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Grab Your Headlights; It's Cave Swimming Time at Rio Secreto

Where: Mexico
October 12, 2011 at 11:32 AM | by | ()

One of our favorite things about staying on Mexico's Riviera Maya is that it's not just about dips in the Caribbean and margaritas by the pool. Clearly, those things rule, but what's even more awesome is that if you get a rainy day, there are plenty of activities to try.

We've found solace in a stroll down Playa del Carmen's Avenida 5 and in the Mayan ruins of Tulum and Cobá. But the best rainy day we've spent in the Yucatan took place underground—exploring the subterranean rivers of Rio Secreto.

Remember those geology lessons from way back? All that talk about calcium forming stalactites and stalagmites? Here, you get a bit of that education but it turns out, learning is way more fun when you're wearing a wetsuit and a helmet with a headlight. Also, we don't remember ever getting to swim in caves at school.

Rio Secreto tours run through for 3 ½ hours and entail a lot of walking, some climbing, some swimming, and a few chances to get all zen (or anxiety-ridden) when your guide instructs everyone to be quiet and turn off their headlights, plunging everyone into complete darkness.

You don't have to worry about bringing a camera—a photographer trails your group and takes candid shots of you looking all explorer-like and posed shots at the most dramatic formations in the caves, like this one above. (Yep, you pay extra for your photos at the end of the tour).

In fact, you don't have to bring anything with you; you just wear your bathing suit (everything else goes into a locker), take a shower, and the Rio Secreto peeps will provide the wetsuit, water shoes, helmet and, if you need it, a walking pole.

Tours are just $59 per person ($29.50 for children 4–11). The kidlike wonder of swimming in an underground river? Priceless.

[Photo: Rio Secreto]

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