Dave and I had already done a Cenote tour in Mexico and wondered how this one could possible be different? I mean, once you've seen one Cenote, you've seen them all right? Wrong! Rio Secreto is unlike any cenote you will ever encounter.
Rio Secreto Cenotes
Rio Secreto is the Mayan Riviera's newest Cenote. It was only discovered just 7 years ago. Visiting this pristine cave system is an incredible experience. It is truly a wonder of Mexico and has recently been designated one of Mexico’s most distinct and alluring nature reserves.
Why is Rio Secreto the most alluring nature reserve? Because it is the longest semi sunken cave system in the Yucatan. There are 12 km of underground rivers to explore and you don't need a dive certification. All you have to do is walk and float through the caves as you follow your experienced guide.
Rio Secreto Video
The magic of the Rio Secreto cave system is that there are 15 different entrances. You will never see other groups on your tour. Being split up into smaller groups allows for a more intimate experience and gives you the time to really enjoy the caves. You feel like you are on your own private VIP tour.
When we arrived, we watched a quick introduction to the caves then were split up into groups for our tour. We were went to change rooms where we put on our wet suits, booties, helmets and headlamps and stopped for a photo before our tour. It was then time to set off on a hike through the forest where we saw some creepy crawlies like tarantulas. There are jaguars in these woods, but our guide Raul told us that he has only seen one four times in his entire five-year career.
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The easy walk ended at the entrance to the caves where we took part in a quick Mayan smoking ceremony. It is performed performed to cleanse our spirits allowing us to enter this sacred site. It was then off for some fun and excitement!
Looking for more Mexico adventures? You gotta swim with whale sharks!
Time to get wet
If you are worried about closed spaces, beware. You will be swimming through some tight and low hanging ceilings. But on the Rio Secreto Tour, you work your way up to that. We started off in huge caverns. As we ventured deeper into the caves, spaces became progressively tighter, but we didn't notice. By the time we entered the narrow passages we were comfortable and secure in the water.
Believe me, I suffer from a slight case of claustrophobia and I was completely comfortable.
The Rio Secreto Tour Experience
Our trip started by walking through dry cenotes of Rio Secreto and learning all about them. Cenotes are freshwater sinkholes connected to an underground river system through limestone caves and passageways. Some are huge caverns with stalactites hanging overhead. Some are narrow passages with simply a limestone ceiling. Both are just as equally thrilling to explore.
By the time we had to get into the water, we were ready. Before completely submerging, Raul had us all kneel in shallow water for a photograph and to take in the view of the ceiling filled with thousands of stalactites. Our private photographer (every tour gets one) set off his flash and it looked like an explosion over our heads.
We quickly got used to the temperature of the water and began swimming through the darkness with only our headlamps and Raul's guidance. He made sure to guide us through the jagged rocks and low ceilings and we spent the next 3 hours discovering the caves. We felt like true explorers.
We saw unique fish that only live inside caves and are completely blind because there is no light and we saw fossils etched into the rock.
It was fascinating.
We never once wondered, “When is this tour going to end?” Time flew by and the hours zipped past. We could have definitely done the full day tour of Rio Secreto. And when we go back to the Yucatan, we're going to make sure to see more of Mexico's most magical Cenotes.
Before we knew it, we were walking up the steps wishing for more Cenotes in Mexico!
Facts about Rio Secreto
To book your Rio Secreto Cenote Tour in the Mayan Riviera of Mexico, visit the Rio Secreto Website
Rio Secreto is located in Playa del Carmen. They will pick you up at your hotel in Cancun or Riviera Maya
Expect to spend at least 1 hour inside at Rio Secreto. Full day tours are available.
If you suffer from anxiety or claustrophobia this may not be the right tour for you
But if you love a great adventure, you are going to love Rio Secreto
Prices for a Rio Secreto tour
Transportation not included: Adults: $79.00 USD / Children: $39.50 USD (4 to 12 years old).
Round trip from Riviera Maya: Adults: $109.00 USD / Children: $54.50 USD (4 to 12 years old).
Round trip from Cancún: Adults: $109.00 USD / Children: $54.50 USD (4 to 12 years old).