Adventure Travel

What Lies In The Depths Of Tulum’s Pet Cemetery?

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Pet Cemetery Tulum Water

Image: Divecentertulum.com

What Lies In The Depths Of Tulum’s Pet Cemetery?

Pet cemetery.

The words alone evoke thoughts and feelings of something straight out of a Tim Burton movie—flashbacks of Beetlejuice and goons and goblins come to mind, but deep in the heart of Tulum, Mexico, there is a very real jungle riddled with the bones of animals never meant to see the light of day.

In this remote part of Western Mexico, home to an ancient walled city and some of the world’s most renowned archeological sites there lays one of the largest cenotes known to man. Cenotes are naturally forming pits that are similar to sinkholes. These pits are the direct result of the decay of limestone bedrock. When totally exposed, these cenotes show off large bodies of water.

Often explored by divers and conservationists, these cenotes were discovered in the early 1980s. Now, along with hundreds of tourists brave enough to traverse through the jungle and off the beaten path to get there, these beautiful caves are filled with crystal blue freshwater and make for absolutely breathtaking photographs and a deep dive both metaphorically as well as physically, into the history of Mexico.

Upon recent explorations into these cenotes, divers stumbled upon a truly wild discovery. Due to the constant rising and falling of the waters that surround the cenote, the level of clarity on the water, as well as accessibility has always fluctuated. With much better visibility as of late and the large majority of the rock formations being chipped away by stalagmites, the bottom of the waters had shifted so much that they revealed more of the pit. In this pit were an incredible number of animal bones.

Fish Jaw Bone

Image: Diversunderground.com

These animal bones were not your ordinary, run of the mil skeletons; these bones consisted of animals that were long since thought to have inhabited the earth centuries ago. The mandible of a tapir which is a large herbivorous mammal, most likened to that of a cross between a pig and an anteater was found, as well as fossilized remains of an extinct species of prehistoric camel.

And so, the name pet cemetery was given to this area of the Tulum jungle, and along with it has come more curiosity and an increased number of people willing to brave the elements to catch a glimpse. With an extensive amount of scientific study being done after these amazing discoveries, the largest theory surrounding the find is that the cenote was most likely used as a burial ground before the waters rose and flooded the area.

Anyone looking to visit this place should be forewarned that the trek to get there alone is no picnic, and having scuba diving experience is highly recommended once you do manage to arrive at the cenote. With that said this truly once in a lifetime trip will leave you in utter awe of just how the planet works in strange and unique ways.

  • Ann

    Eastern Mexico, not Western México.