Watch for this sign

The amazing Rio Secreto (Secret River in English) is easily accessed if you are on the western coast of the Yucatan in Mexico. Fly into Cancun, Mexico and head south along the coast for 75 km. It is located 9 km south of Playa Del Carmen and 58 km north of Tulum, just west of the main coastal highway (307) (watch for the sign while on hwy 307). Google maps can also be used to navigate to it. Transportation can be arranged with many operators or with Rio Secreto themselves. Some cruise ships offer day trips from Cozumel.


google maps 2017
google maps 2017

You’ll walk, wade and float through about 1 km of the cave. Life jackets are required, so the swimming is head’s up and you’re mostly using your arms or legs to gently propel yourself through water where you can’t touch only a limited amount – most of the time, you are walking or wading in waist deep water or less. Wet suits are also required and ensure a pleasant experience in the cool water. Helmets with headlights are also regular gear and you’ll need to watch your head a few times. The route does not have a large amount of steps or slopes but there is a bit of elevation change. They offer walking sticks to assist with balance if desired. The water is extremely clean and you’ll come out refreshed – do not drink from the water, however.

When you arrive at the welcome center near the highway, you will sign in and then wait for a bus

Guided tour groups are kept small

to take you a few kilometers into the jungle where the entrance is. There, you will have access to bathrooms and lockers as well as non-alcoholic drinks. You’ll be required to shower before entering the cave to help remove any chemicals from your skin. Towels are provided. Avoid suntan lotions, body oils and perfumes if possible. Afterward, a buffet of local foods is available after which you will be able to catch a bus back to the welcome center.

Taking phones, cameras or video cameras are not allowed. They do send along their own photographer who records the trip. Flash drives with pictures of your party are then offered – the price is pretty high, but is the only way to have any photo keepsakes from the trip. The pictures in my posts here are examples of their work.

Allow about four hours for the river tour only. Prices for the tour begin at $79 at the time of this writing. Children 4 to 12 cost $39.50. Optional available activities or transportation will add to the cost. Availability is very limited, so book early. Reservations directly with Rio Secreto can be made on their website

Wading in Rio Secreto

To learn about what you’ll experience when you see this wonder for yourself, check out the companion article here.

To see pictures from our experience, check out my gallery here.

Return to my ranked list of cenotes.


IT pro by day, avid traveler and photographer by night.

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