Breathtaking Natural Wonders

for your Riviera Maya vacation


One of the must-see attractions at Xcaret is, without any doubt, the Underground Rivers. They take you into mysterious caves, and all you have to do is put on your life jacket, sit back and relax because the refreshing stream’s current will just carry you along.  You can even bring a snorkel to do some underwater exploring.

Still not amazed? Keep reading.




The Underground Rivers that run through this amazing spot in Southeast Mexico, are breathtaking natural wonders where you can swim, snorkel and admire the Mayan jungle. Normally you need to be an expert diver to undergo these cave challenges, although at Xcaret you only need a life vest to experience this mysterious underwater world.




Xcaret’s Underground Rivers are part of a large cave system that forms deep under the surface of the Yucatan peninsula, which means you will snorkel in caves and swim along unique rock formations and marine fossils. They are 5 feet deep and they feature exits where you can stop and relax with the warm sun rays. This is one of the top things to do in Cancun and Playa del Carmen during your vacation in Riviera Maya.




There are four different Rivers in Xcaret, three where you can swim and snorkel and one that can only be traveled by raft. The Blue River, Maya River and Manatee River, all three of these Underground Rivers flow to the ocean, next to amazing mangroves. In case you’re not sure which one to swim, here are some facts about each:


Blue River

Average temperature: 75°F

Total distance: 688 yards

Average depth: between 5.2 and 16 feet

Intermediate exits: 5

Recommended for visitors without young children, with swimming ability and good physical condition: perfect if you are looking for a river current. This river has a large upstream, at the end, you will find a rope to help you reach the exit. Not recommended for people who can’t swim.



Entrance of the Blue River

Manatee River

Average temperature: 75°F

Total distance: 738 yards

Average depth: between 5.2 and 9.8 feet

Intermediate exits: 4

Recommended for senior visitors, children and visitors seeking a mostly open river. This river has a small upstream and a rope at the end to help you advance. It’s not recommended for people who can’t swim.



Entrance of the Manatee River

Maya River

Average temperature: 75°F

Total distance: 661 yards

Average depth: between 5.2 and 8.2 feet

Intermediate exits: 4

Recommended for visitors with children looking for an underground river for the most part. This river is the calmest of all, so it’s recommended for seniors and visitors who can’t swim because there is no counterflow.



The Maya River

Tip: If you want to rent snorkeling gear, it costs $10 USD (requires a refundable deposit of $20 USD). For visitors with food included in the Tour (Xcaret Plus), the snorkeling equipment does not have any extra charge, (requires a refundable deposit of $10 USD).



Looking for more water activities? read: Suggested route through Xcaret to seize the water activities


Paradise River

Finally, there’s also a different option to enjoy one of the Underground Rivers without getting wet! Through the Paradise River, you can admire the unique scenery from the comfort of a raft. Go through canals of clear water surrounded by the jungle, and get excited with the surprises along the way: blue crabs, iguanas, peccaries and more.




“It was one of the most relaxing and beautiful experiences you could imagine. The river runs underground from one side of the park to the other, with just enough light seeping into the tunnel through cracks in the rocks. The water was crystal clear, so clean and refreshing, and lightly pushing you along so there was no actual swimming required. We happily and peacefully bobbed along the river slowly, soaking up every moment. ”

Read more about Emma’s experience here: A Make Believe World Travel Blog – The Underground Rivers of Xcaret





As you just read, these Underground Rivers are a must in your Riviera Maya vacation.

If you have visited already, tell us, which was your favorite River?|


Make sure to snap these photos in your visit, read: 10 emblematic spots to take photos in Xcaret