Rio Secreto, an exciting underground adventure in the Riviera Maya
On your next vacation to Cancun and the Riviera Maya, it’s almost mandatory to save some time for adventure: cenotes, zip lines, diving, snorkeling, skydiving, all-terrain vehicles… And Rio Secreto! One of the highlights of that vast “buffet” of activities you can experience with friends and family. So, don’t forget to feel the adrenaline and exhilarating emotions, always surrounded by breathtaking nature.
The Yucatan Peninsula is made up almost entirely of limestone. This geological characteristic causes the water to filter underground, forming different subterrene rivers, flooded and semi-flooded caverns, and the famous cenotes. This mysterious and beautiful underworld offers incredible adventures to those who dare to explore it. And Rio Secreto is one of the natural wonders of the Riviera Maya that you just can’t miss.
- Rio Secreto: an underground world
- Visiting Rio Secreto: a journey through the bowels of the Earth
Rio Secreto: an underground world
Discovered in 2006, almost by accident, Rio Secreto is a system of interconnected and partially flooded underground galleries some 25 miles long (less than 10% of which are open to the public). An underground world of enormous geological and ecological value, inhabited by extraordinary species of fish, insects, and reptiles. All kinds of magical creatures hide among the whimsical rock formations that decorate this enigmatic entrance to Xibalbá, the underworld of the ancient Maya civilization.
Rio Secreto is also the heart of a large natural reserve of more than 250 acres of virgin tropical forest managed under strict environmental criteria. More than 100 species of animals, from small snakes to large mammals, such as deers and jaguars, and innumerable varieties of plants, including the imposing ceiba tree -a sacred tree for the original inhabitants of these lands-, make this place an authentic natural paradise.
In any case, visiting Rio Secreto is a unique experience in Mexico. It’s not a classic cenote or cave system, but a mixed tour, in which you’ll have to swim and walk through the incredible underground passages, vaults, and galleries of this unique underground stone palace. A journey that tells you the exciting geological history of our planet.
Of course, this extraordinary place is a fragile and delicate ecosystem. A place that requires everyone’s care. So, enjoy everything that Rio Secreto offers but always with responsibility and following every instruction of the specialized guides that will walk you through this magical underground world.
Visiting Rio Secreto: a journey through the bowels of the Earth
Río Secreto offers you a fantastic journey through an underground world decorated with incredible stalactites and stalagmites, among other geological formations. This unique landscape created over millions of years includes “dry areas” and places where the water will reach your ankles, then your waist, your neck… An unforgettable and totally safe experience that you can carry out even if you don’t know how to swim.
To discover this underground world, you only need your swimsuit. The entrance to the park includes the river tour accompanied by a specialized guide. Lockers to leave your things, wetsuit, life jacket, helmet with lamp, towels… It’s all included as well.
In addition, at the end of the tour, you can enjoy a rich buffet of typical food and non-alcoholic beverages. You’ll also have the chance to buy the photos that a professional photographer will take you during the tour. (It’s not allowed to enter the caves and river with cameras or mobile phones).
Vacaciones Barcelo offers you the chance to visit Rio Secreto (transportation included), often combined with other attractive experiences in the area. Definitely, your best choice! The different types of tours in which you can discover this incredible underground world are:
It’s the basic tour for the whole family. It takes you through this millions-of-years-old underground cave showing all of its treasures.
Río Secreto Plus
This is the option for those looking to add a little more action to the regular route. It also includes a rappel, a bicycle route through the jungle trails, and a spectacular light and sound show in a large dry cave known as the “Hall of Peace.”
Río Secreto Wild
If you have a fit body and an adventurous spirit, raise the voltage with this full of adrenaline experience. Enjoy a bike tour in the middle of the jungle, hike inside the dry cave system, and finally explore the underground river.
In addition to the 3 most common options, the tailor-made Privilege tour offers you a totally exclusive way to experience Rio Secreto. Explore the park with a private guide and photographer, and enjoy a series of unique activities throughout this natural wonder.
In any case, don’t miss the opportunity to enjoy one of the most spectacular attractions in the Riviera Maya and discover Río Secreto the next time you visit the Mexican Caribbean.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Rio Secreto?
Rio Secreto is a natural reserve with a unique system of underground caverns and rivers formed over a million years ago, among other exciting attractions.
Where is Rio Secreto located?
This wonder of nature is located 10 minutes away from downtown Playa del Carmen, along highway 307.
How deep is the water inside Rio Secreto’s caves?
This one-of-a-kind guided cave tour includes a combination of walking and swimming. Nonetheless, the in-water portion is very brief and mostly shallow. And you'll be aided by a life jacket and wetsuit.
How to get to Río Secreto?
This incredible nature reserve is located 10 minutes from downtown Playa del Carmen (access is on the road to Tulum and Chetumal: highway 307). You can hire roundtrip transportation from your hotel in Cancun and the Riviera Maya when buying your ticket. Of course, Vacaciones Barcelo offers you the chance to visit Rio Secreto (transportation included), often combined with other attractive experiences in the area. Definitely, your best choice!
What are Rio Secreto's opening hours?
The park is open from Monday to Sunday and the hours will depend on the type of ticket you buy, but, in general, the tours of the river take place every hour between 9 am and 2 pm.
How much time do you need to visit this wonderful place?
You can consider the visit to Rio Secreto to be a half-day activity. It will take you between 4 to 6 hours, depending on whether it is a Basic or Plus tour, to go through this beautiful place. If you choose the Rio Secreto Wild Tour, it'll be a full-day visit due to the different additional activities.