This beachfront park has seemingly endless options for activities on the Caribbean Sea. From swimming in the warm ocean and playing in the sand to splashing around the water park or floating in one of the many pools, there are a variety of ways to enjoy a day in and on the water.
Day passes offer access to the many facilities, including beachfront lounge chairs and hammocks, reef tours and snorkeling, and options for massage, photos and scuba diving. Get there early to grab a chair closest to the water. There are dozens of beach games and water toys, themed pools and slides and even an underwater Mayan city to explore.
When you get tired from all the splashing, there is a buffet and full bar to keep you going, as well as a Mexican cooking workshop and shopping center with handicrafts, clothes and jewelry to take home with you.
The ancient Mayans believed hidden cenotes were sacred portals to the underworld. Given the dark, eerie surroundings and stalactites dripping from above, it’s easy to see how these subterranean caves inspired the paranormal awe. At Cenote Chaak Tun outside Playa del Carmen, venture inside an enormous cave where early Mayans once roamed, and splash in the cool, almost secret waters that are hidden back in the forest. Unlike some of the larger cenotes on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, Cenote Chaak Tun is still relatively unknown and has half the amount of crowds. Follow the beam of your powerful headlamp into the twisting cave, where the faint squeaks of bats on the ceiling add to the spooky soundtrack. Cool off in the refreshing waters that twist their way through the cave, and hear traditional Mayan tales of the legends, myths, and sacred beliefs towards this mysterious and powerful place.
The Island of Cozumel was first incorporated into the Mayan Empire around 0 AD, and was apparently a thinly populated backwater, primarily important as a ceremonial island for women from the mainland. Although 24 archaeological sites have been identified, most are small and as yet unexcavated. The San Gervasio Ruins, dating to around 300 AD, are by far the largest and best developed for tourism, but still won't impress tourists hoping for the grand pyramids of the Mayan Imperial Cities. Adjust your expectations, however, and the sacred gardens of Ixcel, the Goddess of Fertility and Rainbows, are a serene escape. Most of the low, stone structures cluster around a central plaza, which archaeologists suspect was enhanced with wood and adobe building. The main temple, however, was probably the large Ka'na Na building, located close to the cenotes, or natural wells. There are several other intriguing ruins scattered throughout the jungle, all awaiting your personal interpretation.
Helping to define Cancun as more than just a tourism spot for dedicated beach lovers, the Cancun Underwater Museum is an attraction unlike any other in the world. While almost all of us have, invariably, at one point or another, been to a museum, few if any of us have been to an underwater museum. Until now, that is.
Essentially a bountiful series of sunken sculptures, the Cancun Underwater Museum is an ongoing project aimed at inspiring a love of art as well as Cancun’s magnificent coral reefs. Soon over 400 original sculptures will lie between depths of 9 to 20 feet, and so make for excellent viewing when either snorkeling or diving.
How does something this wonderful and unique come about? By simple artistic inspiration. Jason deCaires Taylor was the artistic brains behind the operation, and people have responded well to the idea.
Xel-Há Park is a large aquatic theme park south of Cancún with 22 acres (8.9 hectares) of lagoons and underwater caves for swimming and snorkeling. Named after the Mayan archeological site of Xelha, the theme park offers a variety of land and water activities and ecological attractions. Keep busy by swimming with dolphins, kayaking, crossing the Floating Bridge or diving off the Cliffs of Courage. More daring visitors will want to try Trepachanga, where crossing the rope-joined platforms is a feat of balance and strength to avoid plunging into the water below. The park uses admission fees to fund conservation efforts. Getting around Xel-Há is easy with the jungle train, and bikes are also popular to enjoy the beautiful surroundings.
Intrepid travelers can test their limits—and their nerves—while navigating the channels of Sac Actun Cenote System—the longest underground river network in the world. Located in the jungles of Tulum, visitors descend into the river via an ominous looking rock well, complete with a well-worn wooden ladder. Because it’s rather remote and difficult to access, Sac Actun proves an ideal destination for travelers looking to explore the beauty and mystique of Mexico far away from the crowds.
Known by locals as the Pet Cemetery because of the large number of animal fossils, Sac Actun Cenote holds a spiritual place in Mayan tradition and offers travelers spectacular views of hidden waterfalls, dark caverns dripping with stalactites as they swim through fresh water streams. Snorkeling options are also available for those looking to check out the scene even further below the surface.