Beach + Island

Natural Swimming Holes Around the World



Cenote Ik-Kil: Near Chichén Itzá, Mexico

The Mayans once used the inky waters of this ancient sinkhole for human sacrifice to the rain god Chac. Thankfully, it’s a different scene today. Visitors to the Yucatán Peninsula indulge in this 130-foot-deep pool on their way to Chichén Itzá, the UNESCO World Heritage Site two miles away. The Lodge at Chichén Itzá has 39 thatched-roof bungalows set amid 100 acres of landscaped gardens, with three pools of its own and a private entrance to the ruins. Load up on fresh fruit from the property’s garden before attempting the precipitous 85-foot staircase leading to the cenote’s surreal depths (800-235-4079; doubles from $250).

Water Temperature this Month: 75°

What to Wear: Something secure—lest your suit join countless others lost after a leap from the diving ledge.

You'll Share the Water with: Small, quick-swimming catfish that you'll only see (not feel).

Photograph by Francine Fleischer

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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