For some reason when I was picking excursions for this Caribbean trip I was feeling very adventurous. One, because my husband was coming and I knew that laying on a beautiful beach all day wasn’t going to cut it for him. And two, it was a great opportunity to do something I’d otherwise never do. Not to mention it gives me something really cool to share with you!
Lately I’ve been up for doing off the beaten path type of things (like how I did trapeze for my 31st birthday). So when I saw Rio Secreto — The Amazing Secret River & Cave Tour as an excursion option for the Cozumel/Mexico on the cruise, I immediately thought yep, that’s it. I signed up thinking we’d like walk through the caves, and maybe get a little wet. Waist-level type of thing.
I was wrong. Very wrong.
First of all, it was pouring. I mean, it’s Mexico, so it’s hot and the rain usually comes and goes, but it there was no going, just coming. I mean, it was a jungle. So I was already cold and then I found out we were wearing wet suits, which I thought, great — I’ll be warm. I definitely think it helped a lot, but I’m always cold, so 75 degree water, underground, when it’s not really that hot outside because it’s pouring … I was cold the entire tour. The rain really had no effect on the tour though.
Like I said, the water in the caves are around 75 degrees so most people find it extremely refreshing. I’m just one of those people that takes a sweater everywhere with me. I wasn’t so cold that it was unenjoyable, just slightly cold and wishing I was warmer.
They only take people down in groups of ten into this particular path of the cave. Our guide, Jorge, was awesome. You could tell he loved his job and he was obsessed with caves.
At one point he had us all stop, turn off our head lamps, and he turned off his flashlight. It was pitch black. PITCH black. You couldn’t even make anything out. Creepy dark. And it wasn’t like your eyes adjusted either, you could literally not see anything without a light on.
This is the part where the photographer had to stop and turn around because of his large camera. We were fully in the water with only our heads out, and the ceiling just kept getting lower and lower. At one point the space was so small, we had to take off our life jackets, hold them in front of us, go single file, and turn our heads certain ways to get through the cave. So basically picture only enough room (and air space) for your head — like 6 inches above water — and you are in a line of ten people swimming though a cave. F R E A K Y.
I was trying to not have a panic attack, but when I saw what was ahead of me, and that there were five people on either side and basically no getting out — I just had to breathe and focus on how cool it was (besides thinking how close are we to the end, how close are we to the end).
They also had lunch waiting for us after the tour. Fresh real tortillas, lime soup (I had two bowls), rice, hibiscus tea, papaya, and more. It was soooooo good. I scarfed down a ton of food as it reminded me of when I lived in Mexico. Real Mexican food is nothing like what you get at most restaurants in the U.S. I miss it!
The experience was amazing. I’d been through caves before in southern Missouri where there are tons of huge caves, but definitely never swimming through them! This was unlike anything I’ve ever done. A very cool experience. If you are going to the Riviera Maya, this was a great thing to do — especially if it’s rainy because then you aren’t missing out on any beach time! Highly recommend it!
Have any of you ever been on a cave tour like this? What did you think?
All photos by the Rio Secreto photographer, except the second photo of the rain (we weren’t allowed to take cameras in the caves with us).
This post was done in partnership with Princess Cruises. All opinions are true and are my own.