Thursday, June 16, 2011

Rio Secreto Tour. A River With A Secret.

One of the many things I wanted to do on my recent trip to Mexico was to swim in fresh water caves and cenotes. I knew of one company, Rio Secreto, that was known for their awesome tours of an underwater river. It was something new and something that probably wouldn't even be allowed to run in the United States. So I had to do it.

The tour started out with a 20 min bumpy and deathly hot van ride into the jungle. Once at the destination, you had to shower to rinse off any chemicals and oils that may damage the delicate cave once inside. Then we were suited up with water shoes, wetsuite, life vest, helmet and head lamp. Before the tour had started they asked if anyone was claustrophobic. I didn't realize what that meant exactly till I was fully in my wetsuite, life jacket and helmet and walking for 10 minutes through the hot jungle sweating my balls off and not able to take a deep breath for the life of me. My boobs and butt weren't even able to breathe! Now if you know me, I'm a creature of comfort to the 10th degree! This whole situation so far spelt trouble......and that I could never be a scuba diver.

Halfway through the jungle walk we stopped to get a blessing from a Mayan priest. It's Mayan tradition to ask permission before entering the cave, a cave that holds a portion of Mexico's drinking water. Imagine the importance of not upsetting mother earth. He chanted his prayers at the alter and then drifted the holy smoke on all of us with a feather. We were free to go in. I hate to use the word surreal but I think the word is fitting for what I'm about to experience.

Finally the entrance to the cave was in sight and all I wanted was in and to not think about my tight body hugging suite. The one big rule for all those on the tour was to NOT touch a single thing. But what they didn't tell you was how impossible that was. The floors were uneven and the only light you had was a tiny lamp on your helmet to see. So of course, on entering the cave we all touched the walls in order to not kill ourselves. And then inside I had one of those "I'm falling and I can't get up" moments and my legs got all kinds of limestone scratched. But it was just a scratch and I took it as a nice little souvenir to take home.

Besides the extremely funny gay guy in our group that thought his wet suite made him look fat, the best part of the whole tour was swimming in the clear blue freezing water and just bobbing up and down like ducks in life vests in it's depths. The cave was beautiful and we were miles underground swimming in it. The whole southern peninsula of Mexico is one giant layer of limestone and when it rains, the thin soil soaks it up and then lets it trickle into the caves below making for a symphony underground of water droplets. After years of this, stalactites and stalagmites are created and the water drops look like diamonds on the surface. When we were there it hadn't rained for a while so the water was lower and it was much quieter. We all sat in a semi circle, turned off our headlamps and sat in the most defining silence I've ever heard.

And of course, a tour in Mexico wouldn't be a tour in Mexico without a shot of tequila to warm us all up at the end. The tour lived up to it's name. Do I dare say surreal? Yes, I think I can.

(Photos 2 & 3 from Rio Secreto Facebook)


Kyle said...

That is so beautiful in pictures, I can't even imagine how amazing it must have been in real life!

Though your description of getting there makes me a little hesitant as to whether or not I'd try it!

Christy said...

Oh I know! I loved the whole tour but man, the whole suite up was tough. Or maybe I'm just a baby with comfort. lol