When my husband and I were searching for the perfect place to honeymoon, Mexico never really crossed my mind. I wanted something incredible that we normally wouldn’t get to do except for our honeymoon. Living in the US, Mexico really isn’t that far and so many people go there for regular vacation. It just didn’t seem like the adventurous incredible honeymoon I wanted. That is, until I did my research. There were so many things we could do in Mexico that we normally wouldn’t on a typical vacation to turn it in to that adventurous trip I desired. I was sold!
We traveled to Playa del Carmen (near Cancun), Mexico in October 2014 and stayed at Secrets Maroma Beach. Hurricane season was in full swing, but we had traveled to the Caribbean during this time before. We purchased trip insurance and went without a care. The only issue we had was some seaweed, but this did not put a damper our trip at all.
Our day started at 8:00am with a pick-up from our resort with Edventure Tours (included in the price of our tour). Our first stop was Tulum. Not only did we get to see some incredible Mayan ruins, but the beach it sits above is considered one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. We opted for the self-guided tour of the ruins and it was perfect.
About 2 hours later, we met back with our tour group at their office which was located right outside the ruins. We got fitted for life jackets and flippers, then we were on our way to the Mayan jungle!
I knew ahead of time that we’d be taking all-terrain vehicles to get to where we needed to be in the jungle, but I didn’t know they were going to let us drive! They had 2 four wheelers and 2, 6-passenger Polaris vehicles. I rode in a Polaris, but Eric drove a 4-wheeler. He had a blast!
We reached the base for the ropes course after a 20 minute ride deep in to the jungle. They gave us a quick safety demonstration, then we were ready to be fitted with our harnesses. I was so nervous! I am terrified of heights, so this was going to be a challenge for me.
The course started low and we slowly worked our way up to the treetop level ziplines. The first major zipline we got to had me almost in panic mode. But, I had to finish the course. I took a deep breath, then jumped. I was terrified, but it was so fun! I was ready for the next one.
Eric lives for heights, so despite me thinking we were all going to die, he was flipping upside down and doing all the crazy things the ropes course guides were telling him to do to make it more “thrilling”. All I could think was how is being held up by a rope at treetop level not thrilling enough??!
After our fun treetop adventure, we were ready for something a little lower to the ground. Actually, more like under ground. Mexico has an abundance of beautiful natural underground cave rivers called cenotes. They can be found in other parts of the world, but Mexico is known to have the most. The first one we went to was incredible and DARK. We grabbed our life vests and flippers then we were off to explore the deep cave waters. I was a bit nervous at first (theme for the day?). Swimming in deep water underground with little to no light is a bit nerve-wracking. We had flashlights, but honestly, shining them down in to the depths below us almost made it scarier. You could see this eerie fog deep below the water that looked like clouds. It was almost like an inverted sky (this is actually a mix of hydrogen sulfide and saltwater flowing underneath the fresh water). It didn’t help that we were told these cenotes were traditionally used by the ancient Mayan people for human sacrifices.
The second cenote we visited was more open to the outside, so the water was exquisitely blue! Since we weren’t in danger of hitting our heads on low hanging stalagmites, we were able to swim about without our life vests. They even had a platform you could jump from!
We had already seen Mayan ruins in Tulum, ziplined from the treetops of the jungle, and snorkeled through underground cave rivers, but the day was young! It was only 1:00pm when we made our way to a small pavilion for a traditional Mayan lunch. It was delicious and they made sure we had a few beers to hydrate!
Our next destination was Yal-Ku Lagoon in Akumal to snorkel through the brackish water. The lagoon itself is beautiful, but as soon as we put our heads underwater it was like a whole new world. There was such an abundance of marine life! We saw so many different types of tropical fish and stingrays. The water was so clear, it was like we were snorkeling in a giant tropical aquarium.
From Yal-Ku, we made a short drive to Akumal Bay. Akumal means “land of turtles” in the Mayan language. The name says it all! Our guides let us know while we were snorkeling we had to keep our life vests on and inflated. This was to prevent us from touching the sea turtles. Edventure Tours prides themselves in their eco-friendly tours. They did a great job of educating us as well as helping to protect the animals and locations we visited that day.
We made our way to the ocean were we swam out about 80 feet from shore. Unlike the other places we snorkeled that day, there were waves here, so it was a little harder to snorkel. It took about 5 minutes before our guide spotted the first turtle. It was amazing to see it in person swimming in its natural habitat! We kept a safe distance, but they were not scared of us at all. They actually swam up pretty close!
So if you lost track, in one day we saw the Mayan ruins at Tulum, ziplined through the jungle, snorkeled through 2 cenotes, ate a traditional Mayan lunch, snorkeled through a lagoon in Akumal, and finally snorkeled with sea turtles. Edventure Tours’ slogan is “The best day of your vacation” and they aren’t lying. It was truly the most amazing day I’ve ever had (not including my wedding day).
Tips for an amazing adventure:
- Wear your bathing suit for the whole trip. Ladies, I suggest a suit that you know will stay on.
- Wear sandals that can get wet (like Teva’s or Chacos)
- Purchase and use organic sunscreen and mosquito repellent (organic is required and you will want the protection)
- bring a backpack with a towel and possibly a few snacks from your resort. They feed you lunch, but it’s a long day with lots of activity.
- Be prepared for temperature extremes. The cenotes have very cool water, but it will most likely be very hot outside. We did not opt for a wet suit, but they do offer them.
- Purchase the photo package (unless you have a fancy camera). They will take your pictures for you all day long and will give you a CD with all the photos at the end of the day. We were so glad we did this!
- Bring some cash for tips. All the guides you encounter are so helpful, nice, and hard working. Make sure to give them a little something extra for everything they do! We brought $20 in $1’s and distributed accordingly.
If you’re thinking about going on a tour outside of your resort and have any questions, feel free to shoot me a message!