

22 September 2007 Video, Destinations 54

Nearly anyone who visits Yucatan soon learns of a rather unique feature of the landscape called a cenote (say-NO-tay) in Spanish or dzonot in Mayan. The Yucatan Peninsula is a flat, thick shelf of limestone with thousands of miles of underground, water-filled caves interconnected by rivers. When the roof of one of these caves collapses, it produces a sinkhole or natural well, filled with fresh water. The most famous cenote is the sacred cenote at Chichen Itza, but hundreds of cenotes large and small dot the Yucatan. Some cenotes are hidden deep in the jungle and others are inside larger caves. Some have been reliable sources of drinking water for centuries, which is why many Maya villages and ancient cities are located nearby.

During a visit to Hacienda Chichen, we learned of a small Maya pueblo called Yokdzonot, only a few minutes drive from Chichen Itza, where a group of citizens had formed an association that has spent two years converting their abandoned cenote into a project of sustainable tourism. The video below is our report of their efforts and our adventure.


  • Lance 12 years ago

    We were with friends in Feb. and visited Chichen Itza. We took the free road back to Merida and while passing thru this small village saw the sign to this cenote at Yokdzonot. We were not expecting what we discovered - the cenote and the caretakers were fantastic. We did not have bathsuits with us, but that did not stop two of us from jumping in with our undershorts. One of the older Mexican ladies kept peaking and snickering while we were changing from our wet undershorts.
    The water was cool and clean and some of the local boys were doing the high jump from the rim above - they said it was about 75 feet to the water below. The steps down to the water were fairly easy to walk. It was one of the highlights of our day and will certainly be on out itinerary when we travel that way again. Lance

  • Yucatan Living - Restorations, Measles & Baseball 12 years ago

    [...] These cenotes are magical places and, if you haven’t seen one, take a look at Working Gringa’s visit to The Secret Cenote at Yokdzonot. [...]

  • Inge 12 years ago

    Your paper YL is the most infomative for me and my friends; please keep up the good work.

    I have learnend so much about the Yucatan from you.

  • Trish 12 years ago

    We just returned form Chichen and I too wish we had had the privelege of visiting this Cenote- We will be returning and will visit. Congratulations on your hard work.

  • Tim Perry 12 years ago

    I can tell You first hand just how lucky, honored, and privileged, that My wife and Myself had 2-years ago as We went on a jungle tour ,and got to See ,smell, swim, and just take in the incredible sense of being in a SACRED Place that has been around for thousands of years!!! I have only been visiting the Yucatan for 6 years and have 8 years left to retire if I can wait that long... I'm afraid the cenotes will become too much of an attraction, not meant to be!!! Go SEE them and keep Them to Yourself, so They remain sacred if not The truth is all the BEAUTIFUL PLACES in MEXICO that WE Americans are loving because We have commercialized every thing and place in the US that We are seeking out other places and countries, to figure out What the Mayan People- MExican-people and Our own Indians that it was Their Country that WE have ruined, which I apologize for !!!! MY point is look at DISNEYLAND !!! ALL fake to look at but People go there? WHY??? The CENOTES have to remain sacred .,,,. Look at the Beautiful TULUM Ruins , if You visit or have visited, They have been arouund for thousands of Years truly breath taking, wonderful but only in the last few years some American Idiots spray painted their names on the inside walls that They were there ,litteraly defacing history with littering etc,etc ,and lack compassion for the People of the Maya... Thank- You Tim ALWAYS RESPECT and try to give something back!!!!!!

  • gretchen 12 years ago

    This is EXACTLY the kind of off-the-beaten-path place every true traveler longs to stumble across. Thanks for the insight--we will definitely seek this place out on our upcoming trip to Mexico.

  • Irene 12 years ago

    terrific! i leave for the yucatan yet again in a few weeks (jan. 08) and this time plan to spend considerable time in and around merida, uxmal, etc. i will have ample time to stopy by yokdzonot either coming or going. i'm delighted to learn about it! thanks!

  • LS 12 years ago

    I once lived here in 2003.....dated the town doctor and later married her.
    This seems great for the people. But if you wanted to enjoy a natural tropical setting and being the only gringo in town, you missed the boat by about 2 years. It will never be as precious as it once was when I was there. Gone are the days when the people would invite you into their homes for a fresh meal, the teenagers would marvel at you, borrowing a child's bike to go pick some mangos, trade the kids some mangos for guyabas, or calling from the only phone in the town store for all 800 residents. Because here comes the parade of tourists.
    To enjoy true, untouched Yucatan beauty, you'll now have to travel further west down the road by car or bus for the next few towns. Don't be shy and turn into them....true adventure awaits.

  • John 12 years ago

    We visited Yokdzonot Cenote last week (November 30) - there are still some finishing touches being added, I believe they are adding rappelling. The people were fantastic and the experience wonderful - we were the only people there at the time - I informed the women that we had come from "Gringolandia" and they seemed pleased. Cenotes are wonderful to experience and this one particularly so. I would highly recommend it.

  • Saray 12 years ago

    I enjoyed the video, the dzonot or cenotes are very unique.

    The narrator reminded me a lot or the NPR, which I enjoy listening on the road.

    Thank you for sharing the information, hopefully, I can return to Merida and visit a beautiful cenote again.

  • Cindy 12 years ago

    This is great...I heard about it on the BBC radio last night. What a great project...hope I can get there soon!

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