The natural wonders of the state of Yucatan are remarkable and some of the most important and unusual are the cenotes or sinkholes. There are over 3000 cenotes, with only 1400 actually studied and registered.
The Mayas called them Dzonot, which the conquering Spaniards translated as “cenote”. Geraldo Díaz Alpuche was a military commander in the 16th century who was greatly impressed with these underground caverns and pools, and he tried to explain the meaning of the word cenote in the Spanish language as meaning “deep thing”.
The Motul Dictionary, a dictionary of Mayan hieroglyphics, defines Dzonot as abysmal and deep”.
Cenotes are magical, enigmatic and unique in the world and were once the only resource for fresh, sweet water in the local Yucatan jungle. They were the sacred places of the Mayas for that reason, but also because they represented the entrance to the underworld.