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?


Cancun and Riviera Maya Tours with www.ecotourism-cancun.com

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?

Cancun and Riviera Maya Tours with www.ecotourism-cancun.com

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?

Cancun and Riviera Maya Tours with www.ecotourism-cancun.com

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?

Cancun and Riviera Maya Tours with www.ecotourism-cancun.com
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?

Cancun and Riviera Maya Tours with www.ecotourism-cancun.com

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?

Cancun and Riviera Maya Tours with www.ecotourism-cancun.com

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?

Cancun and Riviera Maya Tours with www.ecotourism-cancun.com
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.

xcaret_dia_de_muertos

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.

logoheader
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

arrival
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

image
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.

image
Sand in your toes and a cool breeze…nothing better.
image
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!

image

image

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

image
Punta Sur, Isla Mujeres

image

image

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

image
Para bailar la bamba….Quinta Avenida, Playa del Carmen
image
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!

image

image

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.

logoheader

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

image

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

image

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

image

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

image

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

image

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

tucan2

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

whale-shark-pic

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!


 

logoheader

 

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!

la-foto-41

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.

image
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.

image

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!
Ecotourism Cancun

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.
Ecotourism Cancun

 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.

Ecotourism Cancun
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.

Cancun Riviera Maya
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.

 

logoheader
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!

 

Experience Isla Contoy-True Caribbean Island Wildlife

Isla Contoy Wildlife

 Isla Contoy

At 25 miles (40 km) away from the busy vacation capital of Cancun, Isla Contoy is a pristine and protected island, where you can observe and enjoy thousands of birds, fish, and other wildlife in a virgin island setting.

Established as a protected natural reserve by the Mexican government, access is restricted to a maximum of 200 visitors per day so as to minimize the impact of tourism on the island’s natural resources.

 

www.ecotourism-cancun.com

There are no permanent inhabitants living on the island. There is, however, a dedicated team of scientists who make Contoy their temporary home as they study its precious animal and plant wildlife. The visitor’s center and research facilities will make you feel like you are producing your own NatGeo show!

www.ecotourism-cancun.com

 

Activities to Enjoy on Isla Contoy:

The Contoy Island Tour from Ecotourism-cancun.com will take you to live an amazing adventure on a virgin island, complete with a visit to the ecological museum…a key feature of this Mexican Caribbean ecotourism tour.

isla contoy

  •  Sail through the wonderful waters of the Caribbean until reaching the carefully protected reef at Isla Contoy.
  • Marine biologists will teach and delight you with a magnificent explanation about the wildlife that inhabits this place, also known as Bird Island.
  •  As you explore the island and swim in its pristine waters, you’ll feel what it would be like to spend time on a deserted island paradise, far from land and where you are a part of nature.

FullSizeRender (15)

  •  Manta rays will swim right up to you long the beach.
  • Enjoy a delicious grilled fish for lunch, part of that morning’s catch freshly brought to you by fishermen from the nearest island.
  • On the way back we will take you to Isla Mujeres to enjoy a little island shopping in their picturesque “downtown” area.

 

Isla Contoy is truly one of the jewels of the Mexican Caribbean! If you are coming to Cancun or the Riviera Maya for your next vacation, definitely make sure to spend some time on Isla Contoy! Contact ecotourism-cancun.com today and check out our Facebook page and if you like our information, give us a like!

Adventure in Garrafon Isla Mujeres

park-reef-cancun
Garrafon Natural Park

Garrafon Natural Park is the largest water park in Isla Mujeres – Cancun Mexico  it has one of the most beautiful coral reefs in the world. Isla Mujeres is located just 25 minutes by boat from Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico.

If your purpose on your vacation in the Yucatan Peninsula is to practice a bit of ecotourism adventure, At Garrafon you will find unique natural beauties and fascinating adventures in and out of the water. Its crystal clear waters and gentle currents allow you to enjoy the wonders of the underwater world. It is the ideal place to practice different water activities like snorkeling, kayacking. You can also do kayak or enjoy climbing a tower or zip line over the ocean.
Garrafon is the perfect place to tan under the sun and taste the great seafood and fast food. Inside the park you can buy handicrafts, traditional clothing or beach cloths.

If you also want to swim with dolphins, you can do it on the same day, since we stop to the Isla Mujeres dolphin station on the way to Garrafon.

Park opens daily from 8:30 AM to 5:30 P.M. And closed on Saturday

Cozumel vs Isla Mujeres

mexican-caribbean-island
Cozumel or Isla Mujeres

If you want to visit an island, Isla Mujeres is the best ride you can take, definitively the crossing by boat to the island is more enjoyable, beautiful and fast compared with the visit to Cozumel.

Once you arrive to Isla Mujeres you’ll be in North Beach which is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful beaches in this world. The small and unique village of Isla Mujeres surrounds you with an atmosphere of relaxation and freedom that your not going to feel in any other place of the Riviera Maya. Although many people prefer to experience crossing by ferry to the island, I think the best and economic option is a boat tour  called The Islander that has a beach club on Isla Mujeres. There you will have the best beach with all the comfort you can get: bath, restaurant and bar on the beach at a super price. If you choose to go by ferry you will not find these facilities unless you pay for them.

You can do different activities on the  Isla Mujeres or Island of Women  like: rent golf carts, bicycles, swimming with dolphins, visit the Sea Turtle Farm, snorkeling on the reef or jug in the park, and shopping. Indeed Cozumel is definitely the best option if you want to have a good day of snorkeling or scuba diving, taking a submarine ride  below 30 meters underwater or diving! The reefs in Cozumel are superior in beauty than in Isla Mujeres, so the call is yours!

What is Garrafon in Isla Mujeres?

garrafon-park
Garrafon Park

Garrafón reef is a park that is located on the southern tip of Isla Mujeres, located just 35 minutes from Cancun by boat.

Garrafon Park is known worldwide for its natural beauty, located on the shore of a small bay with a natural reef of over 300 meters long, which is part of the second largest barrier reef in the world.

In this beautiful reef you can practice mainly snorkel, kayak or simply enjoy the beautiful view all over the park of the Caribbean Sea and Cancun’s hotel zone, that only Garrafon Park Tour offers.

Garrafón is also home of the ruins of the temple of the goddess Ixchel, to get there you must walk trough a sculpture garden filled with works of art.

Garrafon Park is the best place to enjoy Isla Mujeres, if you plan your Cancun vacation you should include a visit to this beautiful place, that can be complemented with programs to swim with dolphins. We have incredible packages.

Swimming with Manatees

mantees
Manatees

Have you ever just wanted to go into the water and just hug one of these “Sea Cows”? Manatees are completely herbivorous aquatic mammals, Their scientific name is  Trichechus manatus, from the Greek tri (three) and chechus (nails) and from the Caribbean native manati (with teat). To me personally, they give me an immense feeling of tenderness, and to want to touch and hug them!!!

In general, the activity with manatees is very simple; you enter the water with them and feed them lettuce. It would seem that the activity has very little point but the activity is so gratifying!!!

Interaction with Manatees is possible at the dolphin centers of Isla Mujeres, Puerto Aventuras and in Xel-Ha. In your reservations for activities in Cancun and the Riviera Maya, don’t forget to mention them to find out which center is closest to you.

Discover the beauty beneath the Caribbean Sea

diving-snorkeling-tours
Discover the natural beauty

Cancun is known worldwide as one of the best places for diving and snorkeling

All those wishing to discover the natural beauty offered by the depths of the Caribbean Sea can choose between diving in old cenotes along the magical coral reefs or also in the creeks and parks.

If you are not a certified diver you can join a beginners tour:

View Classes for Beginners Diving

The Great Mesoamerican Reef is the longest and most impressive reef formation in the Western Hemisphere. Its home to a wide variety of species of coral, molluscs, fish, sea turtles, sharks, dolphins and other striking sea creatures. A dream place for divers and snorkel lovers.

View Tour Snorkeling Adventure