Authentic Riviera Maya – Part III – The Underground River

Puerto Morales (Last Updated On: February 3, 2016)

There are many experiences on the Mexican Mayan Riviera that you can miss while sitting in the all-inclusive resort and not taking the opportunity to really explore the area. Our private tour exposed us to many experiences that showed us more of the culture and left us with a deep respect for the place.

After seeing the Mayan Jungle Camp and visiting with the people in a small Village (Pueblo), it was time for a little relaxation time – Authentic Riviera Maya style.

park entrance

Entrance to our next stop – what would we find here?

Much of the Yucatan Peninsula was once mostly a swamp. Over the centuries, silt settled in layers upon layers forming solid ground. Well, mostly solid. The resulting limestone is very porous. Rain waters have carved the limestone into a maze of rivers and caves that snake under the ground throughout the region. Occasionally the land gives way to form a sink hole (cenote)giving access to the waterway below. The resulting crystal clear pool of water provides an irresistible opportunity for a refreshing plunge.

swimming in an underground river - irresistable

Swimming in an underground river

This particular cenote was equipped with a zip line and a platform for making your entrance into the pool all the more exhilarating. And of course Sean did both….while I watched after climbing down into the pool on a ladder.

After drying off we headed off to Puerto Morales for lunch. The view of the beach from the restaurant, where you can just see the water breaking over the coral reef, was stunning. Reportedly the snorkeling/diving there is world class, but that will have to wait for the next visit. Which is exactly why we love Riviera Maya, each time you leave there is so much to bring you back.

Puerto Morales

View from Puerto Morales Restaurant

fish tacos

Feasting on fish tacos with fresh guacamole overlooking the ocean

After enjoying some amazingly fresh fish tacos and taking in the view we had another welcome surprise.

Mexican Coffee Dessert

A Mexican Coffee drink topped with ice cream and spiked with Xtabetum – a liqueur made from anise seeds


We did a little shopping for discount Mexican gifts and climbed back into the car to return home. The trip felt like several experiences in one. It was a perfect day that left me with many things to ponder, such as which of the things I learned about I’d be able to explore more on my next visit. Hmmm, that coral reef looked pretty enticing….

Related Stories:

Authentic Riviera Maya Part I – Jungle Camp

Authentic Riviera Maya Part II – Pueblo and Orphanage Visit

Playa Del Carmen Seafood – La Bamba Jarocha


Many thanks to Volker’s Private Tours for providing this experience. Our story and opinions are our own.

14 thoughts on “Authentic Riviera Maya – Part III – The Underground River

  1. So beautiful! I woke up to snow yesterday. Thankfully it only lasted a few hours, but it’s not near the tropical beauty these pictures are.

  2. I feel like I desperately need a holiday now! The photos are just gorgeous! 🙂 Thanks for the mini-vacation!

  3. coffee drink? yes please!!! 😀
    beautiful pictures!!!!!

  4. Glad someone has a different take on Riviera Maya that is not beach and booze!

  5. So cool! That zip line and the water…great combo! My boyfriend would love it! So glad you’ve highlighted a different side of the Riviera other than the All Inclusive tourist resorts!

  6. You’re living the dream! I’m living the opposite of your lives: I have put my roots down deep in Nebraska soil, with an acreage, some chickens, a goose, and a passle of children and grandchildren. Yet I ACHE to do some travelling. My husband and I did a bit of international travelling when we were students. We are planning a trip to New Zealand (our second!) early next year and are searching for ways to get cheaper airfare. Any ideas? (I love your blog and I subscribed to keep up with your adventures!)

  7. Gorgeous pictures! Now give me one of those fish tacos! I would do anything for guacamole!

  8. Wow wow wow! Is this place real?! The fish tacos have me craving!

  9. Oh how we love the Riviera Maya in Mexico!! Cenotes are so much fun and the water is so clear and refreshing 🙂 It sounds like you had a great time.


  10. What gorgeous pictures! I didn’t know that Mexico had cenotes–I’ve been swimming in a few of them in the Bahamas (though, they call them blue holes there). I’ve wanted to visit the Riviera Maya for a while now, and you’ve given me new reasons to keep working towards a trip there soon! 😀

  11. That zip line looks like so much fun! And the water is so blue! What a great place this must be to visit, especially if there are delicious drinks too! 🙂

  12. That underground river looks so fun! And the view from the restaurant is killer!

  13. It looks so beautiful! I wish I had visited when I was in Mexico

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