ECOTOURISM AND ADVENTURE IN QUINTANA ROO
Nature and Adventure in QUINTANA ROO
In Quintana Roo there are wonderful natural attractions such as the majestic mangroves, the exuberant jungle, the coral reefs, the mystical cenotes and the mysterious underwater caverns.
All of these are scenarios where you can enjoy countless adventure activities for the whole family such as:
- Bird watching.
- Zip line circuit and hanging bridges in the middle of the jungle.
- Snorkeling and diving in cenotes and caverns.
- Tours through the jungle by mountain bike and 4×4 vehicles.
Map of Ecotourism and Adventure in QUINTANA ROO
Swim with whale sharks is a once-in-a-life experience, this inoffensive animals can measure up to 49 feet and feed on plankton while peacefully passing through the waters of the Caribbean. Remember to keep a respectful distance from the gentle giants, refrain from touching them or use flash photography. The most popular location to snorkel with the whale shark is Holbox Island and Isla Mujeres and the season goes from May to September.
In the Mexican Caribbean you will find a number of cenotes, natural deep-water wells, which are fed by the filtration of the rain through the soft, porous limestone, which is typical of the region, and by the currents of underground rivers. Here is the “Gran Acuifero Maya”, the largest underground river system in the world.
The cenotes were known as Dz’onot by the Mayans, who considered them sacred places since they believed they were passageways to the underground world of Xibalba, the place where their gods and spirits resided after death. Explore the magical world below where you will find amazing formations of stalactites and stalagmites.
For adventure lovers, Puerto Morelos is the departure point for a unique adventure. Near Puerto Morelos there are many cenotes and underground rivers, so you can travel into the jungle, either walking or by bicycle, on horseback, or ATVs.
There are fun activities for all ages, from your youngest to adventurous teenagers or adults, like snorkeling, zip lines or scuba diving. The route includes ecoparks and cenotes like: Zapote, Siete Bocas, Kin Há, La Noria, Las Mojarras, Chilam Balam, Verde Lucero and Boca del Puma.
The Mexican Caribbean is home to impressive natural reserves and protected areas such as:
- Contoy Island.
- Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve.
- Reef National Park of Puerto Morelos
- Punta Cancún and Punta Nizuc.
- Banco Chinchorro Biosphere Reserve.
In all of them you can carry out low-impact activities such as flora and fauna observation, since they are the habitat of birds, turtles, flamingos, crocodiles, monkeys, among many other species. You can also practice snorkeling, diving and hiking.
Interact with the local species
In Cancun and some other destinations in the Mexican Caribbean, it is also possible to admire, live and learn about the conservation of different species of animals, as well as marvel at the diversity of flora characteristic of the area. There are several parks dedicated to this mission:
Payo Obispo Zoo, in Chetumal. It is a center for the conservation and protection of flora and fauna with an interesting collection of butterflies, reptiles, birds and mammals from the region and from other parts of the world. In addition, it has other attractions such as Lake Maggiore, the Wetlands Grotto, the Tropical Forest Interpretive Center, Mayan foundations, hanging bridges, a jaguar pit, an interactive farm, zip lines, boats and an aviary.
Natural Wonders Of Quintana Roo
Cozumel reefs. The numerous reefs, the abundance of marine life, the pleasant temperature and transparency of the waters that allow a visibility of up to 40 and 50 m, make Cozumel one of the five best destinations for diving in the world. Also on the eastern side there are more than 25 calm reefs for all kinds of divers. and all are part of the Arrecifes de Cozumel National Marine Park.
These reefs are distinguished by enormous quantities of fish of various sizes, shapes and colors, including gigantic groupers and chernas that, accustomed to human presence, can be observed closely. Likewise, another characteristic of the island’s reefs is the profusion of gorgonids, soft and flexible corals popularly called fans.
Punta Laguna. From Cobá to Nuevo Xcan. Its name comes from a huge lagoon near the road. Some Mayan vestiges are observed. Clear water lagoon. At sunrise and sunset, spider monkeys can be seen leaping through the tree branches. In the jungle there are more than a hundred species of birds and deer, wild boar, tigrillos, turtles and lizards coexist. The care that the Mayans dedicate to this place deserves the respect of the visitor.
Chemuyil. Beautiful bay with soft white sand washed by the Caribbean and surrounded by lush and beautiful jungle.
Caverns of Sacbé. Caverns one of the most beautiful, full of stalactites and stalagmites found both in the vault and under the water. There are swimming facilities with a cavern without water for meditation and yoga.
Cenotes in the Riviera Maya. Cenotes and caves proliferate along the coast. Diving in cenotes is dangerous and only for experienced and certified divers accompanied by a guide. Some cenotes and caves in the south of the Riviera Maya that include jungle walks that are suitable for the whole family.
Xcacel. In a one kilometer bay, romantic and peaceful place. It is located 51 km from Playa del Carmen. Place of sea turtles, as a sanctuary for this species has been decreed. Also with beautiful landscapes of mangroves that to the south of the bay surround an interesting cenote.
Underwater World of Quintana Roo. Flat relief in almost all its extension, there are some coastal accidents such as the Island of Cozumel and the Ascensión, Espíritu Santo and Chetumal Bays, whose entry is dangerous due to the existence of numerous coral banks. It has a warm humid climate with rains in summer.
Among the most important species of fauna that inhabit the manatee, white turtle, leatherback turtle, loggerhead turtle, hawksbill turtle, also the swamp crocodile, river crocodile, jaguar, puma, ocelot, igrillo, lion, tapir, as well as the Brown pelican, the pink spoonbill, the pink flamingo, the booby bird and the jabirú stork (the largest bird in America).
Ecotourism in the RIVIERA MAYA
The park has an area of 988 acres of unexplored rainforest and three caves with a “cenote”. The main cave is now suitable for an easy walking tour, which has been enhanced with indirect lighting for a better view and enjoyment. The natural park offers a guided walk through 600-meter (0.4 mile) dry cave, and during the tour the guide gives an interesting explanation of the origin of the cave system in the Yucatan Peninsula.
After the underground tour, you’ll have a chance to swim and snorkel in the crystalline waters of the sacred cenote, a mystical experience. The National Geographic Society has included Aktun Chen on the list of the Top 10 Best and Most Impressive Underground Walkways in the World.
You can also fly over a kilometer (0.62 mile) through 10 zip lines and two suspension bridges; contemplate the lush tropical jungle. It features a restaurant. Schedule: Monday to Saturday from 9:00 to 16:30 hrs.
An eco-park with three different cenotes, one open and the other two are semi-opened. Explore an extraordinary system of cenotes while swimming and snorkeling in their crystalline waters. You can also practice rappel and set out on flight over the jungle’s foliage on an exciting zip-line.
Take a bike journey through jungle paths or immerse yourself in a traditional Mayan ceremony, including the temazcal, a steam bath used by the Mayans and experience this soul and body purification. Opens daily from 9:00 to 17:00 hrs.
Its name means “yellow stone mouth” in Mayan. An ecopark where you can swim in wonderful fresh water cenotes and explore an underground cavern. You can also enjoy all the flora and fauna surrounding these magnificent caves and cenotes. Schedule: Daily from 9:00 to 17:00 hrs.
Akumal Monkey Sanctuary
This is a great experience for the whole family, home for rescued and donated primates and other species. During the tour the guide will take you to the Mayan jungle to admire the surroundings that includes a beautiful cenote; on the way you can interact with spider monkeys, capuchin monkeys, lemurs and other animals such as goats, boas and macaws, among others. Opens daily 9:00 to 17:00 hrs.
Biosphere Reserve Sian Ka’an
This reserve is one of Mexico’s largest protected areas with 1.6 million-acre of intricately linked marine, coastal and terrestrial ecosystems, along with 120 kilometers of marine area with a valuable part of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef and seagrass beds in the shallow bays. The diversity of life in Sian Ka’an is exceptional; it has tropical rainforest, mangroves, petenes, wetlands, savannah and sea. A geological, biological and cultural particularity are the “cenotes”, deep natural sinkholes harboring fascinating life forms, many of them endemic.
It has been found over 850 vascular plants, including 120 woody species, 375 bird species and 115 species of mammals, 90 species of native bees, 47 species of dragonflies, 74 species of beetles, 276 species of crustaceans, 310 species of mosquitoes, 318 species of butterflies and 1,048 species of flora. With some 84-recorded species of reef-building coral the portion of the Mesoamerican Reef within the property is one of the richest in Mexico. Here it is easy to find shark, shad, parrotfish, butterfly fish, barracuda, grouper, and moray eels, among others. Its beaches are important breeding areas for green, loggerhead, hawksbill, and leatherback turtles.
The wetlands are the inhabitant of manatees and two species of endangered crocodiles. Inside the Reserve are 23 Mayan sites and two fishing villages, Boca Paila and Punta Allen. This is the only sector of the Reserve that is open to a very limited tourist development, and there are private houses where you can feel in a secluded tropical paradise of crystal clear waters and gorgeous soft white sand beaches. Punta Allen is considered one of the best locations for fly-fishing in Mexico.
Kayak between the mangrove-filled channels and quiet lagoons of the Sian Ka’an Biosphere, an incredible journey into a pristine wetland filled with birds, and experience firsthand the incredible natural diversity of the Reserve. The diving and snorkeling are fabulous as well. In 1987, the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve was declared a World Heritage Site for its exceptional natural beauty and extraordinary biodiversity.
Ecotourism in COZUMEL
Cozumel is Mexico’s largest Caribbean island, and Mexico’s third-largest island. The island is a treasure trove of biodiversity, here you will find all the ecosystems of the Yucatan Peninsula: reef, coastal dunes, forests and wetlands.
The Island has been known to be a paradise for tourist but you may not know that it is home to more than 30 endemic animal species like the lizard picasombra, the raccoon Procyonpigmaeus dwarf, the dwarf coati Nasua badger or nelsoni, tamanduas and the Cozumel thrasher. It is considered home to 23 species of amphibians and reptiles, 224 of birds, 15 land-mammals and 24 bats.
The indigenous snakes are not poisonous. Crocodiles live only in the lagoons and mangroves, and there are no big cats on the island. The island is a safe environment for scholars and observers of nature. Cozumel is one of the favorite places of the marine turtles to spawn. Thousands of turtles such as green sea turtle and the hawksbill turtle arrive to the beaches of island during the summer and part of autumn.
Like that of all tropical regions, Cozumel’s plant life is varied and plentiful, here you can find 542 species of plants, that means about 40 percent of the flora of the State of Quintana Roo. Among them, there are some endemic, like four species of mangroves and one palm of the region, known as Chit.
The immense coral reef structures, teaming with a wealth of vibrant marine life surrounding the island, along with the management and conservation measures, have placed Cozumel as pne of the 5 top dive sites in the world. The reef system of Cozumel consists of over 1100 marine species, of which 403 are algae, 62 coral, 293 fish, 301 invertebrates (sea urchins, starfish, crustaceans, mollusks and polychaetes) and 67 sponges, an absolute world treasure.
To preserve this unique biodiversity, over 185,000 hectares have been declared as protected area. Means 75% of island’s area is protected; this is the highest percentage of territory as natural parks in Mexico.
Cozumel Reefs National Marine Park
The site covers 11,987 ha of coral reefs off the southern coast of Cozumel island. Part of the great Mesoamerican reef, known as the second biggest coral reef in the world. It contains rich biological communities among the coral formations and a wide reef lagoon with sea grasses fields.
The authorities verify the physical condition of the reefs and instruct the tourist resort managers, diving instructors, local community and visitors with policies towards conservation and management of the reefs.
It is considered one of the best places in the world to practice diving.
Chankanaab National Park
It is a state protected area, with an area of almost 14 hectares of land. Chankanaab boasts the world’s only inland coral reef, and is home to numerous ecosystems and a natural aquarium with over 60 species of tropical fish, crustaceans and corals.
The park is adventure, fun, tranquility and security. It provides dedicated areas for scuba diving and snorkeling. The shallow site promotes opportunities to take underwater photos of a 14-foot Christ statue and a smaller statue of the Virgin Mary against a background teeming with marine life. Here you can swim with the dolphins and enjoy the lush green vegetation of the island.
Flora and Fauna Protection Area
“The northern portion and the eastern, terrestrial and marine coastal strip of the Island of Cozumel (APFFIC)”
The new area offers protection for flora and fauna, both on land and water, and spans the northern and eastern coastal strip. The total area is 93,477 acres (37,829 hectares.) with a great diversity of ecosystems such as reefs, seagrass beds, mangroves, coastal dunes, jungles and the largest system of wetlands and coastal lagoons of the island. It is an important area that protects terrestrial and aquatic wildlife species. For conservation of biodiversity, environment, and natural resources there are several guidelines associated with cultural values and traditional natural resource management system.
Located north of the island, is a place that offers beautiful scenery and the opportunity to venture out to enjoy nature. There are some of the most beautiful beaches of the island and a recognizable landmark, the old lighthouse at Punta Molas, which is accessible only with a 4×4 vehicle through a narrow unpaved road surrounded by tropical vegetation.
The beaches are not suitable for swimming, but you can enjoy a panoramic view, since it is hard to see the coast of the Riviera Maya, as well as cruise ships and yachts arriving to the island by the north channel of Cozumel. The beaches here are generally too dangerous for swimming but if you can climb to the top of the lighthouse, you will be rewarded with 360-degree views of the coastline and the Eco reserve.
You should carry everything you need for a day on a secluded beach because you will not find any services. Also, there are some ruins near the waterline, “Castillo Real” (Royal Castle), in front of the lighthouse worth checking out.
Area subject to ecological conservation (Punta Sur Ecological Park)
With an area of more than a thousand hectares (247-acre), the Natural Protected Area has a remarkable variety of natural wonders. There are coastal dunes, mangroves, lagoon systems and beautiful beaches.
At the park’s (and the island’s) southernmost point stands the Faro Celarain, and in what used to be the lighthouse keeper’s home, there is a museum dedicated to navigation with five exhibit rooms depicting Maya navigators, buccaneers, marine navigational signs and a display on how lighthouse keepers lived in the 1930’s.
The highlights of this park include wide and deserted beautiful beaches that serve as a sanctuary for sea turtles, and there’s great snorkeling offshore. Spot crocodiles and birds from observation towers near Colombia Lagoon or take the amazing boat ride on the Colombia Lagoon and enter a world of mangroves, creeping plants and coastal jungles.
Forests and Wetlands of Cozumel State Park
It is a State Protected Natural Area, which covers an area of nearly 20,000 ha of jungle. It is home to 30 endemic species found in island. It is an important place with a unique biodiversity, which seeks to protect each of its elements, but primarily the results of forest and water ecosystem interaction.
It is an excellent option for those who like bird watching and enjoy nature.
Ecotourism in CHETUMAL - GRAND COSTA MAYA
Mexico is one of the most biologically diverse countries on earth. It is home to more than 1000 bird species and the Yucatan Peninsula is high on the list of unique places to visit for birders.
There are almost the same number of bird species in the region as those that can be found throughout Europe, there are currently more than 250 registered in Quintana Roo. The already diverse local bird fauna is enriched by the fact that more than 250 species spend winters here or migrate through.
Some of the best places for bird watching are the lagoons along Costa Maya and the areas nearby the archaeological sites offers birdwatchers, as well as Sacxán, located 6 km from Huay Pix. This place will offer birdwatchers some of the most colorful birds of the area; from the bird-watching tower on the top of a hill where can see clearly Belize, the Hondo River, and a series of wetlands. Hawk, pink spatula, yellow warbler, white- eyed vireo and storks, are among the birds you can spot in this area.
From April to September the shoreline of Mahahual become a nest area for sea turtles.
This is the ultimate fun in Costa Maya. The tour will guide you to secluded areas on the Costa Maya coast, small villages, and beautiful places to watch birds and the regional fauna.
Go zip-lining at Kan K’in, located just 10 minutes by car from central Bacalar. There are 5 short zip-lines and you can enjoy soaring over the Mayan jungle and overlooks the impressive turquoise waters of the lagoon.
La Unión is located 114 km from Chetumal and near the Belize border. Is the perfect place for adventure lovers with a magnificent cenote called Cocodrilo Dorado (Golden Crocodile); this cenote is at the foot of a small mountain range and has a 70 meters high rock wall, making it the best place in all of Quintana Roo to practice rappel.
This area is also an ideal place for hiking (both day and night), mountain biking and camping.
More Tourist Attractions in QUINTANA ROO
Cancun is recognized around the world for its spectacular white sand beaches, its fascinating sea with turquoise blue waters and its unique climate. In addition, it has excellent air and land connectivity, as well as a first-rate hotel infrastructure that places it as one of the best tourist destinations in the world. Year after year Cancun is the destination chosen by national and international visitors thanks to the wide range of attractions and tourist places it offers such as: Mayan culture and history that can be enjoyed in its museums and archaeological sites, water activities, adventure tourism, great variety of gastronomic experiences, spectacular shopping centers as well as seductive entertainment offers for the whole family.… Read More
Riviera Maya offers wonderful beaches, turquoise waters and fine white sand, archeological sites, picturesque little towns, recreation centers, freshwater lagoons, underwater caves and cenotes, as well as ecological, and food and lodging options ranging from rustic cabins to gleaming condos, five-star hotels, and all inclusive accommodation. Here you can be seduced by an exquisite culinary tour, experiencing the regional cuisine prepared with the inherited Mayan recipes. About the nightlife, Riviera Maya has an exciting and cosmopolitan options with a wide variety of bars and nightclubs along the beach. It is an ideal setting for romance, making it a favorite of those who want a beach wedding or an unforgettable honeymoon.… Read More
With a Mexican heart and a Caribbean soul, Cozumel is a paradise where tradition, flavor and joy come together. You will always find a friendly face and a warm welcome to make your stay an unforgettable one. Cozumel’s mostly undeveloped territory at the center of the island is covered by jungle and swampy lagoons, which are home to tiny mammals and endemic birds that have never left the island. Noteworthy is the Chankanaab National Park, a Cozumel icon, and the Punta Sur Ecological Reserve. This huge protected area at the southern tip of the island includes Punta Celarain and its historical lighthouse, as well as the Colombia Lagoon, a shelter for many of the island’s endemic species, as well as other endangered forms of life, such as marine turtles and their nesting areas.… Read More
Other options to experience adventure in Quintana Roo are the various natural, thematic, adventure, extreme and aquatic parks where in addition to living exciting and entertaining experiences it is possible to get in touch with nature. Xavage: It is an extreme adventure park with various activities that include a suspended rope circuit, a horizontal zip line, driving an all-terrain vehicle and rafting. Maya Park: Located in the hotel zone of Cancun, it offers a series of activities whose theme is “culture through adventure.” The tour begins with a video that tells the history of the Mayans, continuing with a zip line flight and boat rides through the Nichupté Lagoon. Finally, you will go through the Mayan Path, where you can participate in a Mayan dance and appreciate some elements of this culture.… Read More
The Archaeological Zone of Tulum is a must see and the best example of Mayan charm thanks to its ruins located on the edge of the Caribbean Sea; In addition to being the only archaeological zone that sits on the edge of a cliff, under which is the Playa del Paraíso, one of the best and most beautiful beaches in the Riviera Maya and most likely the most portrayed.… Read More
In this destination you will find several marinas that offer water activities, with professional guides and operators who operate excellent fleets. There is an almost unlimited variety of activities, you can rent a jet ski or catamaran, take a tour through the mangroves driving a speedboat, travel in a submarine, snorkel in one of the reefs of Cancun, Cozumel or Puerto Morelos, or else dive in one of the sunken ships that are between Cancun and Isla Mujeres. Cancun has 23 kilometers of beaches of fine white sand and turquoise blue waters, considered among the best and most beautiful in the world. They are ideal for all kinds of water activities.… Read More
The perfect climate and best weather for Water Sports can be found in the Riviera Maya! Enjoying a day under the bright sun, might be something you find hard to stop doing on your relaxed vacations, just the idea of leaving the comfort of the white sand beaches, but when you do you’re rewarded with clear waters for great visibility and year-round warm water, you won’t resist the idea of practicing great water sports. We offer a great variety of water activities for you to choose from, sports like jet skiing and wave runners, parasailing, snorkeling tours, scuba diving trips, swimming with dolphins and deep sea fishing trips that will get you out on the water and let you be active!… Read More
If you are looking for a place with diverse options where each member of the family finds interesting activities, Cozumel is one of the best choices: for the most daring, diving or snorkeling to get to know one of the most important reefs in the world, through kayaking, kite boarding and wind surfing for those who prefer to stay close to the shore, even sport fishing, for family members who prefer to spend a quieter time.… Read More
Among the many attractions of Quintana Roo is having access to the vestiges of an ancient culture as fascinating as the Mayan culture. Just a few hours away you can visit several very important sites.The archaeological sites of the Mexican Caribbean can be visited any day of the week between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., in some of them there are guides who speak several Languages. If you are passionate about archaeological remains, you can visit some in Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Xcaret and Xel-Há.… Read More
Get to know the Magic Towns of Quintana Roo: Isla Mujeres, Tulum and Bacalar and marvel at their stories, with their archaeological sites, their turquoise waters, ecotourism and adventure activities. Here you will learn about the ancient Mayan civilization, whose essence remains to this day. You will learn about the work of artisans, whose expertise is passed from generation to generation and you will delight in the mixtures of smells and flavors of the exquisite gastronomy of the region.… Read More
The Gastronomy of Quintana Roo shares several elements with that of Yucatán and Campeche, in which traditional and contemporary cooking techniques are mixed. Although in places like Playa del Carmen and Cancun, where migrants from other countries live, the dishes have been enriched with international flavors. In regional cuisine, ingredients of pre-Hispanic origin are combined with those brought by the Spanish. The dishes of chicken, pork, beef and rabbit meat stewed and seasoned with oregano, purple onion, sour orange, sweet chili, pumpkin seed, tomato, achiote, habanero pepper and coriander stand out among other ingredients.… Read More
The golf circuit in and around the Mexican Caribbean makes it one of the most competitive destinations both within and beyond our borders. It Offers 15 operating courses, other interesting golf complexes. In an advanced planning stage and the endorsement of international tournaments such as the PGA Tour at Mayakoba, the only PGA event to take place outside the United States and Canada. Cancun is on the verge of becoming México’s new golf leader, with seven courses in Cancun, another seven in La Riviera Maya and one more in Cozumel.
Courses are full-service venues, each with a professional pro shop, well-maintained golf carts, driving range, putting green, Bermuda fairways and greens, caddies, top quality equipment rentals, restaurants, and beverage cart. All the courses are open to the public (some require advance arrangements for access).… Read More
The shopping experience in Quintana Roo every day becomes more sophisticated and cosmopolitan thanks to the wide variety of options that the destination offers. In addition, it is a duty-free zone for a wide range of items such as perfumery and cosmetics, as well as for wines and spirits, to name a few. There are exclusive and modern shopping centers in the hotel zone and in downtown Cancun with shops and boutiques that allow the visitor to find national and international renowned brands. Each shopping center has a unique architectural style, as well as an attractive range of services and entertainment options for the whole family.… Read More
Costa Maya is located on the south of the Quintana Roo state and has many locations to choose from: a typical Caribbean enclave like Chetumal, a Magic Town like Bacalar, beautiful beaches like Mahahual and Xcalak and amazing Mayan sites such as Chacchoben or Kohunlich. Blessed with an unbeatable combination of tropical forest, wetlands, white-sand beaches, coral reefs, abundant wildlife and magnificent archaeological sites, Grand Costa Maya has long been one of Mexico’s best-kept secrets. This is an ideal place for adventure lovers as well as for people who loved Mayan culture, since several communities in here have preserved timeless traditions.… Read More
Guided Tours in QUINTANA ROO
Flights & Hotels in CANCUN
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