Mexico: Swimming Underground

For my last post on our trip to Mexico I want to share with you the most exciting thing that we did when we were there....
We swam in an underground river! So cool.

All over the Yucatan peninsula the land is a particular sort of limestone that does not hold water, so there are no above ground rivers and lakes, all of the rainfall sinks through into underground rivers and lakes called Cenotes. I had read about them years ago in National Geographic, so I knew that lots of scuba divers come to the area to explore the deep underground water filled caverns, and I knew that if we could I'd love to explore one as a family on our trip.

The one that we chose to go to was located in a park and was pretty easy to navigate, but even so we had to wear life vests and I had to sign a special waver being pregnant.

To get into the river we walked down through the jungle into a deep pool, where once you are in the water you swim forward into a dark cave, the kids were scared and the water was cold but with some convincing and hand holding we all got in and swam forward. The whole river took us about an hour to swim, there were little stops along the way where you could have your picture taken if you liked, but other wise we were just swimming along sometimes enclosed in a dark cave, other times the ceiling would open up and you could see the jungle with lots of Iguanas on the rocks all around.

Inside the cave we saw bats and all kinds of rock formations, it was exciting and we all felt like explorers. This was really one of my favorite times of the whole trip!
Once we had finished we were able to hike back along our route and peer into the caves at some of the openings which was fun to see where we had been,

At the same park we were able to explore more Mayan ruins on foot,

For the trip we bought the kids each a disposable camera in a waterproof case, which they carried everywhere and loved being able to take their own photos.

One of my favorite things was seeing how the vegetation was trying to reclaim the ruins, when we explored the ruins of Tulum our guide there explained that a satellite survey of the Yucatan peninsula in the year 2000 showed 4000 ruin sites still remain covered up by the jungle. Isn't that amazing?

At the same park we also shared some beautiful animal encounters. This dolphin really seemed to like the kids.

Everywhere we went the kids followed Iguanas around and the Iguanas watched them right back, very warily. All in all we had such a great trip, its been fun sharing it with you!