This Coba Maya Encounter Review – Mayan Village & Cenote is the third in a series of three Playa Del Carmen Mexico Visit Reviews.
We hopped on our tour bus and departed from the ancient city of Coba, heading towards a Mayan village to enjoy hiking, a suspension bridge crossing, a Mayan blessing ceremony, rappelling into a cenote, climbing out of a cenote, zip line rides, and canoeing back for a delicious lunch.
Our trip from Coba took about 40 minutes to get to the Mayan Village. Most of the time on our tour bus was spent on a narrow road which was lined with tropical foliage and trees. Along the way, there are rustic houses and communities where people work and raise their families.
Many families sell trinkets and tourist goods alongside the roads or from their homes in order to provide for their families. Other families hand-weave hammocks which they sell to tourists.
We never felt unsafe while traveling on our tour bus. We were, however, struck by how lucky we are to live in the United States, to own a home, to enjoy air conditioning, to have a sturdy roof, and to have a more “comfortable” quality of life.
The homes and living environment in this area of the country look uncomfortable and perhaps even harsh. The native people we met on our tour were friendly and welcoming. We were grateful for their hospitality and for welcoming us into their community.
Upon arriving at the Mayan village, we were told to change into swimsuits, wear supportive shoes, and apply sunscreen. There were lockers at the site where you can lock up your valuables.
The only cameras allowed are waterproof action cameras, such as a GoPro camera. Many activities at this adventure site are in the water or over the water, so you don’t want to lose your expensive camera or smartphone.
It was an enjoyable experience to leave our cameras behind as we were able to immerse ourselves in each experience as we were guided through the village and activities.
The name of guide from alltournative.com tours was Victor. He was amazing, and we are grateful for the opportunity to have our tour guided by Victor on this day.
Victor was knowledgeable about the trees and vegetation and the cultural history of the area.
We began our journey through the tropical forest on a narrow trail. We were sure to watch our footing because the trail is rough and uneven in places, with tree roots and rocks jutting out from the forest floor.
Most of the walking was easy; there are sections where you need to focus on what’s in front of you, so you don’t trip or fall.
Along the trail, we also got to cross a wooden and rope suspension bridge over one lake that we later ziplined back over. I would estimate that the suspension bridge was at least 100 yards long. It was exciting and exhilarating to walk over the bridge as it swayed back and forth and undulated under our feet.
We never felt in danger, but our hearts were beating with excitement as the smiles grew on our faces.
The wood and rope suspension bridge led us to a peaceful Mayan temple area for a traditional Mayan blessing ceremony by a local Mayan shaman.
As the shaman spoke in his ancestors’ native tongue, we could not understand what he said, but we knew it was a solemn ceremony passed down from generation to generation. It was a reverent experience, and the shaman came around and blessed each one of us on this tour.
After leaving the shaman blessing ceremony, we hiked up the trail to an underground cenote (an underground cavern filled with fresh water). There was a 7-foot to 8-foot opening through which everyone in our tour rappelled down into the cenote water 55 feet below.
Before descending into the cenote, we had to put on rappelling harnesses and walk-through three showerheads of water to cleanse our bodies; the water was cold!
After the cleansing shower, we rappelled into the cenote water and were lowered onto an inner tube, so we could float around and explore the inner areas of the cave. The water in the cenote was warmer in the cleansing shower…thankfully!
It was a long way down to the water below. You can see a staff member below with an inner tube ready for us to float around on.
Rappelling into the darkness was one of the highlights of our trip. We felt safe and secure at all times…although were worried about how cold the water would be! As it turned out, the water was refreshing, but certainly not cold.
We swam around on rubber inner tubes in the cenote’s mystical waters. We enjoyed paddling around in the water, exploring the cave walls and tree roots that lowered into the water from 55 feet above.
When we were floating around in the cenote, there were only two sources of light from above, a bigger hole we rappelled and descended through and a smaller hole from which you can exit this cenote via a wood and rope ladder.
It is a special experience to share this adventure with friends and loved ones; we highly recommend it! After enjoying time in the cenote, it was time to exit this mystical underground paradise.
There were only two ways out of this cenote – you can get hoisted out with your rappelling gear, or you can climb a rope and wood ladder. The more athletic people can climb out on the ladder, while the less athletic people can get lifted out of the cenote.
We chose to enjoy the whole experience and climb the rope ladder. We were fastened onto safety rope, so we would be safe if we slipped or fell off the ladder as we climbed out.
If you’re in good enough physical shape to climb the ladder, we highly recommend it. About two-thirds of the way up, our arms got tired, but our adrenaline and excitement kept us going…not to mention an ear-to-ear smile on our faces from this adventure!
It was very exciting as we exited through a 4-foot diameter hole in the cenote ceiling to get to the forest floor above!
After drying off, we walked down another trail to our first zip line adventure. This zip line traveled over the same lake where the wood and rope suspension bridge was located.
We put on safety helmets and had ropes and pulleys clipped to our rappelling harnesses. There are two cables that all zip line riders are attached to, so we were assured of a safe and memorable ride.
After our pulleys were secured to the two cables, we gently stepped off the rock cliffs and zipped over the water to the other side.
Make sure you clear your mind of all other thoughts, allowing you to immerse yourself in the freedom and excitement of ziplining.
On the other side of the lake, we were masterfully decelerated by the staff, so our zip line ride ended softly and safely.
Once our group had completed this zip line activity, we continued down the forest trails to another longer zip line. I’m guessing the first zip line was about a 15 to 20-second ride. Our next zip line was much longer!
I counted in my head while another zipline participant enjoyed their ride; it was about 45 seconds long… I was looking forward to this ride!
The second zip line was partly over land and partly over water. The first one-third of the ride was over land and went through a tree-lined area – we could touch tree leaves as we zipped through. The views were stunning as we passed over the native aquatic foliage and low land growth.
The remaining two-thirds of the ride were over water. I think we could’ve done this zip line 5 or 6 times and never got tired of the experience.
As we were the first to go on this second zip line, once our ride was completed, we watched the other members of our tour complete their rides.
We sat down on some benches, under an open structure with a thatch roof, overlooking a beautiful lake, as our fellow tourists enjoyed an exciting zip line ride.
All our experiences that day contributed to an epic adventure that will never be forgotten.
After our group was safely on the other side of the zip line, we hiked around the lake to a dock area and boarded canoes. We canoed to the other side of the lake, where we docked the canoes and walked up a hill to an enclosed area in order to enjoy a wonderful freshly-prepared meal.
Our meal was prepared by the local Mayan women. Our meal consisted of soup, chicken, vegetables, spaghetti, rice, beans, handmade corn tortillas, and two kinds of tropical fruit drinks.
The Mayan women presented us with a wonderful lunch and were cheerful and welcoming to all guests.
After finishing our lunch, without feeling rushed, we walked up the trail back to the village entrance and were provided the opportunity to purchase photos from our adventure.
As we had no camera during our time at the village, we purchased pictures on a CD. All the pictures were sorted for each couple who were on the adventure that day.
Evidently, while we were at lunch, somebody sorted all the pictures and videos we were in and included them on one disk. This was very nice, as we didn’t have to sort through everybody’s pictures to find our pictures.
Our cameraman who traveled with us during our adventure took a lot of pictures of us and the others. As this is one of the towns primary sources of income, we gladly paid for the CD of our photos and videos.
We love supporting and helping the Mayan villagers, who provided us with a wonderful adventure and cultural experience.
We then boarded our tour guided bus, and Victor preceded us to drive us back to The Royal Resort. Some of our other guests wanted to stop at a roadside shopping area to pick up some gifts and trinkets, and Victor obliged.
We collected memories, rather than trinkets and souvenirs, so we just enjoyed looking at the crafts and souvenirs offered at the roadside store.
From there, it took about 40 minutes to get back to our hotel.
If you are considering this tour, we highly recommend it. Our tour guide, Victor, was terrific. The sites we visited were amazing and the weather during our visit was perfect.
We booked our adventure with Fabi, who was working at the AllTourNative office at The Royal Resort.
Fabi was AMAZING!!!
She helped us to decide what the best adventure would be, and it was one of the many outstanding customer relations experiences we had during our visit to Playa Del Carmen.
Make sure to reach out to the people at www.alltournative.com to book your adventure!
Our other adventures in Carmen Del Playa are reviewed here:
PART 3 – Coba Maya Encounter Review – Mayan Village & Cenote (this article)
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