Eco-Adventures in Cancun
Posted on 07/31/2017
Beyond Cancun’s thriving Hotel Zone lies a host of outdoor activities that don’t involve lounge chairs and beach cabanas. In fact, Cancun makes the perfect home-base for those in search of a bit more adventure than they’ll find poolside.
With so many activities on offer, narrowing down one’s choices can be tough. Here are some ideas to get you started:
Just off the coast of Cancun, this island is home to the Cancun Underwater Museum of Art, an undersea-scape of fantastical sculptures submerged just below the water’s surface. The sculptures not only provide visitors with a stunning art gallery but offer refuge to a host of tropical fish and corals.
The island is also home to scores of sea turtles and because of their endangered status, a rehabilitation and breeding facility, a must-see for anyone who loves these amazing sea creatures.
This secluded island north of Isla Mujeres offers up sandy white beaches and a lush tropical jungle—no wonder it’s home to more than 150 species of migrating and resident birds.
Of special note are the brown pelican, the double-breasted cormorant and the frigate. It’s also home to nesting sea turtles. Guided tours given by resident biologists provide unique insight to the island’s flora and fauna.
Designated as a Biosphere Reserve in 1986 and a World Heritage Site by UNESCO a year later, Sian Ka’an is the largest protected area in the Mexican Caribbean.
Just two hours south of Cancun and close to Tulum, this reserve includes tropical forests and mangroves, as well a spectacular barrier reef. Boat tours of the area offer a rare opportunity to see the area’s wildlife and stunning Mayan ruins.
This magical underground river is a geological wonder, rich with stalagmites and stalactites. Although the river system offers 7.5 miles of underground rivers, you won’t need a dive certification to explore the longest semi-sunken cave system in the Yucatan.
Heralded as one of the region’s best-kept secrets, the underground cave system offers the perfect activity for rainy days or when the sun simply proves to be too much.
Cancun’s east coast is home to a paradise of mangrove swamps and native species that make for the perfect place to learn about Quintana Roo’s natural ecosystems.
The Nichupte Lagoon has seven lakes, including Laguna del Amor, Laguna Bojorquez, San Jose and Laguna Laguna Ciega and is connected to the Caribbean by the Siegfried and Nizuc channels.
A visit here is perfect for water lovers, where adventurers can fish, kayak, canoe, snorkel and more. Tours allow visitors the chance to explore the mangroves and learn about the coral reef ecosystems and maybe even see crocodiles.
One of the many cenotes located near Cancun, the Cenote Maya provides visitors the chance to see an almost perfectly round cenote. Visitors can swim and dive, or for the more adventurous, traverse ropes, rappel down 26 meters or swing on Tarzan vines.
Ek Balam, meanwhile, is an impressive archeological site that was once one of the ceremonial centers of the Yucatan Peninsula.
PHOTO: Isla Mujeres, Mexico. (photo via Flickr/Roberto Ventre)