The van rumbles slowly into the jungle. We all silently look out the windows, still recovering from the adrenaline rush of snorkeling in the ocean. As we park and exit the vehicle, the warmth of the afternoon sun bakes our skin as the birds in the trees softly caw to the new arrivals.

We are at our final stop of the day, Cenote Caracol. We walk and get familiar with the plants and animals that are found here, and learn more about the history of this Cenote, mainly of the ancient Mayan beliefs about this being a gateway to the underworld.

The entrance to the underground caverns is before us, a somewhat rickety staircase that twists and wriggles its way down into the darkness. I take the first step into a new world.

The formations of Stalagmites and Stalactites appear as our eyes adjust to the darkness. The still water creates a mirrored image that blurs the horizon between where the water ends and the earth begins. Bats sleep above us, bizarre fish slowly move in the water below us.

We are all in awe, believing this is the Cenote Caracol. As we exit the underground caverns, we are handed snorkeling gear and lifejackets as we approach another dark hole and rickety staircase leading straight downward. We can hearing people splashing below. I walk slowly so that I do not slip and tumble. I soon am in front of the great Cenote Caracol…..

“We can go swimming in that?”

Some of us ask this question incredulously, others with fear in their voice, yet we all enter the cool water. With a waterproof flashlight in hand, we make our way through small crevices, dive down to explore deep pools, and chill on the rocks as small schools of fish nibble on our toes.

This was my last adventure in Tulum, on the last day of 2018. I could not have asked for a better way to end an interesting year.

Wench, bring my ale, what say you?

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