McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

Opinion

April 13, 2014

There’s more to Mexico than the beaches

Joy of Travel

McALESTER — I know most of us go to Mexico for the gorgeous beaches and beautiful turquoise waters. Did you know there are also literally hundreds of great adventure and cultural excursions you can add to enhance your vacation experience as well?

My favorite is the Mayan Encounter. If you are looking for ancient history, adventure, and beautiful scenery, this is the tour for you! While visiting the prehistoric Mayan city of Coba, you will be able to climb one of the tallest pyramids built by the Mayan — Nohoch Muul. From the top, see the forest as a bird would, looking out over the tree tops. Descend to enjoy a traditional lunch prepared by native Mayans. Next, play Tarzan for a few minutes, zipping along through the rainforest. Follow zip-lining with rappelling down to a secluded cenote where you can cool off by taking a swim. Expert guides and strict safety measures will allow you to fully enjoy this adventure.

This tour is for ages 6 and up, lasts approximately 10 hours, includes round trip transportation from your resort, and is priced at $109 for kids and $139 for adults. Please book this tour in advance as it is often sold out.

Another of my favorites is the Maroma Beach ATV, Speedboat and Snorkel adventure. It begins aboard a catamaran that sails you out to enjoy one of the most beautiful reefs in the world.

Next, you’ll drive an ATV surrounded by lush vegetation and turquoise waters. Finally you will also have the chance to drive your own speed boat. After you’re done, unwind at the beach club on Maroma Beach while eating, drinking, swimming, and relaxing.

This tour is another all day adventure; it includes round trip transportation, and costs $109 for kids and $139 for adults. Book in advance due to limited availability.

During my trip to Mexico in January I saw something amazing on Maroma Beach. Camels. Yes, you can now ride a camel through the jungle and beach sand dunes at Maroma. On this tour you’ll see the Mexican Caribbean mounted on a unique and noble animal. Don’t miss this 45-minute experience, where you’ll be able to interact with them and ride along the beach, with the waters of the Caribbean sea lapping against the shore, stopping of course for photo opportunities.

This is a totally unique experience for adults and children who are at least 10 years, and costs $77 per person. The tour also includes round trip transfers from your resort.

Swimming with the dolphins is available with several options for those of you who have not yet splurged on this interactive experience. You may elect to interact with the dolphins from a submerged platform ($85 per person) or go all-out for an interactive swim that includes a dorsal pull or foot push ride from your new mammalian friend ($129 per person). These activities also include round trip transfers.

We love Xel-Ha, an eco-park like no other. You can float from the source where the water bubbles up from underground (Xel-Ha literally means “where water is born”) all the way to the Caribbean in this park, the largest natural aquarium in the world. Kids 5-11 are $64, ages 12 and older are $129. Round trip transfers from your resort are included.

There are several underground rivers and natural caverns to explore in the Cancun area, as well as dive trips, fishing trips, snorkeling adventures, kayaking tours through the mangroves, and many more. You can investigate these and more available excursions at www.thejoyoftravel.net under our “we recommend-Funjet Vacations” tab.

Joy Gawf-Crutchfield is the owner of The Joy of Travel travel agency. For more information visit joy@thejoyoftravel.us or contact her at joy@joyoftravel.us or 888-JOY-4041 (888-569-4041).

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