I recently had the opportunity to do an awesome, and I mean awesome excursion with Aventuras Mayas, a Riviera Maya tour company. They have four different tours, but I took what I believe is the most complete one, the Snorkel Xtreme, which includes zip lining, rappelling and snorkeling, first in a cenote and then in the Caribbean.
I was picked up downtown at a hotel near my house. I hated to leave Bebé on a Saturday, but even a dedicated Mami deserves some adult fun sometimes, doesn’t she? (Doesn’t she??) Our group ended up being very small, just five people, so I made some nice new Facebook friends, a younger couple from Mexico City and an older couple from the US.
After a quick stop (complete with coffee and donuts yum) to switch vans in Playa del Carmen we arrived at Aventuras Mayas’ facility which is deep in the jungle near Akumal (south of Playa del Carmen and north of Tulum). Our knowledgeable guide Limbert told us that they rent the land from a local family. The facility is rustic yet functional, it doesn’t interfere with the natural landscape.
We were given our gear and brief instructions about the zip line and before long we were sailing over the jungle canopy! The first leg is always a little scary, but I just try to think about how the last person made it across. haha I have always been afraid of heights, but I feel that I have now conquered this fear (although you won’t see me writing any posts about skydiving, that’s for sure). Bonus: We got to do the zip line circuit twice because our group was so small!
After the zip lines we were off to rappel from a high wooden tower into a deep cavern. I was really nervous about this as it was my first time rappelling and I must say that it was pretty difficult to convince myself to take the first step backwards…but I did it…3 times!
We were all really sweaty by now, so it was the perfect time to snorkel in the beautiful cenote which is just steps from the zip lines and rappel tower. The entire Yucatan Peninsula is made of limestone and over years and years the ground has collapsed partially and totally in many places, forming cenotes and underground tunnels, all filled with cool fresh water. Limbert gave us the best snorkeling instructions I have ever received (most tours just hand you the snorkel and send you on your way). The experience, although very cold at first, was beautiful above and below the surface. I was dying to swim into one of the tunnels, but this is very dangerous without the correct training and equipment.
By now we were all starving. The food served was simple but delicious. After getting know each other over lunch it was time to head to Akumal Bay to snorkel with the sea turtles…yay! Once again Limbert gave us clear, simple instructions about how to make the most of our experience while respecting our surroundings. We ended up seeing a lot of turtles munching on sea grass (Some really close to shore!) and swimming to the surface to take a breath. We also saw rays, fish and coral reefs. We snorkeled for over an hour. I cannot wait until Bebé is big enough to explore under the sea with me!
After snorkeling we had free time to grab a beer (alcohol is not included in the price of the tour) and take a look at our photos. Photographers take pictures of your adventures all day and then a disc which contains the photos is available for purchase at the end of the tour. I think this is a great idea…you don’t have to worry about taking pictures, you can just enjoy the tour!
I would definitely recommend Aventuras Mayas to locals and tourists. I absolutely loved it and had a great day!