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

Ek Balam-The Mayan Magical Mystery Tour

image

You’ve been to Chichen Itza…maybe even Tulum or Cobá. But what if we told you that you could visit a stunning Mayan archaeological site full of wonders, and where scientists are still making discoveries every day?

This place is Ek Balam (black jaguar in Maya), located about 2 hours from Cancun (2.5 hours from the Playa del Carmen). It’s a stunning site with at least 45 impressive Mayan structures and with priceless Cenote Maya and Mayan community nearby.

Ek balam

For over 1000 years, the site at Ek Balam was the seat of a Mayan kingdom, and today the place is known mostly for the breathtakingly-preserved stucco work at the tomb of King Ukit-Kan-Le’k-Tok’, buried in the largest side of a pyramid.

image

image

The pyramid structure, which you can climb to get right up to the stucco work, also gives you some amazing views.

image

Beside the tomb there are well over 40 other structures to admire, such as:

The Entrance Arch, built on the road leading into the city.

image
The Oval Palace, which contains important relics and is oriented to movements of the sun, moon and stars.

image
Structure 17, the Twins, up on the pyramid.

image

• The Carved Stela of what is believed to be an image of King Ukit Kan Le’k Tok’

image

• The Mayan Ballcourt

image

Make sure your camera is charged, as you will be snapping away all day!

Sacred Water

An important spiritual center and source of water for the surrounding community, the Cenote Maya will be one of the highlights of your trip to Ek Balam.

Before going to the area of the cenote, however, your first stop is with the Mayan shaman for his blessing, and to ask for permission to go into the sacred Cenote Maya.

image
The Cenote Maya  (we know cenotes as sinkholes) has a diameter of 260 feet (80 meters), and thousands of stalactites above and stalagmites below that will make you feel like you are in a Jurassic World Underwater Cathedral.

image

image

image

image

The water is cool and clear, and you can enter either by rappelling into it or by a side entrance. We suggest rappelling as it’s easy and safe and so much fun! Once you’re down there you can swim, dive in, play on the rope swings and marvel!

Another high point of the trip to Ek Balam is the food.image

The ladies of the community will prepare a delicious lunch of traditional regional specialties, including lime soup and tamalesYou’ll love the hand-made tortillas!

image

Before Chichen Itza even existed, the city and kingdoms in the area now known as Ek Balam had flourished and all but vanished. Discoveries are being made in this magical place every day….be a part of history in the making!

logoheader

For detailed information on Ek Balam, and how you and. Your family can enjoy a wonderful day trip out there, contact ecotourism-cancun.com today! We’re sure you’ll love it!

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!

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.

Nohoch Mul, Cobá
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!

Ecotourism.com Coba Extreme
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.

Ecotourism.com Coba Extreme
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!

Ecotourism.com Coba Extreme
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!

 

Xoximilco, the new attraction in Cancun … Know It!

The original Xochimilco located in Mexico City , is one of the biggest tourist attractions in the country . Its historical monuments , traditions and culture have survived the passage of time. Xochimilco is a true example of how Mexico ‘s pre-Hispanic customs remain: the chinampas , canals , trajineras therefore has earned the title of Cultural Heritage granted by UNESCO .

On board colorful lit trajineras, set sail through the most beautiful canals of Cancun, delight yourself with the incomparable sound of marimba and the songs of the Mariachi; try the exquisite flavors of the Mexican cuisine by tasting several culinary delights, enjoy a unique atmosphere filled with joy and folklore, and be part of an outstanding fiesta of music and color. Come to Xoximilco and discover a true Mexican fiesta.

Dare to try the chapulines (baby crickets) or taste our traditional food. Discover the real Mexican cuisine, a perfect blend of fresh and contemporary ingredients. Your dinner includes an open bar of tequila shots, beer, sodas and fruit-flavored water.

It is open Monday through Saturday throughout the year, the departure time of the first trajinera is at 6:30 pm , the duration of  Xoximilco tour is 3 hours approximately.


Xoximilco has 40 trajineras , each one with up to 20 people.

Decorated with motifs from the 32 States of Mexico, the famous trajineras, that were once used for transporting flowers, fruits and vegetables grown in floating gardens, have become a means of transportation and a cause of joy for all those who come to Xoximilco se arching for a unique moment they can only experience here in Cancun.

Cancun and Riviera Maya has to offer to the world a key part of the culture of this nation so full of music , color and unforgettable sensations …. Viva 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.

Swimming with whale sharks

Whale_Shark-Adventure-tours
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.

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

Safety in Cancun

Cancun
Cancun

The subject of safety is an important all over the world, not just in Mexico. As Cancun is one of the main tourism destinations in the world, the Mexican government takes many measures so you can feel safe and experience everything the destination has to offer you. As always when you travel, you should take common-sense preventative measures on your vacation in Mexico. For example:

  • don’t carry a lot of cash with you,
  • confirm with your bank as to the type of insurance your credit card has,
  • at your hotel, make sure to keep your valuables in your room safe. If there is none, ask at the front desk.
  • don’t show your credit card to everyone who asks to see it, as Mexico has a high percentage of credit card cloning. Use it only for payment in stores and restaurants and don’t lose sight of it—ask for the charge to be performed right there in front of you, or swipe it yourself. Cloning can be avoiding if you don’t flash your card to everyone who asks for it and don’t let just anyone walk off with it.
  • Cancun’s Hotel Zone is protected by the Tourist Police, who speak both English and Spanish for the tranquility of our visitors.

In general, you will feel very safe day or night all along the Hotel Zone and Downtown as long as you stay in well-trafficked, nicer areas.

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.