by Lydia Linton Pontius
Heading south from Akumal, towards Tulum on the right-hand side of the highway, just past Oscar and Lalo's Restaurant, is a new eco-park, Parque Selva Maya. It has nine zip-lines, and they will soon be adding more. In addition to the zip-lines, there are cenotes to swim in and also an underground river to snorkel.
We arrived at Parque Selva Maya after having a lazy breakfast in Tulum. The weather was perfect and we were all excited to see what great things they were doing at this new park. The fun begins the minute you arrive; just the drive into the jungle makes you feel like Indiana Jones.
Most of us had never zip-lined before so we were most excited to give it a try. We listened to the instructions intently and then headed out with our guides. The paths are so beautiful and you are so far away from civilization that you feel one with nature around you, so peaceful, so quiet. After a short walk we got to the first swinging bridge—wait did I leave out that I am not real comfortable with heights? I avoid using a stepladder when at all possible. The really crazy thing is I love the g-force; it isn't the dropping that bothers me, it is the climbing up.
Memo and the other guides could not have been more assuring and encouraging. Over the swinging bridge I went and then it was time to zip-line. There were six in our group and everyone decided I should go first. Never having done it, there was a natural resistance and healthy fear but, once I took that first step off the platform and was flying with my harness attached to the cable, it was pure ecstasy.
I am one of the fortunate ones that fly in my dreams. I do it often and sometimes I glide through the air. Other times I am in some sort of device, including once in a bathtub. My dreams did not prepare me for the exhilarating feeling of zip-lining. If you have never done it, I recommend it highly.
Parque Selva Maya's course is loaded with swinging bridges and zip-lines that run throughout the jungle, and the views from the top of the tree line are spectacular.
At the end of the zip-line you have the option of rock climbing up a wall and rappelling down the side and into a dry cave. That is followed by a short walk to a cenote that you can walk in or jump. The water is so crystal clear that the cenote gives the appearance of being too shallow to jump in, but jump we did and what a refreshing way to cool off.
Next we were off to snorkel an underground cave system. Parque Selva Maya provides underwater flashlights and snorkel gear. It was amazing to swim between the stalagmites and stalactites knowing they were formed over thousands of years, one drip at a time.
We ended our adventure with a fabulous lunch of chicken and cochinita pibil served with sides and fresh tortillas. With the addition of new zip-lines we can't wait to visit Parque Selva Maya again! If you want to experience the beauty of the local environment, be away from the crowds and have the time of your life, we highly recommend putting this on your list of things to do! Keep an eye out in months to come for some fun videos we took while on this adventure.