This cave/cenote/river system is in excellent condition and it's clear that the owners/managers take their stewardship of this natural treasure very seriously. Simply amazing. Loved the Mayan blessing before we entered, our period of time in the dark, and, of course, the caves themselves. Our guide Benito was fantastic--he loves his job and really knows his stuff. He fielded some fairly complex questions and we all came out better educated than when we began while having fun at the same time. Finished up just as our stomachs were starting to growl and found the included meal to be pretty good.
Other details: Yes the dirt road is bumpy getting there...so what? You're in the country in Mexico, and that's how they are. People complain here on TA about the wetsuits stinking--for us they were wet but not gross. Same with the shoes. Take note, however: I'm not a feeble person, but with all the uneven footing on top of not being allowed to touch anything (skin oils will damage the formations) I highly recommend the walking sticks! You'll get to look up more and less at your feet.
As for the picture taking, I have mixed feelings about them. I too would have preferred more time spent looking at the formations and less posing for pix. It just reeks of "prepackaged tour" when that's happening, something I generally avoid when traveling. But half the $$ earned goes to preservation of the caves and I believe them when they say that. We were 8 in our group so it didn't cost much to buy the cd and share.
All in all it's a well-run if sometimes overly scripted tour, especially with the corny pictures. Based on other reviews here, it seems the quality of the guide staff is quite high, though. We sure loved ours. So if you're going there to get inside those exquisite caves and discover for yourself what lies beneath your feet when in the Yucatan, you'll feel (like we did) that you've gotten more than your money's worth. It's jaw-droppingly beautiful, spiritual, and awe inspiring.
Kudos to these folks for doing a sustainable operation in a region that is generally happy to sell out to the highest bidder, no matter what the environmental cost. I do wish, though, that they'd do the tour at a more leisurely pace with a bit less energy devoted to the pictures.
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