7 Key Questions to Ask BEFORE You Book Your Cancun and Riviera Maya Tours

Cancun and Riviera Maya tours

In the old days (the 80’s and 90’s), we relied on an armful of colorful brochures from travel agencies when reserving tours to Cancun and the Riviera Maya. Now that most tour and excursion bookings are done online, it might be a good idea to ask the following questions before plunking down your hard-earned money and make sure you and your family get the most for your vacation pesos.

 

1. What Should I Wear?


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Many Cancun and Riviera Maya tours involve water, sand or even several different types of terrain in the same tour.
If you’re headed to an archaeological site like Ek Balam, Chichen Itza or Cobá, make sure to wear your best walking shoes, shorts, a hat (and biodegradable sunscreen!), sunglasses and insect repellent.

One of those rolled up plastic rain ponchos will be a lifesaver during one of our frequent Autumn showers. And if you plan on getting wet, bring a spare swimsuit, water shoes or sandals, and a change of clothes. And ask if towel service is part of the deal.

 

2. What Food or Drinks Will be Served?

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Make sure you’re clear if your tour includes food. If it does, find out ahead of time about your options, and make sure to let your tour operator know about allergies and preferences. If it doesn’t, make sure you have a plan B for meals and check into options before, during or after your outing.

Also, if drinks are offered, find out if they are alcoholic, non-alcoholic or both. Some tours offer you beer, wine,or even a full domestic or premium brand bar service. It won’t hurt to ask.

 

3. Should I Bring Extra Money?

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Actually, this should be: How much extra money should I bring? Even if your tour is all-inclusive, there might be unique shopping opportunities to explore where cash is king, like at archaeological sites or on Isla Mujeres. Also, some more remote areas may not take credit or debit cards, and tipping around here for services rendered by your tour guide are also done in cash. Yes, you should tip your guide if he or she provides service above and beyond.

In short, a little mad money is always a good idea.

 

4. What Kind of Physical Activity is Required on This Tour?

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Some tours are all about relaxing, like a day out on the catamaran, while others might leave you tuckered out (in a good way). Find out if you’ll be walking, swimming, riding, ziplining or driving, and be honest with your tour provider about your physical fitness, age or any physical limitations.

Find out if your tour is handicapped-accessible, and if not, what other options they can suggest.

 

5. What Is Your Cancellation Policy?

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Find out what your tour company’s cancellation situation involves. Are there provisions for reimbursement or rescheduling in case the weather is uncooperative?

You’ll be able to separate fly-by-night operators from serious companies when you ask about cancellation. If you get a dodgy answer, there’s your answer. Book with a pro.

 

6. How Will We Get There?

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Does your tour include pickup and drop off service at your hotel? If not, find out the most convenient options ahead of time.

If you plan on having a drink or two, or exerting considerable physical effort, let someone else get you to and from your destination.

 

7. Is the Tour Always the Same All Year?

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Sometimes tours adjust their activities or schedules depending on factors like weather and hotel occupation rates. High season and low season may affect you. For example, if you check out a company’s whale shark tours in June, know that the season is from May to September, so don’t book online for March, for example.

Also, ask your rep if there are any changes to the logistics of your tour since you reserved. Tours and their offerings, just like most things, are subject to change. Make sure those changes are for the better for you.

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It also wouldn’t hurt to ask your tour operator if there are any special events happening when you’ll be down here. Day of the Dead festivities at Xcaret or music festivals might be the perfect opportunity to enjoy this area even more!

In the end, it’s always good to get your questions, doubts and concerns resolved BEFORE you come. Never assume. What might seem like a dumb question might just be the key to make sure you and your loved ones have the perfect tour and excursion experience here in the Mexican Caribbean.

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The people who will have all the answers for you are the folks over at ecotourism-Cancun.com. They are long-time residents whose vocation is to bring you optimum travel experiences that represent the best quality and value. Check out their website at  www.ecotourism-cancun.com or call them today at +52 (998) 273 00 01…you’ll be glad you did.

7 Must-Do's on Your First Time in Cancun and the Riviera Maya

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We’re here! Now what?

So it’s your first time in Cancun or the Riviera Maya, you’ve arrived at your hotel and you’re wondering how to make the most of your time here. We’ve put together a short list of ideas for you to get a great taste of the Mexican Caribbean so you can keep coming back for more!

 

1. Go to Xcaret

How to define Xcaret? It’s part archaeological site, part eco-theme park, part Mayan-themed Broadway show, and all incredible! You and your family will have an entire day of swimming in underground rivers, experiencing local wildlife, learning about the Mayan culture, all in a stunningly beautiful natural park setting. It’s a must, again and again.

And we haven’t even mentioned Xel-ha or Xplor….

See here for more on Xcaret.

 

2. Experience the Magic of the Mayans

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Amazing stone carvings at Ek Balam…
First time in Cancun
Climb Nohoch Mul pyramid at Coba…

Before there were sun-baked tourists here, it was the home of the Mayan culture. Spectacular examples of this civilization abound in the area, from world-reknowned Chichen Itza and Tulum to lesser known but no  less inspiring sites like Cobá and Ek Balam.

See how these cultures we may see as primitive, built wonders that still persist today.

Learn how to visit these awe-inspiring sites here.

 

3. Do Absolutely Nothing. Enjoy some down time.

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Sand in your toes and a cool breeze…nothing better.
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Even hyperactive kids get into the relaxing act…

Work. School. The Routine. Let it all come to a screeching halt at least once or twice during your vacation in Cancun and the Riviera Maya.

Wake up late. Turn off the cell phone and the IPad for the kids and yourself. Order room service. Spend a day out by the hotel pool and beach and play a little and just kick back and soak in some of the turquoise blue and powder white that made you want to come down in the first place.

Your body and mind will thank you for it.

 

4. When the going gets tough, the tough go….SHOPPING!

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From local markets in downtown Cancun and Isla Mujeres to the stimulating Quinta Avenida in Playa del Carmen, and then on to luxury brand Mecca Fashion Harbour at La Isla, you can shop till you drop while here.

Take advantage of strong foreign currency exchange rates to find good deal, or put your bargaining skills to the test with market vendors to bring home something to always remind you of your time in paradise.

Want to put together your own private Shopping Tour? Click away!

 

5. Island Time

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Punta Sur, Isla Mujeres

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With stunning beaches, beautiful views and plenty of local color, experience Isla Mujeres, the island that existed long before Cancun.

Enjoy a sail around the island to go snorkeling or enjoy a fabulous sunset cruise. A quaint “downtown” area will offer you great food and drink, picturesque shops and lots to photograph.

A day on the island is just what the doctor ordered. Here’s how to see it best.

 

6. Playa del Carmen

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Para bailar la bamba….Quinta Avenida, Playa del Carmen
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Playa by night…

We locals just call it Playa. 30 years ago it was little more than the dock to take the ferry to Cozumel. Today, it’s the most important part of the Riviera Maya, and a place teeming with culture and excitement.

Spend your day walking along famous Quinta Avenida, a cobblestoney walkway extending for miles right near the beach with shops, restaurants, bars, galleries and plenty to keep your eyes and mind stimulated.

Enjoy time on an outdoor king sized bed at Playa Mamitas beach and meet people from all over the world and enjoy a drink, a bite or dance to your favorite music outdoors. It’s an international party!

And guess what? Xcaret, Xplor and a bunch of great attractions are less than half hour away! Find out more here…

 

7. Aaaaaaargh!

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Admit it, you have an inner pirate just dying to get out right? The whole family can arrgh like a pirate and be part of a full-length pirate adventure show on the Jolly Roger!

This show is non-stop laughs, excitement and fun for all ages. Find out more here.

 

Now if you think this is all you can do while on holiday in Cancun and the Riviera Maya, please know there is much, much more. This is just the beginning.

For more ideas on how to make the most of your time, budget and energy while here in the Mexican Caribbean, check out ecotourism-cancun.com. It’s a local company owned and staffed by long-time residents who really know the area and care about your experience while here.

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ASTONISHING Animals of Cancun and the Riviera Maya

They were here long before the tourists, the hotels…even before the Mayans who called this place their home.

Who are they? They are the unbelievably colorful, beautiful and sometimes dangerous animals of Cancun and the Riviera Maya.

While there are many, here we present seven animals to marvel your eyes, and maybe help your heart skip a beat…

 

The Jaguar

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To the Mayans he is Balam…The largest of the big cats in the Americas, the jaguar features prominently in the mythology of native cultures, including the Maya and the Aztec. Dense forest is his preferred habitat, and like the tiger,  enjoys swimming.  While they tend to stay far away from noise, you can see them in places like Xcaret Park.

 

Black Iguana

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They are the largest of the ctenosaura lizards, and can grow as long as 1.5 meters ( 4.9 ft.) Known for their large spiny crests (especially on males), you can find these lizard kings and queens sunning themselves all over Cancun, the Riviera Maya, and even sunning themselves on your favorite archaeological monument like the Pyramid of Kukulcan at Chichen Itza or Tulum… After all, it is their home.

 

Spider Monkey

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You’ll find these mischievous creatures throughout the Mayan World…their long, spider-like limbs give them their name. Often weighing as much as 20 lbs, their arms are much longer than their legs, and their tails can support their entire weight and can be used as an extra limb. You might just see them in the jungles of our area, especially if you are on a Xenotes Tour.

 

Howler Monkey

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You’ll hear these monkeys before you see them, and their call is quite distinctive. Their characteristically deep howl will announce their presence to everyone and everything in the area. Mexican Howlers form large groups of up to 40 members or more, but due to loss of habitat, are on the endangered species list.

 

Mexican Red Rump or Black Velvet Tarantula

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You can find this creature right here in the Mexican Caribbean and throughout Mexico, but they can also be found as far south as Belize, Yucatan, El Salvador, and Guatemala. Like most tarantulas, they’ll eat anything they can overpower, namely insects, lizards and even rodents, and are important for the control of those species’ populations.

Despite their scary appearance and reputation, tarantulas are not generally aggressive toward humans.

 

Keel-billed Toucan

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With colors much brighter than that character on your cereal box, the Keel-billed Toucan will blow you away with its beautiful and vivid  beak and feathers. Rarely seen alone, you’ll see these beautiful tropical birds hopping through the trees in our jungle forests with six to twelve other friends.

If you take the Tulum Extreme Tour, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for these vivid members of our animal kingdom!

 

The Whale Shark

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Whale sharks are the world’s largest fish, but fortunately for us they only eat planckton and krill! From May to mid-September, you can find pods of these gentle giants swimming in the waters off the coast of Isla Mujeres and Cancun!

Whale shark tours are always in HUGE demand during those months, so make sure to book your Whale Shark Tour well in advance!

 

Our Caribbean waters and jungles have some of the most interesting habitats for some of the world’s most spectacular animals. We know you came here first for the beaches and the turquoise blue waters off our coasts. But if you really want to be in your own Discovery Channel or NatGeo Animal special, take a tour and meet some of the spectacular animals of Cancun and the Riviera Maya!


 

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At ecotourism-cancun.com, our mission is to find you the most exhilarating vacation tours and excursions experiences around, and to help you save time, money and effort doing it!

 

Six Tips to Save Your Cancun & Riviera Maya Vacation!

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So you’ve booked your vacation to the Mexican Caribbean. You’ve scoured the Internet for information on the places you might be visiting while here, and that’s a great start. Here are a few tips to help make your holiday even better by saving you time, money and effort.

 

1. Bring biodegradable sunscreen to protect your skin and to protect the water.

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Fish, plants, people and other living creatures DEPEND on clean water. Using Biodegradable sunblock helps protect those water supplies.

 

Note: in some ares, like cenotes, sunblock is not permitted at all, as that water is a direct supply of drinking water for local Mayan communities.

 

2. Bring a hat, swimsuit, comfortable walking shoes, and extra water for trips to Mayan archaeological sites.

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Most archaeological sites are pretty far inland, very far from the sea breezes that keep us cool in Cancun and the Riviera Maya. The humidity can get pretty high in some places, so dress accordingly.

You’ll be doing a good amount of walking at many sites, so bring sneakers or hiking shoes if you have them. Bring a swimsuit and maybe even a change of light clothing in case you can take a dip in a pool, cenote or stream to relieve yourself of the heat.

An extra bottle of water in a backpack can help protect against dehydration if you don’t have an adequate supply nearby. And remember, we can get sudden downpours, so one of those plastic rain ponchos in  your backpack could be a lifesaver.

 

3. Bring a camera, or charge your phone to 100%, or bring an extra charger, as you’ll want to record this place forever!
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A little preparation can go a long way on the day of your tour. You’ll be seeing and doing things you may never see or do again, so record them for posterity!

 

Some tours sell photos of your experience, but they can get pricey, so snap away. Cameras, especially flash, are not admitted in some areas and in some places, taking photos is prohibited altogether.  Always ask permission first.

 

Buying a waterproof camera or buying one of those plastic containers for your camera or phone might be a great idea to get stunning underwater shots and to protect your equipment!

 

4. Bring mosquito repellant in case the bugs are biting.
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 If you’re visiting an archaeological site or cenote or anywhere near the jungle or even the lagoon, a little container of insect repellant (biodegradable if you can find it) could save you some heartache.

 

The local brand to look for is called Autan, in case you can’t find Off! Also, don’t wear colognes or perfumes or heavily-scented lotions or creams so as to not attract unwanted critters.

 

5. Bring CASH for tips, photos and shopping.

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A lot of the places you’ll be visiting on your vacation are set up to receive credit and debit cards. That being said, there are remote places  on your tours where cash is the only acceptable currency. Bring pesos (like 100 U.S. worth or more if you need it) just in case.

 

Also, make sure to let your issuing banks back home know you’ll be on vacation in Mexico to avoid credit/debit card authorization issues.

 

As for shopping, if you’re out in a remote community, buy your travel souvenirs from local vendors. You’ll get good prices, and it provides a sustainable income for outlying communities that would otherwise affect local environments negatively.

 

6. Check with your tour provider or rep to be clear on ALL costs and services included and not included in your trip.

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Again, a little preparation goes a long way on vacation in a foreign country. Don’t assume things will be just like back home. You aren’t back home.

 

As about optional or extra costs, services or charges. For example, on boat trips, sometimes you may need to pay a dock or pier charge or tax, or a fee to local environmental authorities when visiting natural protected areas.

 

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These travel tips are brought to you by ecotourism-cancun.com your online home for tours, excursions and the best and most affordable vacation experiences during your holiday in the Mexican Caribbean. Contact ecotourism-cancun.com directly with any question or doubts, and see how you can save time, money and effort and ENJOY!

 

Check us out on Facebook, and don’t be afraid to like and share our page and information with your friends and family!

 

Marvel at Magical Mayan Mysteries at Cobá

 

Cobá

As  one of the world’s top vacation spots, sometimes visitors do little more than spend their time on the beach, at the malls, at nightclubs or visiting only the most popular archaeological sites like Chichén Itzá.

While Chichén is one of the most  important Mayan archaeological sites, there is MUCH more to our area. Here we’ll tell you about an amazing Mayan experience in Cancun and the Riviera Maya that will make your holiday here extra special,  with features, tips, and a link to find out how YOU can marvel at its wonders!

Cobá is the Mayan site where you bring out your inner Indiana Jones. With thousands of unrestored structures there slowly being discovered,  you can enjoy a more authentic Mayan experience.

At about two and a half hours from Cancun, this massive Mayan city is well worth the travel time. Cobá  features:

  • Nohoch Mul-The largest climbable  Mayan pyramid in the entire Yucatan Peninsula. The view from the top is breathtaking.

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Nohoch Mul Pyramid, from the bottom and from the top.
  • Stelae –standing stone relief panels full of religious and political meaning. There are dozens well worth seeing, as the detail and workmanship are stunning!

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Dozens of stelae in amazing condition tell the story of the Mayans at Cobá
  • Ballcourts-so far two different sized Mayan ball courts have been unearthed…will there be more found?

  • The Lake at Cobá-a beautiful area to walk around and enjoy and see brilliantly-colored birds and other native wildlife.

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Cobá is named for its lakes, and you’ll love kayaking in them and ziplining over them!

 

  • Sacbes (sacred white stone paths) lead you to Nohoch Mul. At about a mile from the entrance, you may want to hire a tricycle pedicab!

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The temple at the top of Nohoch Mul. You may want to use one of the “Mayan Limos” to get there…

 

Cobá Extreme,  Mayan Enounter 

The Coba Extreme Tour is your encounter with the Mayan culture and it starts with a 1,500 year-old historical journey to the Ancient Mayan city of Coba.

Your Maya Encounter journey then leads you to an authentic Mayan village, a self-sufficient Mayan community living next to an important part of the region’s lagoon system.

Your unforgettable, off-the-beaten-track adventure tour then begins: exciting zip-line flying over a lagoon, rappelling down into an incredibly beautiful Cenote (sink hole) where you can enjoy a refreshing swim before going up again. Then climb into a canoe and paddle on a lagoon of enormous beauty.

And to end it all, enjoy a delicious traditional lunch prepared by the women of this lovely Mayan community.

Contact ecotourism-cancun.com today and find out more about Cobá, and check out our Facebook page and like it today!

 

Jungle Tour Cancun and Riviera Maya, a highspeed adventure!

Cancun and Riviera Maya are multicolored destinations filled with tourist attractions in the Caribbean. Visitors can enjoy all kinds of land and water activities; there are tours for all tastes and ages: diving tours, extreme tours, eco tours, among others, but definitely one of the most famous is the Jungle Tour.

Adventurers looking for high speed excitement and beautiful landscapes, arrive to the Marina at the Hotel Zone in Cancun to ride their own high speed boat through the amazing Nichupte lagoon mangle channels and get to the Caribbean Sea. 

It has never been so thrilling to feel the air running throughout your body and separate the waters while riding your boat;  the views and liberty of being at open waters and crossing Nizuc bridge, while make you vibrate.

After, Punta Nizuc, the second largest coral reef in the world, inhabited by millions of fishes and other creatures of different colors, sizes and shapes, becomes the underwater hidden treasure that visitors long to discover with their snorkeling mask, swimming through the crystal waters and admiring all the beauty and majesty of this paradise.

On their way back, visitors don’t realize that they have spend 3 hours already enjoying the Jungle Tour, fun moments and beautiful landscapes make every minute count. The Jungle Tour will leave you breathless, without a doubt it is a “must” on your next visit to Cancun and Riviera Maya.

 

Jungle Tour Cancun
Jungle Tour Cancun

Columbus The Lobster Dinner Cruise

Romance begins from the arrival to the Marina in Cancun Hotel Zone. The couples smile with excited glances that announce the beginning of a love trip towards a memorable romantic night.

Columbus Lobster Dinner
Columbus Lobster Dinner

The hands of the lovers are intertwined and together they walk towards the frontdesk; they get ready to board the beautiful Spanish galleon “Columbus” in the Nichupte lagoon in Cancun, and thus, experience the romanticism of a boat that seems to have traveled in time from the past, the times of the pirates, to our present time in order to make us live those days where love was an endless adventure.

On board, the romantic tour in Cancun par excellence, Columbus The Lobster Dinner Cruise tour, awaits them to make them remember their best moments dancing to the swaying of the gentle motion of the crystal clear waters of the lagoon on a dance floor that allows them to admire the glittering starry sky and with the moon as witness of their love.

The romance tour continues. Saxophone music delights the ears while Columbus Lobster Dinner saxophonethe lobster dinner or surf & turf, accompanied by a tasty wine, delight the palate to give lovers a time to share glances and moments full of love you will cherish for all times.

It is time to go back… This night tour ends after about two and a half hours fulfilling the memory of the lovers with a sunset that decorates life, the colors of the night in which the Columbus went deep into to shelter the love, and pictures of the person you love enjoying by your side, marked in the heart.

Light the flame of love… whether it is a St. Valentine’s Day present or a daily detail of love, Columbus Lobster Dinner Cruise Cancun night tour will delight your senses and those of your beloved one.

Columbus Lobster Dinner Cruise Cancun
Columbus Lobster Dinner Cruise Cancun

Cocobongo, best Cancun nightclub… even better than Las Vegas

The Beatles, The Phantom of the Opera, Cabaret, Spiderman, The Mask, Madonna, Lady Gaga, Queen, Guns and Roses, Kiss, Beetlejuice and Frank Sinatra, are just some of the performances full of energy and life the audience has enjoyed at Cocobongo Cancun and Coco Bongo Playa del Carmen.

Considered as the best night club in the area, Coco bongo  offers a spectacular production, amazing special effects and incredible selection of music of all kinds, from retro to modern music, open bar, VIP seats, a sound system that will rock you from the inside out, a wide dance floor with sets of lights, and a group of dancers and entertainers that will make you live the best night of your life.

in Cancun never gets tired of giving the best parties of the Caribbean. Each night its theater, with capacity for 1,800 people, is full of free spirits seeking for a breath of night life, and after hours of great music, nice people and good drinks, the only thing left is all the young souls wanting more of Cancun’s night life.

On your next trip to Cancun or Playa del Carmen don’t forget to visit Coco bongo in either of these two destinations. Dance and enjoy… for the night never ends here!

Cocobongo Cancun
Cocobongo Cancun

Xplor Tour Cancun and Riviera Maya


If you are looking for strong emotions and adrenaline in the heights, the Xplor Park tour is just what you need. The park is near Playa del Carmen on the Riviera Maya and not far from Cancun. It takes about an hour to get there and the adventure begins from the moment one arrives at the entrance of Xplor park, for a cavern that will take you to live an unforgettable adventure full of speed in the heights awaits you.

The van leaves relatively early to Xplor, is a journey on road that passes very quickly because here in the Riviera Maya there is no traffic. Arriving at the Park you will not know where to start but the circuits in raft are an excellent choice, and why not? Take the two of them and row with the special oars attached to your hands. Then you can swim in the incredible underground river full of stalactites and other rock formations that simply beautify the scenery along the route.

After admiring that much underground beauty, go for a refreshing shake at “El Oasis” – where other energizing drinks are also served – and then rush into the impressive 2 zip line circuits with 14 zip lines with extremely fun landings on water. In the “Deer” circuit you will feel the excitement at full speed; and the second circuit, “Jaguar”, is not far behind, for the mixture between height and speed is just the perfect combination!

And to take full advantage of this incredible Xplor tour, directly continue to the amphibious vehicles – amazing vehicles that look like small jeeps – and give a dizzying ride through the jungle on winding roads filled with vegetation, hanging bridges and dark underground caves that will give one touch of adrenaline to your Xplor tour in the Riviera Maya.

Last but not least, the lunch hour, mmm… eat deliciously with the buffet of salads, pastas, meats, desserts and many other culinary delights that will make you regain strength. You will spend an amazing day from the beginning to the end in the Xplor Park Cancun tour, that’s for sure!

Xplor Park tour
Xplor Park tour

 

Best restaurants in Cancun for locals and visitors

When you are starving and don’t feel like cooking, definitely one of the first things that comes to your mind is “I want something delicious to eat, but where can I go?” The solution is a good restaurant in Cancun, a place where you can simply sit and order the dish you like, but it is not so easy to choose because we will always find various options ranging from food corners in the Cancun shopping malls, to specialty Cancun restaurants or “branded restaurants” to call them in some way.

Here are some good and not so expensive options that you can take, it doesn’t matter if you live in Cancun or if you’re visiting us, with these recommendations your stomach and palate will be more than pleased.

Mexican food is always a feast for the senses and in restaurants such as “La Cantinita”, “La Casa de los Abuelos” and “Café Nader” you can enjoy its chameleon flavors, colors and aromas. But if what you crave are delicious seafood and fish, why not try the dishes offered in “Los Aguachiles” or “El Muellecito”; famous local Cancun restaurants you’ll really love these two places where delicacies from the sea are prepared with the freshest ingredients and served in a relaxed atmosphere. And when talking about cuts of meat we cannot miss a dinner at “La Tranquita”, a place with great atmosphere that you’ll love.

But wait, there’s more!  For pasta and pizzas “Cheester’s” and “Capriccio Pizza and Pasta” are the best; while at “Marakamé” restaurant you will enjoy gourmet meals such as fondues, pizzas, salads and more, it is not so cheap but it is worth it. Although if you are looking for a very healthy, tasty and affordable food, “Super Salads” is the place you must visit, its soups, salads, and flavor water are a delight.

Also remember some of the gourmet fast food Cancun restaurants you will find in places like “Plaza Las Americas“, “Plazas Outlet“, “La Isla” and “La Gran Plaza” going from sushi at “Sushi Itto” and “Sushi Roll”; Waffle “Waffle House” (yes, waffles for lunch… they are a delight!); burgers in “McDonald’s” and “Burger King”; tacos, salads, pasta… well, everything for all tastes.

We hope you enjoy our recommendations, the beach, the sea, the magnificent climate of the Caribbean and ecotourism in Cancun, a must you cannot miss.

Bon Appetit!