Underground Caves and River: Rio Secreto with Kids

A group shot with several families in front of the Rio Secreto Mexico sign, as part of a tour.
Photo Courtesy: Gunjan Prakash

One of the best family-friendly tours in Playa del Carmen, Rio Secreto is Riviera Maya’s very own underground adventure! Here, find amazing rock formations surrounded by a crystal blue water, also called a cenote. Mexico is one of the few places where you can witness such a beautiful sight. I had the delight of visiting this natural wonder during my family trip to Cancun. I can confidently say Rio Secreto with kids is one of the most memorable experiences we’ve ever had! It is truly one of the best things to do in Playa del Carmen with kids (or, in our case from Cacun with kids!). We booked our excursion online ahead of time, where we were able to find better prices and inevitably a lot of hassle.

From the NIZUC Resort & Spa (where we stayed), we packed our rental car (which we got from the airport for literal pennies), and then we were off. My husband and I were just as excited as our then six-year-old twins! We couldn’t wait to finally experience Rio Secreto with kids.

Book your family vacation at NIZUC Resort & Spa now.

Getting There

Many choose to visit Rio Secreto early in the morning to get the full experience. We arrived at 11:00 am and found it was the perfect time of day — balmy, but bearable. Regardless of what company you choose, however, you’ll first be seated to watch a video presentation, which gives a brief history of the caves and their significance. Since we booked directly through the Rio Secreto, our tour was centered on eco-consciousness. As such, we also had to take a thorough shower to get rid of sunscreen, makeup, and any other debris.

Photo Courtesy: Rio Secreto

I was extremely impressed with the attention the tour gave to maintaining this stunning archaeological site. My kids were even more thrilled because they got to wear wet suits, helmets with a headlamp, a life jacket, and water shoes. They felt like real adventurers! We were also given a walking stick, which I found completely necessary given how sharp some of the rocks are. After snapping a few quick pictures, our guide started the amazing adventure. Luckily, they were very entertaining and helpful, using humor to engage my kids and keep their attention! Given this, I definitely think Rio Secreto is also one of the best things to do in Playa del Carmen with teens. Between the adventure and education information, you can’t go wrong with this experience!

The Adventure

Family of three with flashlights swimming in Rio Secreto underground cave.
Photo Courtesy: Gunjan Prakash

Visiting a sacred Mayan cave, in its own way, feels like entering the underworld. The caves are indeed mysterious and beautiful, a record of civilizations past and present. I was really happy our guide talked us through and shared how each area was formed. The stalagmite and the walls were fantastic, but the water was really cold, so we were glad we had a wet suit! It’s truthfully hard to describe Rio Secreto’s beauty; at every turn, we were more amazed by what we saw. You walk, you crawl, you swim, and you enjoy every minute of it! Keep in mind that even though the water isn’t deep, swimming abilities were still necessary (fortunately, we did have life jackets). My kids really loved seeing the bats, fish, and feeling the adrenaline associated with walking from one formation to another, in and out of the water. It was truly magical!

Additional Notes From Our Experience

Family with two children in wetsuits posing in underground caves in Rio Secreto
Photo Courtesy: Gunjan Prakash

You’re not permitted to take your own photos, so we purchased a photo package to take home some memories. Pictures don’t do Rio Secreto with kids justice, however! The whole experience lasted less than two hours, but we enjoyed every second of its immersion. Additionally, we loved the chance to learn about rock formations, local geology, and other aspects of Mexican culture. I highly recommend this excursion for children over five and all adults in reasonably good health. After the caves, we changed back into our regular clothes. Then, we dined at the buffet dinner included in our ticket price. This was such an excellent choice for our family, a truly fantastic experience.

Concluding Thoughts

I enthusiastically recommend visiting Rio Secreto with kids when you are in Mexico! Simply put, it is a very fun family activity in Playa del Carmen. My family has been to a few more caves since our trip, but none of them compare to the beauty of Rio Secreto. We hope you love it as much as we did!

Savings Tip: Check the website for discounts and promotions. When I scheduled the tour, there was a 20% discount if I made my appointment over the phone.


5 Best Family Resorts in Cancun

6 Things To Do In Cancun With Kids

10 Best Family Resorts in Playa del Carmen (Including All-Inclusives!)

Top Things To Do In Playa del Carmen With Kids (Off-Resort)!

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Gunjan Prakash

Gunjan Prakash CEO Gunjan Prakash is a visual artist by profession, mother and wife by choice, and a traveler since birth! When she was younger with her parents sparked a lifelong adoration of discovering exciting new cultures. After completing her Masters in Computer Arts, she then traveled the globe from Egypt to the Alps, channeling inspirations from her travels into her creative process. Today, Gunjan continues to develop her passion for vacationing while she runs her successful Facebook group “Families Who Love To Travel,” made in partnership with Families Love Travel. Gunjan uses both platforms to empower families and solo wanderers alike by telling her story.