Meeting at eight o’clock. “Well slept? Had a nice breakfast?”, tour guide Anja asks the members of her small group of adventurous Tourists, who arrived on time in front of…
Meeting at eight o’clock. “Well slept? Had a nice breakfast?”, tour guide Anja asks the members of her small group of adventurous Tourists, who arrived on time in front of the hotel’s entrance. “of course”, is the unanimously answer. Everyone is looking forward to a day, which promises, to go a little bit different. It’s going to get sporty, hopefully exciting and a little bit mystical. On that day, the sun won’t play the lead role. A holiday trip to the Mexican Caribbean Coast is not always just relaxing on the beautiful coasts of Playa del Carmen and swimming in, the never colder than 25 degrees, ocean.
The goal destination is called „Rio Secreto“. The secret river, which was closed to the public until 2007. Firstly though, during the thirty minute ride in a small bus, the view on the fields and the vast vegetation can be enjoyed. In the meantime Anja mentions that the Rio Secreto are acutally so called “Cenoten”, caves filled with water, which are usually explored by professional divers, and are part of a huge network, which consists of 580 kilometers of underground rivers. A phenomenon of nature, which has an important meaning to the culture of the Mayans. Sounds pretty exciting.
Arrival at the natural reserve. Seven kilometers of rough paths, leading though the Mongrove’s Forest lie ahead. “You see incredibly many orchids and many butterflies. One must not forget though, that some kinds of cats of prey like pumas and jaguars, tapirs, roaring and coatis – and 48 different kinds of snakes, live in this area as well. “Especially during spring time, when the leaves are still on the ground, it is very dangerous to be around this area”, Anja says without moving a muscle. Good to know. The encounter with der “cigarettes snake”, after one’s bite one has only few seconds to live, is not very pleasurable.
First one shower, then we jump into the Rio Secreto
Finally out of the bus, into the neoprene suits. Showering beforehand though. Make-up, sun cream and the left overs of the mosquito spray are not permitted in the Rio Secreto, for understandable reasons. Tour guide Nico is already expecting the seven member group. A guy from Munich, who seems to live his dream on the half island of Yucatan. Special shoes, a helmet with light, a life vest – o.k. And also a stable stick? Does Anybody here have problems with their feet? Is this really necessary? “You need this one for traction on rough and wet terrain, but also the gauge the deepness of the waters for your next step”, Nico says. Alright. A short walk. Strange, even after Anja’s warning words all eyes are on the ground. “By the way, I have to best job in the world”, Nico starts raving. “If you love the nature, the eco system und especially the underground maze, which you will walk through in a minute, then this is the right address for you.”
Arrival at the entrance. A short introduction to the equipment and to anything you might expect. One must not touch the thousands of years old stalagmites and stalaktites. “It is beneficial to you, to stay near me. In this maze with its many paths, an unprofessional visitor has no chance of finding the right way, although there are some markings”, Nico explains and ads jokingly: “I have never lost someone on this tour – but you never know.” So eyes open and trust in the group’s protection.
Without the lamps on the helmet, there would only be darkness
The descent begins. The Mayan’s underworld lies ahead. After some stairs one finds him- or herself ten meter under the ground. First, the terrain is dry, later a little bit muddy. Then the water reaches your ankles, then your knees. The light gets dimmer, disappears completely. Without the lamps on the helmet, there would only be darkness. A little pausing is good. No glance is like the other. Incredibly beautiful stalactite shapes on the ceiling and ground. A bizarre landscape of rocks. Fossils on the walls tell a story, which hasn’t been explored yet. Transitions from one cave to another. Narrow paths. It is important to watch your steps. “Careful, don’t bump your head. Scratches at your arms or legs are common. Up, down, all over the place. Now the water reaches your shoulders. Swimming in the crystal clear 24 degree warm water, which contains a lot of lime but is still nice to the skin. A fantastic, sensual experience.
Once the crossings are narrow, once very low, once you need to crouch, climbing, walking through water. The stick, which wasn’t so accepted in the beginning, is now doing its job. You can see sleeping bats on the walls and you can see some fish and fire flies. Other people? Not here. Everyone switches of their lamps now. An incredible silence and mystical darkness, which you have never experienced before. Pausing and realizing that this is a holy, untouchable place. Only a few minutes, but it seems like an eternity.
Two hours have passed. Almost too fast. Two kilometers of walking and swimming lie behind. Return to the above-ground, return to the light of the sun. A trip, which offered everything you could expect. More than that. It will last, guaranteed.
[toggle title=”Rio Secreto”]The “Rio Secreto” contains the largest underwater river system on the half island of Yucatan. It has been awared the “World Travel Award” – the “Oscar” of the tourist’s industry. It is a phenomenon of nature, which has grown over the course of last thousands of years and had an important meaning to the Mayans. Daily guided tours –also in German language – in small groups. Arrvial via Playa del Carmen, approximately six kilometers on the highway 307, on the coast route Riviera Maya. Direct flights to Cancun are available from several German airports.
Info: We thank alltours for the kind invitation!