Rancho Punta Venado
Eco-tours just south of Playa del Carmen/Calica, Riviera Maya, Mexico
Are you ready for a little off road fun?
The last time we visited Rancho Punta Venado was in 2001 and much has changed since then. Fortunately the ranch has remained 100% intact these past 4 years, providing great off-road adventures to the public, now including an ATV All Terrain Vehicle tour to see jungle, caves, a cenote, and the beach. The ATV's are easy and fun to drive and the beach is unspoiled and truly awesome.
We started with a full briefing on how an ATV operates, in Spanish and English, and a few hand signals for communicating while driving. After that it was follow the leader with our guide Oliver in the lead.
The dry cave
First stop was the dry cave where we parked a did a short walk-thru. This particular cave has a path leading down to it from the ATV road, and it's quite a spectacular entrance if you don't see caves often. Oliver had flashlights for us so we proceeded to explore a short passage via a trail through the cave while he pointed out features of the geology. They have discovered bones in the mouth of the cave that may be from a deer, and perhaps another animal. After poking around for about 15 minutes we exited out a different opening and walked the short distance back to the ATVs. Next stop, a cenote spring pool near the sea.
A swim in the cenote
Like a jewel on the beach
The beautiful blue/green cenote above is very near the coastline. Cenotes are fairly common, but this one is unusual, and had quite a flow of freshwater streaming across its open pool. These cenotes are actually cave openings where the ground fell in to reveal water below. The Riviera Maya has lots of underground rivers moving toward the sea through caves. The temperature of the flowing freshwater is a little cooler than the sea and so a swim here is an extra refreshing escape from the heat.
The path then goes to the beach and what a beautiful beach it is.
We parked the ATVs by 2 large palapas on the beach and got out a kayak. The day was perfect and the water calm, but even on a windy day the view would be worth the trip, just to know where you are on one of the few remaining beaches south of Playa del Carmen that is this nice and still has nothing on it. We put our kayak in and paddled about for a few photos and fun. Snorkel boats were anchored in a little protected area in the reef and their clients were bobbing about. The snorkeling is so good it attracts several boats at a time.
The tour schedule for each of their tours is: Start at: 9am, 12 noon and 3pm. The horseback tour runs 1.5 hours. The horseback plus snorkeling/kayaking tour runs 2.5 hours. And the ATV adventure tour runs 2.5 hours. All these tours are only recommended for adults in reasonably good shape with a fair amount of coordination and driving skills (ATV). For the horse tours, the same goes with the addition of no fear of horses, but some respect. For more on that, follow the link below to our first horseback tour here in 2001.
Things to take if you go: hat, shoes, sunscreen, long pants (optional)
Provided on the tours are: For horseback riding and snorkeling tour: entrance fee, horseback riding, snorkeling equipment, snacks and soft drinks during the tour. For ATV adventure tour: entrance fee, ATV, helmet, goggles, lanterns, snorkel equipment, use of kayaks, snack and soft drinks during the tour.