Went on this tour in August 2020 and would highly recommend it. There is a lot to do in one little area and each one was special. My tour guide, Salvador, was great. He picked me up right in front of the condo I was staying in. During the trip to our destination, he explained a lot of things about history and the cultural of the Mayans. Once we got there, I was introduced to authentic Mayan families. I quickly learned that the Mayan speak a very different language than Spanish. In fact, they are miles apart from each other. Some Mayans only speak Mayan, but others speak Mayan and Spanish. I was fortunate enough to not only have an English speaking guide, but a Mayan guide who spoke all three languages.
The first thing we did was participate in a Mayan welcome ceremony. This was a first time experience for me but was a very respectful act. I won't give away the details but they will explain what everything means and what is going on.
Second, we began a small hike through the jungle to find Spider Monkeys. There are a ton of them so it would be difficult not to spot some. I had seen a momma and some babies. They like to eat the leaves from the trees (I forgot the name of these leaves). By the way, Salvador took plenty of pictures and shared them with me, included in the price of booking. I had hoped to capture some pictures but figured it would cost extra so that was great.
Next week got in canoes and paddled across a very calm and peaceful lake. The scenery was beautiful and I love being out on the water so this was very nice. Once we got to the place we were going to, we hiked up the hill (small incline) and through the jungle while keeping an eye out for nature's creatures. We spotted an unusual spider (can't remember what kind) and a little farther up we spotted a tarantula. Salvador attempted to pick it up so I cold let it crawl on my arm, but it wasn't interested and eventually crawled into his home and slammed the door! Ok, so it's more like a hole but if it had a door, I'm sure it would have been slammed on our faces.
Next, we spotted the howler monkeys. Unlike the spider monkeys which are brown, very long tails, and jump several feet from tree to tree, the Howler monkeys are black and are typically positioned higher up in the trees. By the way, you rarely see any of the monkeys come down from the trees because of the jaguars. Oh did I forget to mention them? Yes there are jaguars in the jungle, but good luck seeing one. You are more likely to see one of the alligators in the lake than a jaguar. Oh, I forgot to mention them as well. At night you can see their eyes pop up out of the water. But don't worry, they won't get near you. All of these jungle creatures I mention are more intimidated by us than we are of them. So don't feel like your life is in danger. These Mayan children live among them and as long as you respect the jungle and its inhabitants, you will be respected as well. Anyway, also unlike the spider monkeys, who number in the thousands, the howler monkeys in this particular area is limited to a family of four. Later on when we were paddling back to the dock, we were able to get close to them along the shore and they eventually came down closer to us to get a better look at us which gave us the opportunity to get a better look at them.
Finally, we reached our destination in the jungle where we could zip line back to the canoes were docked. The two things that made me want this tour were the monkeys and the zip line. I love both. Salvador went first so he could get video of me coming in. It was a lot of fun.
The last thing we did there was to stop along the way back at a cenote. This I wasn't even expecting so that was really nice. Not all cenotes are the same, so if you've been to one, you might like another even better. One thing different about this particular cenote was that it's a hole in the ground and the only way in or out is a rope ladder with wooden steps. However, you do keep your harness of that you used to zip line and they attach a rope to you to assist you in getting up and down. Keep something in mind, if you are a large person, you may want to consider whether or not you can make it up because they are pulling you by hand, not a machine. I admit, I'm 53 and 230 lbs, so it was really difficult. Once I was down in the water, it was so refreshing as it was a hot day and the water was cold. I needed something to cool me down and this was perfect. The cenote is created by part of the rocky ground falling through. The was is partly from rain as well as from an underground river that eventually leads to the ocean. There were several bats hanging from above so if you are freaked out about that, another reason to consider sitting this one out.
Once the swimming was over it was time leave and grab some lunch. The Mayan people were very friendly and even though I tipped a little, I really wished I had left more. Salvador gave out a few tips which came from my share of the booking fee, but I felt I should have done more. I did leave a tip in a tip basket at the welcome ceremony and also left one to a small 11 year old Mayan boy named Sabastian who went with us to assist. He only speaks Mayan but was the son of the main Mayan tour guide there learning the family trade. Salvador had someone take a picture of us with the Mayan family which I'm sharing here but the other pictures are being uploaded tonight and so they are available. Perhaps tomorrow I can include them.
Lunch was a different place than where the tour usually going because that place was still under restrictions. But we had a great tasting chicken dinner. They take a whole chicken, flatten it out, and grill it perfectly. They have their own seasoning which was delicious. The habanero sauce was fresh but not overly spicy, but it was served in a side bowl in case you don't want something spicy. The meal also came with rice, pasta, and a salad that looks a bit like coleslaw. The meal is included but any drinks are at your expense. I got the pineapple water, or agua fresca which totally amazing. There were other tropical fruits to choose from. This was my first agua fresca and I will definitely be getting more.
The tour lasted about 6 hours and when I got home, I immediately took a shower and fell asleep for about 4 hours. Make sure you wear comfortable walking shoes, insect repellent although I didn't have any and really didn't experience a problem. If you chose to swim then obviously bring or wear your swim suit and your own towel because they don't supplies for you. If you decide to tip, $20 to $50 pesos per person is a good amount There were three men plus the boy. I also gave Salvador a $50 pesos tip.
P.S. by the time I was finished writing my review, the pictures had been uploaded so I can include lots of them.