Ik Kil is a well known cenote outside Pisté in the Tinúm Municipality, Yucatán, Mexico. It is located in the northern center of the Yucatán Peninsula and is part of the Ik Kil Archeological Park near Chichen Itza. It is open to the public for swimming and is often included in bus tours.
The cenote is open to the sky with the water level about 26 metres (85 ft) below ground level. There is a carved stairway down to a swimming platform. The cenote is about 60 metres (200 ft) in diameter and about 40 metres (130 ft) deep.
There are vines which reach from the opening all the way down to the water along with small waterfalls. There are black catfish which swim in the cenote. Cenote Ik Kil is sacred to the Mayans and the Mayans used this cenote for both relaxation and ritual services.
The cenote is part of a larger complex of a restaurant, store, changing rooms, and cottages for rent. There is also a Mayan ruin on the site.
A cenote is a sinkhole, a water hole, a swimming hole. That doesn’t sound like a very pretty place, but in the Yucatán cenotes can be both beautiful and interesting. The Peninsula doesn’t have much water at surface level. So sinkholes that formed in the limestone become places where the ancient Maya placed their centers, and where modern-day Maya villages are located, as well.
We have a special cenote in Yaxunah. It is covered with trees and lush vegetation. In summer heat it can be 10 to 15 degrees cooler as you walk down the stairs into the cenote grounds. It’s a great place to swim, to picnic, to relax. The water is so clear, you can see many meters down. It just invites a splash!
Our cenote is home to one of the most beautiful of tropical birds, with flashes of bright turquoise on its body. In English it’s called a Mot-Mot, in Maya it’s a Toh, and in Spanish it’s called a pájaro relojero because it swings a long spoon-shaped tail back and forth like a clock’s pendulum.
You can see from the pictures we’ve just been involved in a cenote re-beautification project. We’ve added more steps and walkways, and many more native plants. It’s worth a special visit to see.
Many villagers participated in the cenote refurbishment design. We try to be democratic and all-inclusive in village projects from the design phase to distributing the work. We want every voice heard and everyone to participate.