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Aktun Chen Zip Line and Cenote Park - An Adventure Park Worth Visiting

Last Friday Allan and I brought our 6 employees to the adventure park, Aktun Chen, just south of Akumal. It's owned by our attorney's family, and we've heard great things about it, so it was time to check it out for ourselves. Additionally we felt the need to give back to our employees for their loyal service, and to share with them the most fun part of our job: exploring the Riviera Maya's many enjoyable activities. Aktun Chen certainly did not disappoint, and offered many a first time opportunity to ride on zip lines.

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Last Friday Allan and I brought our 6 employees to the adventure park, Aktun Chen, just south of Akumal. It's owned by our attorney's family, and we've heard great things about it, so it was time to check it out for ourselves. Additionally we felt the need to give back to our employees for their loyal service, and to share with them the most fun part of our job: exploring the Riviera Maya's many enjoyable activities. Aktun Chen certainly did not disappoint, and offered many a first time opportunity to ride on zip lines.

After a 45 minute drive south of Playa del Carmen we traversed winding dirt roads through roughly 5 miles of jungle until we reached the unassuming entrance to Aktun Chen. We were greeted by a friendly guide who led us to lockers where we could store our belongings. Visitors can pick and choose which activities they would like among zip line, cave tour and a cenote swim. We opted for the all inclusive combo entrance pack which includes all 3 since after all we are expected to provide an expert review.

We were then given hard hats and led further into the jungle to this massive cave. The guide led us on an amazing subterranean tour through stalactites, stalagmites and underwater rivers. It was like being on planet Mars - the views from every angle were incredible. Furthermore the informative guide helped us to better understand the history and geology of the region. I can comfortably say that everyone in the group was impressed. The waterways passing through the cave connected directly to the sea and provided a crystal clear view of the bottom 12 - 100 feet below.

The cave tour ended will an above ground walk through the jungle and past a flock of white tailed dear, which were close enough to almost touch. This is when the guide began telling us the cave was discovered 30 years ago by farmers searching for gum trees. Centuries ago the Mayan used the cave system as a hurricane shelter and also believed it was a pathway of the Gods.

After the brief hiatus at the snack bar we were stripped of our hard hats and led back into the jungle past a family of spider monkeys kept in a large enclosure. We stopped for a few photos, but hurried excitedly on as the one hour zip line tour was next.


The zip lines were certainly the most exciting part of our adventure, especially because none of my employees, except Claudia, had ever been on one before - they had never even worn a harness. I have been doing this since I was a child at gymnastics camp. Although many were nervous, everyone went, except for Connie, who is 6 months pregnant. The zip lines were not as high as those at Xplor, but certainly allowed you to get closer to nature. The 10 zip lines at Aktun Chen snake through the jungle at about mid-tree level and pass rather close to the trees whereas at Xplor they essentially cut down most of the trees, and you are traveling above the tree tops. For at least an hour you do not touch ground, but rather take off and land on sturdy make-shift tree forts, and even traverse 2 suspended bridges. At every stage we were securely attached to a cable to prevent an accidental personnel plummet.

Although the first one or two zip lines required some encouragement and prodding on the part of my employees, by the end of the 6th zip line, people were becoming more adventurous - going backwards and even upside down. We enjoyed seeing these humble yet hardworking people open up and expand their experiences and test their courage. Our maintenance man Luis commented that he didn't want to come back to work - that he was going to work at the park. Very funny, I mused.

The last part of the adventure involved a 10 minute drive into the jungle to a below ground cenote with spectacular ceiling views of the jagged rocks above. The water, although cold, was this pristine blue color, that made the whole cave sparkle. We brought our own snorkel equipment (you can rent it there), and were forced to wear life jackets. I probably should also mention they sprayed us with a cold hose before entering the water to wash off any sweat and sunblock. The cenote is definitely worth it, especially as a way to cool down after a long but enjoyable day.

Although Aktun Chen is a ways from Playa del Carmen compared to Xplor, it is less expensive as does offer a more authentic experience, as Xplor is more like a theme park (albeit an amazing one). Furthermore Aktun Chen is also part zoo, allows you to become familiar with the native wildlife and offers a guided cave tour. I would definitely say this employee field trip was a successFind Article, and is certainly a step up from our employee party last year which involved my pool and a BBQ. Aktun Chen will definitely make it on my list of activities provided to our Playa del Carmen rental guests. Akthn Chen can be found at http://www.aktunchen.com/HOME_ing.htm.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Matt Weatherbee owns North American Standards, a Playa del Carmen rental and property management company.



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