There’s no better way to get the most out a vacation than to go on an optional excursion. It’s a great way to experience a destination’s culture, people, land and sense of adventure.
In my opinion, tours break up the daily ‘routine’ of breakfast in bed, indulging in phenomenal cuisine, drinking margaritas and soaking up the sun on the beach. Who would want to break-up that routine, you ask?! I know it’s hard to convince my friends that it is worth leaving the lap of luxury for half a day. But once they experience these adventures, they never regret it. We remember those moments like it was yesterday and we haven’t stopped talking about them since!
No matter the destination, there are always excursions to choose from for every interest. The culture-craver, the adventure-seeker, the history-buff, the shopper, the night owls…there is an excursion for everyone.
One of my favorite adventure-packed excursions is the Jungle Crossing Tour offered in the Riviera Maya. First, a couple of cute guides picked us up at our resort in an all-terrain vehicle, then whisked us away into the jungle for some off-roading. After the ride, we went kayaking and snorkeling in beautiful coves where the guides taught us about local marine life and showed us the best spots to see some amazing creatures! (Good tip: Don’t leave home without your ecological biodegradable sunscreen). Saving the best for last, they drove us into a remote Mayan Village, where we were led to a “cenote” …a swimming hole that lead to an underground river system. I don’t think I’ve ever seen something so breathtaking. I have seen my fair share of caves from family vacations…from the bottom up…and while walking. But to be floating at the top and looking down 80 feet was a whole new experience! We snorkeled through crystal clear water, passing stalactites and stalagmites, cave-dwelling wildlife and fish. After that experience, we sat down to an authentic meal made by the villagers themselves. We then hiked through their farmland to learn more about their way of life, and ended up in a pavillion strung with tons of hammocks to relax after all the activity. The day came to an end at a local market, where we picked up some souvenirs and toasted the fun-filled day with a shot of tequila.
Another tip: choose your excursion company carefully. In Mexico and the Dominican Republic, Amstar, Apple Vacations’ destination management company, takes care of selecting the best local tours and excursions out there. The Apple Rep in your resort is there to help you determine the best excursion option for you. The earlier you check out your options, the better. Sometimes tours are only available certain days or times of the week, and some sell out quickly.
When you take an optional excursion, you can find something that is of interest to you, but also with cleverly infused history, culture and bits of information you never knew!