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!

 

Whale Sharks, Cancun's Largest Tourists…

In 2014 over 3 million tourists flocked to Cancun and the Riviera Maya in search of sun, fun and a beautiful vacation. What you may not know, is that some of these tourists were NOT human.

Over 500 of those visitors were the mind-blowingly impressive whale sharks. Read on to learn about these gentle giants and how you can catch a rare sighting and spend some quality time with these magnificent creatures.

 

What is a Whale Shark?

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As large as a Cancun city bus, they creatures are docile and graceful.

Measuring up to 40 feet in length and weighing as much as 11 tons, these sharks are the largest living fish in the oceans, and they have spotted skins that locals call “dominoes.” The creatures typically feed at the surface on calm sunny days, suctioning great volumes of phytoplankton.

 

Why Do They Come?

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They come here to eat, swim and mate, just like human tourists….and despite their immense size, they pose no threat to people.

The coast of Quintana Roo, where the Gulf of Mexico converges with the Caribbean Sea, reportedly has the world’s highest concentration of whale sharks. They come to feed and to mate, and as many as 600 come here between May and September (RIGHT NOW) —and particularly during the hottest Summer months when currents sweep  plankton into the shallow waters around the Yucatán Peninsula.

 

How Are They Protected?

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A whale shark’s spots are as unique as your fingerprints.

They are currently listed as a vulnerable species. Tour operators and guides must adhere to strict regulations for approaching the creatures and to prevent crowding at feeding and mating sites.

 

Is Swimming with Whale Sharks Safe?

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The only thing going into that mouth is lots of little sea critters.

Fortunately, whale sharks are known as Filter Feeders, and their diet is mainly plankton and small species of plants and fish they take in through their massive jaws. Humans are currently not on their menu.

As long as you keep your distance so as not to scare them off, your time with them should be nothing short of life-changing.

 

How Can I See Them and Swim with Them?

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Swimming with dolphins while on vacation is a great thing. Swimming with whale sharks though, is a bucket list experience.

As an ecologically-responsible tour provider, Ecotourism-cancun.com offers a whale shark experience that both respects these creatures and their habitat and gives you a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

In this tour, you’ll go out to the area between Isla Contoy and Holbox Island, and in groups of two, get in two or three swims with the whale sharks. Groups are kept very small to protect these animals, so it’s important to reserve early to secure your spot.

Click here to find out more about Ecoturism-cancun.com’s Tour to Swim with Whale Sharks, Cancun’s biggest visitor!
 

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We are Ecotourism-Cancun, and we bring you ultimate vacation experiences in Cancun, the Riviera Maya and the entire Mayan World.

 

Swim with dolphins in the Riviera Maya

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Swim with Dolphins in RivieraMaya

The Riviera Maya covers the southern coast of Quintana Roo, from Puerto Morelos to Tulum. All along the Riviera Maya there are plenty of hotels and resorts that offer wonderful amenities and impressive infrastructure.

Because of Its location  sometimes is not easy to leave these complexes, but swimming with dolphins in the Riviera Maya is one of the most accessible since the dolphinarium in Puerto Aventuras offers free transportation from any hotel from Puerto Morelos to Tulum. No matter which of the three different dolphin interaction programs you choose, your not going to have to pay extra to get to the dolphinarium in Puerto Aventuras to do your activity.

But Puerto Aventuras is not the only option to realize your dream of swimming with dolphins. if you’re in the Riviera Maya, Xcaret and Xel-Ha have excellent swim with dolphins  programs that you can take during your visit to these parks. You just have to consider that in any of these alternatives is very important to book with time, because swimming with dolphins is an activity that is done in small groups so space is limited and you do not want to stay out.

Adventure in Garrafon Isla Mujeres

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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

Swim with Dolphins in Cancun

Swim with Dolphins in Cancun

There are people who like animals and people who don’t like them so much … but all, all, all agree that a dolphin is a beautiful creatures that inspires affection and trust.

Swimming with dolphins for most of us is a dream that in Cancun can come true since the alternatives are many, there is something for all tastes and budgets.

In Cancun you can swim with dolphins in their natural habitat at the dolphinarium in Isla Mujeres, which is the largest made ​​in the sea, or also in the theme parks such as Xcaret or Xel-Ha, which have salt-water dolphinariums. There are also freshwater ponds that offer dolphin activities. The dolphin programs go from the simplest dolphin encounter where you enter the water to touch them, kiss them, shake hands, etc.. To the most comprehensive programs in which they interact with different marine species like manatees and seals, and of course, the friendly dolphins.

But if you’re a big fan of these amazing cetaceans you can also become a trainer for a day, you can experience a great time by living with them one full day, learning how to train and all about the behaviour of these wonderful animals.

Swimming with dolphins is a dream that only few can do. Swimming with dolphins is still a unique and unmatched activity, but is now available to anyone who wants their dreams to come true. If you go to Cancun or the Riviera Maya and have the opportunity to add another wonderful experience to the list of many that you will have during your vacation. This is going to be something that you will forget.