adventures in cenote park

Posted by susan on July 19th, 2010. Filed under: getaways.

I have flown, I have swam, I have climbed, I have snorkeled and I have even ziplined, but one thing I never thought I’d do in my life is dive into a cave – let alone snorkel in one. While in Mexico, post-wedding, most of the guests went on an excursion that the adventurous and proactive groom coordinated for us in advance with Hidden Worlds.

After watching a video that gave us an overview of our day and some safety tips, and then signing our lives away, we all crammed into the back of a truck, hung on for dear life and bounced our way to our first destination. We began our adventure near Tulum, exploring the depths of our first Cenote, a place we became very familiar with by the end of our trip.

Now I have a bit of a confession. As adventurous as I try to be, and for those of you who know me in real life – as tough as I portray myself to be – in situations like this, I am really a coward. The good thing is I put myself in situations where I am forced to get passed it and grow (remember when I ziplined!?), but that process isn’t always pretty – in fact, it’s normally pretty embarrassing.

So, you can imagine my fear when we approached our first stop: a place where snorkel goggles and life jackets hung from the trees next to a tiny opening on the side of a hill, with a steep ladder.

One by one we slowly climbed to the bottom and when I finally pried my hands off the ladder, stood on the ground and looked around, my fear melted away.

The cave was gorgeous.

Cenote Snorkeling

Our next step was to jump into the cold, fresh water and float among the stalagmites and stalactites shooting out of the walls of the cave.

The only way I can describe the water is crisp. It was cold, but it wasn’t unbearable, in fact it was refreshing. It was also calm, aside from the few ripples caused by my frantic arms slicing through the surface. And it was clear. I didn’t even need to go under to see the fish dodging my legs.

Cenote Park near Tulum

But, when I did go under, it was beautiful.

Picture what you see in these photos, except under water.

Now, picture random openings in the cave walls letting in sunlight, and that light bending and reflecting against the rocks, shining a spotlight on the unending openings below.

When I looked down I saw the edges of cliffs. I was just a tiny speck floating above.

And when I looked up, I was in a small cave again – in a whole other world.

cenote in mexico

I really wished I had an underwater camera at that moment, but at the same time, nothing would have really captured being there.

When everyone was out of the water, we piled back into the truck and moved on to our next adventure – ziplining.

ziplining in mexico

Strangely enough, I think I was the only person that had ever ziplined before, so I was one of the first to go – which I was happy about. It was fun being with such a large group and I was glad to have everyone behind me as they mocked supported me before I flew.

ziplining in mexico

Also, since I was one of the first, I was able to get a picture of almost everyone as they flew through the air – even the bride…

ziplining in mexico

That was nothing though. Once we were all safe, we headed to the next two tracks, which were a little unconventional. Instead of soaring through the air to the safety of a platform with a nice man to help you down, we plummeted through the walls of a cave into the chilling waters of another Cenote – yes, in this horrifying instance, I call the waters chilling.

I was so scared, horrified even. I’m not a strong swimmer and you have never, and will never, see me slipping through the slides of a water park – that just isn’t my kind of fun. But in an effort to make myself just a little braver, I held my breath, hung on tight and let go.

By the time I got to the water, my head never even went under. The entire ride was pretty much one long pull up for me, but despite my inability to really let go, I loved it – it was exhilarating.

The third ride was actually just like a roller coaster. It was called Avatar (I don’t know why). The bars that hold you up are more sturdy because they take you through the forest, and they dip so quickly that as you fall your stomach flips. Just before entering the cave you are swung into a black tarp, like a tunnel, and when you came out on the other side, you are flung and pulled around, just missing the wall of the cave, and then dunked back into the water.

When asked if I wanted to go again, I politely declined. My bravery can only go so far. But, I don’t regret one bit – and that’s all that matters.

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