Cenote Boca del Puma/Mouth of the Puma

8 04 2010

Entrance to Cenote Boca del Puma

Boca del Puma -- Reflections, peace, and awe....

Above-ground cenote

The term Cenote comes from a Mayan word – dzonot – which means deep well. In the Yucatán, these are wells of fresh water created by erosion of limestone. For the Maya, cenotes were the source of life, providing fresh water and gateways to the wonders of this world. Cenotes were the center for the Maya’s communication with the gods.

 Cenote Boca del Puma

This posting is not about food, but about experiencing, as my friend Susan Harrison puts it, “a sense of peace and awe….”

 After breakfast at Ixchel Beach Bar in Puerto Morelos and having soaked in more than enough sun for the day, Susan and  I loaded a cooler with beer and chips, heading for Cenote Road in Sophie, my ’05 Chevy LUV Truck….

 Our goal: Explore a cenote neither of us had visited before.

 Our intended outcome: a magical day.

 We accomplished both.

 Having passed several attractions we’d visited in the past, we came upon Boca del Puma at kilometer 16 – offering ziplines and cenotes. First impression was positive  – a delightful young man met us to answer questions and provide prices, and the area was developed ecologically with native-stone structures and paths that appeared to belong in the jungle. We were told that one cenote was above-ground, the other a cavern; the 80 peso price included both. We were allowed to wander, explore, and photograph at our leisure.

 Visualizing more of an Oklahoma farm pond than a Mexican cenote, we were initially dubious about the one above-ground and planned to quickly breeze by it. Wrong. Tucked into the last bend of a fern-lined path of sacbe (white powder)  appeared a large, multilevel stone-lined well with a moving stream, waterfalls, and beautifully constructed steps guiding us down into the natural rock formation and fresh water glistening jade in the afternoon sun. We relaxed, swam, chatted. Susan sighted a brilliant Blue Morph butterfly.

 Not realizing that even more magnificent surprises awaited, we reluctantly climbed back to the path, commenting on the massive ceiba trees and pausing briefly at a palapa-covered Chicle Museum.

 The initial sight of the mouth of the second cenote (boca del puma) was less than impressive – a small wooden sign, narrow opening barely wide enough to crawl through, a rope. As we bent to peer inside, the lights came on, illuminating and reflecting caverns opening up and winding three directions, as deep as 150 meters. Sunlight streamed through natural limestone tubes draped in vines of emerald. Staring in wonder, we realized that the water was so still, so pristine, so crystal, that what we thought were stalagmites rising from the bottom were actually reflections. A tiny fish glided beneath a ledge. I gingerly stepped in, resulting in reflective ripples.

 Yes, Boca del Puma is definitely a place for reflections, peace, and awe….

 Getting to Cenote Boca del Puma

From Puerto Morelos, drive on Ruta de los Cenotes, km 16, on the right.

Open 9:00 – 5:00 every day

Nice bathrooms – interesting compost concept. Check them out.

Costs to visit both cenotes, 80 pesos/adult, 70 pesos/child.

Although we did not use the ziplines, they look impressive, safe, and fun! The highest is 24 meters with a panoramic view above the treetops. Cost for the five ziplines (with more being constructed), bicycle, and both cenotes: $680 pesos/adult, $580 pesos/child. If you’re a resident of  Puerto Morelos, take documentation and ask for the significant Locals Discount.