Xel-Ha Tour by Xcaret
By far my favourite place in Mexico, and my #1 excursion, the Xel-Ha Tour is a must do whenever I am in the Riviera Maya! Let me introduce you to my favourite place on earth and give you an insiders view on why it’s my favourite Day Trip whenever I’m in the area! Let’s head on down to the land of the maya – to Tulum, Quintana Roo and the site of Xel-Ha!
Xel-Ha is built on a Mayan archaeological site. Once upon a time it was a center of trade and commerce and a very important location in the Mayan world. Due to its unique structure, it was a safe harbour from storms and more! Come on in and discover why this place is so amazing and see all the sea creatures that have found a safe place in this natural aquarium away from the outside world!
Admission tickets to Xel-Ha park are all-inclusive, except for the optional activities such as the Dolphin swim, Snuba, etc. You can enjoy all-you-can-eat breakfast, lunch, snacks, even an open bar, and of course, non-alcoholic beverages are available for all as well. Other than bringing money for souvenirs and photos you can put your wallet away for this experience! You can enjoy all this for the length of your visit.
Really the first priority when you enter the park is to make your way to a colored station, there are five of them, each with a slightly different set of amenities. Brown has the least, yellow has the most. I prefer brown because of its location – but you do have to return the snorkel gear that you borrow, so it may not be the perfect location for you and your group. I find I only snorkel for part of the day, the early part, so I return the gear right before I have lunch, then I don’t need to keep track of it while I’m dining and relaxing. You must return it where you borrowed it, so I borrow and return the gear to the location closest to where I plan on dining.
My personal preference of where to start is with either a bicycle ride or a walk to the start of the lazy river. Then a casual float down on one of their inner tubes. If you have kids with you, you will have the choice of either going solo on an inner tube or doubling up and using the twin tubes. I always go solo, even if I’m with hubby. I love to float and relax and enjoy what I’m seeing. Some people like to go faster, some slower, the pace of this experience is all up to you. Remember to wear a good bio-degradable sunscreen here. Even though you are sheltered in the mangroves you will soon be in full sun and it gets hot!
If you have chosen to do a combination tour and are visiting the park along with the Tulum Ruins, you will arrive several hours after the park has opened. You may choose to do your activities in a slightly different order, depending on your personal priorities. Things like the brand new waterslide tower are likely very busy by the time you will arrive so you may choose to go get in line, immediately after you get your locker arranged and personal belongings stored. The ruins are an amazing way to start your day, but after that tour, you are likely hot and hungry or thirsty so you may wish to grab a quick bite to eat as well – the restaurants here never stop serving amazing food so hop on in and help yourself!
Enough of me blabbing about the park, let’s take a look at all the amazing things you can do with your all-inclusive day!
Activities included at Xel-Ha are, starting at the inlet where the park meets the sea:
Inlet – where you can swim and explore – this is a great area for snorkeling – you can see many different species of fish including stingrays in the deepest parts of the inlet. This is not just the area where the sea comes in there are also areas where freshwater flows into the area as well – very diverse.
River swim – as mentioned before, you can float down on inner tubes or chose a different path and snorkel down, there are so many ways to enjoy this area of the park! Along the way and if you are brave enough there are challenges to test you! Cliff jumps, zip lines and more!
The underwater observatory – a glass bottom boat that you access by swinging rope bridge. You can pretend to be a captain and steer the boat, or go down below to look out the portholes at the wonders of the sea!
Scenic View – head on up to the observatory, the highest point in the park. From here you can see for miles and miles, and imagine the past, present and likely see into the future (ok I made that part up)!
Children’s Playground – a land of wonder and amazement for the little ones! This is an area where the kiddos can be looked after securely while mom and dad either lounge in the hammock garden next door, or go explore on their own for a bit!
Throughout the park there are signs on trees and rocks signifying important information. Mayan words, numbers, symbols, the names of the plants themselves, it’s all here to discover as you wander the paths.
I hope this brief overview provides you with the desire to know more about my favourite place!
Helpful Information about the Park
At the yellow station, you will find lockers, washrooms, change rooms, towels and snorkel gear to borrow. There are also showers.
At the red station, you will find lockers, washrooms, change rooms, towers and snorkel gear to borrow.
At the blue station, you will find lockers, washrooms, change rooms and towels and snorkel gear to borrow.
At the purple station, you will find lockers, washrooms, change rooms, and towels and snorkel gear to borrow.
At the brown station, you will find lockers, washrooms, change rooms, and towels to borrow.
The park is open 8:30 am to 6:00 pm year round.
Even though this park is located 68 miles south of Cancun, it is easy to drive to the park, take a taxi, a bus – even the ADO bus stops close enough to take it here. You can even take the public Collectivo system here. The other option is to simply purchase round trip transportation with your admission.
If you choose to drive yourself and you haven’t purchased tickets in advance all you need to do is go to the ticket booth and speak to a customer service agent
Remember to bring:
- Use chemical-free sunblock and suntan lotions. If they contain Octocrylene, Benzophenone, Butyl methoxydibenzoylmethane, Hexyldecanol, Dimethyl capramide, Cetyl dimethicone, Methylparaben, Polyethylene, Propylparaben or Butylcarbamate, we will ask you to exchange them at the Information Booth at the Park entrance for one of our chemical-free sunblock samples, and you will be able to pick up your original at the end of your visit. I recommend you purchase bio-degradable sunscreen before you go to Mexico – much better option!
- your swimsuit, watershoes, change of clothes, no towels necessary
- cash and/or credit card for souvenirs and photo pass, tipping in restaurants and bars
Activity Restrictions & Recommendations
A number of activities have restrictions or requirements:
- Dolphin Ride is only available to ages 12 and up (only available through agencies or online -not sold at the park)
- Dolphin Encounter is available for children between the ages of 5 and 11
- Sea Trek minimum age is 8 years
- Snuba Cenote minimum age is 12 years and must know how to swim
- Snuba Caleta minimum age is 8 years and must know how to swim
- Manatee Encounter minimum age is 5 years, ages 5 to 10 must be supervised by an adult
- Stingray Encounter minimum age is 8 years, ages 8 to 10 must be supervised by an adult
- Zip Bike has the following restrictions:
- minimum age is 8 years old
- minimum height is 3.7 feet
- maximum weight is 264 lbs
- Adrenalina, both Xel-Ha and Tulum
- minimum height is 4.6 feet
- guests under 15 years old must be under adult supervision
- guests 16 and 17 years old must have a parent or guardian sign a liability waiver
- do not bring anything that could fall off your person and be prepared to get wet
- Stingray Kids is exclusively for those aged 4 to 8 without parental supervision required
**I would like to note that this post and most posts on my blog may contain affiliate links. This means that if you purchase something through my affiliate link, I will receive a commission from it. Please read my disclosure for more details.
Ways to Save at Xel-Ha
Save 10% by purchasing your Admission or Tour 7 to 20 days in advance – does not apply to Packages or Xperience Passport.
Save 15% by purchasing your Admission or Tour 21 days or more in advance – does not apply to Packages or Xperience Passport.
Reminder – children ages 5 – 11 are 50% off the adult price.
Save up to 25% off – Choose from two to four Parks or Tours that you’d like to experience on your vacation – go to the Experiencias Xcaret Website – and choose from their selection of great parks and tours and save!
Hotel Xcaret Mexico is a natural haven by the Caribbean Sea and the mystic jungle of Riviera Maya. A unique destination inspired by Mexican traditions, art, and culture. Enjoy the luxury of premium accommodations and of being surrounded by nature. Live an authentic experience that redefines and refines the concept of an all-inclusive resort. A one of a kind All-Fun Inclusive® vacation will open your imagination to new ways of connecting with nature, yourself and your loved ones. Every stay at Hotel Xcaret includes unlimited free admission to all theme parks, some including transportation.