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Nature Travel In The Riviera Maya

By Erik Parker

When you think of Mexico, what comes to mind? You might think of the beautiful beaches and oceans or the warm weather and sunshine. While these are distinguishing features of the country, other equally intriguing and unusual attractions can be found in the southernmost part of Mexico in the Mexican Caribbean and the Riviera Maya.

This region of Mexico, steeped in Mayan culture, is known as the Yucatan Peninsula and comprises the Mexican states of Quintana Roo (where Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and the Riviera Maya are located), Campeche, and Yucatan. Teeming with tropical rainforests, jungles, mangroves, wildlife, and surface rivers that lead to the Caribbean Sea, this region also contains thousands of cenotes — fascinating natural phenomena.

One special place where you can find all these natural wonders is

Tres Ros Nature Park

Named after the three rivers (“tres ros”) winding across 326 acres of tropical rainforests, Tres Ros Nature Park is a unique place where you can explore nature in its truest form. Whereas the typical eco theme parks provide commercialized vacation activities, Tres Ros offers travelers a more authentic nature experience without contrived tourist attractions.

At Tres Ros, nature activities include snorkeling and diving in one of ten accessible cenotes (cavernous sinkholes with natural wells), kayaking or swimming through mangrove-lined rivers that lead to the Caribbean Sea, guided nature tours through rainforests or the botanical garden and nursery that subsidizes reforestation, bicycling and hiking through the jungle, or taking a SenseAdventure journey.

Cenotes & Rivers

Here in the Yucatan Peninsula, naturally occurring wells or holes in the ground are known as cenotes, originally called “dzonot” in Mayan and later evolving into the word “cenote” by Spanish colonists. The captivating cenotes of the Yucatan Peninsula and the Riviera Maya evolved from many changes in the earth’s geology over thousands of years.

Before natural sea levels declined, the Yucatan Peninsula was once a coral reef in the sea that later died and formed a limestone platform. This thick limestone was gradually eroded by acid rain, developing large cavities or caves with stalactites, stalagmites, and columns. When the polar cap melted after the last ice age, these caves flooded and became underground rivers.

The caves that existed above sea level were only partially flooded by the melting polar cap, and their thin roofs eventually collapsed, resulting in freshwater wells called cenotes. These cenotes were a primary water source for the ancient Mayans who also considered them as sacred sites. Four types of cenotes exist: those that are completely underground, partially underground, at land level like lakes or ponds, and open wells that are below land level. Most cenotes range in depth from 16 to 20 feet (5-15 meters), and the water temperature is a refreshing 77 Fahrenheit (25 Centigrade). The fresh water is typically a clear, aquamarine color containing unusual fish and marine life, which makes them ideal for swimming, snorkeling, and diving.

The best news of all Access to this incredible nature park is an exclusive benefit only for guests of Hacienda Tres Ros Resort.

For more info or queries about Hacienda Tres Rios please visit the Hacienda Tres Rios team at

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Article Citation
MLA Style Citation:
Parker, Erik "Nature Travel In The Riviera Maya." Nature Travel In The Riviera Maya. 3 Jul. 2010. 18 Oct 2014 <>.

APA Style Citation:
Parker, E (2010, July 3). Nature Travel In The Riviera Maya. Retrieved October 18, 2014, from

Chicago Style Citation:
Parker, Erik "Nature Travel In The Riviera Maya"

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