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!
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