Dark and Light at Labnaha
September 20th, 2020
Today we’re making one last stop at a cenote on Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula. As you’ve learned by now, the region is full of them and each has its own character. Some are deep and intimidating, some are popular shallow swimming holes, some are hidden and mysterious … like Cenote Labnaha.
Labnaha is an actual hole in the ground with a hand-written sign in front of it declaring that life vests are obligatory. Descend the steps and enter a cavern of stalactites over a shallow pool of clear water. Time your visit just right (my timing was lucky) and you’ll see a beam of sunlight entering the cavern from a second smaller hole somewhere at the surface. It’s a stunning sight, revealing the water’s aquamarine clarity and the volume of points hanging from above.
Jump in and adjust to the cool water. If you dare, embark on a cave tour with flashlights — a spooky floating adventure through the labyrinth of Labnaha’s connected caverns. The highlight comes in a small cave half-submerged in water. The guide asks the group to sit on the rock around the edge until the water reaches stillness. Then, he turns off his flashlight.
True, pure darkness envelops you. It is a freaky moment as you think about your location, somewhere underground, in water and stone, with not a single pixel of light to show you the way home.
When the guide turns the flashlight back on, relief arrives. And a new visual, too. The water’s still surface reflects the stalactites above perfectly, in a mirror image, as if the stalactites are over head and underwater too.
The tour continues through a couple more phases and one hold-your-breath-and-dunk-to-the-next-cave moment before returning to the starting point where the real world comes back in to view.
That’s a wrap for cenotes! I trust you’ll seek them out (or not) if this post and others have whet your appetite.
Tomorrow … Chichen Itza.
Photos of the Day: Adding a bit of light to the darkness as we get through the pandemic together. This series features travel photos from my archives, shared with you while staying close to home.