Homún, Yucatán — Already known for its impressive cenotes, this tiny town has a new circuit of newly revived watery caverns.
Specialists and local people worked more than eight months to clean and create paths between a half-dozen previously obscured cenotes.
Homún already had several tourist-ready cenotes about 50 kilometers southeast from the Yucatecan capital.
To get there from Mérida, drivers must take the Cancun highway and take a detour toward Acanceh.
The new circuit is made up of seven “eyes of water” that were cleaned and reforested, then linked through a kind of circuit of sac-bés (Mayan paved white paths) that allows access to the sites through mountains and low jungles.
The inauguration of this new ecotourism circuit involved a Mayan ceremony where the X’men (Mayan priest) asked “permission” to visit the cenote Huolpoch. Cenotes are sacred in Mayan culture — although many today are used as community dumping grounds.
During the ceremony, underwater archaeologist Sergio Grossjean Abimerhi, who led a team of divers in charge of cleaning, asked the town’s inhabitants to take care of “these natural treasures.”
“There were eight months of intense work together with many people in which we fortunately found support from the Bepensa Foundation and associations such as Pronatura Península de Yucatán and tourism and cultural units of the state government to make this project a reality,” he said.
Along with Huolpoch visitors will be able to enjoy other cenotes, christened as Chelpak, Balmi, Hool Cozón, Chulul and Canunchén.
They join five established, albeit fairly rustic, cenotes, all reachable with or without the aid of a guide — and any tour sites recommend a local guide. A colonial church and the convent of Homún are other attractions.
To do justice to all the cenotes, guests often stay overnight in one of the many rental homes that are available.
By the cemetery is the Tza Ujun Kat Cenote is in a grotto, exposed at the top. Its spacious interior and clear, emerald green water of variable depths, is considered ideal for families.
Santa Rosa Cenote is next to the football field. Illuminated with artificial light, visitors descend a wooden staircase to find water of turquoise blue.
The Santa Maria Cave and Cenote is a few blocks from the village center, and is considered one of the prettiest. Accessed by a walk through an underground river, the cenote looks like a large Jacuzzi tub, one tourism website said.
At the end of a dirt road on the town’s outskirts, the Yaxbakaltun Cenote, is one of the most impressive, filled with natural light.
Cenote Balmil, also on the outskirts of town and along a dirt road, is known for its whimsical stone formations; its turquoise water is clean and clear.
These cenotes are open every day from 10 a.m to 5 p.m. Expect to pay 20 pesos to enter each cenote and up to 150 for a native guide for three cenotes.