In the spirit of trying something that I have never done before, I decided on an activity that has intrigued me for months…Stand Up Paddleboarding. After all, I like to consider myself somewhat adventurous but am not very athletic, thus some of the newer sports and trends are just not for me. So when our friends at Extreme Control told me about their new Paddleboarding Tours, I jumped at the chance to experience this new sport for myself.
On Sunday we gathered at Casa Cenote to begin our tour. I have always loved swimming and snorkeling the stunning cenote here but it has been a while since I had gone all the way back to the start of the rivier so I was very excited. After a brief introduction on how to get up on the board, some balancing techniques, and how to use our paddles, we were allowed to hop in the water and try our hand on standing up on the long boards. To my surprise, it was actually quite easy to stand up on the board and after a few strokes of my paddle, we were off!
This was truly a mellow cruising experience! The beautiful waters were flat as we made our way through the lush mangroves. With each gentle push of the paddle, I felt more and more at ease on the board and was able to concentrate on my surroundings. Nature lovers would delight in the diverse population of birds one can view while navigating your way down the cenote such as Great Blue Herons, egrets, night herons, hawks and ospreys.
Our guide discussed the importance of the mangrove ecosystem that we were viewing and how the mangroves are responsible for the beautiful reefs along the Riviera Maya. The mangroves are what protect the coastline, filtering the water feeding to the ocean and creating a perfect nursery environment for reef fish.
Once at the mouth of the cenote, we jumped off the boards for some swimming and snorkeling. The water is cool and inviting and it is fascinating to be able to view the intricate roots systems of the mangroves. It is a truly wonderful way to experience and learn about the natural scenery.
After getting back on our Paddleboards, we made our way back to where we started. By this time we are pros on our boards and already discussing testing out our new found activity on the Caribbean Sea.
I am thrilled that I finally discovered paddleboarding as it is a sport I can really feel great doing. Not only is it fun but the best part about paddleboarding is that it is environmentally friendly! You are able to enjoy the beauty of nature while respecting it…. leaving behind just the ripple of your paddle. I would encourage anyone looking for another great and exciting way to experience the crystal blue waters of the Riviera Maya to give it a try and enjoy!
For more information or to take paddleboard courses, tours, and rentals, click here.
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Article and photos by Katie Datica