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Riviera Maya unique things to do

Riviera Maya unique things to do

Old Aug 11, 17, 12:53 pm
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Riviera Maya unique things to do

We are going to be in Riviera Maya first week of September with 2 kids ages 7 and 9 who are very adventures. We have already been to all of the X parks as well as Rio Secreto, Tulum and Akumal.

Can anyone recommend any unique adventures that would be fun for the family? ( not really interested in the ruins). Thank you!
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Old Sep 4, 17, 1:05 am
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I am at the Hyatt Ziva and yesterday I swam with the whale shark in Cancun, the experience was good but the price very expensive. I honestly preferred to climb onto the hotel's marina flyboard with Epic Water Toys.
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Old Sep 4, 17, 9:18 am
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Welcome to FlyerTalk. I suspect the post is spam.

I'm assuming if you went swimming with whale sharks from Cancún it was expensive because you traveled by boat halfway to Holbox, no? It's cheaper from Isla Mujeres or Holbox, though with the infrastructure problems at Holbox I'd not recommend people go there.
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Old Oct 17, 17, 8:06 am
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How about a boat trip into the Sian Ka'an biosphere to float the Maya-built canals, see birds, manatees, non-captive dolphins, speed through the lakes, see the beach and some Maya structures, and more?
Also lots of cenotes to visit for swimming, each a bit different.
Coba ruins might be fun, even though not an expressed interest, since you can bicycle on the paths, climb a pyramid, see gators in the lake across the street, and visit the monkey park.
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Old Oct 17, 17, 10:58 am
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Originally Posted by VidaNaPraia View Post
How about a boat trip into the Sian Ka'an biosphere to float the Maya-built canals, see birds, manatees, non-captive dolphins, speed through the lakes, see the beach and some Maya structures, and more?

Also lots of cenotes to visit for swimming, each a bit different.

Coba ruins might be fun, even though not an expressed interest, since you can bicycle on the paths, climb a pyramid, see gators in the lake across the street, and visit the monkey park.
Cobá is well worth a visit, imo. Most of its structures remain unexcavated and unreconstructed, so one can imagine the size and scope of this ancient city best from the top of the Nohoch Mul pyramid - stunning views!

Nearby are Tamcach-Ha, Choo-Ha and Multum-Ha denotes, so a refreshing swim in their crystal clear waters is nice to wash the dust off. And the lagoon is a great place to spot not 'gators, but Morelet's Crocodiles (Crocodylus moreletii), a piscivorius (largely fish eating) species found just in this corner of the world. They only get to 3 meters / 10 feet, and are generally known as a species that's not aggressive towards people - but, use common sense and keep a respectsble distance, as these are habituated to humans and crocodiles can move quite swiftly.

Tulúm with its structures adjacent to the sea and its descending Venus "diving god" deity are worth a stop. As well, you might find dancers reproducing Aztec dances, or even "Voladores" dancers reproducing an ancient rain inducing ceremony that is a UNESCO intangible cultural heritage event.

Five dancers, usually in Totonac costume, climbthe 100 foot pole to a platform made of tied branches, where fir tie ropes wrapped around the pole to their ankles. While the fifth man stands atop the pole and plays an autochthonous flute abd drum, the dancers rotate about the pole suspended upside down and descend to the ground. (Note these dancers are likely more focused on tips than rain - but it's an evocative experience.)

In December - February, experienced scuba divers can dive with visiting pregnant female Bull Sharks, one of the "Big Five" of sharks (Tiger, Great White, Bull, Great Hammerhead and Zambezi / Ragged Tooth / Sand Tiger sharks) near Playa del Carmen. This is normally a calm, natural rncounter at about 80 feet with no issues (currents are possible).

Experienced divers can also get full cave qualified instructor led dives into the cenotes, a truly awesome experience. I recommend Aquatech Divers for certified, experienced to full cave certified divers. They've been there over thirty years and have the enduring respect of certified full cave divers - and they are owned by Villas de Rosa, a comfortable place to stay in Akumal.

Dives and sometimes snorkeling to Chinchorro Reef, the world's second largest coral reef, can also be interesting. The best access may be from Mahahual / Majahual and Xcalak, very close to parts of the Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve. Maya Palms resort is in the middle of it all, and Banco Chinchorro is only 18 miles / 30 km offshore. The archaeological sites of Kohunlich and Chacchoben are spectacular, without the crowds at more popular sites. (Yes, I e done most of this and stayed at Maya Palms and Villas de Rosa.)

For a totally unnatural Disneyland experience, spend a very spendy day at Xcaret park near Playa Del Carmen, touted as "Nature's Sacred Paradise", which is certainly entertaining and thrilling, and a totally unnatural human creation that is a park. About $129 per adult, $64 per child and I promise you'll spend much more and though totally artificial they've done a decent job and it'll be "memorable". Just be aware it's definitely nothing nature had a hand in building.

I discourage the various captive dolphin "discovery" experiences. The Dolphins are generally captured in the Solomon Islands (near Papua New Guinea) and those that survive the arduous trip remain captive for life making tons of money for their owners. Rather, opt for seeing dolphins in their natural environment, where sometimes you can even see them snorkeling or diving. Yes, it's a bias I have. Captive kidnapped dolphins half a world away from their family pods is a fail.

Last edited by JDiver; Oct 17, 17 at 11:22 am
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Old Oct 17, 17, 12:06 pm
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Just FYI JDiver, the last time I called them crocs in a forum post, I was corrected, with people saying they are gators. LOL Can't win. But anyway, kids would like to see them. Right across from the Coba parking lot entrance, there's a guy who "calls" them by throwing chicken parts in the water.

OP said they've been to the "X" parks, so Xcaret would probably be one of those.
The canal float in the Sian Ka'an is the "real" float experience.

Add a note that the pole dancers are not from the Yucatan region. Colorful nevertheless.
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Old Oct 18, 17, 10:12 am
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Originally Posted by VidaNaPraia View Post
Just FYI JDiver, the last time I called them crocs in a forum post, I was corrected, with people saying they are gators. LOL Can't win. But anyway, kids would like to see them. Right across from the Coba parking lot entrance, there's a guy who "calls" them by throwing chicken parts in the water.

OP said they've been to the "X" parks, so Xcaret would probably be one of those.
The canal float in the Sian Ka'an is the "real" float experience.

Add a note that the pole dancers are not from the Yucatan region. Colorful nevertheless.
Sometimes we can't win. But I assure you those are Morelet's Crocodiles anyway (in the old days, easily seen in Laguna Nichupté in Cancún as well). I've observed them with wildlife professionals in Belize, Guatemala and Mexico (boy they only occur in the Atlantic-Caribbean watershed). In Costa Rica, one can see huge specimens of the American crocodile (Crocodylus acutus) (another "croc singer" feeding these monsters near the mouth of the Tárcoles River, incidentally containing ~70% of Costa Rica's industrial waste) which is pretty widespread in the Americas including a small population in southern Florida.

Too many people are under the mistaken impression alligators are confined to the new world (they're not) and crocodiles are confined to Africa, Asia and the Indian subcontinent (they're not). And they can be adamant about their misperceptions.

There's plenty of nature to be seen in Sian Ka'an, for sure. For those who'd visit Xcaret, well, though I'd rather not go, but I'd not begrudge them that. There's more of this coming, with a new "Lost Mayan Kingdom" waterpark and zip-lines near Mahahual (which I used to visit years ago and dive Chinchorro from the defunct Maya Ha dive resort).

You're again correct. The Voladores usually are in Totonac costume because many Voladores groups are from the state of Veracruz. The town most frequently associated with them is Papantla, the center of Mexico's vanilla orchid growing and processing.

Last edited by JDiver; Oct 18, 17 at 10:23 am
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Old Oct 19, 17, 11:03 am
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Originally Posted by JDiver View Post

You're again correct. The Voladores usually are in Totonac costume because many Voladores groups are from the state of Veracruz. The town most frequently associated with them is Papantla, the center of Mexico's vanilla orchid growing and processing.
I have seen the pole dancers in Vera Cruz - mesmerizing and very impressive. so, no matter where you are, see them if you can.
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Old Nov 5, 17, 7:27 pm
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Any specific recommended tour companies/tours to consider for the Sian Ka’an biosphere reserve?

Thanks!
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Old Nov 7, 17, 8:14 am
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Maybe this agency:
http://siankaantours.org
(984) 871 2202 or (984) 114 0750

Or look for another Maya run agency, to support the local economy and get the point of view of a local guide who grew up in/around the Sian Ka'an.
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Old Jan 24, 18, 7:33 pm
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Hotel rec

Would love to add on to this thread for any suggestions of a jungle casita/hotel for families-- we love Mayakoba for an adult getaway but are looking for something for kids. I think they'd love the wildlife, cenotes and rivers. We've always had a plunge pool and think it would be even better for kids, as to keep them cornered away from the main pool(s). We have three little ones (5 and twins that are 4), any suggestions on a hotel that accepts five, rather than doing two connecting rooms?
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Old Feb 12, 18, 1:13 am
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I don't know how much of an activity this might be but it was quite unique for me. I stayed in this hotel in the jungle near Chichen Itzá that was called Oka'an. It is really in the middle all of the jungle and they have a rock pool. The food is local and usper natural and fresh (probably the most fresh food I ate in my whole trip) you could hear every aoune in the night, every bird in the morning. They had a start observatory. You can look up some more over at tripadvisor as Oka'an hotel. When I stayed there it was around march and it cost 70$ USD.
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Old Feb 18, 18, 5:05 pm
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you have to visit the underwater museum at Isla Mujeres, Mountain Bike Tour in the Mayan Jungle, swim with turtles in Akumal and visit and dive all the cenotes there!
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