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The Secret River in Playa del Carmen, Mexico

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Rio Secreto is a place of unearthly beauty, hidden and perfectly preserved in the Riviera Maya. We invite you to visit Rio Secreto in Playa del Carmen, one of the most beautiful and spectacular destinations you can imagine in Mexican territory.

What is Rio Secreto?

Rio Secreto was discovered in 2006, a thousand-year-old undercurrent of sublime beauty. A group of explorers went into the cavern and were amazed by each stretch they traveled, through the galleries that resembled glass palaces and the halls with magnificent rock formations that seemed to be taken from a fairy tale.

Rio Secreto stands out for its natural beauty and its scientific importance, and discoveries made. Currently, this wonderful nature reserve is visited by tourists from all over the world who come to the Riviera Maya to explore the breathtaking beauty of Rio Secreto in a fantastic, mysterious, and unforgettable journey through the interior of the Earth. Among these scientific findings is that of the “white lady,” a blind fish that adapted to live in the total darkness of the waters, as well as Pleistocene remains of species that no longer exist in the territory, such as llamas, elephants, and giant armadillos, as well as human skeletons.

How to get to Rio Secreto From Playa del Carmen

The closest city to Rio Secreto is Playa del Carmen. There are three ways to go to the Nature Reserve from Playa: car, taxi, and bus. The Nature Reserve is located 9.2 km southwest of Playa del Carmen, traveling along the Free Federal Highway Chetumal – Puerto Juarez. The travel time between downtown Playa del Carmen and Rio Secreto is between seven and twelve minutes, depending on the means of transportation.

Things to see in Rio Secreto

The Rio Secreto tour is listed as one of Mexico and America’s best “green” tourism experiences. Before entering the cavern with the underground river, you’ll be provided with the necessary equipment according to the tour you booked, as well as food and beverages. On tour, you will see beautiful sets of rock formations, such as columns, stalactites, and stalagmites, and listen to the guide’s explanations on how these structures took shape throughout millions of years due to the mineral salts in the waters. You should walk carefully to avoid slips and falls. At times you will have to bend down to overcome natural obstacles, and, sometimes, you will have to float. Occasionally, water reaches above the knees.

You will see and feel the sounds of the fauna that inhabits the cavern, particularly bats. These animals are the only mammals that fly inside the caverns due to their echolocation system. Rio Secreto is a network of caverns and groundwater in constant exploration, so on your next visit, there will surely be something new to see.

Restrictions for Entering Rio Secreto

Caretakers manage Rio Secreto with an almost obsessive concern for the preservation of the environment. Nature lovers can enjoy it regardless of rain, sunshine, or if it’s day or night. The nature reserve is managed with strict conservation controls to avoid introducing objects that can be lost, such as jewelry and cameras. The use of cameras is restricted because the excessive use of flashes or artificial lighting disturbs the life of the fauna. You will not miss out on taking photos, as a photographer accompanies the tours.

Tour Group from tours

You’ll travel through a part of the Xibalbá or the Mayan underworld that the members of this civilization considered to be ruled by Hun-Camé and  Vucub-Camé, gods of disease and death. Therefore, before entering Rio Secreto, a brief ritual to request permission from the gods is held to enter its underworld, a symbol of respect for the Mayan culture.

Tours of Rio Secreto

The shortest tour lasts three and a half hours, and the longest takes all day. This time does not include transportation from Playa del Carmen, Cancun, or any other location in the Riviera Maya. There are various types of tours for Rio Secreto depending on what activities you like.

The basic tour includes access to the Nature Reserve in groups of 10 (maximum), a locker for personal belongings, an expert guide, a neoprene suit, life jacket, helmet with lamp, towel, and a buffet with non-alcoholic drinks. In the other tours, you can choose to include other activities, such as rappelling, cycling, and hiking through the jungle, in the most dazzling scenarios you can imagine. Another option is the exploration of the jungle through the heart of the Riviera Maya, touring jungle landscapes and caves by bicycle. You’ll also be able to snorkel through a series of mysterious caverns and swim and snorkel in a crystal-clear underground river.

This personalized tour through the Rio Secreto Nature Reserve is a true privilege and a unique and unforgettable experience.

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