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This history behind this relatively new attraction in the Cancun area is interesting. In 2006 the land was owned by a local farmer who was chasing an iguana one day. He noticed it burrow way down beneath the ground and wondered what was under there.

Next thing you know, he has discovered an extensive system of giant caves and passageways. All made up of magnificent calcium carbonate crystals – stalactites and stalagmites galore! There are giant formations and surreal landscapes that are “otherworldly”.

Rio Secreto Crystal formations, Mexico

This particular tour was a group of 6 amigos and another family with 3 kids for a total of 11. Pablo was our guide – very knowledgeable. He spoke excellent English and, for me, some spanglish so I could work on my Spanish. Pablo said there are actually 5 different routes that you can go on down in the caves. Our route was called “JOY”. It was particularly fun because there is a large section that we had to swim through – although perhaps “float” is the correct verb!

Rio Secreto (image courtesy of

The hiking is not onerous, although there are some very low areas where you will have to bend down. You are outfitted with a wetsuit, wet shoes, a helmet with a headlamp, a life-vest and you are offered a walking stick (which I would definitely take next time.) The “rock” formations will break down with the oils on your skin so you must try to maneuver through the caves without touching anything. Tricky. You will take a quick cold shower to rinse of body oils and sunscreen which can destroy the crystals.

Nuestros amigos, Rio Secreto, Mexico

The highlight of this half-day of excursion was when our small group was lying back on the water in a circle with all our lights out. It was pitch black! Not a photon of light. The kids with us were delighted to discover there was no difference between opening their eyes and closing them. Black, black, black.

A great place for kids from age 4 and up.

Following the cave walk we sat down to a buffet lunch that was included. It consisted of tortillas, pork, chicken, rice, beans, salsas and some veggies.

You can book this tour from your resort. The first price we were quoted was $190 each. That got down to $90 each when I explained that there were 6 of us. As usual, I think there is always wiggle room in the price as the Mexicans love to barter. Booking on-line will save a few dollars.

If you go:

No photography equipment is allowed in the caves. They take lots of professional photos for purchase.

Located about 9 km from Playa del Carmen.

Website: Rio de Secreto

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