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These pictures are of the amazing Ik Kil Cenote, located in Eco-Arqueological Park in Chichen Itza, Mexico. In past blog posts, we’ve looked at other natural formations that provide great inspiration for pool design: Wufengchi Waterfall, Aruba’s Natural Pool and Malta’s Blue Lagoon. Wufengchi Waterfall and Aruba’s Natural Pool are all about flowing water and stone. Malta’s Blue lagoon is a large, semi-protected swimming area with turquoise water and only a few small sand beaches. The Ik Kil Cenote is something completely different. If you look at the photo of it, you might think that it’s some kind of fantasy landscape. Plant roots reach many metres downward to access the still, pure water in this below-ground pool.
The Ik Kil Cenote may look like something that just has to be unique in the world, but in reality, it’s one of hundreds of cenotes in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. This is an area where the only lakes are marshy and where fresh water for drinking and bathing is hard to find. That’s why the Mayans placed such importance on these natural, stone sinkholes. Many are below the water table, so they fill with cool, clean ground water and rainwater, and they’ve been sources of fresh water, places for recreation, and ritual sites for the locals for thousands of years.
Cenotes are especially numerous around the edge of the Yucatán’s huge Chicxulub Crater, and the Ik Kil Cenote is one of the most beautiful and easily accessible.
What Makes the Ik Kil Cenote So Special
The Ik Kil Cenote is almost perfectly circular: 60 metres in diameter, with the surface of the water 26 metres below grade and the bottom of the pool almost 40 metres below the surface! As you can imagine, the pool is a cool place to swim in a very hot, dry climate. It’s got a curved stone staircase winding down for easy access, and it’s home to thousands of black catfish, too.
Inspiration For Your Pool Design
The Ik Kil Cenote is a fantastic source of pool design inspiration. Here are just a few ideas it conjures up:
- A below-ground pool: Like Mexico, Australia is often hot and dry. Placing a pool at the low point of a lot, or even in a depressed area, can help shade parts of it and keep the water cooler in the hottest months.
- A round, sunken pool: Imagine a curved stone staircase going down to a round pool that’s at a lower level. It’s a great way to protect the pool area, keep it private and protect it from the sun.
- A wall next to the pool: If the pool is at a low point, then it will probably have a retaining wall on at least one side. In fact, our award winning Lake Wendouree pool uses exactly this idea. Rather than being surrounded by a circular stone enclosure, it’s got a house along one edge and a property wall on the other — and the effect is striking. It gives the pool the same kind of shaded, protected feel as a cenote.
- A rope swing over the pool? We can’t finish talking about the Ik Kil Cenote without mentioning the long roots that dip into it, providing trees and plants on the ground far above with the water they need to thrive. Of course, this isn’t a feature that would work with anything but the most cutting-edge natural pool, but be honest. What did you think of when you saw those roots? I’ll bet you thought about climbing or swinging on them. Why not add a rope swing to the pool? It could be a great recreational feature. Just make sure that you consider safety in the design.
A rope swing or climbing rope over a sunken, circular pool… it could be done! Why not do a little more research into cenotes and let your imagination go wild? Then, give us a call on 1300 136 316 and we’ll help make your dream pool into a reality.