ATV adventures and snorkeling with Punta Venado

There are as many Riviera Maya eco-tours as there are amazing natural wonders along this part of the Caribbean, and each offer something a little bit different. We’ve reviewed the fast-action activities with Alltournative, but for a change of pace, a day with Punta Venado offers both ATV adventures and snorkeling, plus relaxation.

blue venado beach club

Don’t worry: the kids will still be highly entertained with Punta Venado, located on almost 2000 acres and along 2.5 miles of pristine private beach. But you’ll enjoy some downtime as well. The eco-park is comprised of two sections: the Punta Venado ranch, with activities ranging from horseback riding, ATV-riding, and snorkeling, to the Blue Venado Beach Club, which sits on pristine white sand and offers a lovely open-air restaurant, cabanas, and miles of coastline. Families looking to get the most of their stay will take advantage of both.

punta venado

We started our day at Punta Venado with an ATV tour through the jungle. Since we experienced a brief downpour during our tour, the dirt paths were nice and muddy…perfect for some messy fun! The ATVs seat two, and adults must drive (age 16 and up). A guide takes your through the jungle to a dry cenote cave, where you get off the ATVs to explore a bit. If you’ve been swimming in cenotes earlier in your trip, this field trip isn’t too big of a thrill, but still fun. We then continued on ATVs to a cenote pool, where we jumped into the fresh water to cool off and wash the mud off our legs from the drive. This pool was very fun for the kids to explore, as it included a small creek-like waterway at one end, surrounded by jungle.

We rode on to Punta Venado’s private beach (as pretty as any along the Riviera Maya) where their snorkel and dive shop team outfitted us to snorkel on the Mayan Reef. The reef sits only feet off the shore at this location, making Punta Venado the only place we knew of in the Riviera Maya to snorkel the reef directly from shore. Even though the water was choppy after the morning storm, we were able to reach the reef area fairly easily (we were given fins and life jackets in addition to snorkels and masks), and our guide offered recycled water bottles filled with soggy tortillas…perfect fish food! The tropical fish surrounded us to access the food (which is squeezed from the bottle), making for a very impressive showing.

punta venado

On a calmer day, we could have accessed more of the reef, but even in not-ideal conditions, we saw hundreds of fish. We swam back to shore to ride the ATVs back to the ranch area.

When booking a Punta Venado tour, families can choose between a menu of options: in addition to ATVing and snorkeling, we opted for lunch at the Blue Venado Beach Club, a short dirt road drive away. This private beach club is directly on the water, offers bathrooms, showers, a restaurant, a bar, and beach cabanas. After lunch, you’re invited to stay as long as you’d like. If you have your own snorkel gear, you could certainly snorkel off the shore here as well, and if not, the body surfing is great.

Tip: Eco-tours are expensive: if you want a more economical day, opt for the beach club only. Access is free: we were told the only requirement is to buy $20 worth of food or drinks per person from the restaurant. At $20/person, this is the cheapest excursion in Riviera Maya. If you have a car or rent a taxi, access to the beach club is directly off the coastal highway linking Cancun to Tulum.

Date last visited:

August 2013

Cost:

Punta Venado ATV tours are $83/per person. They also have an option called All In, which includes everything on offer for $150/per person.

Directions:

Look for the Punta Venado and Blue Venado Beach Club sign right after Calica on the Riviera Maya.

Disclaimer: we experienced Punta Venado as guests of the tour company, for the purpose of review. All opinions are our own.

About the author

Pit Stops for Kids AUTHOR: Amy Whitley is the founding editor of Pit Stops for Kids and content editor of Trekaroo. She writes on staff monthly at a number of travel publications, and contributes to OutdoorsNW magazine as an outdoor adventure traveler. Find Amy at Google.

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