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Tulum Magic Town

tulum magic town

TULUM MAGIC TOWN

A Stronghold Before – An Amazing Wonder Now

Tulum has undoubtedly become one of the most visited destinations after Chichen Itza in the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico. And the primary reason for that is the very fact that it is located near the Caribbean Ocean. Moreover, Tulum has also officially become a Pueblo Magico along with the beautiful and magnificent island of Isla Mujeres and Bacalar. So, in essence there are a total of 3 Pueblo Magico in the Quintana Roo state.

Tulum Magic Town: A Stronghold Before – An Amazing Wonder Now

It is no wonder Tulum has been named Pueblo Magico – after all the place overlooks the Caribbean Sea, what a sight to behold! The entire place is full of archeological wonders with landscapes you haven’t seen before, anywhere in the world.

The ruins you see now played a significant role when the Mayans thrived – it provided them with different routes via land and sea, giving them economical advantages for trading. The Mayans also built an astronomic observatory and the walls so provided a solid defense. The main temple refers to Venus. Did you know that Venus was the most important planet to the Mayans after the Sun and the Moon?

There is a plethora of activities you can indulge in while enjoying your trip here. You can go on a tour of the entire Mayan city, taking pictures of various archeological discoveries, you can go snorkeling or diving in vast, exhilarating cenotes (underground rivers) – and who can forget swimming in the beautiful ocean!

The Ruins of Tulum

The ruins of Tulum are nothing short of magical; the palaces and houses there are exhilarating and will take you back in time when the Mayans thrived.

The most famous structure in Tulum, which is what most tourists come to look at from around the world, features an ingenious fortress with a temple on top. The temple has three different entrances riddled with various statues of deities, columns made to shape as serpents and you will also see zoomorphic masks. After you enter the ruins, you will be greeted by an exhilarating view of various rolling hills.

Temple of the Frescoes

In front of the El Castillo you will also see the Temple of the Frescoes. This temple was primarily utilized as an observatory for tracking how the sun moves. You can also see various frescoes dating back to the 13th century.

Temple of the Descending God

If you move towards the left of El Castillo, facing directly the sea, you will see the Temple of the Descending God, which consists of a small staircase. There is also a figure carved on the door to the entrance.

Overlooking the Caribbean Ocean

After you are done taking pictures and dozens of selfies in the temple, the next unforgettable and truly magical thing you should do is take a walk near the cliff that overshadows the beautiful ocean. This experience is guaranteed to leaving you awe-inspired, the majestic view is alone to make your trip memorable.

Tulum’s archeological site is one of the best conserved Mayan cities of the coast. All in all, the once great city of Tulum still remains popular because of the ruins and because how it built on limestone cliffs.

Book one of our tours that includes Tulum Magic Town!

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Las Coloradas Pink Lakes

Las coloradas pink lakes

Las Coloradas Pink Lakes

Do you dream to go to a surreal landscape, making people ask you if it is real?

The “Las Coloradas” pink lakes is the place to go while you are on holidays in the Peninsula of Yucatan! Located at approximately 170 miles/3h30 driving from Cancun or Playa del Carmen, Las Coloradas, known as well as “pink lakes” are lagoons close to the ocean with bright pink color.

Salt Production:

Las Coloradas are the place of the production of a daily basic condiment, the salt. Salt was extremely important in the Mayan culture for the preservation of the food as well as a nutritional need. Once produced, it was shipped by canoe or transported via the mayan roads (Sac be) to get sold and exchanged in all Mayan cities. Ek Balam was one of the cities that controlled the salt production of las Coloradas.

Mayans, like several ancient cultures, produced salt by the natural process of evaporation: salty ocean water from the mangroves nearby floods onto hard flat salt plains, creating shallow lagoons. The sun then slowly evaporates this water, leaving fresh sea salt behind.

While this “solar salt” production process is a natural one, the large pink lakes of Las Coloradas we see today were constructed by a company who produces salt on a much larger scale (500,000 tons per year). Las Coloradas is one of the biggest salt area of Mexico, making the country 5th largest salt exporter of the world.

The vibrant pink color of these lakes is due to red-colored algae, plankton, and brine shrimp that thrive in the salty environment. As the water evaporates, these organisms become more concentrated, glimmering pink in the bright Mexican sunlight. In other hand this shinning pink is transferred to a special guest in the complementary stop of our private tour, is a beautiful bird… do you guess… of course flamingos!

Because it is a long ride from the Riviera Maya to Las Coloradas we recommend you add to your trip a stop at a beautiful and peaceful town in Yucatan called Rio Lagartos (Alligator Reserve) where you can find flamingos and more!

Rio Lagartos is a small village approx. 1000 habitant. It is a Unesco Biosphere Reserve and an International Important Bird Area (IBA), with more than 350 species of birds (flamingos, herons, eagles, ospreys).The place is small just as 120000/150000 acre (50000 hectares!). Taking a boat tour is the best option to observe the flamingos, many birds and species live in the national park.

Meanwhile you explore this National Park, you will find around the mangroves alligators and perhaps horseshoe crabs that are ancient animals from the Paleozoic. On top of that you can get a special mud therapy making your skin softer than ever, with the salty mud of the lagoons!

Every time we go to this place we discover more natural wonders. Don’t hesitate to book a private tour to better enjoy this amazing destination!

 

NB: its is strictly forbidden to swim in the lakes of Las Coloradas and it could hurt your skin due to high level of salt and chemicals.

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Valladolid City

Valladolid

VALLADOLID CITY

Pueblo Magico “Magic town”

Valladolid city is located in the middle of the Yucatan Peninsula, 2 hours driving from Cancun or Playa del Carmen (+/- 90miles/150km). It is the ideal stop before/after visiting one of the famous New Wonder of the world, Chichen Itza ruins, which are located close by.

In order to develop tourism activity in Yucatan, Valladolid was elected Pueblo Magico (Magic Town) in 2012. Its colourful houses and haciendas make this colonial city one of the most iconic of the Peninsula.

The city was founded 1543 by Francisco Montejo. It was the second city built by Spanish colonizers (after Merida in 1542).

Valladolid city key facts…

  • The city was first build in 1543 but relocated to its current location in 1545 on the Zaci mayan village. Some of the corners of the buildings are constructed with rocks from the Mayans buildings.
  • Valladolid is known for the Caste War. Mayans rioted in 1848. They won but the Spanish took the city again.
  • In 1910, the insurrection initiated by the independent electoral center started in Valladolid. This event is called “The first spark of the revolution”.
  • The city was the first to open a manufacture of threads and fabrics (made from Sisal).
  • 48,000 inhabitants nowadays

What to visit…

  • The Cathedral of San Gervacio, located on the main place (built in 1545, destroyed in 1705 and rebuilt in 1706).
  • The Ex-Convent of San Bernadino de Siena, the second biggest one after Izamal.
  • Cenote Zaci (sink hole located in the center of the city) or the close by cenotes Xkeken Samula

Yucatan food…

Valladolid is a perfect place to stop and enjoy a delicious meal during your tour to a Mayan archeological site. Many restaurants offer the local cuisine of Yucatan. We recommend you to order the famous Cochinita Pibil (pork meal specialty of the peninsula cooked in a banana leaf), or to try panuchos (refried tortilla stuffed with refried black beans and topped with meat, onions and avocado) or to ask for some tasty chorizo made in the small villages around … And of course they usually serve real hand made tortillas.

Walking, shopping…

You can also walk around the streets and look for some handcraft market and artisanal clothes from the area. The downtown is a nice place to see the life going around.

Valladolid is the perfect city where you can see the mix of cultures (Spanish, Mayan). We include a stop to visit this beautiful city in all our tours to Chichen Itza.

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Punta Laguna

Punta laguna

Punta Laguna National Park

Are you interested in experiencing a living Mayan community and discovering aMonkey Sanctuary?

With a population of approximately 30 families, Punta Laguna Monkey Sanctuary is a thriving area that welcomes tourists! These natives welcome all individuals to visit and learn by participating in historic day to day activities.

Otoch Ma’ax Yetel Kooh, or Punta Laguna, has been a protected area since 1982. It is home to the spider monkey and the puma cat. Spreading across 5,367 hectares, it is the perfect adventure for families and nature lovers alike. You can be sure you will be able to enjoy the beautiful landscape in a safe and respectful way.

Punta Laguna offers five possible activities:

  • A hike suitable for all ages in the jungle to get a glimpse of the spider monkey and hear the howler monkey’s famous cry. (encountering them is not guaranteed)
  • A relaxing canoe trip through the lagoon
  • An adrenaline packed zip-line tour over the lagoon
  • A descent into a cenote by way rappel rope (max weight 210 lbs / 95 kg)
  • A historic Mayan purification ceremony

This national park is a few miles from Coba ruins.  So it's a great idea to combine the visit of Punta Laguna with these ancient mayan ruins in one day trip!

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Stingrays, Eagle Rays, Mobula Rays & Manta Rays

Rays in Mexico

STINGRAYS, EAGLE RAYS, MOBULA RAYS AND MANTA RAYS

Rays in Mexico Caribbean Sea

There is a diverse variety of rays in Mexico. They inhabit different oceans of the world and some even inhabit fresh water streams and rivers. While most people believe that all rays are similar, the truth cannot be further than this misconception.

All species of rays are different from one another in a lot of ways, which include shape, size and lethality. All rays are similar to sharks–they have cartilage instead of bones in their bodies. Plus, they are flat in shape and have big rounded pectoral fins, which are merged with their head and body.

Many rays swim using their large flat fins and most use an intricate wave like movement to swim, where as others swim by flapping their fins. The main source of their food is filter, mollusks and buried sand.

Stingrays

Stingrays are more popularly known in comparison other species. And that is because you can easily identify them – they have long, thin tails, which are coated with pointy stings. A majority of stingrays also have venom glands located on their tail. Get too close one and it will sting you with its tail, injecting very painful venom. However, there is nothing to worry about as stingrays only attack when they feel threatened.

Stingrays can also be identified by their signature diamond-shape and the fact they tend to half bury themselves in sand looking for food. Stingrays spend most of their time on the sea floor.

Manta Rays

Although manta rays do not have sharp stings on their tails, the ray can be said to be another type of stingray. They are big rays with a fin span of 25 feet and most weight up to 3000 pounds. However, despite being big, they are harmless and spend a majority of their time bottom feeding and filtering. Manta rays are elegant swimmers that have graceful maneuverability and have very quick movement, despite a 25 foot fin span!

Mobula Rays

Mobula rays can be compared in size with other rays that swim in the world’s oceans. Also known as ‘devil fish’ or ‘flying mobula’, these rays are dark blue with the top being black and a white underbelly. Mobula rays can grow up to 17 feet in size. They spend their time looking for plankton, which is a main source of their food. Mobula rays are not dangerous and will only attack in self-defense.

Eagle rays

Eagles have long elongated tails and are 9 meters in size. With inky blue bodies the eagle ray can also be identified with its angular disc and a wide snout. Eagle rays have sharply curved corners and they don’t have a caudal fin. Eagle rays unlike other rays in the ocean tend to prey on shrimps, octopus, small fish and clams. They are also fast swimmers, which also makes them efficient hunters. They swim quite close to the sea floor and occasionally jump out of water, almost attempting to fly.

While your trip to turtles and Playa Del Carmen, Cozumel and Puerto Morelos with Absolute Adventure, you’ll see stingrays, and if you’re lucky you will also be able to see the Eagle ray, which mostly appears in winters. Apart from that, sometimes tourists hit the jackpot and spot Manta rays and Mobula rays on a summer tour to swim with Whale Sharks with Absolute Adventure.

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Sea Turtles in Riviera Maya

Sea Turtles in Riviera Maya

SEA TURTLES IN RIVIERA MAYA

The season for turtle nesting starts from spring and ends in September in the Riviera Maya. During this time a score of sea turtles come ashore on the beaches of Riviera Maya to lay eggs. And you know something amazing about these turtles? Well it is absolutely fascinating that female turtles come all the way to lay their eggs at the exact same spot they were born! According to experts and turtle researchers, sea turtles navigate their way through the use of earth’s magnetic field. It is what helps them to successfully find their way around.

Female turtles can lay up to 200 eggs at one go. The mother makes sure that the eggs safely land on a soft layer of sand. They first do some digging a few meters away from the beach then they lay their eggs, bury them and swim away. Upon hatching, it is a struggle for newborn turtles to crawl their way to the water and swim away.

A Dangerous Journey

It is quite difficult for baby turtles to safely reach the waters and swim away. And that is because there are many predators on the lookout. Apart from that, baby turtles are also hunted by poachers as well. And this is why the only option left to them is to slip by unnoticed and undetected.

Turtles face plenty of risks during their early age, which is various turtle species are now on the verge of becoming endangered. However, they are efforts being made by the SEMARNAT (secretary of the environment) and several ecological centers in the Riviera Maya to protect these species.

6 out of the Total 7 Turtle Species in the World are Found in Mexico!

Did you know that there are just 7 total species of turtles in the entire globe? Six of which are only found in Mexico. While diving or snorkeling, we can often meet 3 of the 6 species of sea turtles in Riviera Maya. And they are:

  • The Green Turtle
  • The Loggerhead
  • The Hawksbill

Recognizing the Three Sea Turtles

The Loggerhead: Loggerhead turtles are reddish-brown and have big heads. These species of turtles can grow up to 3.5 feet in length and weigh just over 400 pounds. Their main source of food is small crabs, jellyfish and mollusks.

The Green Turtle: Green turtles are large and have a carapace that is up to 3 feet in length. These big turtles can weigh up to 350 pounds and can have different colors for their carapace, most of which include shades of green, gray, black, brown and yellow. Another interesting thing about them is the fact that they are carnivorous when small, eating small fish – but as they grow up they become herbivorous. Their main source of food is plankton, seaweeds and seagrass.

The Hawksbill: Hawksbill turtles can grow up to 3.5 feet in length and weigh up to 180 pounds. They are called hawksbill because of the way their mouths are shaped – which resembles the beak of a raptor. These turtles have enigmatic designs for their shells, which can vary in color.

Human Danger

The sea turtles of Riviera Maya are fast becoming endangered and the number one danger to them is none other than human beings. It is unfortunate, but it is true. Many people visiting the beaches of the Yucatan Peninsula, especially Riviera Maya riddle them with plastic waste (plastics bags, straws, etc.) The turtles confuse the plastic with jellyfish, and upon consuming thinking it is food, they suffocate and die.

It has become considerably important to protect the beaches of Riviera Maya in order to protect the turtles.

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Why not to swim with Dolphins in Delphinariums

Delphinariums

WHY NOT TO SWIM DELPHINARIUMS

A dangern both for dolphins and humans

Swimming with dolphins can be a mind-blowing experience, and it is getting rather popular with giant delphinariums being built to accommodate the entire show. Unfortunately, there is also a dark side to swimming with dolphins that few ever think about. Many people are unaware of the numerous problems that surround delphinariums.

The Ugly Truth

The reality is, keeping dolphins in captivity to entertain people by training them to interact and swim with them has a substantial negative impact on the animal. There are many accounts of the fact that dolphins kept in delphinariums live an impoverished existence. Not to mention in many instances a whole bunch of dolphins are kept huddled together in less than accommodating holding pens.

Apart from that, these intelligent and highly emotional animals are kept confined and in a poor state, which considerably shortens a dolphin’s existence. A lot of dolphins die before becoming adults and many die during captivity because of the cruelty involved.

Furthermore, many dolphins are forced to interact with their trainers, because they know they can’t escape their confinement. Some dolphins are even seen to show signs of distress when they interact with humans. In captivity they are not allowed to mate, hunt or play with other dolphins, as they do in the wild.

Some dolphins also die due to the stress of their confinement, which can also lead to abnormal behavior adopted by the dolphin and it dramatically reducesits immunity to diseases.

A Danger for Humans Too

Swimming with dolphins can also prove to be dangerous for humans as well. There have been many instances where trainers have reported to be bitten, scratched and bruises and many have suffered broken bones. Dolphins not matter how intelligent, are wild creatures nonetheless.

With all this in mind, isn’t it better to experience the magnificence of these diligent creatures first hand and in the wild?

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Whale Sharks Mexico

whale sharks mexico

WHALE SHARKS MEXICO

The Season in Riviera Maya

The season of the whale sharks in the Yucatan Peninsula begins from mid-May and ends close to the mid of September. However, the greatest concentration of whale sharks that you can find in Riviera Maya is between the months of July and August. It is during the summer season that people from all around the world come to enjoy their vacation in Riviera Maya. And you will be absolutely surprised to know that a huge number of whale sharks come to feed on plankton, in the northern Isla Mujeres and Holbox areas.

About Whale Sharks:

Whale sharks are undoubtedly the largest fish swimming the world’s seas. Growing up to 40 feet or 12 meters in length, they can weigh up to 20 tons! Luckily for most sea-dwellers and snorkelers, whale sharks are not carnivorous. They just love eating their favorite food, which is plankton and they also tend to scoop up tiny sea plants as well. They will occasionally eat very small fish as well – and they do that when they open their gigantic mouths to filter all the plankton and a few fish.

These beautiful and graceful fishes prefer to swim in warm waters, where there are several upwelling of cold, nutritious water where they can come to feed. That is why the island of Isla Mujeres and Holbox are so popular for whale sharking.

Whale sharks are called whale sharks solely because of their massive size, apart from that there are no other similarities and or attributes that the two aquatic giants have in common.

You can easily identify a whale shark, well, duh – it is a 40 feet fish! But apart from that whale sharks have a beautiful grayish to brownish sides and back with several white spots on its upper body with horizontal stripes.

Fun to Swim With Whales Sharks

It is totally possible to go snorkeling with whale sharks. However, it is important that only experienced snorkelers do. Whale sharks may appear threatening to humans because of their size, but in actuality, they are extremely humble and peaceful creatures. Whale sharks are incredibly fast swimmers despite their massive bodies!

 Spotting other Aquatic Life

While heading to swim with whale sharks in the waters of Isla Mujeres and/or Holbox it is quite possible that you will spot various other marine life such as manta and mobula rays and dolphins on your way there.

A Species Endangered

Unfortunately, whale shark numbers have dangerously dwindled for the past couple of years. They are hunted by poachers for their fins mainly in the Philippines. However, there are efforts being made by the World Wildlife Federation to fight against whale shark mutilations.

A Wonderful Experience

There is absolutely no doubt about the fact that swimming with whale sharks is a magnificent experience. Taking underwater selfies with such a beautiful giant will leave you with an immortalized memory and you will yearn for more. And with Absolute Adventure at your side, we ensure that you have the best of time while in Riviera Maya!

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Six Reasons You Should Not Touch Marine Fauna and Flora

touch marine fauna flora

SIX REASONS YOU SHOULD NOT TOUCHE MARINE FAUNA AND FLORA

To make a vacation to the Riviera Maya Mexico complete, you must take a snorkeling tour. When you snorkel with Absolute Adventure, we promise you a memorable experience tailored to your wants and needs.

While we want everyone to be able to enjoy freedom in the water, our first priority is the safety of our customers and our environment.

We promote the well-being of our ocean and encourage everyone to respect it as well.

No matter how friendly the animal may look, do not touch it! Let them be in their natural habitat and enjoy their beauty!

Six Reasons You Should Not Touch Marine Fauna and Flora:

  1. Picking up an ocean organism has the potential to have serious consequences. Moving a living thing on the ocean floor will likely lead to disorientation and a possibly more harmful environment.
  2. You don’t have to be a bodybuilder to hurt a sea organism with your strength. A simple touch of a fingernail or the swiping of jewelry can damage the small parts of a organism.
  3. You may not think of humans as poisonous, but the oils and bacteria on our hands can cripple a coral reef. The smallest touch can lead to major problems for a sea organism.
  4. Sea organisms have layers on their skin to protect them from bacteria and disease. Touching an animal on the ocean floor has the potential to remove a layer of protection, leaving them vulnerable to infection.
  5. Marine animals have enough to worry about. Between disease and predators, there is no need to cause them more stress. Don’t get too close to the animals…you’ll likely scare them away.
  6. While humans are poisonous to some animals, touching some animals definitely has the ability to hurt humans. Touching a dangerous sea creature can lead to skin irritation, rashes, fainting, etc. Be cautious!
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How to recognize a green sea turtle?

Green sea turtle

HOW TO RECOGNIZE A GREEN SEA TURTLE?

Identifying green sea turtle is not that simple

When you look at a sea turtle, you would think that their common name (Green Turtle) will give you the perfect description of the specie. However, when you found out that their carapace color varies from dark green (called black sea turtle on the Pacific) to yellow, brown and green tones with shining stripes, it could be confusing!

Here some key facts, which can help you the next time you will be swimming with turtles in the Riviera Maya or in your next snorkeling adventure around the world.

Green turtle, white turtle, black turtle are the same species, the scientific name is Chelonia mydas, what they have in common and is totally different from other species are:

  • One pair of prefrontal scales
  • Serrated jaw, with small and round head
  • Carapace is bony without ridges, non overlapping scales

Green turtles are found in all temperate and tropical waters around the world.

They like to live in bays and protected shores like the Akumal bay, located between Playa del Carmen and Tulum, where they can find a delicious sea grass bed. Adults green turtles are complete herbivorous but when they are less than 8 to 10 inches in length eat worms, young crustaceans, aquatic insects, grasses and algae.

Adults can weigh 240-420 pounds (110 – 190 kg) and from 3 to 4 feet in carapace length (83 – 114 cm). They could live up to 80 years.

A nest has a size around 70-190 eggs depending on the turtles. In addition, in one nest you can find eggs from different mates with the same female turtle.

Green turtles has some threats to survival, like fishing, lost of the habitat, commercial trading of the eggs. Also the climate change is shifting the population on males and females. If the temperature of the sand where the turtle’s nest is below 85 degrees Fahrenheit (30ºC) the turtles will be predominately male; above 85 degrees Fahrenheit (30ºC) predominately female

The green turtle is an endangered specie, the best way to conserve it is to protect their habitat and sighting them with precaution, just remember that 1 from 1,000 would survive to be an adult.

We are really lucky in the Riviera Maya to able to swim with the turtles. If you are interested in that activity, check our special Swim with turtles tour and also the Akumal bay regulation in order to protect the turtles.

Hoping that we could have a better relationship in the future and our younger generation could continue sighting these ancestral animals!

Bibliography:

http://www.reef.org/reef_files/TurtleID.pdf

https://conserveturtles.org/information-sea-turtles-green-sea-turtle/

http://www.defenders.org/sea-turtles/basic-facts

https://www.treehugger.com/natural-sciences/11-critically-endangered-turtle-species.html