Does it count as one of our cenote visits if we don’t actually go in? Well it’s my blog post so I say it does!
Yesterday we were invited to another Homeschool Meet-Up down in Playa del Carmen. We sure love our house and neighborhood in Cancun but we would like to pick up the entire neighborhood and move it to Playa. Our social life seems to exist mainly down there. We knew that would likely happen but Playa didn’t have the housing options we were looking for. So it is what it is! (Note: That statement implied much more flexibility than actually exists in my brain.)
So off we went to Playa, again, to meet up at a cenote swim park called Chanolandia. It was similar to the one we went to last week but we were excited to see yet a new one. We did the “Playa Shuffle” as Dan calls it. That means that we find the location on the map, follow the directions to get there, find nothing of the sort, drive around for awhile, finally ask someone, go in the general direction they tell us to, and eventually stumble across it. And then wonder how anyone else would ever find it. The map actually told us at one point we’d have to park our car and walk the rest of the way. Well, turns out it’s on a new road that either doesn’t have a name or, according to Google Maps, just doesn’t exist (hint: you can see it and the new roads on Satellite view!). Anyway, we found it. As we were paying to get in (about $11 USD for a family of 4) we were told the cenote part of the park was closed. What? How in the world are we going to tell our vast Cenote Fan Base about our latest cenote adventure when it’s closed?! No es bueno! But we were there already and Zoe’s eyes lit up at the sight of a big dolphin slide and some friends that she knew. So in we went.
Our friends, the Widens, were still making their way to the place. We wanted to spare them The Playa Shuffle so Dan met them at a gas station nearby and led them in. It’s cliche but it’s true: the travel is great but the joy is greater when shared with friends.
We met some new friends, we talked to some old ones, the kids played, and played and played. Zoe got a sunburn, Haley played so hard for so long she probably won’t be able to walk today, and we actually had to be asked to leave at 6 p.m. The shutting down of the water coming down the slide was a good indication it was time to go.
The downside of the day was that the cenote was closed. We were not surprised; it was green, it smelled horrible and it was clearly standing water. This was not the fresh water pool that we have seen in other cenotes. There were two parts to the cenote and if it had been fresh with clean water it would have been amazing. It was very very large, with some jumping docks and stairs leading into it. But the owner said that the smaller part of the cenote is being fixed and will soon get fresh water again. He’s hoping it will be open in 3-4 months. The big one was not fixable and will not be opening again. You hear of new cenotes being formed after big storms or hurricanes and I guess, likewise, some cenotes close down if they are no longer getting the fresh water.
The parque (that’s “park” in Spanish) was huge and only half of it was open, but that didn’t matter. They had a huge round platform that looked like a stage but was actually a restaurant, at least 5 pools with slides, a new shark slide was being built that would be a jumping platform too, lots of tables in the shade, comfy lawn chairs, nice bathrooms and even music and poolside service where you could order hot food and drinks. It was very comfortable and you could easily spend all day (and all night, as evidenced by our 6 p.m. departure). There were a lot of different depths of the pools so it was great for all ages. We even explored a little bit and found a gorgeous outdoor (but sheltered) church you could rent out for weddings, birthdays, baptisms and other special events. The baptismal chamber was an actual natural grotto in the park that they had obviously built the church around. It didn’t have any water in it when we were there so it looked like perhaps the home to “The Creature from the Black Lagoon”. But add some clean water and it would be nice again, I’m sure… I think.
We were told that on Saturday there would be “standing room only” at this park, it is so popular with locals. And Semana Santa (Mexico’s 2-week Spring Break) starts today so that’s even more reason why it will be busy. We are always so happy to have the flexibility to go places on weekdays and avoid the crowds.
So although we technically didn’t go IN the cenote, we went TO a cenote so it counts as #4. This one will be a great one once it is cleaned up and open to the public again. But we found ourselves thoroughly entertained even without it. We highly recommend Chanolandia. If you can find it.