The Maya believed natural wells led to the underworld. Such is the Xkeken cenote in Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico. Photograph John Stanmeyer
A cenote (meaning ‘well’) is a sinkhole with exposed rocky edges containing groundwater. It is typically found in the Yucatán Peninsula and some nearby Caribbean islands. The term derives from a word used by the low-land Yucatec Maya to mean any location with accessible groundwater.