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.

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?

Whale sharks Cancun
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?

Whale sharks Cancun
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?

Whale sharks Cancun
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.

 

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.

 

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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!

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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.

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  •  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.

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  •  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!

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.

The Mayan Jungle Tour

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Mayan Ceremony

If you seek adventure, ecological and extreme tours, look for the Mayan Jungle tour, undoubtedly the most complete.
Here, you will fly on zip lines over the jungle, you will descend into a cenote, do rappel, swim in a cenote (sink hole) walk through muddy  places and shout inside the 4X4 vehicle that will lead you trough the Mayan jungle.

In addition you will take part in a Mayan purification ceremony with a real chaman and of course, you’ll be super happy at the end of the day. My favorite part? the underground river, its beautiful and breathtaking.

Although it seems that it is only for young people in our group there were two couples of  50 years who truly enjoyed the tour, not to mention that they did not know how they came to book this activity. It was great and I hope to return with my children very soon, just have to make shure that they weigh enough to ride the zip line and that they can rappel down the cenote, I do not stop recommending the Mayan Jungle Tour to all who ask me. ¿Where to go?  if I already know all the parks and archaeological sites in Cancun? Or what else there is to visit in Cancun? This is not new, but I think we should cultivate love for outdoor activities and educate people to practice tourism in places that care for nature, now that we live in a world as modern and inside intelligent buildings, it seems that we are going to end up as in the movie Wall-E! Don’t you think? Aaah one more thing, now you can do the  Mayan Jungle tour and visit Tulum at the same time.

 

Xplor Park

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Xplor Park

Xplor is a park in Riviera Maya that is focused on adventure tourism and offers four extreme activities.
One of the activities are the two circuits on the Jungle Canopy, measuring up to 45 meters high, which feature water landings, 2 suspension bridges and a slide, making them different from other zip lines circuits of the Riviera Maya.
It also has the good fortune of having under the ground, an underground river system of indescribable beauty where you can swim and canoe between stalactites with a history of 65 million years.
The latest attraction but by no means the least important, are the amphibious vehicles that you drive yourself to explore the jungle trails on the shore and underground caverns.
The 4 activities that the Xplor park offers are held the same day and are really exciting.
The Xplor Tour has a limited number of visitors per day, so whatever you do on your next vacation to Cancun or Riviera Maya Do not miss this experience, and we will hardly recomended to book ahead if you are looking for comming in high seasoon.

Swimming with whale sharks

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Whale Shark Adventure

During the months from June to September the magnificent whale sharks visit us in Cancun, making this place one of the most visited at this time of year in the Riviera Maya.

The whale shark is dark spoted on the top and white on the bottom, measures 15 feet long but will probably grow to over 60 feet, it prefers warm waters, so it migrates to the Mexican Caribbean Sea to mate and feed on plankton, squid and small fish. It’s a very quiet and friendly animal that is not afraid to cross with people who are near him, but as respect for the shark is forbidden to touch them.

“The Swim with Whale Shark Touroffers you an adventure you can not miss. We do the tours on our boats going from Cancun to Isla Contoy to reach the area where we can find the whale shark, there you can observe and swim around the giant fish in several periods of 10 minutes in pairs, our guides will be with you all times to support you and give you the necessary information to make your experience complete.
Go ahead and make your booking here for your summer vacation.

Swim with Sting Rays

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Sting Rays

Experience this holiday a day full of excitement in Isla Mujeres, which is located in front of Cancun just 35 minutes by boat.
The tour of Isla Mujeres with Dolphins leaves from the hotel zone of Cancun and in addition to the program with the dolphins will include a meeting with Sting rays, where you can coexists with these harmless creatures of the shark family.
The Sting rays have no bones, they are made primarily of cartilage and can measure a few centimeters or up to 5-7 meters long. They are carnivores and they eat small fish, crabs and shrimp, always hunt at night using their sense of smell and special receivers to detect their prey.
Touching the stingrays you ll see them floating through the sea, giving the impression that their Flying, sometimes they remain motionless, almost buried in the sand exposing only their eyes.

After swimming with the dolphins you can  swim with fifteen rays, the activity has a duration of 30 minutes, the trainer will help you get a chance to touch and interact with these curious creatures.
Some say that swimming with Sting rays is an experience not to be missed in life. To learn more about this trip to Isla Mujeres in Cancun click here.

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

Swimming with Manatees

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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.