Rio Secreto, Riviera Maya, Mexico
Rio Secreto means Secret River in English.
It’s was a secret because it was recently discovered. In 2005, a farmer chased an iguana into a hole. Rio Secreto is an underground cave system with a river flowing through it. They started eco tours in 2008 and it is becoming a tourism hotspot in Riviera Maya.
We were on a corporate Club Trip in 2017. One of the activities to choose from was the Rio Secreto tour. The tour bus picked us up at the Grand Velas and it was a short bus ride to the main entrance of Rio Secreto. They had us watch a short video when we arrived and then it was time to separate into small groups and hop in shuttle vans. It’s a bumpy ride down a dirt road to get closer to the cave entrance.
Our tour guide was Ana. She showed us to our lockers and helped us with our wetsuits, life jackets, walking sticks, helmets, and water shoes. There are restrooms and it’s a good idea to go before entering the cave. They have you rinse off before you depart the locker area to rinse off any lotions you have on. Tip- the water in the cave is chilly, you will want to wear a wetsuit.
They do not allow cameras, go-pros, or any other equipment inside the cave. They have a photographer follow your tour. At the end of the tour, you can purchase a photo package. I was disappointed about not being able to take a go-pro in the cave. Ana said, “it has been a controversial topic.” A photo package is $99 USD! They are expensive. Leave your cameras in your lockers 🙁
Ana, our guide leading the way through the jungle.
Before you enter the cave, a Mayan blessing is performed. He is asking the Mayan Gods for permission to enter the cave.
The Cave Experience
Once inside the cave, Ana gives us a briefing of what to expect. It’s time to turn our lights on. I was a little nervous about getting claustrophobic, but I was fine. There are rocks, water, and stalagmites to navigate through. The walking stick is quite useful. It’s an adventure being in the unknown. I’ve been in caves before but nothing quite like Rio Secreto.
Let’s go on a tour of the cave.
My husband, Gary using his walking stick.
The cave tour begins in shallow water. It’s a good thing because the water is quite chilly. It’s nice to have a chance to get used to it. The cave floor is uneven and your walking stick helps a lot. If you are tall, you will want to watch your head in some places. Some places are narrow and tight to navigate through.
We are spelunking!
The definition of Spelunking is, the exploration of caves, especially as a hobby.
This is the coolest cave I’ve ever been in. Stalactites and Stalagmites are everywhere. The rock cave is mostly made of limestone.
This is a tight section of the cave. You crouch down and watch your head. I’m 5 foot 5 and I am sitting on the rock to step down into a deeper section.
Now for my favorite cave experience. Ana asked us to hold hands and float. She had us close our eyes for a moment. All the lights were turned off and we floated in pitch black darkness. The cave felt magical. It was quiet and peaceful. The rest of the world disappeared and we were all in the moment. Simply floating together in an underground river far away from it all.
The photographer rapidly flashed his flash up at the ceiling of the cave. It was a light show of natural beauty. It was awe-spiring!
This is a magical moment in the cave!
Can you imagine back to the Mayan civilization, entering into a pitch black cave with just a torch? Bats live in this cave. You don’t know what other animals have come inside to find water like Jaguars. Mayans entered this cave for fresh water. Local legend says human and animal sacrifices took place in this cave. I wouldn’t want to be here alone. I was glad to have Ana and our small group with me.
In some parts, the river is deep and you float down the natural current. It’s the fun part. You can swim. I’m not sure how many caves in the world you actually get to swim in. It makes Rio Secreto special.
Information about Rio Secreto
Tour Price: $79.00 USD for Adults; Children (4-12) $39.50
Tour price with transportation from Riviera Maya; $109 USD Adults, Children (4-12) $54.50
Prices include; wetsuit, lockers, life jacket, helmet with light, towels, guide, and lunch. The lunch is just ok, so make sure you get a good breakfast before your tour.
After this tour, you will want to have pictures of your experience. You can purchase one photo for $24 or all of them for $99. (The price of the photo package is the only negative thing about the tour.)
You should also bring money to tip your guide.
Rio Secreto is off the main highway just south of Playa Del Carmen. You can take a taxi there. It’s a popular tour so I recommend booking ahead. You can book online directly, call toll-free from the US @ 1-800-935-8352. You can also book directly on Trip Advisor too. Find the best deal, compare prices, and read what other travelers have to say at TripAdvisor
It’s ranked 4 out of 120 Things to Do on Trip Advisor.
Our amazing planet wows me. The natural beauty is incredible. It’s important to open our eyes and explore the world we live in. I am so glad that iguana led the farmer to this cave discovery so we can explore a new place on Earth. If you are in the Riviera Maya area you may want to experience this tour. When you travel, it’s important to do things you wouldn’t do at home.
Have a happy day,
All opinions expressed are my own. I did not receive any compensation for this review. I got to experience this tour as my a result of my husband’s hard work for winning a Club sales trip. We had a choice of two excursions. We chose the spa at The Grand Velas and The Rio Secreto tour.
Read my review of The Grand Velas Spa