Xcaret (more info: Xcaret.com) Activities for all ages can be found at Xcaret, an eco theme park located just minutes south of Playa del Carmen. An all-day pass allows you unlimited access to underground river floats, butterfly garden, Mayan village, archaeological tours, aquarium and horse show. For an extra fee you can swim with the dolphins. Top 7 attractions at Xcaret, in order or popularity include swimming with dolphin, underground rivers, coral reef aquarium, Xcaret spectacular Mexico (an evening show featuring folkloric dance and music of Mexico), archaeological sites, jaguar island and Mayan Village. There are several restaurants within the park. Visit Xcaret.com for more information. Note: You can avoid crowds if you arrive late in the afternoon. Arrive at 4 p.m. and you can still get in a couple of river floats, take in the evening musical show and then return again in the morning and stay until 4 p.m.
Hidden Worlds (more info: HiddenWorlds.com) Are you up for some real adventure? Hidden Worlds Cenote Park, located 10 minutes south of Akumal in the heart of the Yucatan's underwater cenote region, offers the unique opportunity to experience cenote diving and snorkeling at its best. Within the park are some of the top cenote dives in the world: The newly discovered DREAMGATE CENOTE , the absolute ultimate in cenote diving, along with Bat Cave, Dos Ojos, and another new Cenote Dive--Orquideas Cenote. There are 3 scheduled dive departures and 6 scheduled snorkel tours daily. Hidden Worlds guarantees to astonish and delight, regardless of whether you are a first-time snorkeler or an underwater veteran.
In addition to cenote diving and snorkeling, Hidden Worlds offers an amazing zipline adventures over the jungle plus a new skycycle tour. A skycycle is comparable to a bicycle suspended by a zipline; you pedal your way above the lush jungle to Tak Bi Luum cenote After a refreshing snorkel tour of the cenote, it's back on your skycycle for an even more awe-inspiring return journey through the hidden caves. The Skycycle offers a unique perspective of this beautiful region, via an exhilirating new means of travel. Jungle!
Xel-Ha (more info: Xel-Ha.com) Located just 8 minutes south of Akumal, Xel-ha is an eco park that features diving, snorkeling, innertube river floats and Tarzan swings. Explore this theme park and enjoy , adventure activities, natural, ecological attractions and water activities in creeks, lagoons, natural wells and ancient caves fed by subterranean rivers flowing to the beautiful Mexican Caribbean Sea of the Riviera Maya.You can also choose to swim with the dolphins or try snuba.
Aktun-Chen Caves (more info: Aktun-Chen Caves) Located 3 miles south of Akumal is Aktun Chen, which in Mayan means "cave with an underground river inside". The park has is 988 acres of unexplored rainforest. Three caves with a "cenote" (underground river) have been discovered in the park. The main cave features an easy walking tour which has been enhanced with indirect lighting for a better view and enjoyment of the thousands of stalactites, stalagmites and natural sculptures, all of them formed by water and calcium carbonate over millions of years in the making.
In the jungle surrounding Aktun-Chen you will see some of the local wildlife such as the white tail deer, spider monkey, badger, wild boar, wild turkey, iguanas and local wild birds.
A specialized guide will take you on a journey that lasts about an hour and fifteen minutes. You'll learn about the use that the ancient mayans gave to the caves, as well as the formation process of the stalactites, stalagmites and the cave itself, giving you an interesting and pleasant learning experience.
The cave can be toured by anyone regardless of age, as long as you can walk on your own. It has even been visited by people who need the help of a cane for walking. People who are claustrophobic can enjoy this wonderful place without any fear, due to the fact that along the walk through the cave are three exits to the jungle that make the place feel ventilated and eliminate the feeling of confinement.
As you exit the cave, you find a small restaurant where you can enjoy some of the local cuisine, delicious tropical fruits, ice-cold mexican beer and soft drinks.
Open Monday to Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m; last tour at 4:30 p.m. Extended summer schedule (June, July and August), 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.; last tour at 6 p.m.
Alltournative Tours http://www.alltournative.comor toll free (from US/Canada) 800-507-1092
It's a jungle out there! And, Alltournative offers a number of tours to explore it. Choose from various tours that explore the jungle and surrounding area with activities such as zip lining, sea kayaking, cenote snorkeling, scuba diving and trips to Mayan ruins.
Tulum Ruins is a smallbut spectaculararcheological site located approximately 16 miles south of Akumal. It has an excellent beach for swimming and cooling off, shopping and food. Tulum is an excellent half-day excursion and is easy to get to from anywhere along the Riviera Maya. You can't miss the ruins driving along Hwy 307; there are numerous signs that will direct you. You can get to Tulum by bus, taxi or rental car.
Keep in mind that the ruins of Tulum are in a national park and entry fee must be paid in Mexican currency. After you have paid your entrance fee and pass through the gate, guides will approach you to offer their service. It is worth the money to hire a guide so that you can learn about the history of the area and understand the significance of the ancient Maya civilization.
Tulum ruins has one of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean. Walk south along the beach and you'll find a number of great little bars and restaurants. Mezzanine is a particularly pleasant choice for an afternoon lunch or evening dinner, especially if you enjoy Thai food.
The town of Tulum is growing into a bustling hodge podge of restaurants, shops, nightclubs, hotels, hostels and internet cafes. You'll also find a large grocery store, banks, dive shops, bus station and taxis.
Coba is deep in the jungle, approximately a 45-minute drive from the turnoff jonHwy 307 just before Tulum. Coba is a much larger archeological site than Tulum and it is much more spread out. You'll find more to see here, including large temples, pyramids, ballfields in this lush jungle setting. Entry fees must be paid in Mexican currency.Guides are available when you enter the gate and are recommended so you can learn about the history of this ancient center of Mayan civilization. Wear comfortable walking shoes because there is a lot of area to cover. Alternatives to walking include rental bikes or you can hire a bicycle taxi (a bicycle with a large cart in front with a bench to seat 2 people).
To get to Coba, you can take a tour, taxi or rent a car. We recommend a rental car so you can make stops along the way at your convenience. There are great photo opportunities, small roadside shops and restaurants. You may want to drive past the ruins of Coba to view the lake (yes, there are crocodiles!) or a bit further up the road are a couple of seldom visited cenotes.
The Granddaddy of Mayan ruin sites in the Yucatan Peninsula and one of the most grandiose in all the Mayan world is Chichen Itza. What also makes this a wonderful site to visit is there has been much restoration done, the grounds are manicured and there are tourist services including restaurants, small museum, and stores selling items not found in Playa del Carmen or Cozumel.
Chichen Itza is the most famous of all Yucatan Mayan ruins. If you want to avoid the crowds and photos with a mass of people in them, arrive early in the morning (hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.). Tour groups don't usually arrive until about 10:30. Pay one of hte knowledgeable guides and learn about the interesting history of this area.
One of the prominent buildings on this site is El Castillo (Kukulkan-Quetzalcoatl), a square-based, stepped pyramid that is approximately 75 feet tall. Unlike Tulum, where you are not allowed to climb the structure, there are few buildings off limit. El Castillo is certainly the greatest challenge as each step is like stepping up onto a chair. This pyramid was built for astronomical purposes and during the vernal equinox (March 20) and the autumnal equinox (September 21) at about 3 P.M.. the sunlight bathes the western balustrade of the pyramid's main stairway. This causes a series of triangles to form imitating the body of a serpent that creeps downwards until it joins the serpent's head carved in stone at the bottom of the stairway. Thousands of people visit the site on this day so if you hate crowds, you might want to avoid the site on this day. Every evening, the site reproduces the effect with a light and sound show.
Caracol, or the Observatory is one of the most unusual of the the buildings at chichen Itza. It is a round tower on top of a large, two level platform. Most experts agree that this building was used as an astronomical observatory because openings in the building point to astrological events such as the setting of the moon at the spring equinox. Mayan world is Chichen Itza. What also makes this a wonderful site to visit is there has been much restoration done, the grounds are manicured and there are tourist services including restaurants, small museum, and stores selling items not found in Playa del Carmen or Cozumel. ----
Sian Ka-an Biosphere www.cesiak.org/aboutus.html Sian Ka’an is the largest protected area in the Mexican Caribbean (approximately 1.3 million acres) and was established January 1986 as part of UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere Program. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site noted for its unique geography and wetlands. There are 23 known archeological sites (with relics dating up to 2,300 years old), 103 known mammal species and 336 known bird species (it is a nesting ground for many species of wading birds). Sian Ka-an is also an important nesting site for two endangered sea turtle species.
"Sian Ka’an" is translated from Mayan as "where the sky is born" or "gift from the sky". The reserve is thought to have been inhabited in the pre-Classic and Classic periods as part of the chieftanships of Cohuah and Uaymil. Discoveries of human remains, ceramic pieces, and other artifacts have been dated up to 2,300 years old. The northern most section of Sian Ka’an contains what is thought to be an ancient trade route through lagoons and mangrove channels between the cities of Tulum and Muyil. Parts of what is now the reserve were once areas of chicle production and trade through the middle of the twentieth century, and the fishing industry is still one of the most important economic activities of the reserve’s population. Common species include spiny lobster (Palinurus espinosa) tarpon, grouper, permit, nurse shark, hammerhead, black tipped shark, and snapper. Tourism is a source of income for fishermen in Sian Ka’an, hired to run boat trips to see the reefs and lagoon systems. ped shark, and snapper. Tourism is a another source of income for fish
Today Sian Ka’an faces the greatest challenge of conservation: to find a way to integrate human activities without compromising other forms of life contained within its boundaries. e
rmen in Sian Ka’an, hired to run boat trips to erve per person per day.----
Riviera Maya Villas: Akumal, Jade Beach, Puerto Aventuras, Soliman Bay, Tankah, Tulum