Roving reporter Nicola interviewed Essential Cenote, a natural sinkhole formation, from the jungle of Kuyabeh in the eastern Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico.

Some say I was formed from the debris of a meteorite crashing into the Yucatán peninsula 60 million years ago. But who really knows. I don’t remember my birth. Do you?

When people first see me they stand in awe and wonderment. If the sun shines through me you can see straight to the bottom of my clear, cooling crystalline waters. On a shady day I may appear slightly darker.

There's a little roof above the cavern that shelters my sinkhole, a 10-meter-drop from the surface. Unbelievably, in my region there are no lakes or rivers above ground. An underground river network supplies my fresh waters. This makes me an indispensable life-giving source for people and the environment.

For the Maya, the original inhabitants of this region, I was considered a sacred place. I watched them perform ceremonial dances inside my cavern and around my space. We co-existed in harmony and respect.

Essential Cenote speaks


Delightfully symbiotic

All kinds of trees around me feed from my waters. I have one special ficus friend who daringly stretches down some of its massive roots over my cavern to seek my freshwater nourishment. Its roots are so round and thick it looks like I have trees growing up and out of me.

We have a delightful symbiotic relationship. Being sustained by me, my tree-friends are able to bring back more life into the environment. Which then brings more life back into me.

All kinds of nature keep popping in and out of me. Little iguanas hop into my waters to refresh themselves. Colourful butterflies are floating past. Ants of all kinds crawl along my walls and hide. Algae are able to grow where they normally wouldn’t.

So many animals and vegetation find refuge in me and keep my waters clean. How cool is that!  

Nature evolves and adapts which allows things to flourish. You mustn’t disrupt this delicate balance.

Nibbles and giggles  

At the moment I’m getting many visitors from all walks of life, showing me their happy faces. They come in to see me and I receive them by means of wooden stairs that they've built into the crevices of my walls. The stairs are really steep and have several platforms.

My visitors enter into my cavernous entanglement of various vines and roots as they cautiously make their way down to my cool waters. People love to swim in me and refresh themselves from the glaring heat. Some of the little fish that live in my waters nibble at their feet. So I hear a lot of giggles.

Cenote was interpreted by

Catherine Archer who grew up in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. She felt blessed to be able to climb down into Kuyabeh Cenote with her twin sister Julia.  “I had a little moment, an experience, when I could live inside of it and see the world from that point of view.”  

Catherine says to Cenote

Thank you for allowing me to have that unforgettable experience in your cavern. I could sense your message to me.

Randomly Tagged

Catherine was invited by Emilie Mai whom she met a few years ago at a mutual friend’s dinner party. “We just hit it off. I was so drawn by her stories of travels, her openness and bubbly energy. She’s taught me a lot.”

Cover photo edited. Original by Catherine Archer.