Mexico is bursting with hidden gems all across the country. Every year, the country unveils new discoveries joining its host of tourism offerings. For nature-loving travelers visiting Mexico, there’s no better place to go than an adventure through the Rio Secreto. 

Some people consider this secret river to be one of the country’s best-kept secrets. The underground river winds through a ton of unique cave systems. With rock formations dating back thousands of years, the Rio Secreto is a Mexican treasure accessible from many of its popular tourist hubs. 

Mexico is a top vacation destination, especially for Black American travelers. This winter, if you’re heading on a Mexican getaway, consider adding a tour of the enchanting secret river to your itinerary. Here’s everything you need to know about visiting the hidden river and caves awaiting you in the Rio Secreto.

The Secret River Is A Mexican Hidden Gem

rio secreto
Photo credit: David Milmont

Believe it or not, the Rio Secreto wasn’t discovered until 2004. A local landowner stumbled upon the underground river by accident while hunting iguanas. It sits in the middle of 250 acres of tropical forest in the Yucatan Peninsula. However, it’s one of the few underground rivers that are accessible to people in the region. 

Visitors can currently only experience the secret river through a guided tour. The tours are magical, allowing guests to learn more about Mexico’s landscape while being surrounded by underground beauty. Travelers can swim in the river, explore the cave formations, and dive deep into the secret world of the Mayan underground.

Keep in mind that reaching the Rio Secreto does require some hiking. As such, this isn’t an excursion for designer clothes and shoes. Travelers should wear hiking-appropriate gear to ensure they can comfortably enjoy the nature experience. Tours also allow visitors to swim in the river and bask in the otherworldly beauty of this eco-adventure.

A Place To Experience Living History

rio secreto
Photo credit: Joshua Sortino

Although the Rio Secreto was discovered less than 20 years ago, the mysterious cave formations there date back thousands of years. The turquoise hue of the water reflects off the limestone rocks creating what the Mayans believed to be the mystical spiritual underworld. 

Unfortunately, cameras are not allowed in the caves. However, guests are able to buy photos of their voyage from the staff photographer. Only six miles away, Rio Secreto is a great excursion for those visiting Playa del Carmen. 

Described as an underground stone palace, Rio Secreto is Mexico’s best-kept secret. It’s a place where travelers can experience real, living history. The caves have existed for centuries and the formations continue changing and evolving as time passes. 

There are many tour options to explore the Rio Secreto. The pricing ranges from $90 to $140 per person with cheaper rates for child visitors. Most tours require guests to leave personal belongings in a locker before embarking into the underground cave system. With so many things to see and do in Mexico, Rio Secreto is the hidden getaway you need to escape the tourist attractions and connect with Mother Earth.