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First of all, I would like to state that this is not a paid review. Our family chose to experience this snorkeling tour as it seemed like a great one to try. The review that is below is my honest opinion, which includes what we liked and what we didn’t like. My intent in all of my reviews is to share with my readers my experiences, in hopes that it will help when conducting your own research on a specific topic.
Our family recently vacationed in Cancun, Mexico. We had a checklist of things that we wanted to do while on vacation and snorkeling was one of them. While we stayed at our all-inclusive resort the entire time, the snorkeling wasn’t very good there, so we had schedule an excursion. We chose the Mayan Adventure Snorkeling Tour through Aventuras Mayas. This tour consists of snorkeling at 3 stops; a Caleta (Ocean inlet), a Cenote (cavern) and a Cenote Abierto (open cavern). Each stop was unique and offered a fun new experience.
Scheduling and Transportation
We scheduled and paid for our Aventuras Mayas excursion through our all-inclusive resort, which was very convenient. The vacation planner at the resort called Aventuras Mayas directly to ask for availability and booked it for us. They were able to charge the excursion to our room, so we just paid for it when we checked out. Pricing was reasonable, around $115 for adults and around $90 for kids, considering the 3 stops you get.
The excursion itself was scheduled in small groups of 12, which I liked. The shuttle bus picked us up from the lobby at our resort, along with 2 other families, and we went straight to the excursion. We did not have to stop at any other resorts and pick up any other guests, which was nice. The travel time from our resort to the first snorkel location was about an hour. I was a little disappointed because the vacation planner at our hotel had stated that it was only about 30 minutes.
On our way to the first snorkel location, we did stop once at the Aventuras Mayas office location where they had coffee and snacks waiting. We stayed there for roughly 15 minutes (long enough for me to use the restroom and reapply sunscreen) before we got back in the shuttle bus to head to our first snorkel location.
The shuttle bus itself was nice. It was air conditioned, spacious and comfortable. Everyone got naps to and from the excursion! They are also very careful about ensuring that the van is locked at all times so your belongings are safe while you are busy having fun.
The Caleta – Ocean Inlet
Our first stop was the Caleta, Ocean Inlet. When we arrived, we were given our snorkel gear, which was individually packaged and clean. Our guide, Luis, did a great job of explaining what would occur once we got to the destination, as well as the information behind what we would be experiencing. For instance, the ocean inlet is a spot where the fresh water from the river, meets the salt water from the ocean. We began our snorkeling in the ‘refreshing’ fresh water, where we were able to see many fresh water fish.
As we swam toward the ocean, and the fresh water and ocean water began to mix, it was harder to see. This is because fresh water and salt water is like oil and water, they don’t mix. The water seemed to get an ‘oily’ look to it and we couldn’t see much. Once we reached the pure salt water, we were able to see much better. There weren’t many fish in the ocean where we were, but a sting ray was hanging out with us for a while!
I was able to take some underwater photos, thanks to my Seawag Universal Waterproof Case that I purchased at the resort. With the neck strap, I was able to put it around my neck and snap photos while I snorkeled. I admit that I am not a great snorkeler and this was the first time I took photo’s underwater, and I have a little work to do for next time!
The Cenote Abierto – Open Cavern
Our second stop was the Cenote Abierto, which is the open cavern. A Cenote Abierto is created when the ceiling of a limestone cavern collapses leaving the underground water exposed. Aventuras Mayas has created an amazing play area at this Cenote Abierto. There is a platform 12ft. in the air to jump into the cenote. We all jumped once, then the kids went over and over and over!
After the platform jump, we moved over to the zip line that takes you right down into the water. We all did the zip line once, and again, the kids went over and over!
Visitors also have the opportunity to snorkel at the Cenote Abierto, however, we were too busy jumping and zipping and taking photos that we didn’t snorkel too much. Many others were snorkeling, swimming, and just hanging out in the water.
The Cenote – Cavern
Our final stop was the Cenote. I was not sure what to expect when I was told that we were going to be snorkeling in a cavern. Caverns are dark and how much water could there be? When we approached the water, we were told it would be refreshing. Upon entering is was straight up cold! At one point, my younger son was going to give up and not come in, he was so cold. However, I had already gotten in and the chilliness faded and the views from under the water were nothing short of amazing, so I encouraged him to just do it!
The cenote was fairly small. There was space for all 12 of us to fit, but needed to keep the flow or else we would run into one another. It was not so small, however, that I was claustrophobic, which happens from time to time. I assumed that since it was pretty dark in there, we wouldn’t be able to see much. Once we put our snorkel gear on and looked underwater, you could see clear as day! There were a few small catfish to see, as it is a fresh body of water. But the most amazing site was the limestone formations. I tried to take some photos and video under the water, but they didn’t turn out well.
Fortunately, they had a photographer there and we were able to get some photos of the family with the beautiful limestone walls. The only way to see the beauty of the underwater view is to visit it yourself!
Lunch was Provided
After the fun had ended for the day, they provided a delicious all-you-can-eat chicken taco bar for us at the cenote. And after all the events of the day, we were hungry and ate a lot! We were also able to purchase a photo package with some great photos that were taken at both cenote spots. I am grateful for those photos, as they are the only family photos I have from the trip!
What I Wish I Knew
- Take your own towels – The vacation planner at the resort stated that we didn’t need to bring towels. While they did provide towels for us, they were pretty small and didn’t absorb much water for 3 stops. I would take my own towels if we go next time.
- Bug Spray – While I don’t know how well it would work since the activities are in 3 bodies of water, I would use bug spray next time. All of us got pretty big bug bites, but they cleared completely within 24-hours.
- Water Shoes – We were the only group that I saw wearing water shoes, but I was so glad that we had them! We definitely needed them in the cenote.
- Don’t take anything you won’t need in the water – Things like sun glasses, hats, etc. If you don’t need them in the water, they just have a possibility to get lost.
- Snacks – Because lunch isn’t served until the end, which is 3pm, I wish I had either packed snacks or grabbed some for the backpack when we were at the first stop. We could have used them after the 1st snorkel adventure.
- Sunscreen – Make sure to put sunscreen on. Reapply the sunscreen at the first stop where the Aventuras Mayas offices are. Make sure to get extra sunscreen on your back, since you will be snorkeling with your back towards the sun.
When all is said and done, this is an awesome adventure that our entire family enjoyed. It’s always a family ‘win’ when we can find something that everyone enjoys doing. As I looked through all the photos that were taken on this excursion, it was clear that it was the right choice! When we return to Cancun the next time, we will definitely take another Aventuras Mayas tour!
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