Rio Secreto in Cozumel: a really amazing cave hike that is not for the claustrophobic.
We had been thinking about going to Rio Secreto for several years, and finally got our chance during our third trip to Cozumel. (Technically, this is in Playa Del Carmen, but we went during our stop in Cozumel.) The pictures and reviews always looked amazing, so we had high expectations for this excursion. Fortunately, it really was a unique and amazing experience.
We had to take a 30 minute bus ride from the port that took us on some main roads, followed by what felt like some slightly dangerous back roads (at one point, there was what looked like a roadblock the bus sped through).
When we got Rio Secreto, we had to put almost all our belongings in lockers, and don their wetsuits and water shoes. If you have your own water shoes, I highly recommend you bring them. The ones they have are not in the best shape. There was also one participant, who might have been the tallest person I’ve ever see in person, who could not get his feet to fit into any of the shoes they had. So, if you need anything larger than a size 16, you really need to bring your own water shoes!
The tour started with some instructions, and also explanations about their preservation efforts. The waters in the underground caves were pristine, so we had to minimize our impact by taking showers beforehand to get rid of excess oils that can affect stalagmite growth.
The caves started out large and beautiful with water that was ankle-deep. Eventually, the water got deeper as we got further into the cave. The space also got smaller, and more beautiful. They had some light installations that really brought out the beauty of what we were seeing. One of the best parts was when we entered a chamber that had stalactites that came quite low, and they turned off all the lights as we floated in the water. This was the darkest dark I’ve ever seen. It was eerie and serene at the same time.
Another part of the hike that I loved, but some might not appreciate as much, was when we had to walk through a narrow passageway that barely allowed my nose to stay above water with the ceiling pressing down on my helmet. Some may find that claustrophobic, but fortunately that passage was only a few minutes long.
The hike was around one hour-long, and we would do it again if we get the chance. In summary, this is probably the first thing that should be on your list if you go to Cozumel.