Having weathered a busy few weeks, our friends, Janeen and Steve suggested that we all unwind by taking an impromptu trip to the mainland—go for swim in the jungle, a night out in a colonial town.  Needless to say, we required very little persuasion…

I have had a handful of singular experiences that I would qualify as “magical”. However, few are as utterly blissful as floating on my back in the middle of a cenote. We had visited Ik kil before on another trip but didn’t swim in it, preferring to stay clear of the crowds that lined up in jostling queues to leap into the sinkhole’s aquamarine waters.  But this time, we timed it just right and found ourselves splayed out in relative solitude, eyes skyward, blinking into the hypnotic droplets of water that cascaded off of the waterfall-fed vines hanging from the sinkhole’s rim.  Exquisite.  Curious, night-black catfish spiraled up from the depths to investigate as we swam in lazy circles. They zigged and zagged, darting aside as we moved through the velvety water, our voices echoing off of the ancient rocks before being muted by the thunderous sound of falling water that encircled us.

As for getting to this magical place? Easier than one might think. We took the 15-minute UltraMar ferry from Isla Mujeres, picked up a rental car at the ferry dock in Cancun, enjoyed a 3 hour drive to the Mayan village of Piste and arrived just in time to sneak in on the heels of the final tour bus for the day.  This afforded us a relaxing, uncrowded swim before checking into our hotel in the nearby colonial town of Valladolid.  Oh yes. We’ll do this again.

As for the cost of one such magical afternoon? The entrance fee to Ik kil is 70 Pesos (roughly $5 USD with the current exchange rate). Worth it? Every. Single. Centavo.