Cenotes in Mexico are deep sinkholes considered sacred by the ancient Mayans and where sacrifices took place – but some believe they are under threat from human activity
One stunning shot showed the narrow opening of the pit allowed for rays of light to penetrate the water, reflecting through the clear water.
Underwater photographer Francis Perez, 52, dived into a mysterious cenote – a deep sinkhole – called ‘El Pit’ in Yucatan, Mexico.
Captured on a Canon 5D MKiii camera, Francis aimed to preserve these incredible sites, protecting them from encroaching development.
He said: “It is like flying over a river. A river inside the water.
“It’s like another world, a mysterious place.
“The cenotes are one of the most beautiful places where I have dived in my life.”
“At that moment it was an ecosystem new to me.
“The water is so clear and looks like a cloud from the outside if you don’t go in.
“I think that science has discovered almost 5,000 cenotes and every year they are discovering new cenotes.”
The cenote was considered sacred to the ancient Mayan people, who often used them as sites of religious rites and human sacrifices.
Diving into the cenote is no easy task – for the first 20 meters the water is clear, becoming murkier as the descent increases.
The cave extends down for 55 meters below the surface, making it a dive only for experienced divers.
“It’s sad that this wonder of nature is threatened once again by humans that want to build train tracks over these cenotes, a building that will destroy many of them for the sake of shuttling hordes of people from one tourist location to another,” said Francis.
“The caverns and cenotes through which the tracks will pass are not being considered.
“The train, as planned now, will pass directly over the Sacactun cave system, the second-longest cave in the world.
“When will the planet come first?”