It sure looks as if it would be fun to drive a wave runner or two-person speedboat across the lagoon and through the mangroves to a national marine park where you snorkel with the fishes before returning home. Unfortunately, the rules—Stay in line! Don’t go too fast! Don’t pass!—keep the boat part pretty tame, and you see very few birds in the mangroves. The snorkeling also is disappointing, with dozens of tourists swarming a coral reef that is home to few fish. We don’t recommend this sort of trip, but dozens of agencies will gladly take your money (US$60–75 pp, 2.5 hours).
Aerial Tours and Views
Based out of Playa del Carmen, AeroSaab (20 Av. Sur near Calle 1, Playa del Carmen, tel. 984/865-0804, www.aerosaab.com, 7 a.m.–7:30 p.m. daily) offers scenic full-day tours from Cancún—Chichén Itzá, Isla Holbox, Mérida, Uxmal—and as far as Palenque, with time to visit the area. Trips are in four- or five-seat Cessna airplanes and run US$118–741 per person, plus airport fees. Most trips require a minimum of two people.
If you prefer to stay (somewhat) grounded, board La Torre Escénica (Scenic Tower, El Embarcadero, Blvd. Kukulcán Km. 4, 9 a.m.–11 p.m. daily, US$9 one trip, US$14 two trips), an 80-meter (262.5-foot) tower with a rotating passenger cabin, affording a beautiful 10-minute view of this part of the coastline. (Audio tours are available in Spanish, English, German, and French.)
© Gary Chandler & Liza Prado from Moon Yucatán Peninsula, 9th edition