‘Underground tourism:’ Maximizing Yucatán’s cenotes

Guardian reader John Clayton submitted the winning Yucatan travel tip: Jump into the Siete Bocas cenote.
Guardian / John Clayton

The state has an inventory of 2,800 cenotes and caves, but only 190 of them are tourist attractions.

Yucatán can improve on that, say officials with the Secretary of Urban Development and Environment (Seduma).

To up its game, Seduma has joined a “tourist cave” association based in Spain and Portugal, which is also blessed with an abundance of subterranean attractions.

Yucatán’s alliance with the Association of Ibero-American Tourist Caves (ACTIBA) was arranged jointly with the Ministry of Economic Development (SEFOE), the Autonomous University of Mexico (UAM) and the Autonomous University of Yucatan (UADY).

Edivaldo Keda Moura of Brazil takes a dive. Photo: Red Bull via Getty

“We have seen the opportunity for Yucatan to develop its economic potential in local communities, as well as research in environmental, cultural, ecological and anthropological centers,” said Eduardo Batllori Sampedro, secretary of urban development and environment.

The link is meant to serve a growing tourist sector, which has the promotion to be larger than the crowd that visits archaeological sites.

With this collaboration Yucatan automatically belongs to the World Association of Tourist Caves.

“Yucatan is possibly one of the richest in underground heritage to say the least, only compared to the United States and China,” said Dr. Pedro Robledo, a researcher at the Biological and Mining Institute of Spain.

For her part, the teacher Isabel Bolio Rosado, coordinator of the UADY tourism bachelor’s degree, said that this strategic alliance will benefit students who participate in research, not only in the area of ​​tourism but also in anthropology and archeology.

Representing Tourism Secretary Saúl Ancona, Jorge Romero explained that ecotourism cooperatives in areas where the cenotes and caverns are located will also be strengthened with this agreement.

The Congress of Tourist Caves in Spain will include Yucatán for the first time in 2018.

And researcher Pedro Robledo invited Yucatán to host the following edition in 2022.

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