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Friday, August 03, 2007

Jungle Tour & Snorkeling in Cancun, Mexico

Today’s “program” as they like to call them down here in Mexico was taking the Jungle Tour with Aqua Fun just a 15 minute walk from the Hilton Cancun Beach & Golf Resort. The theme of the tour is to hop into a little two-seater boat with a outboard engine and zoom through the Laguna de Nichupte (Lagoon), a “jungle”, and then spend an hour snorkeling off of a reef before returning.

Our Boats at the Jungle Tour in Cancun, Mexico

This was probably the best “program” overall that we had this week from both it’s easy of access and the experience itself. We had a lot of fun on this one and Ashley did not get too sea-sick, which is a first for her. That is a great success in itself.

Before boarding our boats, we needed to pay a total of 42 pesos (or $2 each) to the “Comision Nacional de Areas Naturales Protegidas” in order to benefit the Mexican Government in support of protecting natural habitats. Which, of course we were happy to do. Once boarding we got in our little boats shortly before 10:00am and headed out.

I am driving our boat on the Jungle Tour towards the reef in Cancun, Mexico

The lagoon’s water was pretty smooth and the journey took about 20 minutes to get through the lagoon and out to the reef on the Caribbean Sea where we were to snorkel. It’s called the “Jungle Tour” but is really more of a snorkel tour where you go through a few groves of thick Mangrove trees. They are jungle-like, perhaps not as you might expect from the tour description.

The Jungle of Mangrove trees on our Tour in Cancun Mexico

Once at the reef, we’re given our masks to combine with our flippers and snorkels we received on shore and given around an hour to explore. Since we had a relatively early morning excursion, the waters were still very calm making life easier for Ashley.

The clarity and quality of the reef was one of the better that I had seen, even post Hurricane Wilma which was a little bit of a surprise given the number of people that visit this reef each day. This includes both Jamaica and multiple visits to Hawaii. The kind of person destruction you see at Hanauma Bay in Hawaii is not here. You can see a number of living corals, some of which are still recovering from the Hurricane – but in general the quality is decent. Also, a number of species of fish and several schools swim right through you as you explore.

Unfortunately, pictures will need to come a little later as our underwater camera is a simple Fuji throw-away as I forgot to order a water-proof case for my Canon G7 before heading out on this trip. That being said, I am hoping to have a few spectacular shots to update this post with.

Towards the end of the snorkel time, the seas started to get a little choppier. Luckily, we were able to get into our boat and start moving again before Ashley became too seasick. In another 25 minutes we were back on land. We showered off really quickly in the outdoor shower and gave a small tip to the guides who did a pretty good job.

This is a tour that we would both highly recommend due to a reasonable price ($55/person) as well as an excellent experience. If you do tend to get seasick the advice would be to go as early in the morning as possible as the seas will be calmer and the clarity of the water will be higher. Our tour started at 10:00am, and would probably have been even calmer had we started at 8:00am.

From a company perspective from the other boats we saw out at the reef, Aqua Fun provided the newest equipment that was in the best condition.

Have you taken the Jungle Tour? What did you think?