||KRISTEN MARANO, Contributor
While on a recent trip to Playa del Carmen, my resort was peppered with honeymooners who sat at the pool all day. Why when the turquoise sea and silky, white beach were steps away? Why when this popular tourist destination offers several adventurous activities whether ocean-side or in town?
I hope they weren’t sprawled on a chair for a week, because they’d be missing out on adventures unique to this old fishing village on the Caribbean Sea.
Thinking outside the pampered resort box is easy to do at Playa del Carmen. Here are some adventures that might entice you to move this destination to the top of your list:
A cenote in Playa del Carmen at the Eco-Aventura Ranch. Photo by Kristen Marano
ATV and Snorkeling
ATVing in Playa del Carmen can include, well, more adventures: cave exploring, horseback riding, snorkeling off a secluded beach and swimming in a cenote, a sinkhole created when limestone bedrock breaks and reveals a large area of crystal clear water.
In approximately three hours, on a tour with Eco-Aventura Punta Venado, we walked through a cave, enjoyed 45 minutes of snorkeling, swam in a cenote and enjoyed a cerveza in the sun.
Visit Punta Venado to book your tour, and ask for Henry, our friendly tour guide (US$85).
The first time I saw kite-boarders was from the far end of the beach. In the distance I could see a bunch of strings with people bobbing along the water. When I got closer, I saw boarders quickly skimming across the water, holding onto a large handle hoisting them from a large kite.
Swimming with the fish on our ATV tour. Photo by Kristen Marano
This sport combines the skills and movements required of several board sports such as snowboarding, wakeboarding, skateboarding and surfing. If you’re already a boarder of some kind, kite-boarding is a natural choice. It’s a good workout, a lot of fun, and a different way to explore the sea.
Diving in Cozumel
Cozumel is an island off the eastern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula and home to the Mesoamerica Reef, the largest reef in the Western hemisphere. From Playa del Carmen, a quick ferry ride will take you to the island, home to more than 250 species of tropical fish. I saw two giant turtles, a yellow stingray, a squid fish, a black sea urchin and tons of brightly coloured, exotic-looking fish — just by putting on a snorkel mask and dipping my head in the water.
Just think what you could see diving. If you have some diving experience and are up for swimming with the fish — big and small — visit Cozumel. Visit Scuba diving in Cozumel for a list of tour operators.
My travel companion returns to his bike after a stop at the local convenience store for a Sol. Photo by of Kristen Marano
Rent bikes and explore Playa del Carmen
Every place is more interesting when explored by bike — at least that’s my travel philosophy. If you’re interested in picking up small travel trinkets, visit Fifth Avenue, a long pedestrian stretch of shops and restaurants.
But, do it on bike, escaping to the side streets for a local lunch of Sol and tacos. Bikes can be found in tour shops for about US$15 per day. The bikes may be squeaky, but they’ll do the job.
Whether hiking or swimming, the Yucatan offers several tours to explore long (up to 10,000 metres) or deep (up to 50 metres) caves. Tour operators will reveal a history of the caves through storytelling of stalactites, the long, narrow spear-like pieces that hang from the cave ceiling, and stalagmites, which rise from the floor, both created by dripping water.
This was my fifth time in Mexico. It has a contagious vibe of happy, friendly people that keeps me coming back. Pick a few adventures for your beach honeymoon, and be on your way. You’ll create more memories, and perhaps you’ll be back for more.
Kristen’s curiosity about people, things and places makes her a born traveler. With food and fashion always on her mind, Kristen’s take on a good trip often involves doing as the locals do, from wandering side streets to checking out the local markets and discovering a city’s up-and-coming designers. Kristen is a Toronto-based writer who also contributes to TorontoStandard.com.
Date Added: May 22, 2012 | Comments (0)
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