#TravelTuesday: In Mexico, the Underwater Secrets of a Cenote

by Sarah Teveldal, photographer on March 26, 2019 in Travels,
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A cenote is a natural sinkhole caused by the collapse of limestone bedrock that exposes groundwater underneath. There are over 6,000 cenotes in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula alone.

Cenotes vary in size and features, some boasting deep underground caves, with stalactites and stalagmites, appealing to adventurous divers. Others are more open and are popular swimming holes with locals and tourists.

In February, Sarah Teveldal and Lilah Bazarte visited cenote Nicté-Ha near Tulum to capture underwater images that feature the beauty of these wonderful caverns.

Cenote Nicte-Ha is located 22 km north of Tulum (a 20-min drive). The entrance fee is 150 pesos ($7). Next time you are in Mexico, do your soul a favor and go for a swim in one of these aquatic paradises. Photo Sarah Teveldal
The spring-fed water stays at a cool but refreshing 78 degrees. At first it’s chilly but you quickly forget about it when swimming around and exploring. Photo Sarah Teveldal
The crystal clear water of centoe Nicté-Ha is an underwater photographer’s dream, but what makes this Yucatan cenote so special are the hundreds of water lilies growing in the open areas. Nicté-Ha means Flower of the Water. Photo Sarah Teveldal
The cenote is surrounded by a limestone cliff and lush vegetation – it’s like swimming in a secret garden. Photo Sarah Teveldal
You must take great care when swimming around not to be too invasive. Cenotes have fragile ecosystems with a variety of fish and animals.
Photo Sarah Teveldal
With light streaming in from above through the crystal clear water, it’s not hard to capture breathtaking images. It is so beautiful. Photo Sarah Teveldal
The Mayans believed that cenotes were the gateways to the underworld or afterlife. These natural wells were sacred to them and some were even used as sacrificial sites. Photo Sarah Teveldal

Sarah Teveldal is an Austin-based award-winning underwater photographer who specializes in working with aquatic teams and swim schools. She also offers private underwater sessions in her studio pool for maternity, engagements, kids, pets, fashion and more. Teveldal hosts Underwater Workshops and is available for travel worldwide. Follow her on Facebook and view more of her work on Instagram. To experience an exhilarating underwater session of your own, visit www.flashpoolproductions.com

Lilah Bazarte has a regular yogic and meditation practice that helps her gain a sense of serenity and calm to her breathing. This she says is especially helpful when it comes to modeling underwater. To see movement in ways that are not possible above water is like magic and is what keeps her motivated. Follow her on Instagram and Facebook.