Murmurs of water drops falling down from ancient formations fill the air…
Your heart is beating fast. You are excited because you realized that you are visiting the most sacred place for the Maya: the underworld, or Xibalba.
You don’t need to be an explorer, a caver or a geologist to come here and be amazed by one of the most exciting places on Earth. Here, thousands of natural rock formations, such as stalactites and stalagmites, will accompany you through your journey into the heart of Earth.
The experience is just about to begin. Put on your helmet, your wetsuit and take a light. Get ready to flow like a river and be prepared for the beautiful secret that you are about to experience. This is Rio Secreto.
“The greatest finds have not yet been discovered”
An iguana runs through the lush vegetation. Suddenly, it disappears into the darkness of a hole in the ground.
A peasant chases it. Carefully, he gets close to the cavity…
He has no idea what is about to be revealed.
He discovers something far beyond his imagination: an underground river of extraordinary beauty. This exceptional finding took place just 6 years ago!
The Yucatan Peninsula, a geologic, natural and cultural hotspot
This amazing area of the world combines splendorous Maya ruins, a complex jungle, a coral reef and unique geological features. Maya ruins tell us ancient stories through their stone voices. The jungle is still the home of the largest feline in the Americas and the third largest in the world: the sacred jaguar. This amazing feline with starry skin vanishes into the forest shadows. Under beautiful turquoise waters, the second largest barrier of coral reef booms with a diversity of life and colors. Underneath these amazing sights, the Yucatan Peninsula hides a secret: it is one of the greatest geological adventures in the world.
The Peninsula is a huge limestone plateau that witnessed the impact of a meteorite. According to most scholars, it was the cause of the dinosaurs’ massive extinction.
Millions of years after that cataclysmic event, during the ice age, the crescent ice caps took billions of tons of water to build massive glaciers. This activity occurred over thousands of years, lowering sea levels around the globe. In the Yucatan Peninsula the level decreased more than 430 feet.
While this limestone, made of coral and many other animal skeletons, remained above the sea, the rain patiently dug caves. Some of these were home to the oldest American humans, camelids, bears and an assembly of strange creatures.
After thousands of years, Maya civilization flourished in the region. They believed caves were sacred places, housing many of their gods. The Maya entered with torches and performed purification rituals and gave offerings, assuring that the world as they conceived it would continue to function.
With the Maya collapse the underground territory returned to silence and darkness… until now.
The voyage inside
The jungle is part of the secret river as its trees take precious water from it. Inside, you will see roots hanging from the ceiling and reaching the vital liquid. Also, the secret river belongs to the jungle as the falling rain crosses the soil, washes the limestone, and gives life to marvelous structures resembling natural sculptures.
Your entry into this natural balance will be completely safe. Our staff from Rio Secreto will provide you with professional equipment, assuring full enjoyment of these marvelous wonders that nature has created. You will experience a friendly environment, provided with knowledge shared by our passionate guides.
If you love, if you smile, if you believe in change, you will feel the experience of total peacefulness mingled with the excitement of being under the skin of Earth.
As the secret river flows, you will enter into a personal voyage in crystal clear water. You will experience a life-changing adventure as you cross through decorated rooms where every detail is in harmony with its surroundings. You will discover not only the secret of the cave, you will also discover yourself. It’s up to you.
Moreover, Rio Secreto is a natural reserve, part of the Maya jungle. If your senses are wide open and perceptive, you will also enjoy the surrounding wild life, from the original Maya stingless bees, the “Meliponas”, to the striking blue Morpho butterfly. If you are curious enough, you will see the Mot mot or PájaroToh, a turquoise bird with a racket-like tail that inhabits the cenotes, or sink holes.
It doesn’t end here
Rio Secreto is a journey through your senses, including your taste. Traditional ancient Maya food made of corn, chaya, amaranto, xtabentún flower and the base of chocolate, cacao. These are some of the delightful flavors that you will enjoy at our Culinary Experience.
After your visit into another world, your mind will be busy with many thoughts, but your stomach will be complaining. It’ll be hungry, so you must not disappoint it. You will find an open hut, waiting to tickle your taste buds and share a flavorful array of dishes made with love. And if you feel tired or want to reflect on your experience, just relax in one of the hammocks hanging just a few steps away.
For a better world…
The life changing experience of Rio Secreto is also a daily experience for the people working there. They share their passion for nature and conservancy to every visitor with a smile on their face: they know they are lucky to live and work in a place like Rio Secreto.
Those who enter the secret river will never be the same: they´ll be aware of the fragility, peace and amazing diversity of our world; our home. They will be conscious that the crystal clear water is our life. The water is ourselves and is the base of life, like the jungle outside the river. They will be aware that water and darkness are our origin.
We can find light in the underworld…and that light becomes real when we come to the surface again. You will feel reborn, totally renewed and full with the energy to live and help build a better world than the one we find.
Come to Rio Secreto, a life changing experience!