May 24

Cenote Angelita, Underwater River in Mexico

Cenote AngelitaBefore getting into Cenote Angelita, we must understand the meaning of “Cenote”. The word “Cenote” is derived from the Maya Word D’zonot “” which means “a hole/cave has underground water”. While “Angelita” means “little angel”. So Cenote Angelita means “Cave of the little angel”.

The term Cenote was used to refer to an existing hole/cave in Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico. In addition to the Cenote Angelita, in the Yucatan Peninsula, there is a another Cenote, such as Cenote Aktun Ha, Cenote Calavera, Chac Mool Cenote and others. The formation of these caves connected with the sea and was formed around 6.500 years ago.

Cenote has a very old history. The Mayans used to use it to travel to other cities. But in the 20th century, when it dives and cave exploration became popular, Cenote is again drawing attention.

Cenote Angelita1

Cenote Angelita we are talking about is located about 17 kilometers from Tulum. It has a diameter hole about 30 meters with a depth of about 60 feet. This Cenote is in the region of lush forest has a diversity of flora fauna quite rich. Even the Jaguars also live in this forest.

Because it’s actually less precise when called Cenote Angelita as rivers in the sea floor. The Cenote Angelita cave is actually a juicy in the middle of the forest, not in the sea, though the water is indeed connected with the sea.

If we dive into the Cenote Angelita, we will find fresh water at a depth of 30 meters first, followed by the salt water at a depth of 60 meters. At a depth that we could see the river and the trees in the ground.

Well, now I am going to discuss the three characteristics of this Cenote that many confuse the people, namely:

  1. Why is salt water and fresh water could not mix?
  2. How can there be a river under the sea?
  3. How trees can live in the water?

Salt water and fresh water

The tree at the under of the sea

In the description of the Cenote Angelita, Anatoly Beloschin, a professional photographer says:

“We are 30 meters deep, fresh water, then 60 meters deep – the salty water and below me I see a river, island and fallen leaves..”

“In the depths of 30 meters, the fresh water, and at a depth of 60 meters, salt water, and under the River, I saw an island and the leaves are falling.”

From this description, we can infer if fresh water is above the salt water. How could the saltwater and freshwater not mix?

The answer is because of a phenomenon called a Halocline.


Halocline is a vertical, in the Sea zone in which rapidly changing levels of salt in line with changes in depth. Changes in the levels of salt, this will affect the density of water so that the zone, then serves as a dividing wall between salt water and fresh water.

Salt water has a greater density than fresh water. This makes it have a specific gravity that is also greater. Because of its natural if fresh water is above the salt water. When both types of water meet, he will make a Halocline layer function be separation between the two. This event does not occur in all parts of the beach or in the sea, but quite common in the caves the water connected to the sea like the Cenote.

The border between salt water and fresh water (Halocline) in Cenote Angelita lies at a depth of about 33 meters. In the case of this Cenote, fresh water on the surface of the water comes from rain.

If you want more details, you can make your own at home halocline. The trick, put salt water into a glass of up to half a glass filled. Then, put the sponge in the water. After that, pour fresh water slowly into the glass. Halocline layer, then will be created so that the incoming fresh water does not mix with the salt water below.

The phenomenon of a separate freshwater with saltwater is actually not a new thing. 2.000 years ago, a Roman geographer Strabo once wrote about calling the inhabitants of Latakia, Northwest Syria, the paddling his boat about 4 kilometers away from the beach and diving by bringing water from a pouch of goat skin and taking fresh water from it for drinking water supplies in their city. They know the exact place where the fresh water gathered on the sea. Today, divers can also do the same thing on many beaches in the world.

River under the se

River under the sea

In the photo we can see Cenote Angelita, seemed to have a river at its base. If it is true, of course it would be very confusing!

But the river is actually just an illusion. The most appropriate description to call it, is not a river, but the fog/cloud, because a layer that looks like the river is a layer of hydrogen sulfide. This layer forms a thick cloud/mist creates the illusion of a river.

There are not many that can dive to depths of this because this layer is at the bottom of Cenote Angelita, namely in the depths of about 60 meters.

A layer of hydrogen sulfide is formed by trees or decaying organisms at the base of Cenote. Therefore this layer has a bad odor, like rotten eggs (maybe some of you guys also know that we also offer this gas when we dispose of wind). In addition to bacterial activity because of decay, this gas can also be produced by volcanic activity. In high levels, these gases are harmful to human beings because it could interfere with some systems in the human body.

The tree at the under of the sea


I got this question a lot and it is a question of interest. From the photo above, we can see that the tree at the base of Cenote Angelita is similar to a tree that is there on the ground. We know that trees need sunlight for photosynthesis. So how can they live in the dark and water base in?

The answer to the question is actually very simple, IE: no trees that live at the bottom of Cenote!

Most of us are wrong to interpret sentences Anatoly Beloschin. Anatoly says:

“We are 30 meters deep, fresh water, then 60 meters deep – the salty water and under me I see a river, island and fallen leaves…”

“In the depths of 30 meters, the fresh water, and at a depth of 60 metres, salt water, and under the River, I saw an island and the leaves are falling.”

He just said if he saw a fallen leaves.

Cenote Angelita2

This is clearly seen from the photos taken when the rods that tree is dead trees and leaves are scattered on the leaf are basis of Cenote. Anatoly never said see the tree of life at the base of Cenote.

In addition to a beautiful place, apparently the cenote is also the place that is dangerous, because it is in the middle of the forest and the animals we do not know what we will find. for example, like the photo above.