Become a Cruise Insider
Tips, deals and more in your inbox.
Your Ultimate Cruise Guide

Cozumel Amazing River & Cavern Explore Excursion Reviews

Cozumel Amazing River & Cavern Explore cruise excursion
Overall Rating
These remarkable caverns connected by underground waterways are sure to astonish you. Enjoy breath-taking stalagmites and other incredible forms that will bring a new appreciation to Cozumel's subterranean world.
Member Image BigBendHiker
2 reviews
Mar 2015
Very good, uneven footing in cave, children under 10 may have trouble keeping up/falling. Highly recommended. Mandatory shopping time at end before return ferry.
Read BigBendHiker's full Emerald Princess cruise review
Provider: Princess Cruises
Member Image misterkevin
1 review
Not Rated
Nov 2014

Arriving in Cozumel was a different world from the previous destinations. From the last time I docked here 8 years ago, this place has really been built up! The areas immediately available to tourists are very much like the United States with business after business beckoning your patronage. I booked ‘The Amazing Secret River’ tour through my Carnival cruise and found it to be very well organized. We were escorted to a blue and yellow jet boat that loaded and embarked on the ten mile journey to Playa Del Carmen. This was the only time I felt queasy at sea. Playa Del Carmen, visited 23 years ago by me was shockingly modern. There’s a new outdoor mall with many upscale shops just like in the United States being built. I stopped into Starbucks for an iced espresso and my app worked on my phone in Mexico. It’s that seamless.

We took a van ride from Playa Del Carmen with 6 others from our ship and about 4 more people to the recently discovered Rio Secreto complex between Xel-ha and Xcaret on the multi-lane divided highway 407 running from Cancun to Tulum in the Mayan Riviera. Once on the property, there we rode another 35 minutes on a rough road to the coordination areas. Our group of 12 was led by a very gracious English-speaking guide who helped us with the whole experience. This is a natural wonder that is run by a very savvy management group. Between 300 and 400 people tour the 18 mile underground caves daily, generally in groups of 8-12. Admission on the Rio Secreto website is $109 per person with transportation, so Carnival isn’t marking this one up at all with the extra boat transfers from Cozumel.

After putting all of our belongings into lockers, we donned the optional half wet suits with aqua socks and lighted helmets, showered and then trekked through the jungle to the cenote opening of the cave system. The guide recommended walking sticks for the caves because they help with stability and give you a sense of the underwater cave floor beneath you. We stopped along the way for pictures by our photographer who accompanied our guide. Before entering the caves, a separate, optional stop included a blessing by a man acting as a Mayan priest with incense. We spent about 90 minutes in the cave itself, which was spectacular and definitely a highlight of my trip. It’s unbelievably cool and otherworldy there with all of the stalactites and stalagmites. You'll duck and swim a little along the way. It’s also potentially very dangerous, but we were in good hands. We ended the trip with a shot of a local cinnamon-anise liqueur and a pitch for the photos and packages. Since you can’t bring any cameras into the caves, these are your only options. They have a modern pavilion showing you pictures from your tour on little iPads and iMacs, (surprisingly sophisticated!) and the packages were available with pictures available singly for $25 a piece, an entire personalized CD of pictures of your group and 50 additional shots of the cave for $89, or for $119, the CD with 2 T-shirts and 2 bottles of liqueur. Ka-ching. The liqueur is delicious!

We finished with an all you can eat Mayan buffet of soup, vegetables, mini tacos and fruit. Drinks are extra, but the meal was adequate and filling. It gave us an opportunity to get to know our tour mates just a little better and fill out their feedback forms on how to make the experience better. I couldn't think of anything. They're doing pretty much everything right with this tour.

Read misterkevin's full Carnival Magic cruise review
Provider: Carnival Cruise Line
Member Image ejmmc17
1 review
Not Rated
Jul 2014

We took an excursion while we were in Cozumel. We picked the Secret River/Cave Diving excursion and it was AMAZING. This excursion is on the pricier side but i wholeheartedly recommend you take this trip if you can. You're put in a small group (under 10) and your guide takes you underground to explore an 18 mile cave system that was discovered just 7 years ago. You only explore a mile or so of the cave but that is still plenty. The cave is almost entirely natural and untouched. At the cave openings there are stairways but otherwise the cave is natural and lit only by the flashlight on your helmet. Our guide Carlos was great, friendly, knowledgable, funny. This was probably the best part of our trip. Really the only downside is that the was is a bit cold but you get a wetsuit which helps quite a bit. If you are unsure about which excursion to take please take this one, you won't regret it. Also the port is pleasant.

Bottom Line: Take this excursion!

Read ejmmc17's full Carnival Paradise cruise review
Provider: Carnival Cruise Line
Member Image Sneeserfleeser
1 review
Jan 2014

Very fun and interesting trip exploring a cave. They fit you with wetsuits as the water is cold. You wade and swim through this cave. Lunch afterward was good.

Read Sneeserfleeser's full Caribbean Princess cruise review
Provider: Princess Cruises
Member Image mattie10
2 reviews
Not Rated
Oct 2013

We were going to do the cave tubing in Belize, but decided on this instead. This is a great tour. It is very natural, not commercialized. We were so close to all the formations, There were places to walk through, almost crawl through, and swim through. We really enjoyed the beauty. The only negative was the travel time to and from. It took approximately 1 3/4 hours each way. Make sure to do this through the cruise ship and not privately. We were an hour late getting back. Do not do this tour if you have any health issues or have trouble walking. There was and older lady with us that was in a wheel chair the rest of the cruise because she hurt her foot.

Read mattie10's full Carnival Dream cruise review
Provider: Carnival Cruise Line
Member Image Chappy3
1 review
Jun 2013

Great trip although the photos at $70 were quite expensive. Several pics that were taken were missing from the disk.

Read Chappy3's full Carnival Liberty cruise review
Provider: Carnival Cruise Line
Member Image boxman75
1 review
Feb 2013
This was one of the coolest experiences of my life! If you are afraid of tight spaces or the dark, I would not recommend this tour for you, otherwise, get out and see what the underworld has to offer! I have toured caves in the past (Carlsbad, NM, some in TN, etc.) and none compared to this experience! The caves in Playa Del Carmen at the Amazing Secret River were only discovered in 2007 and opened to the public in 2008. The guides and the government take great pain to ensure that guests respect the natural habitat and go out of the way to ensure your safety. The sheer beauty of what you will see on this tour is beyond words (in my opinion). You cannot take your personal cameras into the cave (waterproof or not) because they do not want you leaving ANYTHING behind in the caves. This is to keep the place safe and prevent it from becoming like some of the pools in Yellowstone, clogged with trash! The photos that their professional photographers take are incredible and very well done. UNFORTUNATELY, the prices charged for these photos are VERY excessive and will likely turn many off. Our guide was brilliant, spoke perfect English, and was very patient and helpful. Overall, the best tour of the cruise by far! I would DEFINITELY do this one again!
Read boxman75's full Carnival Magic cruise review
Provider: Carnival Cruise Line
Member Image gaccr
1 review
Jan 2013

Having snorkled and toured the Mayan ruins in Cozumel previously, we opted for the Amazing Secret River tour. And it was just that -- AMAZING! We took about a 30-minute tender ride and then a short bus ride, part of which was on REALLY bumpy dirt roads. Only 6 people in our group and we only saw one other group, so it wasn't crowded at all. Guide was wonderful and we spent approx. 1 1/2 hour in the caverns. No camera was allowed, which means you have to purchase their photos, but realistically it would have been impossible to manage a camera anyway, and most cameras would not have adequate flash for the photos to turn out well. TIP: They offer you a walking stick -- Take one!! Helps immensely with keeping your balance. Water was chilly, but with the wetsuit on it was not uncomfortable. There were only two places where we had to swim through, but if you can dog paddle you can certainly make it fine. Our guide was wonderful and it was an incredible experience.

Read gaccr's full Carnival Legend cruise review
Provider: Carnival Cruise Line
Member Image Misty5757
4 reviews
Dec 2012
the name of the excursion we went on was Amazing Secret River--one of the few Cruise Ship excursions that we went on which exceeded our expectations--if you like caves and like adventure--then you will like this excursion. The website for this natural reserve is Basically--they outfit the participants with water shoes, wetsuits, helmets with lights and walking sticks (if desired). You then descend from a cenote into the cave and start wading, swimming and walking thru this amazing cave with amazing stalagmites and stalagmites. The tour itself lasts about 1 1/2 hours--we would love to come back in the future and spend more time there.
Read Misty5757's full Carnival Liberty cruise review
Provider: Carnival Cruise Line
Member Image wiskt
15 reviews
Sep 2012
I am really surprised this one is still not listed to choose as it may be one of my all time favorite excursions in 13 cruises. I have done it twice in 2 years! I chose to explore the AMAZING RIO SECRETO & CAVERN EXPLORE. I've done this excursion in 2010 right after it was first opened and just loved it. This trip I went back with a few more friends and they loved it as well. It is definitely worth every penny and it really AMAZING. I am going to cut/paste my last review of this trip and add a few additional comments on what has changed. AMAZING SECRET RIVER and CAVERN EXPLORE: I did some upfront research about this one and it seemed intriguing to me. Summary, WOW! A+++ I thought I loved this in 2010 and it was just as adventurous and exciting in 2012. I'm returning to Cozumel in Dec and considering it a 3rd time. It may just be one of the BEST excursions I have ever done as far as adventure and exploring. This excursion will not disappoint. In 2010 we had 9 people in our entire group which was nice and intimate. In 2012 we had about 45 that they broke up into 4 smaller groups. This RIO SECRETO was recently discovered a few years back by a local that was chasing an iguana in the jungle behind his home and it ran into this underground cave system. It is still being surveyed and had only been opened to the public for about 2 years. It surpassed all of my expectations I had even with some pre-research. Do not be discouraged by the long 7 hour duration. It is split up into parts (Ferry ride to the mainland- Playa Del Carmen) Short van ride to the cave system, 1 ½ cavern exploration, short meal break, 1 hr shopping time and van/ ferry tri back. FERRY RIDE: First off, what a clean comfortable set up. I sat inside as I read that the locals refer to this as the "BARF-BOAT" for tourists that race to sit on the outside 2nd level LOL. I sat inside on the plush air conditioned seats. A little wavy, but not too bad. They offer water, drinks, and some snacks for sale on the ferry. Polite crew VAN RIDE to the CAVES. Well once we turned off the paved roads and onto the dirt road you know the adventure was about to begin. It is about a 5 mile trip down a very bumpy raw unpaved road. My suggestion is to just enjoy as much as you can the best is yet to come. OH and most important..... USE THE BATHROOM on the ferry before getting into the van because the bumpy ride may not be for those with week bladders LOL. CAVERNS/ STAFF and FOOD: We were all greeted by our guide AIDA and each provided with lockers and locks to keep our personals. This trip our guide was RODRIGO and was very informative and a great guide keeping everyone together and not missing out on anything from the first person in line to the last the entire time. I was talking to him on the way to the cavern and when he found out I did the trip in 2010 he re-routed out tour a different way so I can see other new parts of the system that have been discovered. This is a PHYSICAL TOUR so you do need to be able to bend, crouch, walk, swim/wade, and should have no problems with darkness, water and they say claustrophobia. There is really no tight spaces so do not be too discouraged about this. Water is fresh-water, crystal clear and about 70 degrees. They offer a walking stick. I say take it and even suggested to the guide once in the caves that they just pass them out to everyone instead of offering. You are not allowed to take any cameras or anything into the system. You get a knee length wet suit, swimming vest, water shoes and hard hat with a small light. DEFINITELY check and make sure your light works and is not dying before you start the hike. The sights are amazing inside the cavern and the photographer that tags along takes great photos. They are offered to purchase at the end. I took the entire CD of approx. 30 personal photos and an additional 50 added cave photos along with 3 gifts selections (T-shirts, bottle of Wine etc.) for $99. They are WORTH every penny! Rating 10 A+++ So if you have a small group its worth buying the whole package and you can make copies later
Read wiskt's full Carnival Legend cruise review
Provider: Carnival Cruise Line

Sponsored links

Thank You For Signing Up!

Please Note: To ensure delivery of your free e-letters, please add to your address book.
We're committed to protecting your privacy and will not rent or sell your e-mail address. By proceeding, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.