Prepare to be blown away by the natural beauty that is Aktun Chen. Located in the Akumal area, Aktun Chen is a hidden gem in the Yucatan.
Deep in the jungle, a bumpy three kilometre drive off the highway, visitors can catch glimpses of the local wildlife as they drive under the jungle canopy to the reception area. The park relies on pure natural beauty and knowledgeable friendly staff to make your stay a memorable one. You won’t find flashy signs and buildings, no school bus with monkeys climbing out of it to attract you, but rather a personal tour without crowds.
Rated number three on the Top Ten Underground Walks by National Geographic, the 600-metre-long cave walk is certainly breathtaking. Guides explain the origin of the Yucatan Peninsula’s system of caves, pointing out interesting sights along the way. Underground, you are transported to another world filled with fossils, unique mineral formations, water and even a couple friendly bat families.
Learn how delicate the cave really is, and how long it took to form. You’ll be amazed by the numerous formations and the different processes that created them. Parts of the cave are submersed in water, the height depends on the tidal waters over eight kilometres away. Visitors can choose to walk through this area or go around, meeting the group on the other side. The tour ends in a beautiful cavern, where you are all assembled on a bridge in the dark. Different areas are highlighted and discussed before all the lights are turned on, revealing a beautiful deep ceynote.
As you re-enter the sunlight in the middle of the rain forest, you’ll walk past white tail deer on your way to the restaurant to enjoy a wonderful meal. Then roam the paths until it is time to leave viewing some of the jungle’s natural inhabitants on your way to the pick up location.
Visitors can also choose to swim in an underground cenote. Cenotes, natural sinkholes filled with water, can be found all over the Yucatan Peninsula and have become huge tourist attractions due to their exquisite beauty.
After a cool shower to rinse off any lotion or product residue on your skin and hair, you’ll descend the stairs carved into the rocks where a winding cavern filled with turquoise water awaits you. The sights that you will see here transcend description. Jaw-dropping beauty, it is a surreal experience to swim in this beautiful place. The water is cool but refreshing as you a tour the cavern. View unique formations and fossils as you learn how the ceynote was formed. After the guided tour you are free to swim around as long as you like in this underwater haven. Without a doubt, this is one of the most beautiful places on earth.
Equipped with a harness and hardhat you can also view the jungle from a new vantage as you travel along the 10 kilometres of cables high above the trees. Guides are careful to assist you with every detail and once you are ready – you just let go and have fun!
Story and photos by Tania Moffat
Have you been here?