Sooo, I love my job. Like, REALLY love my job, I "have to" do all the tours in Cancun and the Riviera Maya, take photos and videos and write about the experience. I mean, come on, how lucky am I? There are moments where I find myself saying "Ugh, really, I have to go to Chichen Itza AGAIN?" but I give my head a good shake and remember that it is a dream job that many would kill for, regardless of how many times I have ridden the bus to Chichen (I've lost count but it's somewhere around 15).
Then there are the moments that are truly extraordinary. I've experienced a few tours in their "pilot" phase, with tour operators working out the kinks before bringing tourists on board. A Cancun tour guinea pig if you will. In April I was invited to be one of the first to visit a new cave system being explored by Rio Secreto and provide feedback about my experience. And I was KNOCKED OUT completely. We were invited again this past weekend and now I feel compelled to share the magic with you all (as much as I would like to have a secret happy place, I'm going to let you all in on it!)
I've been a fan of Rio Secreto for a long time, since our first visit back in 2009 when Max was just a wee explorer! I thought I knew what to expect at Rio Secreto Wild but OH was I wrong. The original Rio Secreto tour is spectacular but dude, Rio Secreto Wild? A truly unique expedition to another world and by far the most natural and awe-inspiring experience I've had in Mexico. Ever. And that's saying a lot!
|Max in Rio Secreto 2009|
|Max Rio Secreto Wild 2018|
This is definitely not a tour for everyone. Physical fitness and agility are important, you'll be biking, walking, crawling and swimming for about 11 kms in 6 hours. And you'll be carrying your backpack with gear, water and lunch, no jungle butlers dahlinks! It's tiring and there were points I thought I might drop in the heat, but with each step forward a new marvel was revealed and I was compelled to keep on rocking.
To be perfectly frank, I have decided to change the name of the tour to "Holy F$% OMG" because those words came out of my mouth every ten seconds as we got deeper and deeper into the cave system. The stalactites, stalagmites, and speleothems (my fave is the 'bacon' curtain speleothem because mmm, everything's better with bacon) create nature's art gallery. Soaring cathedral-like caves found by crawling through tiny entrances in the limestone will take your breath away. Massive collapses of limestone that allow the jungle and sunshine to break through to the underworld create incredible natural sculptures.
There are ancient Maya relics found throughout the caves, "metates", the remains of cave dwellings and altars to the gods. Bats swoop overhead, snakes slither and spiders build their webs, and the catfish swim around your feet. The song of the mot mot bird echoes throughout the caves, a hypnotic sound that now soothes me to sleep at night and is the soundtrack to my sweetest dreams.
Rio Secreto Wild is an experience that will stick with me forever. I've been thinking about it daily since my first visit, it has had a profound effect on me. Walking on ground that has been seen by so few, untouched and unaltered, permanent and yet constantly changing, slowly over millennia for the caves, rapidly in the case of the jungle flora. Being in the caves has given me a sense of peace and a great perspective on my place in the universe. I am but a blip, but even a single touch of my fingers can alter the growth of a thousand year old stalactite. We are small and our time on earth is short (compared to a cave of course) and yet, we have the power to make great change in the world. Our actions affect all those around us and we must tread carefully in order to bring POSITIVE change. Like a fingertip on a stalactite, our words and actions can halt the growth of the people around us or we can use our power for good!
So there you go, that's why I think Rio Secreto Wild is the very best tour ever in the Riviera Maya. Push your limits and do something magnificent and life-changing on your next Cancun vacation!