Secrets of the Maya Underworld

2005, Mystery  -   22 Comments
Ratings: 6.00/10 from 9 users.

Secrets of the Maya UnderworldUnlike other great civilizations such as the Romans and the Ancient Egyptians, the Mayan empire did not arise from the banks of a mighty river.

Much of the Mayan world is in fact devoid of even the smallest river or lake. Then why did they populate Yucatan? The Maya believed that the freshwater pools, 'cenotes', dotted across the area were sacred portals to the underworld.

They are indeed portals, but rather to an incredible underground labyrinthine systems of rivers. Only now being properly explored and understood, this secret world was created by nature in a unique chain of dramatic events.

Underneath the jungle-clad Mayan temples of Yucatan lies a world even more mysterious, even more incredible than the Maya could have ever imagined.

A whole food chain has been found in the cenotes deepest recesses -- over 20 species that have never seen the light of day. Some of the underground caverns are not totally full of water... incredibly, they are home to thousands of bats.

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22 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Mallory

    I have a huge problem with the fact that around the 34 minute mark, they show a painting of Motecuhzoma II (some people call him Montezuma). He was ruler of the Aztec empire in 1519-20, when Cort├ęs first made contact with the people of Tenochtitlan in central Mexico. Just sayin'...

  2. obey.909


  3. Misha Norton

    Cenote diving is my dream.

  4. Prachi

    I am interested in this documentary.I would recommend this documentary because it is educational.

  5. laurencebourne

    Could not find this documentary on DVD anyware.Great to be able to watch it online with this site.

  6. Kinzel Dean Acain

    chung kai lei jup lap ik ik nub sula ek tik shuk shi la puk la khun hehe lol

  7. slack63

    beautiful place steeped in mystery , awesome dive sites.

  8. david powell

    @ez2b12 in our culture the term "underworld" has a negative connotation. in mesoamerica it would be more like what we would call heaven. therefor portals to the underworld were considered sacred and powerful cenotes, lakes, any sort of low lying field or swamp were potentially holy. in aztec culture victims of drowning were considered to be assured of paradise since they had died in a sacred location

  9. Arkapravo

    Wonderful ! .....exquisite.... and finally something from the Mayan civilisation which is not related to the 2012 prophecy or aliens.

  10. Tamsin

    This is an amazing documentary! I would recomend it to anyone who has an interest in how the ancient maya culture eerily echos planetery events. experience what the maya dreamt of seeing, what gave their jungle, life (the basis of their beleifs). this documentary is less about how they built their buildings(there are plenty of documentaries out there on that subject) neither is is various interpritations of the 4 texts left behind by the maya (there are again loads, of varying competence, on that subject), this is more about the habitat the maya occupied, and the beleifs that they attached to the natural elaborate ecosystems we are still learning about today.

  11. valentin

    thank you for this one..amazing

  12. E

    Amazing doc!!! I watched on my 120" projector with surround sound.....made it even more exciting! What these guys do is vital to understanding how the Mayans survived in a land with no giant rivers like the Nile or Amazon. I liked it, and recommend it to anyone who is educated enough to understand what they are trying to explain by showing "2 guys diving through some underground caves with stalagmites".... use your head for something other than a hat rack!

  13. Gray

    Very much enjoyed. Paleo biosphere, geology - if you climb or cave - should enjoy. Touches upon biology, biosphere, geology while showing amazing footage of these water caves and holes throughout the Yucatan.

  14. dan

    I found it very informative, they're exploring untouched places on earth that might teach us a lot about our history and evolution, and the fact that the humans might destroy cenotes by pollution from building resorts on top of them that could destroy a whole life chain of animals that live of them, it also tells me that this world does not stand a chance for much longer, because us humans destroy everything in our paths, because we're greedy, we want money and fame, for what? we're all going into the ground eventually, money wont make a diff, we should be enjoying natural resources that the earth offers us not destroy them. That is all, now im f%@# pissed off...

  15. ez2b12

    Not a very interesting or informative documenmtary to me. I would not recommend this one unless you enjoy watching two guys risk thier lives to go into submerged caves. To me it wouldn't be worth the risk therefore I see it as stupid. I don't even see how they would get an adrenaline rush out of something so slow, so whats the pay off. The didn't seem to find anything about the Mayans out by risking themselves, so why do it? Of course I have clausterphobia so bad I can't even go into my closet with the door open so maybe its just me. I thought my skin was going to crawl off my bones when the guy was trying to squeeze through one of thoughs six inch cracks, crazy. I heard one time that one or two of these guys die every year, and now I believe it.

  16. ez2b12

    @ Jacob
    I think the phrase "underworld" to the Mayans meant much more than just under ground. I've seen other docs were they talk about them worshiping gods from the "underworld". To them it seems it was a place like christians think of as heaven or the Greeks called Olympus. I know these where all considered to be in different locations, the sky or under ground or a mystical mountain in the case of Olympus but they are all the dwelling places of gods and considered to be somehow magical. I think that is why the people in this doc talk about it like it was some supernatural belief they had, because it was. Maybe I am wrong though, I'm no Mayan scholar thats for sure.

  17. Carl Hendershot

    This is great. A must see.

  18. Eric

    Wow, very good and very fascinating one.
    Thanks to Vlatko and those guys in the doc :)

  19. Jacob M

    These guys act like the phrase 'underworld' is an insane idea. they keep referring to it like an imaginary theme of mayan culture. "It's easy to see how they could've thought bats were from the underworld. They come up from cracks in the ground."
    THEY ARE FROM THE UNDERWORLD! A world UNDER our own normal realm. How hard is that to grasp?

  20. Dr. Dunkleosteus

    I did like the satelite images explaining how pit cenotes reveal the outline of the meteor that struck the peninsula, supposedly the cause for the extinction of dinosaurs and many other species. A light-hearted doc, but very enjoyable.

  21. Ryan

    The underwater cave systems linking many of the 1000's of water pools of the Yucatan are amazing and beautiful. This doco, while light on Mayan artifacts & history etc, as stated above by "Me with Me", is rich with information on the natural landscape (underscape?) of the Yucatan. Fascinating & well worth watching.

  22. Me With Me

    Watch this if you want to see 2 guys diving through some underground caves with stalagmites.

    Don't watch this if you expect to see: them finding mayan artifacts, any detailed history about mayans except that they built close to these waterholes (for obvious reasons), any mayan esoteric beliefs/knowledge, any evidence or suggestions that the mayas ventured into these caves, them finding any of the above mentioned 20 exciting species except one little fish (and a manatee.