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

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

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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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Swimming with Turtles- an Absolutely Brilliant Experience!

If you’re reading this post, it may be because you either aren’t the standard run-of-the-mill tourist or you’re a veteran of Cancun and Riviera Maya vacations. Either way, you want something different, right?

We’re going to share news about a set of thrills, deep in the Mayan jungles of the Riviera, that will give you something to remember forever, as you’ll have a full day of excitement and adrenalin, surrounded by the natural wonders of our area.

Get Ready for Snorkel Xtreme!

Swimming with turtles

 

 

The First and Ultimate Thrill! Snorkeling and Swimming with Turtles

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swimming with turtles
Strap on a mask, fins, vest and a new snorkel and take to the water with these beautiful creatures!

Start the day off at Turtle Bay, where you will enjoy the best ocean snorkeling while surrounded by amazing marine turtles.

 

Thrill #2: Rappelling

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snorkel with turtles
He’s screaming from excitement, not because he’s afraid of heights. No, really…

We will then gear you up to rappel into the depths of the Mayan jungle. It’s totally safe and super fun!

 

Thrill #3: Zip Lines!

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swimming with turtles
Fly through the air with the greatest of ease…apparently the Eagle pose is a thing now…

Experience the thrill of flying over the jungle canopy in the fastest zip-line circuit in the region!

 

Thrill #4: Cenote Swim and Snorkel

swimming with turtles

swimming with turtles
It really is like being in a whole new world in there…

Snorkel in the crystal-clear waters of a mystical Mayan Cenote with underground river while exploring astounding rock formations.

 

Your experience is capped off with a fantastic Mexican meal, as you and your friends and loved ones recall what an amazing time you had, and plan your return next time!

Contact us at Ecotourism-Cancun.com today to see how you and yours can have a once-in-a-lifetime experience like Snorkel Xtreme!


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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!


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

Sian Kaan and other treasured places to discover in Tulum

A journey into ancient history and nature far from human trace

Begin an adventure to one of the places where nature is everything, where time doesn’t exist, nor the remains of a civilization that has consumed everything that is blue and green, where living beings keep on flying and swimming in harmony while we, humans, stare at them in awe. Discover a magical Caribbean paradise that preserves its natural beauty and resources in which we are only visitors.

Not very far from Cancun (2 hours away) lies the beautiful and picturesque town of Tulum with its cultural, natural and historical soul. Its precious hallmark consists on an archaeological site on a cliff by the sea that used to be an important nautical port for the ancient Mayans.

Another relevant archaeological site stands in the heart of the Mayan jungle in Sian Kaan natural reserve only 10 miles from Tulum downtown. Muyil will welcome you with its majestic buildings and lush vegetation, home for the ancient Mayan spirits and endemic fauna and flora species.

After hiking among cultural and historical magical remains, Sian Kaan biosphere natural reserve lagoons will refresh your body and mind. Submerge yourself in the beautiful crystal clear channels, take a boat (accessible through locals offering boat rides to visitors) and admire this place of nature, blessed with so much life and colors. Stare at birds and fishes in their natural habitat, feel the oxygen in your lungs, be glad to be alive!

Last but not least, discover a cenote; the whole area is filled with those gorgeous natural wells of blue and fresh water considered sacred for the Mayan civilization. Kayaking, diving and snorkeling are three of the most important activities to enjoy in the cenotes.

Far from the hustle and bustle, far from your responsibilities and worries, give yourself a sip of fresh air and enjoy a date with Mother Nature in Sian Kaan in the Riviera Maya.

Sian Kaan tour Tulum
Sian Kaan tour Tulum

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

 

Choosing hotel in the Riviera Maya

Be Riviera Maya Hotel
Be Riviera Maya Hotel

I think that  price and the “stars” (hotel´s raiking quality) are important. If you want an all inclusive hotel”, make sure you have 5 stars or at  the third day you are  going to hate the food.

But,  if the hotel has good food mmmm, you’ll be so happy, you will eat and eat without having to cook and everything that eating requires. It is necessary that if you decide to be in the Riviera Maya, you have in mind the following issues:

1. You must be at the hotel located at the beach or,
2. Rent a car to find a beach close that you can go / or better
3. Buy a tour for each day to visit the best beaches and not have to worry of driving and drinking alcoholic beverages.

Have in mind that in almost every hotel in the Riviera Maya is immersed in the jungle and you can not t be transported easily from one place to another unless you have a car, it is noteworthy that many hotels offer guests free transportation from your lobby to Playa del Carmen, but at certain hours, make sure yours have that option. If you want to stay to do anything in your hotel, the Riviera is an excellent choice for this, also make sure the animation team and entertainment, that  the hotel offers, have  good quality on activities and shows so you will enjoy a lot your time in the hotel, some Hoteles Internet sites can have information about it. Some hotels offer guests pools noise less for customers seeking tranquility. Any way the Riviera Maya has it all and more that you can expect!

Rio Secreto Underground Adventure

Río Secreto

Rio Secreto (Secret River) provides a magical journey that will bring to life the stories of mystical Mayan underworld, Xibalba … A fun tour on a real underground river, where you can admire the carved wonders over millions of years in the limestone, between clear water, caverns of outstanding beauty. This is an “alive” natural museum, unique in the world. Before opening its doors, Rio Secreto required a year of intense exploration that as for today it only has completed 10 km and 1.5 km so far open to the public. It has three routes: Supreme, Palaces, and Joy, all  accept only 144 visitors a day, with the purpose of conserving the area and generate the least impact. The pat is not dangerous or deep, 20 meters is the maximum depth for  reaching the fall. To swim down to what appears to be the center of the earth you don’t require almost  anything, just a wet suit, swim shoes and a helmet with a lamp, and they provide all of it.

Step into one of the most fascinating places in the world: the basement of the Yucatan Peninsula. While being there, you will discover the importance of preserving nature so that others can enjoy it the same as you. I promise that Rio Secreto will be one of the most beautiful places you’ve known in your life. Rio Secreto is very closed to Playa del Carmen, Riviera Maya, Mexico.

Come to explore Sian Kaan the biosphere reserve in Mexico

Sian Kaan

Sian Kaan, Mayan word which means “place where the sky is born” was the first Biosphere Reserve established in Mexico. It is located south of the state of Quintana Roo, about 2 hrs away  from Cancun. Today is  a World´s Heritage Site declared by UNESCO, and is of high conservation priority for the people and government of Mexico. It is the third largest protected area of the country and is composed of 600.000 acres of tropical ecosystems that range from lowland forest, flooded savannas, mangroves and a portion of the second largest barrier reef in the world, the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef. The reserve is home to more than 800 species of plants and provides habitat for over 350 species of birds, as well as for the jaguar, puma, ocelot, howler and spider monkeys, crocodiles and many species of turtles. In addition, the Biosphere Reserve of Sian Ka’an is home to 23 archaeological sites of pre-Columbian culture.
If you want to visit Sian Kaan, it’s best to come to the Riviera Maya or Tulum, were there are nice and green hotels.

What to do with older children at Xelha?

Xelha

At Xel-Ha big kids can do absolutely anything: learn to snorkel, get on the Trepachanga, jump out of the stone o courage, zip lines, do the sea trek it, swim with dolphins and much more, they can enjoy all of the activities of Xel- ha if they are between 9 to 60 years.

Also if you book the Tour Xel Ha All Inclusive, your children can eat whatever they please without paying more!
I go every year to Xel-ha with my kids and I learn something new of nature and how wonderful is our planet on each visit, if you have kids bring them to Xel-Ha is a relaxed and cultural visit, and wonderfully fun!