5 Big Adventure Trends to Watch in Mexico

Visitors to Nanciyaga can go kayaking on Laguna Catemaco.

Visitors to Nanciyaga can go kayaking on Laguna Catemaco.

This August, Mexico will host its third annual Adventure Travel Mexico event in the city of Veracruz. From August 27 to 30, more than 400 inbound Mexican operators, outbound tour operators, international buyers and media will gather to learn about the benefits of offering adventure travel in Mexico. Through a B2B marketplace and educational sessions on best practices and trends for this popular niche market, ATMEX attendees will learn about all that is new in the adventure travel industry in Mexico.

Through significant investment in this particular market that is worth $263 billion (as of 2012), Mexico plans to work with multiple states across the country that want to educate their community, train local guides and operators, build infrastructure and promote Mexico’s adventure offerings.

It should be noted that the state of Veracruz itself has many adventure options, including scuba diving and snorkeling in its coral reef system, dune-boarding, whitewater rafting, ocean and whitewater kayaking, mountain biking, mountain horseback, hiking, rappelling and zip-lining, caving, and mountain and glacier climbing.

About four miles north of Catemaco City, Veracruz, is Nanciyaga, a 10-acre ecological reserve where visitors can follow jungle paths for a trip into the history of the ancient Olmec culture or go kayaking on Laguna Catemaco. The 1992 Sean Connery-Lorraine Bracco drama Medicine Man was largely filmed at Nanciyaga.

Elsewhere in Mexico, Alltournative an eco-archaeological tour operator in Quintana Roo, opened Maya Jungle Adventure Park in February. This new eco-park features natural treasures that guests can explore. Visitors will be able to zip line through the jungle, rappel down cenotes, snorkel underground river systems, explore the jungle on a Unimog 4x4, and enjoy traditional Yucatecan food. Tickets are $69 for adults and $49 for children. The price includes an expert tour guide, who will accompany guests throughout their adventures, and all activity equipment including helmets, rappelling and snorkel gear, lockers to safeguard personal items and a towel.

Among G Adventures’ Mexico 2014 programs is the 22-day Mayan Adventure (from $2,399 per person), which also ventures into Belize and Guatemala. Among the highlights are guided tours of the ruins of Chichen Itza, Palenque and Tikal; visits to local villages; and treks to waterfalls. Optional side excursions include diving, guided jungle hiking and a canyon cruise in Mexico; paragliding in Guatemala; and cave exploration and snorkeling with stingrays and nurse sharks in Belize.

In Baja California, FunBaja’s fleet takes guests on a tour of Espiritu Santo, a UNESCO-protected area directly north of the Bay of La Paz known for its abundance and variety of marine life. There kids and adults alike can dive in and swim with friendly, barking sea lions at a rocky group of islands called Los Islotes. Landlubbers can disembark at Ensenada Grande and take either a vigorous or low-impact hiking trail that leads to a panoramic view of the Sea of Cortez.

Flyboarding, the hottest new extreme water sport, is now available at the luxury all-inclusive Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit in Nueva Vallarta. Adventurous guests can strap their feet on a personal watercraft and fly 40 feet through the air as part of the “Flyboard Experience package.”

When visiting before April 26, 2014, the package includes one Flyboard Tour per adult per stay with tour operator Vallarta Adventures and savings that include 20 percent on adult rates and 50 percent on rates for kids ages 5 to 16. Guests also enjoy 10 percent savings at the resort boutique and $50 spa or golf credit. Between April 27 and December 19, 2014, savings on rates change to a family-friendly complimentary stay for two kids ages 2 to 12 and 50 percent savings for teens sharing a suite with their parents.