There are plenty of cave tours and in the area. This community-based ecopark stands above the rest for its commitment to the local community and its in-depth, enjoyable tours. Visitors learn about Maya beliefs regarding the “underworld” as they explore a 600m-long (less than a 1/2 mile) cavern hidden for centuries. As the story goes, a local campesino was chasing a meaty lizard into the brush and under a rock pile. The campesino followed, digging through rocks, until he heard a splash. The lizard, it seemed, had discovered a hiding place. The man found the entrance to a cave filled with stalactites and stalagmites. Local naturalists discovered a dazzling series of chambers with rock formations dating back 2.5 million years. The area was declared a nature reserve and opened to the public in April 2008.

Visitors must be accompanied by guides and wear short wetsuits and helmets as they walk and swim through the cavern. At times, it is so dark you feel like you’re totally blind. Other times, sunshine streams through holes in the roof, illuminating the blue and pink striations caused by mineral-rich water dripping over earth-toned stone. An occasional swim through an emerald green pool adds to the fun, as does the guide’s banter and knowledge. From donning your wetsuit to downing a filling lunch after the 90-minute underground tour, it will take about 3 1/2 hours. Hot showers and lockers are available; transportation from Cancún and Riviera Maya hotels is available for an extra fee.