It’s not all ruins and culture in the Yucatan. We were based in the Mahekal Beach Resort in Playa del Carmen, part of the Riviera Maya. A lovely resort and a great place to relax, but having seen the amazing Chitchen Itza Mayan ruins we wanted to see what else was on offer. We had come a long way and we wanted to make the most of our time there.
Xplor Adventure Park Cave Swimming
The park has an astonishing natural cave system, brilliantly converted into a hive of tunnels. The river system runs through it and we swam, with our mandatory life preservers of course, through stalactites and fantastic coloured rock formations. It was only a few hundred metres but it took a while because it is so spectacular and we wanted to literally soak up the amazing surroundings. The swim finished inside a magnificent circular waterfall. Whoever built this was very creative and extremely clever.
And that wasn’t all...
There was another river system for paddling a twin kayak wearing hand paddles. It was hardly Olympic standard and there was a paddler up front who couldn’t get the hang of it, bouncing off the walls and creating a traffic jam. But the water wasn’t deep and not cold, life preservers were again mandatory and no one was in any hurry. At the end of both trips there were helpful assistants to help us out and point us in the right direction back to the centre of the Hive. This was not difficult and it was a lot of fun!
Zip Lining in the Yucatan? Yes!
If you have never done zip lining you might want to start on something shorter and lower. But then again, why not go for it on what has to be one of the best on the planet? We did and it was brilliant. The fantastic Zip Lines at Xplor are really outstanding. We did the seven-line system after our swimming and kayaking – a great way to dry off. The lines are linked by giant towers, which look down over the jungle canopy. Each one is higher than the last and the lines get longer and faster as you go. There is only one way home and that’s via the next line! It was a real thrill but very safe, with impressive brakes. You really have to try this!
Jungle Driving in a 4x4 was also on offer so we tried that too! To cap it all there was an enormous restaurant with the best food we found in the whole of our Mexican holiday!
Xcaret Eco-Archaeological Park - Swimming with Manatees and Dolphins
Another day was taken up at the lovely Xcaret Park, next door to Xplor, where we fed huge, gentle manatees. What strange, beautiful animals they are. These were teenagers and already weighed half a ton. This is an important conservation project supported by tourist revenue, so we went into the water with them and hand fed them their favourite titbits, all under strict supervision of course.
The dolphins there were much more lively and being in the water with them fulfilled a lifelong dream for us both. They were highly trained and incredibly obedient. But even so they came really close, were friendly and touchable and even waved and squeaked goodbye when we left!
Xcaret SCUBA Diving
Well, it wasn’t exactly Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus, but it was definitely underwater, with our air cleverly fed to us through hoses. We descended three or four metres and swam through a gulley into a cave and popped up inside into an air pocket, where we breathed freely without the hose. A real diving experience! As a qualified diver I had done this kind of thing before but for my partner it was an incredible new thrill, and a safe, exciting introduction to the underwater world.
So we left Yucatan and its theme parks with great memories of living our dreams, fun and adventure – and relaxing around the pool in the sun. A great place for an amazing holiday with.
For a great selection of holiday itineraries to Mexico see our Mexico holidays section.
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