Island Paradise meets Family Fun Activities
El Garrafon Natural Reef Park awaits you and your family with open arms in what is simply one of the most beautiful natural parks. On our recent family vacation in Cancun, we were fortunate to find this private island paradise that is located on the southern tip of the island of Isla Mujeres. This island paradise offers families unique and thrilling adventures as well as places throughout the park to relax in style and it is definitely on our list of top things to do when in Cancun.
Our family took the UltraMar ferry from Playa Tortugas which is situated next to the Fiesta Americana Grand Coral Beach Resort and Spa, which is where we stayed while in Cancun. El Garrafon Natural Reef Park was about 20 minute ride from the main street in Isla Mujeres and was relatively easy to find. During our ferry ride over to the island, we arranged a golf cart rental for 500 pesos which was approximately $42 U.S. dollars. If you are planning on exploring the island, we highly recommend getting a golf cart for your transportation. UltraMar provided us with directions to the Gomar II golf cart rental office which was about a 5 minute walk from the boat dock. It was relatively close and easy to find.
After about a 20 minute golf cart drive along the main street on Isla Mujeres we arrived at El Garrafon. Upon our arrival the view was worthy of an “OMG” comment. It was simply beyond breathtaking and instantly brought us to a place of serenity and excitement, all at the same time. This island paradise had more and more to offer as we explored the park with our daughter.
Garrafon Natural Reef Park offers visitors clean lockers to store their belongings and also provide you with a key on a rope necklace that you can wear as you explore the the park. There are also a good amount of changing rooms and bathrooms so that you are able to change once you get there and you don’t have to worry about bringing a towel, as they provide those for you as well.
Zip Lining Over Tropical Waters
The first activity our family did at El Garrafon Natural Reef Park was the zip lines. I had been zip lining once before on Catalina island, but this was the first time for my husband and daughter. In fact, I was worried about her being able to zipline at all since she is 8 and 48″ tall, but she too was able to experience this activity as her harness was attached to that of an experienced zip line instructor.
See Garrafon Natural Reef Park and all of our other family activity recommendations for Cancun on our Cancun Tourist Map with Points of Interest.
After suiting up with the harnesses we walked up two flights of stairs to the first zip line tower which was at the top of the park above the tropical landscape. With a quick instruction on what to do after you are strapped in, you lean back into a sitting position and then take off over the beautiful park. The second zip line went out over the beautiful coral reef waters to a tower in the middle of the water. The third and last line takes you from the water to the tower at the base of the water near the snorkeling. It was a combination of adrenaline and serenity at the same time. Our daughter loved the experience as well and felt safe with the instructor as they soared across the park.
Snorkeling the Beautiful Coral Reef Waters
After the zip lines and a little break on the beach, we headed over to the snorkeling activity area. As a novice snorkeler and non-swimmer, I was happy to see that no matter the level of a person’s swimming ability, all were required to use the life vest provided by the resort. The depth of the area in which we snorkeled was probably about 15-20 feet so it was not like we were in wide open ocean waters and there were no more than tiny waves from a passing boat, at worst. This is what makes this activity so family friendly.
Once we suited up with our snorkeling gear, we walked down the dock and down the stairs into the crystal clear blue waters of Garrafon. Since our daughter had a life vest on all she had to do was kick and paddle to be able to enjoy the waters with us. The snorkel area has buoys that help guide you along the outer part of the reef. As you swim along you will see various tropical fish along the reef and beyond. This was a very fun family activity that all of us enjoyed.
Other Activities at Garrafon Natural Reef Park
We were at the park for about half of the day, so we did not get a chance to experience all the park had to offer. One of the activities we saw but did not get to do was kayaking. Garrafon Natural Reef Park offers single or two-passenger kayaks that you can ride around in the turquoise waters below the zip lines and next to the snorkeling area. Another great water activity is swimming in the fresh water infinity swimming pool that overlooks the coral reef. My daughter and I had a chance to take a quick dip before leaving, and if we didn’t have to catch our ferry back to Cancun, we would have swam there for hours. Another plus for this pool was that the shallow depth was good for the younger kids.
With all of the activities that the park offers, you definitely need a place to relax. El Garrafon Natural Reef Park has plenty of nice relaxing locations for you to rejuvenate before taking on another activity. From hammocks, lounge chairs to chairs in a shallow pool, the park gives you plenty of choices and the view from each overlooks the beach and beautiful waters.
The amenities of this natural reef park offered us a day of fun, lifetime experiences and best of all, it allowed us to enjoy a little piece of paradise with our family. We hope you can experience a little bit of paradise too!
About Garrafon Natural Reef Park
The park is a gorgeous natural reef park overlooking the miraculous turquoise waters of the Mexican Caribbean and is located only 20 minutes by boat from Cancun. When visiting Garrafon Natural Reef Park, expect to stay the entire day. You will enjoy activities such as snorkeling, zip lining, kayaking and swimming. This is a full service park that offers its guests towels, turnkey lockers and bathrooms, restaurants, bars and plenty of places to relax!
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Why We Recommend Garrafon Natural Reef Park For Families
- Beautiful Scenery
- Tropical Lanscape
- Family Friendly Atmosphere
- Gorgeous Waters
- Plenty of Relaxing Areas
- Zip Lining
- Infinity Pool
- Nice Coral Reef
Visit El Garrafon Natural Reef Park’s website for more information about their park.
We were provided free entry into Garrafon Park for the purpose of reviewing it on our blog. Regardless, we would only recommend places, activities or services that we would use/visit personally and that we believe will be good for our readers.