My Trip to the Yucatan and How My Vacation Inspired Me to Write

by A.K. Smith, guest blogger

Vacations are not only great for stress release and relaxation, but they often inspire. Have you ever visited the Riveria Maya? If not, you should check it out. White sand beaches stretch from Cancun down to Tulum Mexico. This area of Mexico shares secrets with its visitors as well as crystal clear water and welcoming locals. It was on my first trip to a small-town called Puerto Morelos, that I discovered these amazing mysterious cenotes which are featured in my suspense conspiracy novel, A Deep Thing.

What is a cenote?

First things first, let’s learn how to pronounce it correctly. The word Cenote is pronounced “say-no-tay.” It is not pronounced “see-note”. It is a flowing three syllable word, much like the wonder of nature.

Okay now that we have that finished, do you know what a cenote is?

Photographer Jasper van der Meij

Cenote’s are magical underground caves that exist in the Yucatán Peninsula… Deep holes under the earth filled with crystal clear fresh water containing minerals found nowhere else in the world. A beautiful sinkhole. The Maya discovered them centuries ago, calling them “dzonot,” translated by the Spaniards to the word “cenote” meaning in Spanish “a deep thing.”

When one steps up to this hole in the ground, it might appear surreal. Gazing at the iridescent clear blue water, one might think, they discovered a secret waterhole in a fantasy novel. That’s what happened to me when I first discovered cenotes in the Riviera Maya in Mexico. You can swim in them, snorkel and dive, although most are on private land and off limits to tourists. The Mayas believed they held secrets and kept them sacred.

My first thought: why have I never heard of them? I lived in Northern Mexico on the Sea of Cortez, for two years in a small charming seaside town, called Puerto Penasco (nicknamed Rocky Point) where there are no cenotes. But, no one ever mentioned these wonders of nature to me before. I guess the Maya are good at keeping secrets.

Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula does not have many streams or rivers on the surface. But, underneath this flat land are the three longest underground water systems in the world. Thousands of these fresh underwater caves exist in the Yucatan, some not even mapped as of 2017.

My debut suspense novel, A Deep Thing, was born in the Yucatan jungle. The setting of A Deep Thing, will lead you underwater to cenotes in the Yucatan and through the woods of Camp David. It is a suspense novel that will take you on a journey.


If you want to see it, feel it and touch it, get scuba certified (I recommend cave or cavern certification) and plan a vacation to Tulum or Playa Del Carmen. Schedule an epic cave dive in a cenote (my choice Dos Ojos) and contact one of the many dive shops. As a new scuba diver, this was one of the scariest and exciting adventures I’ve experienced, the underwater world is amazing. There are also public parks such as Xcaret eco-archaeological Park where you can swim and snorkel in a cenote.

Watch this YouTube video by Tecdive TV, before you read the suspense novel, A Deep Thing. (If you can, view it on your television or the largest screen possible!) If you can’t dive it will take you through a cenote dive and get you in the mood. (

If you’ve never heard of a cenote, this one’s for you.

Take the trip–Join the journey.

A Deep Thing, a debut suspense thriller by A. K. Smith is available in print and e-book from The Wild Rose Press. Available on Amazon (in 9 countries), Itunes, Kobo, Google Play, Barnes & Noble and other fine retailers. Readers Favorite 5-star Review. Suspense, conspiracy, adventure, with a little romance.

A.K. Smith loves books that keep you up at night. She lives in Arizona & Mexico and hopes to touch down on every continent. She is also the author of #1 Amazon Best Seller Travel Secrets by Anita Kaltenbaugh. Find her at her blog,, on Twitter at @aksmithbook, or on Facebook


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