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“Secret River / Rio Secreto, Outstanding value for money.” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Rio Secreto

Rio Secreto
Carretera Federal Cancun- Tulum 307 en KM 282 | Playa del Carmen, Playa del Carmen 77781, Mexico
+52 984 877 2377
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$79*
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Rio Secreto Underground River Tour with Crystal...
Certificate of Excellence 2014
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Attraction details
Owner description: Mexico reveals its newly-discovered underground river: Very few places in the world boast conditions that make it possible to witness the extraordinary beauty of an underground river. Rio Secreto is a fantastic journey into a unique system of underground rivers and ancient caverns that reveals both the astonishing interaction of time within the interior of our planet and the miraculous existence of our lives. Come and experience this magical journey with us on your next vacations in Mexico.
Useful Information: Activities for older children
Bolton
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
“Secret River / Rio Secreto, Outstanding value for money.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 23, 2013

I cannot enthuse enough about this experience.
We were on a Disney Cruise at the time and had to position by fast ferry to the mainland first; we were then subjected to a standing in the heat period of disorganisation whilst other members of the party decided to arrive and make themselves known.
A short trip by van, with a/c, ended in about 5km of dirt track bumping around to the facility in the 'bush'.
Our Guide was 'Leon' and from the moment he took over the experience really started; patiently we were kitted out in wet-shoes, wetsuits, bouyancy aids, helmets and head torches. All in decent condition and of good quality.
your personal items are stored in lockers for the purpose and you take nothing with you at all.
Brief walk along a trail, a blessing by a Mayan holy man and you're at the cave entrance.
There is a reassuring chat again about what we are to see, expect and the rules about what to touch and where not to go.
The journey is about 90 minutes and for me I could have gone on for hours more. It was an unbelievable privilege to to visit the river, caverns and see the wildlife living in this environment of total darkness.
Leon was patient and took time to answer all our questions, gave us time to keep together and allowed us to stay longer in some of the most beautiful places I have ever visited.
Alongside is a company photographer setting us up for some posed pictures, no obligation to purchase.
I had with me my six year old daughter and I was very comfortable with how it was ran and she will remember this for the rest of her life.
At the end you emerge up a staircase right by those lockers storing your personal items!
The meal after is basic but of high quality; the photos are for sale, expensive as single prints but for the cost of three you can actually get an excellent CD of all your family pictures only plus some extra library photos of the flooded caverns and the wildlife you may have been lucky to see.
If you do this trip and don't enjoy it, contact me and I'LL give you your money back!

Visited July 2013
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Oakdale, New York, United States
Top Contributor
76 reviews 76 reviews
11 attraction reviews
Reviews in 50 cities Reviews in 50 cities
43 helpful votes 43 helpful votes
“Uniquely Different, Truly Amazing!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 23, 2013

I’ll begin by saying that on the 8 cruises I’ve done this by far was, if not the best shore excursion I’ve ever done. It is totally unique and different than other excursions offered for most Caribbean cruises and very cultural for the region.

Getting there- The area of the Cave Hike is about 20 mins from the Cruise ship ferry pier in Playa Del Carmen. We were meet there, filled out some paperwork and off we went. Some on Trip Advisor complain about the road you go down to get to the area of the hike. Its not that bad folks, it’s bumpy, its off road and we all had a blast driving down it.

The facility- The facility is rather pretty with a nice jungle escape feel to it. They provide you with all the equipment you need, wetsuits, water shoes, life jackets, and then towels for when you’re done with the hike. They also had a wonderful included hot lunch for the groups prior to leaving. The food was very good in fact. We didn’t expect that to be included and were rather glad it was.

The Hike- We did the two hour hike, they do offer a 5 hour but being we were on a cruise you have to be back on the ship at a certain time. It’s very hard to put into words the beauty of the cave and hiking through the river. It’s simply amazing and a pure sensory experience. The hike itself isn’t simple yet it’s not overly difficult either. If you’ve hiked before, can swim, and are in decent shape you’ll do fine and enjoy this. You are guided through the caves and our guide (Eduardo) was fantastic! The rock formations above, below, and all around you are amazing. You just can’t wrap your head around how nature formed these.

Pictures- So let me address the no camera policy. Very simply folks it would be impossible without professional water proof gear for you to take pictures. The Caves are pitch black and the only light is from your helmet light. Plus you are hiking in neck deep water at times. They take pictures of you and the pictures are rather good. They have several options for you to purchase the pictures that include other professional pictures of the caves a book or shirt and hat. I found it highly worthwhile and I’m glad I bought the pictures. Prices range from $25 to a bit over $100. I did the $90 package which included pictures, a shirt and hat.

Overall- If you are tired of the typical excursion on a cruise then do this, it’s amazingly different and something you’ll always remember. This is a 5 star rating all the way!

Visited July 2013
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Houston, Texas
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Unexpected Authenticity”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 22, 2013

This was a totally unexpected and wonderfully authentic experience. I had cynically assumed that all tourist activities in this part of Mexico were both overpriced and touristy, leading to underwhelming experiences.

You join the group, and take a very bumpy, 20 minute ride out to a remote area. There are a few buildings, lots of trees, and some very rickety facilities. Everyone showers off the sun screen and other chemicals (we didn't put any on that day), then don a wetsuit and lifejacket.

Next, you take a short hike through the jungle and start your descent into the cave system. You will need to be physically fit enough to do some climbing, swimming, treading water, staying balanced, and sustaining these activities over an hour.

This is experience can not be recreated, and I almost wish it wasn't destined to become so popular. It was absolutely gorgeous, exciting, and had me wanting to go right back underground when we were finished all too soon.

Afterwards, we had a nice, Mayan lunch with fiery salsa (and we're from Texas - not wimps!) We bought a photo, and considered the inflated price a donation to help conserve the caves.

Visited October 2012
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Rio Secreto M, Manager at Rio Secreto, responded to this review, July 23, 2013
Hi Courtknee2. We are so pleased that your visit to Rio Secreto was an unexpected and wonderfully authentic experience. Since the very beginning it has been our mission to make this experience possible for everyone who visits the Riviera Maya. These systems are unique to the region and we at Rio Secreto are working very hard to maintain our underground river system in its natural state. This why, amongst other things, we keep our groups small and limit our hourly operational capacity. It is at the same time a fragile and incredibly beautiful system and we are thrilled that you shared this beautiful place with us. We really hope you will come and visit us again.
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Mauldin, South Carolina
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Rio secreto the under ground river”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 21, 2013

We have a wonderful time visiting the under ground caves, its an experience of what mother's natures it's capable of creating. The guides are very protective of the well being of the group.
I recomend a visit if You are in the area!!!!!Lwe love from the guide to the food, an amazing experience.

Visited July 2013
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Dublin
Top Contributor
139 reviews 139 reviews
111 attraction reviews
Reviews in 41 cities Reviews in 41 cities
108 helpful votes 108 helpful votes
“Rio Secretto Caves and a bit about Tulum”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 19, 2013

Done a day trip combined with Tulum and finished with the afternoon at Rio Secretto Caves. I am a lifelong adventurer and have caved on many occasions in a variety of locations, so I said I would give Rio Secretto caves a go, under the belief that they were going to be somewhat false, commercialised, altered for the tourist etc, but I must say I was wrong.
On arrival I got the sense of here we go again another commercialised Mexican tourist rip-off but quite shortly I realised once check-in was done that the place was not what I thought it would be.
We were told in advance our guides name (Alfredo) and we were grouped with a family from Texas and two German lads and it was a perfect group size, from a safety ratio and from the point of view that we got real good personal attention from our assigned guide.
Anyway after a short wait a bus arrived and we all boarded for a bumpy 5-6 km trip to the cave site through the jungle. On arrival we were promptly kitted out in wetsuits, helmets with lamps, shoes and buoyancy aids and the facilities were quite good and to a high standard.
From the onset I got a great sense of passion from our guide Alfredo and it became apparent quite quickly that this guy was an honest, passionate, caring individual and was actually quite knowledgeable about his pursuit which I was extremely happy about and this for me made quite a difference to the whole caving experience.
We entered the cave and I was absolutely delighted that no alterations, damage or any stupid tourist gimmicks were carried out and the cave was in excellent condition throughout. Our guide Alfredo was at pains to ensure that we caused no damage and he watched out for everyone with diligence.
The cave is a high percentage water covered from ankle to knee to waist to chest deep water in places and extremely safe at all times. there was one or two water course sections that were about 15ft deep and no problem at all, your buoyancy aid does all the hard work for you and you just gently propel yourself along, of course there are several dry sections and I felt the balance between the wet and dry sections was just right.
We exited the cave after about 21/2 hours and we went back to a jungle camp area where a buffet and drinks were included in the price. During the cave trip a staff photographer accompanied us and photographed us on the journey. But if you are keen to do your own photography ONLY bring a waterproof camera with you as you will be neck deep in water, so any other camera is at risk of water damage.
This was a worth while trip and lacked the usual Mexican hassle and bother that accompanies other trips and for the first time ever in Mexico, yes for the first time ever, not one member of the Rio Secretto staff looked for a tip, or hinted or suggested a tip, this really impressed me and so much so the guide got a good tip.
Now for the down side, firstly, the cost is unusually high $99USD, but I got Tulum included for $1USD extra on the same trip so that was not too bad.
The photography that was done by the resident photographer was quite overpriced and on viewing the copy's I felt that they were not of a great standard, I mean the scenery was lovely in the photo's within the cave but the photographer lacked any imagination where we were concerned and I saw nothing special at all and for the price...no thanks.
The jungle area of the food buffet was really nice but the food was only at average and nothing special here at all, drinks were also available free, but you could purchase a beer or a coke or other branded sodas for a very reasonable cost at the camp area.
Overall a lovely experience and if you are not looking for the typical touristy, gimmicky, plastic Mexican experiences then Rio Secretto is worth the visit, and if you are coming all the way down from Cancun then visit Tulum as well, and if you want a nicer archaeological experience then skip Chichen Itza if you are planning it, do Tulum instead as you will be scourged by parasitic annoying vendors inside the archaeological site at Chichen Itza selling absolute rubbish from China masquerading as "genuine" Mayan art and ruining your guides explanation of the site with silly wooden toys making fake jaguar noises. Not the case at Tulum, vendors are kept away from the site and that's really a big plus for Tulum.

Visited July 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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