What is Rio Secreto?

The Rio Secreto Nature Reserve was undoubtedly one of the coolest things I experienced during the three months that I was being in Playa del Carmen, Mexico.

In this enchanting reserve there are five cave complexes that are brimming with hundreds of amazing stalactites, as well as an energizing underground river.

The trip to Rio Secreto is an excellent activity for families with children looking for a day excursion to Playa del Carmen, Tulum, or Cancun. Even if you don’t have children with you it’s possible to be transported to the world of an underground river.

In this short guide as well as a review on Rio Secreto, I’ll go through the reasons why you should put this tour to the list of activities to take in Mexico and give you the information you require to make an enjoyable trip.

How do you define Rio Secreto?

Rio Secreto is an underground natural reserve in Mexico’s Riviera Maya, near Playa del Carmen. It is comprised of five caves which form part of an immense underground cave system.

I must admit that prior to visiting Rio Secreto, I was somewhat confused as to the exact nature of the park. It’s situated on the highway that runs alongside Xcaret and Xplor and I was led to think it was something of an adventure park similar to these two sites.

The caves are brimming with stunning mineral formations , and are home to an amazing variety of animals. Although, in the interest of disclosure the fact that my ticket was given free by the park, I would have happily paid admission to experience this amazing and unforgettable experience.

How to Get To Rio Secreto

The visit to Rio Secreto can only be only through organized tours provided by the reserve. The tours take you on a hike and swim through 1 kilometer from one cave (meaning that your visit will be just a small portion of the huge reserve).

The majority of tours at Rio Secreto start at the park’s entrance , which is located from the highway. The tour will show a short video as you wait for your group to show up and you’ll sign a liability waiver (that’s why you need to ensure that you have travel insurance in Mexico). After that, you and your new companions will get in the van for the seven-kilometer journey deep into the jungle , where the caves are.

When you arrive you’ll meet your guide and get a short introduction on the area. There are lockers for free in which you can change clothes and take your belongings (you only need your swimming suit) You’ll also be given a pair of special water shoes, a compulsory life jacket, as well as an illuminated helmet. Wet suits are offered too, but they are not required (I used one however, in the end I did not think it was essential). It is also mandatory to wash off after showering to avoid the infiltration of foreign substances in the water of the reserve’s delicate.

Then, your guide will accompany you to take part in a short traditional Mayan ceremony before entering the cave.

The actual excursion to the cave is only about an hour long however, it’s an hour that you’ll never forget.

The tours are conducted in small groups of 10 or which you won’t meet other groups on your trip, which means that you truly feel a connection to the cave.

Your guide will inform you about the story of this cave. They will and explain the process by which the minerals magically are formed, and reveal animals on the way (there are two kinds of fish that inhabit the river, along with numerous bats, insects, and other species).

Around half the time , you’ll walk through the dry cave bedrock, and most of the time , you’ll be wading or swimming in an underground stream. The water is a refreshing and cool temperature, however, you’ll get comfortable with it quickly!

My absolute favorite part of the tour, though?

The guide at one point required us to turn off our headlamps and lie in complete darkness for a couple of minutes to soak up the dark sounds in the cave. It was quite a sensory experience!

When the tour is over the tour, you’ll be able take a shower, change up before enjoying a complimentary breakfast before heading back to the entry point.

Tips for visiting Rio Secreto

If you’re thinking about a excursion in Rio Secreto, here’s a few points you need to know:

How to get to Rio Secreto, from Playa del Carmen, Cancun, or Tulum

Rio Secreto lies just a couple of miles to the to the south of Playa del Carmen. The reserve offers transportation-inclusive packages that will pick you up and drop you off in your hotel anywhere in the Riviera Maya for about $129 per adult. This is about 50 dollars more than the price of a standard ticket with no transport ($79 for each person).

It is also possible to arrange your own transportation for the reservation. Every taxi driver knows the exact location. A taxi ride one-way from Cancun or Tulum will cost you between 500 and 1,000 pesos ($25-$50 USD) dependent on your negotiation abilities, while a trip to Playa del Carmen should be around 120-150 Pesos ($6-$8 dollars).

There is also the option of taking colectivos (public mini-buses) from these townsfor just a few dollars for each person, at the most.

What should you bring What Should You Bring Rio Secreto?

The only thing you’ll need for your trip in Rio Secreto is your swimsuit and possibly a towel to dry off. All other things will be provided to you. There’s no need to use sunscreen or insect repellent because there’s no sun, and you’d need to wash them off in the end.

You don’t have to carry around cameras, either, as there’s not enough light in the caves to shoot photographs (don’t be concerned: every group is accompanied by a photographer, and you can buy their photos later).

What else can you Do in Rio Secreto?

The entry fee for the basic package includes a tour of the cave and underground river , as previously described. Although this is certainly the most memorable aspect of the park, it offers the “Admission Plus” package which costs $99 for adults. It also includes a light show in the underground that is projected onto minerals that are formed by the cave. Although I haven’t seen it , it definitely looks amazing!

Other Tips to Travel Rio Secreto

Here are a few more tips for getting the most out of your trip towards Rio Secreto:

Make sure you go to the bathroom prior to going into the caves, since there is no way to go inside, and the guides are very serious about not contaminating the underground by dumping your waste.
If you’re able to choose of wearing a wetsuit I did, and in the end I would suggest giving it a miss. I thought it was a little hot and smelly, and frankly the water was not cold enough to warrant one.
It isn’t possible to bring cameras with you however there is an experienced photographer who will take many amazing photos of your group, and offer them for sale to you via USB. USB following the tour.