Featuring more than 27 meters of free fall that took participants from the bright sunlight of Mexico's Yucatan peninsula into the shadowy depths of a deep and very ancient cave,the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series 2011 was held in the eco-conscious archaeological park known as Cenote Ik Kil in the scenic Riviera Maya. Held in a Mayan well of sacrifice that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site,the setting was both mysterious and stunningly beautiful,presenting a unique set of challenges for the high divers participating in the competition.
Located close to the ancient Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza,which is one of the Seven Wonders of the World,the event was a crowd pleaser,thanks to its nonstop heart-stopping free falls through the jungle. This year,Orlando Duque from Columbia snagged the number one spot in the competition,making that his second win this year after earning two perfect 10's from the judges. Gary Hunt,who was last year's winner took the second spot,while Slava Polyeshchuk came in third.
Cenote Ik Kil is one of more than 2,000 cenotes,or sinkholes,that are located throughout the Yucatan,although many estimate that the number is actually closer to 6000. The name actually comes from the Mayan "dzonot" which was changed to Cenote by the Spaniards. Unique in the world to the Yucatan,they were once the only source for clean,fresh water in the jungle and served as sacred locations for the Mayans for countless generations for that reason.
Visitors and residents alike can enjoy exploring the cenotes on guided tours held throughout the Riviera Maya real estate. The pleasant near 80-degree temperature of the water,combined with the stunning stalactites,stalagmites and kaleidoscope of colors make cenotes an excellent destination for both diving and snorkeling adventures.