Mexico

Family Eco-Adventures in the Riviera Maya

written by | Posted on September 1st, 2009

There is also Aktunchen, an extensive, beautiful dry cave complex with stunning stalagmite and stalactite displays as well as cave dwellers such as bats and birds. A Mayan tour guide leads the exploration and provides in-depth detail on the experience. Afterwards, a tour of the jungle in the park reveals a selection of fauna and flora as well as wildlife including monkeys, a snake zoo and exotic birds. Sample rates are $45 for adults and $33 for children.

The beauty of the Riviera Maya is that there’s never a shortage of outdoor fun. Punta Venado is an Adventure Eco Park set on almost 2,000 acres of jungle and 2.5 miles of unspoiled (and undeveloped) beach that offers several half-day options for exploring this beautiful private beach. Guests can horseback ride through the beach and jungle, then head to Playa Norte beach. Snorkeling equipment and kayaks are provided on site; snorkelers get to explore an amazing coral reef.

The park also has an ATV expedition that takes visitors through the jungle to a completely dark cave—it’s a 5-minute hike into the jungle from the trail. Once inside, the use of lanterns is necessary to walk through and admire the ancient rock formations. The expedition continues back to an ATV ride up to a beautiful cenote for swimming and relaxing. Rates for the horseback ride/snorkeling tour are $79 pp; for the ATV/cenote tour, it’s $55 pp.

Another option for clients is Alltournative, which offers a tour that combines Mayan culture, nature and adventure activities at an exclusive, protected natural sanctuary that is only a few minutes’ drive out of Playa del Carmen. The half-day tour begins with a bike ride through the farmlands of Don Silvano, where you enjoy the surrounding jungle scenery and learn about local Mayan subsistence farming. Guests arrive at an extraordinary system of cenotes with crystalline waters, where they will be swimming and snorkeling (and rappelling over them, as well). Then guests set out on a thrilling series of zipline flights (the last of which measures 525 ft. long) over the jungle’s foliage and cenotes. The journey ends in the mystic dry cenote of the legendary Aluxes, where guests will witness a traditional Mayan purification ceremony and learn of the religious and cultural importance of the cenotes to the Maya. Sample rates are $89 for adults and $82 for kids 6-12.

end of day The quaint town of Playa del Carmen is a short drive away from the resort. Recommend clients take a stroll down 5th Avenue with its local boutiques, restaurants and familiar kid places like Johnny Rockets. If parents need a night off, send them to John Gray’s Place for a grownup evening. The ambiance is that of a New York City-style bistro with creative American cuisine made from fresh, local ingredients. The restaurant has an impressive wine list housed in a glass-enclosed cellar.