We have all visited caves but I admit I had never experienced anything like Rio Secreto before. A huge system of caves near to Playa del Carmen, Mexico. One of the natural wonders of the country. It is actually one of the best underground experiences I have ever had. A natural wonder does not cover enough in words what it is like when you take a trip through it.
Over many centuries an underground river of pure water has been carving out pure beauty beneath the ground through the limestone. There are around 38 km of caves in the system and 10 km are used for tourism that you see here. More than enough plus preservation is very important. During research into the caves they have found cave paintings and religious altars from the Maya people. So it was most probably an important place too, long ago, before us modern people re found it.
How was It Discovered
The caves remained hidden after the Maya civilisation, until one day, in 2004, a farmer was chasing an iguana. He chased into one of the cave entrances and thus Rio Secroto was discovered in the modern world. This paradise beneath the ground.
My Day Within The Caves
Of course so much of it would need to be explored in diving suits, but, at the area of Rio Secreto the networks are semi filled thus making it accessible to many.
Wetsuits on, right from the start as you go into one of the many entrances hidden in the jungle the eyes and senses are hit with pure natural beauty that cannot be seen hardly anywhere on earth.
I had never heard of the caves here at Rio Secreto before, but I was never going to forget them for the rest of my life. A unique place that has to be seen and experienced to be believed. The colours!
The care taken by the owners and guides to ensure it stays pure for future generations is a great thing to see. All must shower before entering, all are briefed on how to avoid touching the stalactites etc to stop human contamination. No glaring touristic lights to show the way or footways. It truly is just you, a headtorch and an awesome natural paradise.
Wading through the water, carefully, you may get a glimpse of some of the truly unique wildlife down here. Life that has evolved with no light. More on that further on.
Sometimes you are walking, sometimes ducking down, sometimes swimming/floating through the pure clear water. One and a half hours slowly taking it all in. The guide has so much knowledge and enthusiasm too. Everything is explained or proudly shown. And the Mexicans are right to be proud of this.
Even as I write this with all fresh in my mind I feel I should pinch myself to prove I actually saw and experienced what I did. Magical! Beautiful! Mother Nature, my favourite architect, thank you!
After the discovery of the caves in 2004. It was mapped then a section open for ecotourism public tours. If you are in Mexico and near to Playa del Carmen then I seriously suggest you take a tour in these wondrous caves. It will give you memories to treasure.
The Nature and Wildlife of Rio Secreto
Even the walk to and from the cave entrance and exit points lets you get to see and hear a unique nature, never mind what lives below.
Life does live in the caves themselves. deep in the dark and in the waters. Creatures swimming or climbing that have never seen light throughout the whole of their evolution. Insects and fish, colourless and eyeless as they had no need.
In the image captions I have put the names in Spanish, English and latin.
Imagine this spider crawling up your leg? It certainly has the colour and stance as if to say stay away.
These so far have been wonderful and colourful examples of land in and around these unique caves where light and vegetation has helped them.
As I said before, evolving without being able to see, deep down in the cave system itself, meant no need to evolve eyes or colour. Nature always continues to wow us with how it adapts to all ways of life and conditions.
New discoveries in Rio secreto are happening all the time. Teaching us more as fast as we can learn. It truly is a remarkable place that I will always remember as being honoured to take a look inside.