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.


  • 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!

  • 12 years ago

    We discovered this natural cenote while staying at Hacienda Chichen, we appreciate the Maya culture so much that the manager said he would take us to a special place.
    Indeeed it was, all natural, as it has always been, unlike Il Kil that has been Disneyfide with added fake waterfalls and tourist shops. Here you can really relax, uncrowded. Its incredible that women worked this land to clean it up and secure it for the love of it!

  • Mark & Michelle 12 years ago

    We are looking for places to visit in two weeks and found this one. Thank you - MNM

  • Your Daughter 12 years ago

    That was adorable...i love that i will be able to watch these little videos forever. pretty bathing suit too :-)

  • Rusty 13 years ago

    Thanks again for all you do!!!!

  • Peregrina 13 years ago

    Hola Again;
    Great article, it is not a secret anymore I sure will go there next time I go to Yucatan. Thanks again, W.G. for re-descovering my "tierrra blanca".

  • Gina Matthews 13 years ago

    Thanks for the info!

  • Working Gringos 13 years ago


    When driving from Cancun or Merida on the 180 toll road, exit at the Chichen Itza off ramp and go to Piste. Turn right on the 180 Libre (free) road (if you turn left, you're going to Chichen Itza) and head west. From that point it's todo derecho hacia Yokdzonot, if you know what we mean.


    We asked about the fish, but nobody could tell us what kind they are. They sure look like catfish, but they are not bottom feeders, so they are probably something else. Since fish wasn't on the menu in the palapa restaurant on the rim of the cenote, we're guessing that either the fish aren't very tasty, or the whole town is tired of eating them...

  • Sacbe 13 years ago

    Beautiful inspiring story, thank-you for sharing it.

  • Gina Matthews 13 years ago

    Hi Gringos!

    beautiful,beautiful video!! the fish, are they catfish??.. edible?


  • Carlos Daniel Gallegos 13 years ago

    Don't tell everyone, it won't be secret anymore, ja ja ja. :-) I agree with Bob Brownie. When I went to Merida, I tried to distance myself from other U.S. citizens. While I did eat at Burger King, KFC, and shopped at WalMart, I always tried to be around the locals as much as I could. When I watch geographical programs, I feel sad that the modern world is removing many places. Help to conserve beautiful places like the Cenotes.

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