Adrenaline Pumping at Aktun Chen in RivieraMaya.
What is going on here? Travel bloggers turned next medical TV drama?
While we were in Riviera Maya we were lucky enough to stay at the top notch Barcelo resort, eat some of the most mouthwatering Mexican dishes and take in several activities like the ruins at Coba, the ruins at Tulum, a relaxing float down the waters at Si’an Kaan Biosphere but the visit to Aktun Chen quickly made it to the top of my favorite activities.
Aktun Chen is natural park with a wildlife zoo, a cave that is over 5,000,000 years old, an underground cenote for snorkeling and it also has 10 ziplines that can take you over the trees, flora and fauna of this beautiful park.
One of things that really stood out to me is that everyone who worked at the park was really friendly and passionate about their job. We were taught quite a bit about the local wildlife and the cave tour was very informative. Zip lining was intense! Here’s a round up of the things we did at Aktun Chen and what you can expect when you visit.
Walking through the cave was my favorite activity at Aktun Chen.
The cave is over 5 million years old and full of stalactites, stalagmites and a cenote (natural underground water well). The cave is almost a half mile long and the lesiurely paced tour is very informative so it takes at least an hour to walk through and learn about it. It was a shame I didn’t have my tripod with me because the lighting inside was pretty dramatic and made for some great shots.
If you head to Aktun Chen definitely make time to see the cave. It’s a really cool activity perfect for all ages and fitness levels. Here are some photos to give you an idea.
The Wildlife Zoo:
Some of the wildlife at the 6 acre park includes a wild pig (very cute and friendly little guy who dug a pear out of my bag and ate it), white tail deer, wild collared peccary, parrots, toucans, oco pheasants, agoutis, sereques, coati mundi, different types of monkeys as well as plenty of the regional snakes!
One of the greatest aspects of the park is their commitment to preserving the natural area and one of their main areas of focus, besides education, is repopulating the local species. In fact, due to the preservation efforts of the water, land & animals you can only wear bio-degradable sunscreen at the park so keep that in mind when you visit.
With the exception of one monkey on a rope, the rest of the monkeys are allowed to roam free within their large enclosures. We were told that it is common practice in the Mayan culture to have one monkey on a rope and that many local families use them as their own security alarms. Personally I don’t agree with keeping any monkey on a rope but I did notice that everyone at the park loved all the animals and cared greatly for them. Sometimes when you travel you are forced to see things that you don’t agree with but is culturally accepted as normal routine. The fact that all the animals were well cared for caused me to think this really was common practice in this region.
Unfortunately we were running really late (we had to skip snorkeling in the cenote because we were so behind) so we didn’t have time to see all the wildlife but here are some photos of the ones we did see.
Zip Lining in the Jungle!
I want to be adventurous so badly. Yet I keep coming face to face with situations that scare the life out of me. Zip lining was the case in point here. I have no idea why I was so afraid. It seems that in the past few years I have become afraid of so many things. I’m blaming on my frontal lobe but really I think I just need to get out more and push myself beyond my comfort zone. Maybe I should do one daring thing a month?? Hmmm…
Roni getting suited up for the zip line extravaganza. He looks happy huh?!
The reality is that Zip lining is really not as scary as I worked it up to be. There are 10 zip line runs at this park and it’s fun, really it is. I was really nervous in the beginning but became more relaxed with each run. Actually on the last two run I really enjoyed zipping through the trees – at least until Roni Weiss decided to close his eyes and not stop in time. We ran the last two runs together and he was in charge of slowing us down before we did a face plant into the tree at the end of the line. The first run was great – the second run was also great but he decided to go all yogi on me and close his eyes which means we barely had time to stop before hitting the tree and if it wasn’t for the great guys at Aktun Chen who literally caught us I think we would’ve ended up with splinters and black eyes. But all in all it was fun ziplining with Roni – who taught me that I prefer to zipline when I’m not the one in charge of stopping – thanks Roni!
If you’re worried about ziplining at all (like I was) Aktun Chen could be a great place for you to make the leap – literally. They are into safety here in a big way. So much that when you wear your helmet you put on a surgical cap underneath it (hence the medical TV drama photo at the beginning) and you wear a pair of rubber gloves under the large gripping gloves so that all your sweat stays where it should – on you, not buried into the fabric. It seemed odd at first but it’s actually a great idea to keep things sanitary and it was that type of attention to detail that makes you realize how meticulous they are about everything they do.
A zip line guide giving us a demonstration.
The zipline guides were very informative, funny and understanding. They’ll help to coax you onto that zip line and they’ll wow you with all the fun tricks they do. They make it look so easy!
So if you’re looking for a real adrenaline rush on your trip to the Riviera Maya definitely check out the zip line park at Aktun Chen!
I wish I had more photos but I wussed out. We were given the choice of bringing our cameras on the zip lines with us (a perk of being a blogger!) but I decided to put mine in the locker instead. I was already nervous enough and when I jumped out on the line I knew I made the right choice. Next time I’ll remember to bring a point and shoot!
If you want to contact Aktun Chen their website has all their contact info and information. You can do one activity or all of them (including snorkeling in a cenote). There is also a small restaurant on the site with some great food.
However I warn against eating the habenero pepper whole. You can watch a short video of Roni eating a habenero at the restaurant. Yours truly is heard in the background saying things such as “Don’t look at me & There was drool, there was drool”. Traveling with Roni as part of our blogger group was really a good time. He is a fun guy and the trip would not have been the same without him.
While writing this post I did a lot of reflecting on just how great this trip was. We had such a blast in the Riviera Maya and my traveling companions were all really awesome and a lot of fun. If you’re looking for new travel bloggers to read be sure to check out: NY City Mama (Carol Cain), Nomadic Matt, Ryan van Duzer and Roni Weiss. If you need a great PR rep be sure to contact Ryan Whaley who did a great job putting this trip & our group together.
*This trip to Aktun Chen & the Riviera Maya was sponsored by the Riviera Maya tourism board but all of the views and opinions in this article are entirely our own.
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*Please remember all photos on this website, unless otherwise noted, are copyrighted and property of Beers and Beans Travel Website, Nariko’ s Nest Weddings & Bethany Salvon. Please do not use them without my permission. If you do want to use one of them please contact me first because I do love to share and I would be flattered. Thanks!