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Cruise Over to Garrafon Natural Reef Park For Some Family Fun

Jun 26, 2008
Located just 25 minutes by cruise from Cancun, the Garrafon Natural Reef Park is one of the region's best places to experience all the wonders of the Caribbean Sea. From kayaking and hiking to snorkeling and swimming with dolphins, the park offers a wealth of activities for all ages. Best of all, the Garrafon Natural Reef Park now features an array of affordable day-trip packages that include transportation, meals and activities. If you want to enjoy everything the Mexican Caribbean has to offer, hop aboard a cruise and spend an afternoon at the Garrafon Natural Reef Park.

Garrafon Natural Reef Park - sometimes referred to as El Garrafon National Park - lies on Isla Mujeres ("Island of Women") just offshore from Cancun. The island features the remains of a Mayan temple overlooking the sea, a site popular for hiking and photography. Amongst the ruins, visitors will also find the Punta Sur Sculpture Park, a collection of 23 modern art sculptures by local and international artists. As the sculptures rest above a remarkable cliff, the scenery provided by the Caribbean Sea often steals the show.

The most enticing attraction at Garrafon Natural Reef Park is the warm, crystal-clear water. Averaging a depth of just 13 feet with calm conditions, the water at Garrafon is perfect for families hoping to enjoy the beautiful Caribbean Sea together. Beneath the shallow water near the shore - and further out along the coral reef - swimmers and snorkelers can watch tropical fish and other sea creatures darting through the sea. The calm waters at the park also provide the perfect conditions for kayaking or simply floating along and enjoying the sunshine. Regardless of how you choose to enjoy the beautiful waters here, all the equipment you need will be provided as part of your day-trip tour from Cancun.

The park's most popular day-trip packages include a guided encounter or swim with local dolphins. The Dolphin Encounter allows visitors to get up close to the dolphins and watch them perform from in the water. This package is recommended by the park for families with small children. The Dolphin Swim package takes the fun one step further by offering families a chance to take a ride with the friendly creatures. The park's best day-trip option is known as the Royal Swim and features two dolphin rides. The first ride lets swimmers coast through the water while grasping the fins of two dolphins. Afterwards, visitors are able to complete the experience by standing upright and allowing the dolphins to propel them across the water's surface.

Adventurous types might also want to try scaling the Climbing Tower at Garrafon Natural Reef Park. Though the 50 foot climb might seem too much for some visitors, everyone that reaches the top is greeted by unrivaled panoramic views of the Caribbean Sea. The zip-line over the warm water is another great option for the thrill seekers of the family. As the zip-line allows you to cruise through the air and splash down in the sea, some visitors might find that this activity is both more exhilarating and less exhausting than the Climbing Tower.

If you have some time left over to relax in the park or elsewhere on the island, you might want to consider taking a leisurely hike or bike ride along one of the picturesque trails. If you really want to relax, however, recline in one of the park's deck chairs or hammocks. The park also offers visitors the use of a beautiful 35-meter swimming pool. Set against the backdrop of the scenic coastline, the swimming pool is a great place for families to cool off as they wait for their cruise back to Cancun.

Garrafon Natural Reef Park offers all-inclusive day-trip packages starting at $65 for adults and $49 for children. The fee includes round trip transportation from Cancun via the park's ferry boat, continental breakfast at the park, buffet lunch, drinks at the bar, all rental equipment (includes snorkeling gear, life jackets and kayaks) and access to all the park's activities (includes the Climbing Tower, swimming pool and all leisure opportunities). If you want to participate in any of the park's dolphin activities, the packages will be priced slightly higher.

If your family wants to spend a quiet day in the sun amongst the wonders of the Caribbean, Garrafon Natural Reef Park is the perfect Cancun day-trip.
About the Author
Justin Burch writes articles about travel in Cancun for the Marriott Resorts.
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