Discover a Mayan Cenote Park Like No Other with Xibalbá

When going to spend time in the Yucatán peninsula, it’s likely you’re going to visit at least one cenote. In fact, Yucatán has over 6,000 known cenotes spread across it, so it’s highly likely you’re going to see one. But with that many options, which cenotes or cenote parks should you visit? Well, until I saw Xibalbá Reserva Park, I wouldn’t have been able to answer that burning cenote question for you. But now, after going on a tour like no other of this future property, I strongly encourage you to visit Xibalbá on your next trip to Mexico.

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Opening in June 2022, Xibalbá immediately throws a unique cenote park your way by providing a full experience with an incredibly unique story that ties this park into the Mayan culture of the area. It’s really not just a cenote park, rather a full-on cultural experience.

Located near Playa Del Carmen, roughly and hour and a half from Mérida, this park tells the unique story of an old Mayan legend of two twins who journeyed into the underworld. As you arrive, there is a rock that beckons you to begin your descent into the underworld as you follow the path of these two twins who challenged the gods and accomplished tasks to survive their experience in the world below. You begin your journey by going through a series of tunnels that take you under the ground into the cenotes and through the canals of the water. This natural path was modified to connect visitors through the whole experience, and it’s like nothing I have ever seen before.

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The first challenge or cenote pool is the “House of Darkness” where visitors will canoe through the experience on an old, wooden canoe that looks like a thing out of legends. The next cenote area or “challenge” takes you into the “House of Voices” where these twins fooled the gods and accomplished their next task. Here, you can swim in a cenote that will have voices and sounds echoing off the surface of the water in a fully immersive experience like no other.

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Then, you can journey and swim in the “House of Daggers”, the “House of the Sun”, and “the House of Jaguars”, my personal favorite. I have never seen a cenote as beautiful as the House of Jaguars is here at Xibalbá. With vines, sunlight, and a rope ladder cascading down into the gorgeously blue water, it’s something you have to see to believe.

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After this, you leave the underworld into the present and discover a Mayan village and a few other above-ground cenotes where you can admire the natural beauty of Yucatán. In the end, the myth wraps up reminding us that we can rebirth ourselves and emerge greater on the other side of our experiences.

And you can’t miss the opportunity to eat lunch in the gorgeous stone church structure here, either. It’s a culinary experience like no other.

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All in all, I can’t wait to see Xibalbá when it’s open! First, the idea to use a Mayan myth to tie the cenotes together is genius. It takes this park to the next level. It isn’t just another cenote park, it’s an experience and a lesson all in one. Connecting the cenotes together through a story is an interesting, unique, and exiting way to keep visitors engaged. And, unlike other places in Yucatan, Xibalbá understands and stresses the importance of having tours in multiple languages, which is crucial to having a successful destination sought after by world travelers. It’s a way to tell their classic tales in new languages and spread their stories and reach across the world. I, for one, am itching to go back to Xibalbá when it opens. I predict it will be the hot place to visit in Yucatan in the summer of 2022.

Malorie Mackey

Malorie Mackey is an actress, published author, and adventurer. Malorie grew up in Richmond, Virginia where she loved sports, the outdoors, animals, and all forms of art. She took to acting at a young age, so it was no surprise when she decided to go to college for theatre. While in college, Malorie studied body movement with the DAH Theatre in Belgrade, Serbia, voice in Herefordshire, England with Frankie Armstrong, and the business of theatre in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Malorie moved from the East Coast to Los Angeles after receiving her BFA in Theatre Performance from Virginia Commonwealth University. Upon arriving in LA, Malorie participated in the Miss California USA 2011 Pageant where she won the “Friend’s Choice” Award (by popular vote) and received a beautiful award for it. While living on the West Coast, Malorie accumulated over 40 acting credits working on a variety of television shows, web series, and indie films, such as the sci-fi movie “Dracano,” the Biography Channel show “My Haunted House,” the tv pilot “Model Citizen” with Angie Everhart, and the award-winning indie film “Amelia 2.0.” Throughout her experiences, Malorie found a love for travel and adventure, having journeyed to over a dozen countries experiencing unique locations. From the lush jungles of the Sierra Madre mountain range to the Arctic Circle in Finnish Lapland, Malorie began adventuring and writing about her unique travels. These travel excerpts can be found on VIVA GLAM Magazine, in Malorie’s Adventure Blog, in Malorie’s adventure show: “Weird World Adventures” and in the works for her full-length travel book. In 2022, Malorie was thrilled to become a member of the Explorer’s Club through her work on scientific travel. Her experiences volunteering on archaeological and anthropological expeditions as well as with animal conservation allowed her entry into the exclusive club. Since then, Malorie has focused more on scientific travel. Malorie’s show “Weird World Adventures” releases on Amazon Prime Video in the Spring of 2024! Stay tuned as Malorie brings the strangest wonders of the world to you!

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