Kantun-Chi is an ecological park in Mexico’s Riviera Maya. The name Kantun-Chi in Mayan translates to “yellow stone mouth.” The park is filled with tropical gardens teeming with spider monkeys, rare bird species, raccoon, deer and reptiles. It’s the incredible cenotes, however, that are the major attraction here.
Cenotes are sinkholes naturally formed over millions of years. The Yucatán region has a porous bedrock, which means instead of collecting in rivers, rainwater seeps through the rock into underground caves. As it seeps through, the water weakens the bedrock and eventually the ceilings of the caves fall in, creating cenotes.
As the primary source of fresh water on the Yucatán Peninsula, the cenotes were prized by the Mayans who built entire cities around them. The cavernous cenotes were also seen as gateways to the afterlife and were used in various rites.
Explore the park’s four main cenotes on foot, kayak or by snorkeling. The vast underground caverns are filled with incredibly pure water, tropical fish and breathtaking stalactites and stalagmites.
Walk along the naturally formed passages in the Grutaventura cavern to see stalactites. The passages connect two cenotes.
The biggest cenote in Kantun-Chi is Sas ka leen Ha, a name which translates to “transparent water.” All the cenotes have beautifully clear water because, as the rain seeps slowly through the soil and rock, it is filtered, leaving it with very few suspended particles.
The caverns are well-lit, naturally from above and by tasteful artificial lighting. After swimming through the incredible underworld, swing beneath the tree canopy in one of the many hammocks that are strung-up throughout the park.
The park entrance fee includes a tour guide. Allow two to four hours to enjoy the park and the caves. There are regular bus services which stop by Kantun-Chi and parking is available if you are coming by car.