4 Transformative travel experiences in Riviera Maya

Riviera Maya is the most visited tourist destination in Mexico. We receive millions of tourists annually coming from all over the world. An unsurprising fact, since this legendary land of the Mayans has a very captivating charm.

At Totonal we will never give up on motivating travelers to discover the real Mexico away from all inclusive hotels during their holiday. Our mission is to become facilitators between travelers and hosts to create meaningful cultural interactions. Have a look at our staff’s pick transformative travel experiences and get ready to discover the real Mexico!

Discover Xibalba in the underground river of Nuevo Xcan.

For the Mayan mythology, Xibalba meant the underworld ruled by the God of death. However, today’s Mayans who live in Nuevo Xcan, have created a network of trails in a cenote 30 meters underground. Here, they take you to discover their own underworld of crystal clear waters with healing properties, both for the mind and the spirit. In this particular Xibalbá, you will be able to enjoy a guided tour, where safety is a must, through the natural caverns made by the filtration of water throughout the millions of years.

The Xibalbá of Nuevo Xcan. Credit Daniel Baldamus

Very few people know this place, and what we like the most is that it is a project of 250 Mayan families, where you can stay with them, eat and visit their other highlight: the cenote Tzeldzonot.

Living with the Mayans.

Did you know that spending few days living with the Mayans is possible? We know an ecotourism center located in Carrillo Puerto that is undoubtedly one of our favorite places. This place is ideal for people who seek to go beyond tourist activities and dive into anthropological experiences that allow them to connect with original cultures in a relaxed atmosphere.

In Selva Bonita, visitors are always welcome to stay and enjoy this wonderful place in the middle of the jungle. They have created a wonderful catalog of activities, where you can take a walk through the jungle with a traditional chiclero (chewing gum worker), learn about the honey bees, the henequen (the green gold of the Mayans) or the trapiche (traditional extraction of cane juice).

What we love most about this place is that it is a Mayan family cooperative, committed to the rescue and care of their culture and local biodiversity.

Floating in the Muyil channels.

Approximately 1000 years ago, the Mayans used canals through the jungle and mangroves to facilitate transportation between land and sea. Nowadays, we still have these channels that have a curious current and make you literally “float” on the water. In Muyil, the Sian Ka’an Reserve still keeps a 900-meter freshwater channel that allows you to slowly float through four different ecosystems: savanna, wetlands, four types of mangroves and tropical rainforest.

Floating in the Muyil channels

What we like most is that this activity can only be done through a community ecotourism company, whose objectives are the conservation and preservation of natural ecosystems through tourism.

Take a course of coral reef restoration in Cozumel island.

During your holiday in Riviera Maya, you can now become a volunteer diver helping to restore corals in the most affected areas of Cozumel island. First, you will do four theoretical lessons on the importance of the reefs, their threats, ways of protection and an initiation to the coral farms. After that, you will take several dives to prepare new areas to restore, help in the marking of corals, measure their growth and support in cleaning the seaweed, among other things.

What makes us fall in love with this project is that it is a non-profit company that seeks purely the regeneration of coral ecosystems outside the Cozumel Marine National Park.

You can book each and every one of these travel experiences with us! Do not hesitate to ask us for more information!


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