7 Key Questions to Ask BEFORE You Book Your Cancun and Riviera Maya Tours

Cancun and Riviera Maya tours

In the old days (the 80’s and 90’s), we relied on an armful of colorful brochures from travel agencies when reserving tours to Cancun and the Riviera Maya. Now that most tour and excursion bookings are done online, it might be a good idea to ask the following questions before plunking down your hard-earned money and make sure you and your family get the most for your vacation pesos.

 

1. What Should I Wear?


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Many Cancun and Riviera Maya tours involve water, sand or even several different types of terrain in the same tour.
If you’re headed to an archaeological site like Ek Balam, Chichen Itza or Cobá, make sure to wear your best walking shoes, shorts, a hat (and biodegradable sunscreen!), sunglasses and insect repellent.

One of those rolled up plastic rain ponchos will be a lifesaver during one of our frequent Autumn showers. And if you plan on getting wet, bring a spare swimsuit, water shoes or sandals, and a change of clothes. And ask if towel service is part of the deal.

 

2. What Food or Drinks Will be Served?

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Make sure you’re clear if your tour includes food. If it does, find out ahead of time about your options, and make sure to let your tour operator know about allergies and preferences. If it doesn’t, make sure you have a plan B for meals and check into options before, during or after your outing.

Also, if drinks are offered, find out if they are alcoholic, non-alcoholic or both. Some tours offer you beer, wine,or even a full domestic or premium brand bar service. It won’t hurt to ask.

 

3. Should I Bring Extra Money?

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Actually, this should be: How much extra money should I bring? Even if your tour is all-inclusive, there might be unique shopping opportunities to explore where cash is king, like at archaeological sites or on Isla Mujeres. Also, some more remote areas may not take credit or debit cards, and tipping around here for services rendered by your tour guide are also done in cash. Yes, you should tip your guide if he or she provides service above and beyond.

In short, a little mad money is always a good idea.

 

4. What Kind of Physical Activity is Required on This Tour?

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Some tours are all about relaxing, like a day out on the catamaran, while others might leave you tuckered out (in a good way). Find out if you’ll be walking, swimming, riding, ziplining or driving, and be honest with your tour provider about your physical fitness, age or any physical limitations.

Find out if your tour is handicapped-accessible, and if not, what other options they can suggest.

 

5. What Is Your Cancellation Policy?

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Find out what your tour company’s cancellation situation involves. Are there provisions for reimbursement or rescheduling in case the weather is uncooperative?

You’ll be able to separate fly-by-night operators from serious companies when you ask about cancellation. If you get a dodgy answer, there’s your answer. Book with a pro.

 

6. How Will We Get There?

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Does your tour include pickup and drop off service at your hotel? If not, find out the most convenient options ahead of time.

If you plan on having a drink or two, or exerting considerable physical effort, let someone else get you to and from your destination.

 

7. Is the Tour Always the Same All Year?

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Sometimes tours adjust their activities or schedules depending on factors like weather and hotel occupation rates. High season and low season may affect you. For example, if you check out a company’s whale shark tours in June, know that the season is from May to September, so don’t book online for March, for example.

Also, ask your rep if there are any changes to the logistics of your tour since you reserved. Tours and their offerings, just like most things, are subject to change. Make sure those changes are for the better for you.

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It also wouldn’t hurt to ask your tour operator if there are any special events happening when you’ll be down here. Day of the Dead festivities at Xcaret or music festivals might be the perfect opportunity to enjoy this area even more!

In the end, it’s always good to get your questions, doubts and concerns resolved BEFORE you come. Never assume. What might seem like a dumb question might just be the key to make sure you and your loved ones have the perfect tour and excursion experience here in the Mexican Caribbean.

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The people who will have all the answers for you are the folks over at ecotourism-Cancun.com. They are long-time residents whose vocation is to bring you optimum travel experiences that represent the best quality and value. Check out their website at  www.ecotourism-cancun.com or call them today at +52 (998) 273 00 01…you’ll be glad you did.

Cenotes Unlock the Secrets to Underwater Mayan Mysteries

Almost 15 years ago, a team of Mexican archaeologists found three human skeletons; one of them was carbon-dated to be 13,600 years old. In 2008, divers located the remains of a MASTODON as well as a human skull that might be the oldest evidence of early man in the region.

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MASTODON bones and ancient human skulls. What other secrets are down there?

 

Where did they find those ancient treasures? They found them, and much more, in cenotes.

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What are cenotes?

Cenotes (se NOH tays) are surface connections to underground bodies of water, and in the English-speaking world we know them as sinkholes. Ah, but they are so much more here in Cancun, the Riviera Maya and the Yucatan Peninsula.

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Explore inner space…

There are an estimated 6000 cenotes in the entire Yucatan Peninsula, forming a vast underground network of caves, caverns and the source of much of the fresh water for the entire area.

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Some of the better known cenotes in our home state of Quintana Roo.

 

The best-known cenotes are large open water pools measuring tens of meters in diameter, such as at Chichén Itzá.

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Cenote Sagrado, the Sacred Cenote…at Chichen Itza an important body of water used for ceremonial rites

As far as swimming is concerned, cenote water is often very cool and clear, as the water comes from rain water filtering slowly through the ground, and where there is little or no direct access to sunlight. Some cenotes are open, where sections of cave roof have collapsed revealing an underlying cave system.

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Unlock the door to a whole new world…

 

There are four main different types of cenotes, named for their shapes.

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1. Jug or Pit cenotes are those with a surface connection narrower than the diameter of the water body, shaped like a bottle.

2. Cylinder cenotes are those with strictly vertical walls.

3. Basin cenotes are those with shallow water basins

4. Cave cenotes are those having a horizontal entrance with dry sections.

 

Take a Cenote Tour and Be Ready to Have Your Mind Blown

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The following tours have some stunning cenotes as one of their features. In some you can swim in, rappel into or just simply admire for their natural beauty.

1. Chichen Itzaalong with visiting one of the Seven Man-made Wonders of the World, visit the Cenote Sagrado and swim in nearby Ik Kil.

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Ik Kil, a stone’s throw from the Chichen Itza archaeological site.

 

2. Xenotes-from the same people who brought you Xcaret, Xenotes brings you four Cenote experiences, named for Earth, Air, Fire and Water.

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3. Coba Mayan EncounterYour unforgettable, off-the-beaten-track adventure tour then begins: exciting zip-line flying over a lagoon, rappelling down into an incredibly beautiful cenote where you can enjoy a refreshing swim before going up again.

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You can still climb the Nohoch Mul pyramid.

 

4. Akumal Snorkel Extreme TourTogether with your guide, fly above the trees of the Riviera Maya by zipline, snorkel at Akumal among turtles, fish and coral. Then rappel like an adventurer, and marvel as you make your way along the underground rivers of the Mayan cenotes.

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While white sand beaches and turquoise blue waters of Cancun and the Riviera Maya may have brought you here, the mysterious and stunning beauty of the jungle is what will stay with you forever. If you want to see, hear and feel what it was like to be in the Garden of Eden during your holiday, reserve a cenote tour today.

Click on the different cenotes tours above or click here to enjoy the highest quality affordable tours and excursions in Cancun and the Riviera Maya.

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We are Ecotourism-Cancun, and we bring you ultimate vacation experiences in Cancun, the Riviera Maya and the entire Mayan World.

 

 

The Jolly Roger-the Ultimate Cancun Pirate Ship

My daughter was invited to go out on the Jolly Roger Pirate Ship…

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The invitation was for two , and she asked if I’d like to be her plus-one. She didn’t have to ask her old man twice.

I love any time out on the water, but the idea of being on a pirate cruise at first wasn’t the most attractive, as I imagined it would be a corny, watered-down version of Pirates of the Caribbean.

I could not have been more wrong.

 

What is the Jolly Roger?image

 

The Jolly Roger is a pirate galleon modeled on Columbus’ ship, the Santa Maria. A crew of talented pirates provides an ambiance of entertainment and fun for people of all ages.

 

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Our host, MC and CPO (Chief Party Officer), Captain Morgan

 

A very talented and coordinated DJ provided music, which set the stage for dancing and games for kids and adults, as pirates swung from ropes and acted out their stories and mutiny. Our ticket included a full meal, three and a half hours open bar, and a party atmosphere and entertainment.

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A company group smiling for the cameras…Little did they know what they were getting into.

 

And a Bottle of Rum…the Drinks

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Left: A Father/Daughter pre-party selfie, with our NINJA Personal Pirate, Marisa behind us. Right: My daughter, armed and dangerous.

So we set off from the pier at Playa Linda. My daughter and I decided that as honorary pirates, rum would be our poison. I decided to go straight Cuba Libres all night, and my little girl (who is not so little anymore) went with Piña Coladas (which I think are gateway drugs, but that’s another post for another day in another blog).

 

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Who says pirates can’t dance? From left to right: Turner, Grouch, Captain Morgan, Rasta, Gargola and our personal pirate Marisa.

Our personal pirate Marisa must somehow have some sort of pirate ninja training…it seems I was just setting down my empty cup when it was replaced by another. The same went for Alex’s coladas. And they were good—not watered down, but not quite undrinkable jet fuel either. They were Goldilocks Just Right.

 

The Food

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Eat up people, you’ll need the energy for dancing and games upstairs on deck.

For dining we could choose between a steak or fish option. We each chose a different one, and we were not disappointed.

Buffets can let you down sometimes, but we were pleasantly surprised by the quality of the food, generous portions, and service from the kitchen staff and our server Marisa.

 

It’s All Fun and Games Until Someone Has to Walk the Plank

Along with singing and dancing from the pirates and all of us guests (get ready, you WILL dance), there were games…games for men, games for women and games for couples.

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Games for the ladies…

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Err umm, games for the newly married couples.

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La Cucarachaaaaa, La Cucarachaaa…glurp, glurp, glurp…

Yours truly was pulled out of the audience to participate in a highly embarrassing one where I had to sing La Cuacaracha while gargling a mouthful of rum. And I won! College did pay off after all.

 

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Gargoyle, probably the most entertaining pirate of them all. Don’t let the scowl fool ya.

At one point or another on the trip, everyone was almost falling off his or her seat from laughter. The talented crew REALLY knows their comedy!

 

And then things got dark.

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Grouch has some anger issues to work out…

Grouch and a band of rogues held a mutiny, and a fierce battle ensued between both sides. It wasn’t a cheap fake sword fight with wood or platinum swords. This was a battle with very real looking swords and sparks definitely flew when they connected. Yikes.

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This just got real.

 

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Rastaman Overboard!

At one point someone yelled Man Overboard! as Rasta took the plunge into the deep blue of the night. The guy really jumped into the waters of the bay from a pretty high perch on the ship. These guys and girls ain’t kiddin’.

 

Fun for the Little Pirates in the Family, too!

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Treasure Hunt!!!

Who didn’t have a fantasy to be a pirate when they were kid? Heck, I do that now. The kids on were well-engaged by all the staff and in particular by Captain Morgan. They ran all over the ship looking for gold coins on a treasure hunt, played games up on stage and had meals fit for little pirate palates.

And the singing and dancing at the end of the voyage was a blast for anyone no mater what age. Well played, Jolly Rogers…you had something for the whole family.

 

The Staff…the Difference

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Each couple or group had a lady or gentleman pirate to serve them all night. Besides serving drinks and food, they were also part of the show up on stage and all over the ship. So let me get this right—they dance, sing, act, serve, and take care of their guests…in both English and Spanish (some even in Portuguese).

Singers, dancers, stuntmen (and women), servers, bartenders…what didn’t they do? It can’t be easy to find performers like these.

Follow the leader, leader, leader…

 

If you’re looking for something REALLY fun to do for the whole family on your vacation to Cancun and the Riviera Maya, put the Jolly Roger on your vacation bucket list.

 

To find out more about the Jolly Roger, the primo Cancun Pirate Ship, check out this link here. To see a whole site full of amazing vacation options, check out ecotourism cancun.com. You’ll save time, money and effort and make these the vacation you’ll remember forever.

Six Tips to Save Your Cancun & Riviera Maya Vacation!

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So you’ve booked your vacation to the Mexican Caribbean. You’ve scoured the Internet for information on the places you might be visiting while here, and that’s a great start. Here are a few tips to help make your holiday even better by saving you time, money and effort.

 

1. Bring biodegradable sunscreen to protect your skin and to protect the water.

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Fish, plants, people and other living creatures DEPEND on clean water. Using Biodegradable sunblock helps protect those water supplies.

 

Note: in some ares, like cenotes, sunblock is not permitted at all, as that water is a direct supply of drinking water for local Mayan communities.

 

2. Bring a hat, swimsuit, comfortable walking shoes, and extra water for trips to Mayan archaeological sites.

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Most archaeological sites are pretty far inland, very far from the sea breezes that keep us cool in Cancun and the Riviera Maya. The humidity can get pretty high in some places, so dress accordingly.

You’ll be doing a good amount of walking at many sites, so bring sneakers or hiking shoes if you have them. Bring a swimsuit and maybe even a change of light clothing in case you can take a dip in a pool, cenote or stream to relieve yourself of the heat.

An extra bottle of water in a backpack can help protect against dehydration if you don’t have an adequate supply nearby. And remember, we can get sudden downpours, so one of those plastic rain ponchos in  your backpack could be a lifesaver.

 

3. Bring a camera, or charge your phone to 100%, or bring an extra charger, as you’ll want to record this place forever!
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A little preparation can go a long way on the day of your tour. You’ll be seeing and doing things you may never see or do again, so record them for posterity!

 

Some tours sell photos of your experience, but they can get pricey, so snap away. Cameras, especially flash, are not admitted in some areas and in some places, taking photos is prohibited altogether.  Always ask permission first.

 

Buying a waterproof camera or buying one of those plastic containers for your camera or phone might be a great idea to get stunning underwater shots and to protect your equipment!

 

4. Bring mosquito repellant in case the bugs are biting.
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 If you’re visiting an archaeological site or cenote or anywhere near the jungle or even the lagoon, a little container of insect repellant (biodegradable if you can find it) could save you some heartache.

 

The local brand to look for is called Autan, in case you can’t find Off! Also, don’t wear colognes or perfumes or heavily-scented lotions or creams so as to not attract unwanted critters.

 

5. Bring CASH for tips, photos and shopping.

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A lot of the places you’ll be visiting on your vacation are set up to receive credit and debit cards. That being said, there are remote places  on your tours where cash is the only acceptable currency. Bring pesos (like 100 U.S. worth or more if you need it) just in case.

 

Also, make sure to let your issuing banks back home know you’ll be on vacation in Mexico to avoid credit/debit card authorization issues.

 

As for shopping, if you’re out in a remote community, buy your travel souvenirs from local vendors. You’ll get good prices, and it provides a sustainable income for outlying communities that would otherwise affect local environments negatively.

 

6. Check with your tour provider or rep to be clear on ALL costs and services included and not included in your trip.

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Again, a little preparation goes a long way on vacation in a foreign country. Don’t assume things will be just like back home. You aren’t back home.

 

As about optional or extra costs, services or charges. For example, on boat trips, sometimes you may need to pay a dock or pier charge or tax, or a fee to local environmental authorities when visiting natural protected areas.

 

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These travel tips are brought to you by ecotourism-cancun.com your online home for tours, excursions and the best and most affordable vacation experiences during your holiday in the Mexican Caribbean. Contact ecotourism-cancun.com directly with any question or doubts, and see how you can save time, money and effort and ENJOY!

 

Check us out on Facebook, and don’t be afraid to like and share our page and information with your friends and family!

 

Chichen Itza

Chichen Itza

Chichen Itza

Chichen Itza is located in the northern Yucatan Peninsula, near the city of Valladolid, Yucatan.

It is one of the most important of the ancient Mayan civilization and developed in stages, of which there still are monumental remains. The area has evidence of Toltec influence, both in art and architecture. Chichen Itza is considered to reach the peak in two stages: the first between 600-900 d. C. when Puuc style buildings were built, and the second to the arrival of the Putun, who emigrated from Campeche in the tenth century.

The most famous buildings on the site are: The Castle, the largest and most important structure. The ladders finish at the bottom with two snake heads, same look come to life at every equinox, when the sun casts its rays on the building, forming triangles of shadow that simulate the body of the snake temple down to earth. The Temple of the Warriors, composed of the Temple of Chac Mool and a set of pillars, each carved with representations of priests and warriors. The Observatory, the Temple of a Thousand Columns, the Tzompantli, the Dzib Akab, and the Temple of the Jaguars, are other important buildings.

Chichen Itza also has the great Sacred Cenote which jade objects have been found, pottery and even skeletons of human beings, especially children, who were offered to the god Chac.

The Chichen Itza Plus Tour has all the amenities for comfortable stay of the visitor.

Come to explore Sian Kaan the biosphere reserve in Mexico

Sian Kaan

Sian Kaan, Mayan word which means “place where the sky is born” was the first Biosphere Reserve established in Mexico. It is located south of the state of Quintana Roo, about 2 hrs away  from Cancun. Today is  a World´s Heritage Site declared by UNESCO, and is of high conservation priority for the people and government of Mexico. It is the third largest protected area of the country and is composed of 600.000 acres of tropical ecosystems that range from lowland forest, flooded savannas, mangroves and a portion of the second largest barrier reef in the world, the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef. The reserve is home to more than 800 species of plants and provides habitat for over 350 species of birds, as well as for the jaguar, puma, ocelot, howler and spider monkeys, crocodiles and many species of turtles. In addition, the Biosphere Reserve of Sian Ka’an is home to 23 archaeological sites of pre-Columbian culture.
If you want to visit Sian Kaan, it’s best to come to the Riviera Maya or Tulum, were there are nice and green hotels.

Xplor Park

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Xplor Park

Xplor is a park in Riviera Maya that is focused on adventure tourism and offers four extreme activities.
One of the activities are the two circuits on the Jungle Canopy, measuring up to 45 meters high, which feature water landings, 2 suspension bridges and a slide, making them different from other zip lines circuits of the Riviera Maya.
It also has the good fortune of having under the ground, an underground river system of indescribable beauty where you can swim and canoe between stalactites with a history of 65 million years.
The latest attraction but by no means the least important, are the amphibious vehicles that you drive yourself to explore the jungle trails on the shore and underground caverns.
The 4 activities that the Xplor park offers are held the same day and are really exciting.
The Xplor Tour has a limited number of visitors per day, so whatever you do on your next vacation to Cancun or Riviera Maya Do not miss this experience, and we will hardly recomended to book ahead if you are looking for comming in high seasoon.

Adventure in Garrafon Isla Mujeres

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Garrafon Natural Park

Garrafon Natural Park is the largest water park in Isla Mujeres – Cancun Mexico  it has one of the most beautiful coral reefs in the world. Isla Mujeres is located just 25 minutes by boat from Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico.

If your purpose on your vacation in the Yucatan Peninsula is to practice a bit of ecotourism adventure, At Garrafon you will find unique natural beauties and fascinating adventures in and out of the water. Its crystal clear waters and gentle currents allow you to enjoy the wonders of the underwater world. It is the ideal place to practice different water activities like snorkeling, kayacking. You can also do kayak or enjoy climbing a tower or zip line over the ocean.
Garrafon is the perfect place to tan under the sun and taste the great seafood and fast food. Inside the park you can buy handicrafts, traditional clothing or beach cloths.

If you also want to swim with dolphins, you can do it on the same day, since we stop to the Isla Mujeres dolphin station on the way to Garrafon.

Park opens daily from 8:30 AM to 5:30 P.M. And closed on Saturday

Dare to Fly in the Sky Ridder in Cancun

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Sky Ridder Cancun

There is another way to enjoy the turquoise Caribbean Sea in Cancun from the magnificent heights, the tour is called Sky Ridder, is perfect for people who do not like very extreme emotions and weighing less than 100 kilos, all children above age 7 years can do this tour.

Since it takes place in a parachute harness instead of individual, it has a couch for two people which is driven from a specialized craft reaching a height of 80 meters, the tour lasts 10 minutes, where you can enjoy a beautiful view of the hotel zone of Cancun.

You can do this activity on your next vacation in Cancun, contact us for more information.

Swimming with Manatees

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Manatees

Have you ever just wanted to go into the water and just hug one of these “Sea Cows”? Manatees are completely herbivorous aquatic mammals, Their scientific name is  Trichechus manatus, from the Greek tri (three) and chechus (nails) and from the Caribbean native manati (with teat). To me personally, they give me an immense feeling of tenderness, and to want to touch and hug them!!!

In general, the activity with manatees is very simple; you enter the water with them and feed them lettuce. It would seem that the activity has very little point but the activity is so gratifying!!!

Interaction with Manatees is possible at the dolphin centers of Isla Mujeres, Puerto Aventuras and in Xel-Ha. In your reservations for activities in Cancun and the Riviera Maya, don’t forget to mention them to find out which center is closest to you.

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