To get a better understanding of what an eco park is, imagine an amusement park but in a natural environment. Riviera Maya eco parks are located in the jungle near coastal vacation towns. Unlike typical amusement parks, eco parks are host to authentic Mayan ruins, tropical birds and diverse wildlife, million-year-old caves decorated with stalactite formations, and cool ways to explore these large areas. To make your eco park experience even better, many of the larger eco theme parks are all-inclusive, offering their visitors unlimited food and drinks, a price advantage for families.
The biggest (and the best) of Mexico’s eco parks are located very close to the Cancun Hotel Zone and just minutes away from Playa del Carmen, Tulum, Puerto Aventuras and Akumal. So there is nothing stopping you from trading la vida loca for a different type of thrill and putting a day trip to an eco park on the top of your “Things to do in Cancun and Riviera Maya” vacation list!
Aktun Chen is more than just a Natural Park. It’s an adventure that makes a great day trip list if you are staying in Riviera Maya. Aktun Chen is Maya for “natural well inside a cave.” The spectacular, 640 meter (0.4 mile) cave that inspired the name for Aktun Chen Natural Park is the largest dry cave system in the Riviera Maya. This unassuming park near Tulum is a fun and educational get-away when you are looking for a break from the sand and surf of the beach.
If you are doing research on the Riviera Maya or planning to spend your vacation in Tulum, Akumal or Playa Del Carmen, you will inevitably stumble on the word ‘cenote.’ These geological creations are an integral part of the history of the Yucatan. Today, people love to visit several cenotes to understand more about the diverse ecosystem unique to Quintana Roo and the beliefs of the Maya. Cenotes are the perfect places for you to swim, snorkel and explore off the beach.
Crococun is an animal adventure where you are encouraged to touch, feel and feed all animals. Located just outside Puerto Morelos, this exotic animal education center is not just for the kids. Everyone will love the up close and personal view of crocodiles, monkeys, and reptiles!
The park centers around a large 30 meter Mayan temple, a replica similar to Chichen Itza's EL Castillo. using elevators or stairs, visitors can access nine water slides, two as high as 24 stories. Your reward is a large pool at the end of your decent. One of the largest and longest slides has a 20 foot drop from the bottom of the slide to the pool.
It’s hard to believe that such a natural treasure is located so close to Playa del Carmen, right in the heart of Riviera Maya. For thousands of years no one stepped foot in this dry and wet cavern. Now this natural wonder, with its tunnels, underground passageways, caverns and rock formations is open to a limited number of visitors. Rio Secreto is the secret river in the Riviera Maya and an incredible view of the cave system people keep talking about.
For three consecutive years in a row the Selvatica Extreme Zip Line Tours have been called one of the "35 Greatest Adventures in the World" by Travel + Leisure Magazine. This “EXTREMO” Zip Line Tour is guaranteed to appeal to anyone looking for an adrenaline-pumping experience. Don't let the name fool you. This is a complete adventure above and below the jungle. Ziplines, ATV, cenotes and lunch!
The region of Quintana Roo and the lush jungle of Riviera Maya are known for their rare tropical birds of all shapes and colors. You don't have to trek very far to see some of the most beautiful feathered-friends of the Yucatan. Xaman Ha Aviary is located in Playa del Carmen and is a protected, natural habitat that more than 60 beautiful bird species call home. Not jungle trekking necessary, just a keen eye and a love for tropical birds.
If your goal is to see, experience, and understand more about the Riviera Maya, the Maya, and Mexico, Xcaret Eco Park is the place to go! This outdoor nature and eco park will have you learning more, doing more and having more fun in one location. The unique combination of culture, the environment, history and activities is what makes Xcaret stand out from other parks in the area.
All you need is one day at Xel-Ha water theme park and you will be hooked. Snorkel with hundreds of tropical fish. Discover the Aventura cenote and its thrilling rope swing. Explore Riviera Maya jungle trails and swim in two underwater grottoes. Floating on a tube down a lazy river into a lagoon. And when you think that life can’t get better than this, you’ll discover that Xel-Ha adventures have just begun.
Where else will you get the chance to drive cool amphibious vehicles through underground labyrinths and jungle pathways; zip line over the treetops; swim down an underground river system or float on a raft through a 1000-feet stalactite wonderland? All of this can be experienced in the area but in different locations. Xplor has combined adventures all in one place!
Mayan mythology has great ties to Mother Nature. The botanical gardens of “Yaax Che”, take their name from an old Mayan legend about the Cieba tree. This is possibly the same legend that served as the inspiration for the Tree of Souls in James Cameron’s Award-winning movie Avatar. This garden was established in 1982 and is one of the largest Botanical Gardens in Mexico. If you are looking to increase your knowledge about local plants or the Maya, this is the place.
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