Thursday, May 20, 2010

In the Land of High Mountains: Cenote El Cimarron

A "cenote" is a natural well and El Cimarron is simply beyond any description! To start, it is a natural formation that unlike the surrounding mountainous landscape that makes you look up, it makes you look down. And when I say down, is because of its depth, tantamount to a 40 stories building, or maybe more...
In the photo above we can appreciate that at the very bottom of El Cimarron, there is a small yet exuberant forest where the trees reach around 30 meters in height. Actually, El Cimarron has a diameter of 170 meters and a depth between 150 and 160 meters.
Naturally enigmatic, a cenote is a fresh water well created by erosion in limestone terrains, with underground, convergent rivers, and open caves from where the sunlight is captured into the interior. The name "cenote" comes from the Maya word "dzonot", which translates as abyss.
There are others natural wells known as "siguan", which are created because of a combination of rain and an underground river, by dissolution of the limestone combined with carbonates and sulfates. The "siguanes" that I know, are located in Las Verapaces, a region that we will visit further.
As far as I know, there are not such things as programmed explorations to El Cimarron, and according to expert mountaineers, an excellent physical condition and training is required to descend and then ascend back. What I can tell you, paraphrasing those who have explored El Cimarron, after the physical effort, the sweating, and the adrenalin pumping, the emotion of being down there and the overwhelming and profound quietness that surrounds this wonder of nature, one can truly state that an almost spiritual and surreal  feeling takes over, if only for a few minutes, man communes with nature. All and all, this is an indescribable one in a lifetime experience!


  1. Hello,

    My husband and I are going to Guatemla in April. I was wondering where in the province of Huehuetenango El Cimarron is located?

    Your blog seems so great! I will explore it!

  2. El Cimarron is located in Nenton, close to Todos Santos Cuchumatan. You may want to take a look at the location:
    Enjoy the trip!


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