If you missed the 2005 movie “The Cave,” don’t despair: it wasn’t exactly a classic. It tells the story of a group of archaeologists who blast their way into a cave system in Romania to look for the ruins of an old abbey. A string of misfortunes afflicts the poor explorers, including collapsing caves and carnivorous demonic half-humans (hate when that happens!). I won’t spoil the story any further in case you’re tempted to see the movie for yourself.
Whatever the criticisms that have been made of the movie, the choice of filming locations is certainly not among them. Most of the scenes within the cave structure were shot in the Yucatan peninsula inside a few of the many cenotes (deep natural sinkholes) that are found throughout the region. Elements of various cenotes were combined to produce the single cave structure in which the plot develops. There are around 30,000 cenotes in Yucatan, although many more have probably not yet been discovered. The highly porous karst limestone that is found across the region has created many miles of cave systems that are gradually being explored. Some are now used as natural swimming pools while others are recognized as important Mayan archaeological sites.
Day Tours from Cancun
Visiting the cenotes is a popular part of many day excursions from the coastal resorts of Cancun and the Riviera Maya; in fact, this past week Iberostar’s #StarTrip bloggers visited Rio Secreto, a spectacular cave and underwater river about a half hour west of Playa Paraiso (pictured above: David Paul Appell of Tripatini.com, Paul Steele of baldhiker.com, and J.D. Andrews of earthxplorer.com). The Mexican government has established La Ruta de los Cenotes (the Cenote Trail), which follows a series of minor roads across the Yucatan and takes in a number of the more accessible caves. If you take a trip to the Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza, you are likely to pass several impressive cenotes. They are easy to reach with a rental car and some are even scheduled stops on organised day tours. If you are driving along the Cenote Trail, don’t forget to pack your swimming gear, as you may get the rare opportunity to swim into a cave; in many of the cenotes the water is so clear that snorkeling is possible. Most importantly, you can enjoy the cooling water of the caves in the safe knowledge that you’re unlikely to find any nasty half-human monsters on your adventure!
Photo | Rio Secreto