2) Ik Kil—Yucatán, Mexico
The dazzlingly blue cenote (sinkhole) of Ik Kil on Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula surely ranks as one of the world’s great places to bathe.
This stunning pool, edged with sheer walls lushly laden with dripping vegetation, is one of many of such cavities in the Yucatán.
Cenotes sprinkle the weathered limestone bedrock of the peninsula, serving as important links in the region’s mostly subterranean drainage network.
The tourism website Yucatan Today suggests there may be better than 6,000 sinkholes in the area, representing jewel-like lenses in the thick, ruins-rich tropical rainforest that drapes much of the well-watered countryside here.
One of the wonderful aspects of Ik Kil is its proximity to an internationally precious archaeological site, the ancient Mayan city of Chichen Itza. The Maya treasured cenotes (which they called dzonots) for their refreshing waters and spiritual utility. Ultimately, the mesmerizing environment of Ik Kil transcends any cultural and religious gulfs: These unreal landforms appeal to everyone.
Stairs provide safe access to the splendidly circular cenote, which is nearly 200 feet across and some 130 feet deep.