The couple whose wedding we are attending are avid scuba divers. So for their wedding guests—who traveled to Tulum from all over the world—they organized diving expeditions. But not to coral reefs. Too ordinary. They set out to dive the underground lakes called cenotes.
The Yucatán Peninsula can be thought of as a vast limestone shelf atop a network of underground rivers. Where the limestone roof has collapsed, natural swimming holes have formed some thirty feet or so below the ground surface. Cenotes make for a refreshing dip in the hot tropical jungle. More adventurous people, those who want to explore the caves and tunnels that branch out from the hole, need scuba gear and specialized instructor guides. Swimming underground away from light and air is not for the faint-hearted.
Laura is PADI certified and she's adventurous, so she's going diving with the big kids. Here she gets help with a balky flipper before venturing into the darkness with her group.
I have to be satisfied snorkeling in the waters near the cave opening. An implanted defibrillator guarantees no doctor will ever clear me for PADI certification.
These pictures are of Gran Cenote, about three kilometers west of Tulum. The owners keep it up much better than the ones I swam in ten years ago: less trash, better facilities. I didn't enjoy visiting cenotes back then. On this trip, I found them delightful.