Okay so let me just start off by saying that it’s hot here, I mean super hot. I know that a lot of you are still digging out from one of the worst winters on record and that all of you will hate me if I complain about too much warmth and sunshine but bear with me for a second.

The heat I’m talking about is the the 96F heat index INSIDE our apartment during the afternoons that drives us to take cover in the only sensible place available to us – the water. A few days ago after stewing in our own juices for a while we grabbed our friends Misti and Colin from MC Fotography¬†and trekked to the beautiful waters of El Jardin del Eden AKA Cenote Eden to escape the heat.

Cenote Eden
A refreshing site after a nice little walk through the jungle!

As we mentioned in our post about Rio Secreto last week, a cenote is basically a water filled cave or grotto and the entire Yucatan Peninsula is crisscrossed by networks of them. There are no surface lakes or rivers on the Yucatan so these underground rivers provide the only source of fresh water and are of course extremely important to the area. For our purposes the important thing is that they are super clean and super cold!

While some of them are entirely hidden underground (like Rio Secreto), others have had roof collapses that have exposed the water to the surface. Cenote Eden falls somewhere in between. It’s pretty special because a roof collapse opened up a huge surface pond that’s easily accessible to swimmers and snorkelers while leaving an extensive underground system that cave divers are still exploring. Let me tell you, it’s kind of a trip to be swimming along and have a diver in full cave gear surface a few feet away!

Cenote Eden
The overhang on the left drops down into the cave system, note the cave divers gearing up

Since Cenote Eden is just a few minutes drive on the highway south of Playa del Carmen and close to a lot of other cenotes we were afraid that it might be a bit crowded or touristy but were pleasantly surprised. The cenote sits off the highway a couple of kilometers but it has a nice road through the jungle and once you pay the $50 peso (per person) entry fee you can drive pretty close to the entrance. Once there we were blown away by the beautiful and relaxing scene before us – vivid blue green water surrounded by small cliffs, overhangs and lush green jungle.

There are numerous palapas perched on the cliffs around the cenote for people to use and multiple stairways and ladders for access to the water.

Cenote Eden
Is this the Stairway to Heaven Robert Plant was talking about?

We quickly dropped our towels off at one of the palapas, grabbed our masks and snorkels and hit the water. Man did it hit the spot! Being ground water, the water was crystal clear and quite chilly but just what we were looking for to cool us off and we were used to it in no time. We spent a great afternoon relaxing in the water and listening to the crazy jungle birds. Not even an afternoon thunderstorm could deter us. We figured it was called the “rain forest” for a reason so we just hung out in our palapa and enjoyed the reprieve from the heat.

Cenote Eden
It’s not everyday you can jump off a tree on a cliff and into the Mayan Underworld so when you get the chance, take it.

It struck me while we sat there just how crazy it was to be 4 mid-westerners stuck in a thatched roof palapa in a jungle thunderstorm next to a Mayan holy place. Sometimes life is crazy here in Playa del Carmen and that’s exactly what we love about it.